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February 6th Lecture Notes.docx

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McGill University
Islamic Studies
ISLA 210
Laila Parsons

FEBRUARY 6, 2012: Egypt 2011  Tunisians, Syrians, Egyptians, Bahrainis, Yemenis, and Libyans rose up calling for the rule of law and human dignity (not specifically calling for democracy.)  Morocco, Algeria and Jordan also felt rumblings of the uprisings.  They echoed the protests in Iran in the summer of 2009 after their election.  Massive demonstrations led to the downfall of the dictators Ben-Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.  February 11, 2011: millions of people were in the streets of Cairo cheering after Mubarak’s revolution.  The leaders of Bahrain, Iran, and Syria remain in place and continue to enforce brutal crackdowns that have result in thousands of deaths as well as arrests and exiles. Why did this occur?  The sharp decline in the global economy created acute deprivation in the Middle East and people turned against their ruler do to this.  The corruption has reached such grotesque levels that people could no longer  Activists took advantage of social networks as new means of mobilization that leaders could not control. (Twitter, Facebook).  None of these factors transcends the wide variation: Tunisians, Syrians and Libyans are not as poor as Yemenis, who are not as poor as Egypt.  The absence of democracy and the presence of authoritarian leaders: they had Islamic republics (Iran), monarchies (Bahrain, Morocco), or secular governments (Syria, Yemen).  Due to the history of the Middle East: Under ottoman rule, a man from the metropolis of Baghdad could visit his sister in Damascus without passing a border. Someone for Beirut could go pray in Jerusalem without any sense of passing a border. Local and regional alliances existed and the administration was divided along regional lines. For law and religious practices, they were divided along religious lines (tendency to socialize without yours own religion, no intermarriage). Muslims were favoured. By 1914, Egypt and Tunisia were no longer under Ottoman Rule. Iran never experiences sustained periods of direct colonial rule (but Britain had a hand in the economy after the discovery of a large oil field after 1908). Ottoman Empire conscripted for World War 1 (they were on the side of Germany) and WW1 brought mass devastation→ ex. Mass famine in 1915 in the Levant. Some ottomans did fight on the side of the British (Lawrence of Arabia). Wartime promises were broken after Versailles (Faysal). The British and French imposed colonial rule by creating Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Transjordan, and Iraq) and the border of these states were draw in Versailles, with a poor knowledge of local conditions. France kept Morocca, Tunisia, and Britain kept Egypt.  Balfour declaration: British supported a national home for the Jews in Palestine. By the time British established its mandate, they  British and France faced significant armed rebellion in the Mandate states (Syria, Palestine, etc.). There was mass imprisonment and public executions.  At the end of WW2, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan received independence in the 1940s. Egypt received some independence in 1922, and achieved official independence in 1952. France continued to rule into the 1960s.  The future of Palestine: After WW2, Nazi persecution of Jews led to massive waves of immigration to Palestine. By 1946 Britain’s was in control of 1.3 million Arab Palestinians and 600,000 European Jews. The 2 communities were at odds with other and each wanted an independent state in  Britain turned the problem over to the UN in 1947. In November the UN adopted the partition resolution→ called for Palestine to be divided into one Arab and one Jewish state. Jews celebrated, but Palestinians watched the neighbouring Arab states achieve independence and wanted the same, and rejected the partition. War broke out between the two sides resulting in the state of Israel and the exodus of many Palestinians from the lands. The newly established states fought on the side of the Palestinians but they were ill equipped and poorly coordinated, and were defeated by the Israeli army.  Middle Easterners view the loss of Palestine and creating of Israel as European control. Many newly established states were rocked by military coups which brought in new power who supported the Palestinians and opposed Israel (ex. Nasser comes into power). The Palestinian caused because a domestic issue. Soviet style military dictatorship became popular.  In Iran, the shah ruled as an absolute monarch with pro-western policies, and was supported by the US and Britain. Mossadegh led
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