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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 340
Rex Brynen

Poli 340 Historical Context Don’t regard societies as prisoners of their past. Interested in historical legacies that have contemporary political implications. For example the emergence of Islamic law, sunni shia divide. Its not a history class. Islamic community (ummah) saw themselves coming in political conflict in Makkah and so migrated to Medina. By 632 bulk of the Arabian peninsula was in control of islam. From this origin comes the origin of islam. Theology: monotheistic religion. Linked closely to other monotheistic religion i.e Judaism and Christianity. Muslim beliefe Judaism and Christianity are divine religions but prior Prophet’s messages weren’t fully understood. Monotheism was the thing which differentiated islam from other polytheistic religions in the regions. In the context of the time, islams views on women were much more liberal than the ones scene in much of the Arabian peninsula at the time. Five pillars  more like five pillars of sunni islam Theology  only one god. Very simple. Broader middle east largely converted to islam and though political expansion and warfare had to do but most of it was cos of voluntary conversion cos the messages of the three monotheistic religions weren’t really different which eased conversion. When prophet passed away he left no obvious blue print of religious authority. No instructions how muslims were supposed to govern themselves or choose leaders. There were multiple claims, two of which were important, Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Abu Bakar. Hazrat Abu Bakar was chosen by the community. In a very small time, lil over 2 decades, islam has gone from a small community in Arabian peninsula to a community which now governs the contemporary middle east. Most expansion during the caliphate of the first 2 caliphs. Massive area under muslim control in a few decades. This are is imp cos islam which originated in an arab community played an imp crucial role in the social recomposition of the middle east. In 620 most of the middle east dint speak Arabic. Eventually we end up with a middle east which is predominantly arab and mostly muslim. Arabisation of non arabs. They were connected through marriage (for conquests) and through tribes but what gave them the arab identity was the language. Arab some one who speaks arab and thinks of himself as an arab. They might not have had been originated from the arab. Spread of Arabic: spread cos of Quran being in Arabic. Arabic remained kinda like the lingo of Islam. No fragmentation of Arabic lingo. Linguistic core anchor was in Quran which prevented the lingo from fragmentation. Arabic was a core point of identity. Arabic lingo also spread cos it became the lingo for administration and commerce. Common lingo of traders and public office. And this had more to do with arabization of the middle east then with arabs actually moving from Arabian peninsula to other areas. Ofcourse not all populations acquired arab identity like kurds, burburs in Africa. Persians. Modern day iran never arabised. Partially cos Persia was incoprated into the Islamic caliphate, the entire ruling class kinda jump shift. So much of existing political and economical structure simply converted to islam whoch kept itself intact and retained a Persian identity. This is the period, the rise in islam, really were much of the middle east become arab. Spread of islam. 90, 95, 99 percent population of countries end up becoming muslim. But people of the book still exist. Chrisstians and Judaism had a status of being protected but not equal to muslim majorities. Dhimmi status. Instituitionalized religious pluralism  citizenship is related to religion. Your relationship with the state depends on ur religion. Religiously organized federal state where the monotheistic religious communities are partially self governing. Lebenon: laws that apply to you depend on what your religion is. Much of conversion to islam was voluntary. And much of conversion was so slow that it was accidental. At the level of local villages there wasn’t much difference between the religions i.e islam and Judaism and so it wasn’t a big deal to convert from one to the other. So many cases conversion was a major thing, it just happened slowly through generation to generation. Recruitment of non muslims and non arabs in public administration which obviously spread lingo and inturn islam: this is imp cos caliphate is the size of Europe and Europe doesn’t end up having the same lingo. Existence of common language formed the arab identity. Opposite of Africa where same country has several ethno linguistic tribes. Hazrat Usman was assassinated. Succession crisis. Hazrat Ali claimed caliphate. His claim was challenged by Hazrat Usman’s cousin Hazrat Mu’awiya. And that led to a civil war within umma. Ultimately Hazrat Ali was defeated. Hazrat Muawya moved the caliphate to Damascus.  ummayad caliphate. Hazrat Husayn challenged Yazid for poli leadership.  split btw sunni and shia islam. Not all religious identities are politically relevant so be careful. In northern islan wthr you are catholic or protestant makes a hug amount of difference in Canadian politics it doesn’t. the mere existence of differences in religion will always be politicized. But the shia sunni divide has been politicized time and time again. It is in some countries a strong point. Speacially in civil wars. Qs of political authority in islam is open. Islam does not recognize the distinction between church and state the way Christianity does (observors say this) but its bizarre cos pope used to b ruling countries like holy roman empire. So Christianity too kinda dint th differentiate btw the churce and the state. That’s why henry the 8 split from the church and established the church of England. But islam has very lil to say about how polity should be organized and so there are wide debates in islam about poli power. There are those alqaeda in Iraq etc who say islam and democ are incompatible, authority comes from god and people should not be able to over write sharia. There are others much larger groups in islam like akp in turkey who say that’s not theologically correct cos hazrat abu bakar was chose by the community. And god doesn’t come down and tell you what He wants then how can you say He wants this and so this should be with people. The Quran doesn’t answer this qs. Qs how you balance religious and poli socities and apparently the answer isn’t clear in islam. Sunni islam is the dominant one. Shia: iran, Iraq, Bahrain is shia, lebonan has a lotof shia. It is argued that the gates of ijtihad have been closed in the sense that major legal issues have been settled. But debates are there about how much flexible you can b within islam while adapting to modern societal structure. Shia is much more flexible to adaptations. That’s why iran has a state funded gender reassignment surgery. Homo is illegal but state funding for reassignment is available. Caliphate was a great empire: but ultimately had issues. Centrifuigal tensions: bits of it wants to break off. Your neighbours want to nibble away your territory. At that time Europe was less religiously tolerant and so most of the non catholic population fought on the side of muslims. So caliphate became weaker and weaker. Rise of a new poli power. Ottoman Turkish empire at time asserted the claim that it was successor to the caliphate. It always didn’t really do it very strongly and it did that when the sultan felt he needed to buttress his Islamic legitimacy and appeal to muslim. So technically it claimed to be a successor but that wasn’t the major part of the ottman rule most of the time. Ottoman empire extends all the way to world war 1. Its not ottoman at the very end but it extends. Janissaries – Christian children taken away from their parents and raised as muslim elite slave soldiers of the sultan. Kinda feudal system where nobles were told that this is your part of the empire and you tax them and send this much to us at Constantinople as our share. Very consistent system of th th bureaucracy from 16 till 20 century. Even when ottomans were overthrown, the Turkish beureaucracy didn’t change that very much. Islam recognzised non muslim monotheistic religions as people of the book but this system of institionalized religious pluralism reached its peak under ottoman. Hence recognized religious minorities were given rights of self governance and this was backed by power of state. So senior jewish officials or greek orthodox had laws that they administered with regards to their personal status. Disputes within their communities were resolved with in their own separate courts. They had tax powers. This power was backed by the govt. and the religious communit you belonged to effected your relationship with the state. This maintained the importance of religious identity. Parts of this continued to exist. Best example: lebonon - consociational system, which laws apply to you depends on your religion. Religion determines your relationshiop with the legal system and the state. Ultimately ottoman empire faced issues as well which are listed above. Power of ottoman empire begins to slowly decline. Upto 1571 turks had dominated the mediterannian. Failure of multiple attempts to cpture Vienna ends ottoman expansion in Europe. They captured Balkan but couldn’t go any further. As turks retreated after the last battle of Vienna they left there coffee supply behind and so Viennese got so many cafes. Russia becomes powerful and as Russia expands it expands into ottoman territories as well. Also increasing commercial penetration of Europe which was atleast as imp as military reversals. Ottomans tend to treat European econ expansion as if they were another millet/minority community. They sign a series of trading agreements in which they say that if some foreign guy in commercial activity broke the law they will be judged by the ambassador of the country and not by local law. So European states were somewhat treated as they were another minority. At the same time minorities in ottoman empire were often looking for European sponsors. Close links between French and catholic minorities in the middle east (particularly in lebonan). Russians kind of assigned themselves the role of protector of orthodox minorities. Britain couldn’t team up with Christians cos they came in late and so they allied with the druze. So you have minorities making alliances with outside euro powers to increase their powers within ottoman empire. This alliance scene is as imp as losing battles for ottoman empire failure. Cos more and more of the econ activity in ottman empire is no longer under control of the state officials. So the ottoman empire was this huge but slowly dying power which Europeans can pick up pieces off. Ottoman empire was very imp as middle east was the last place to be colonized. It was easier to colonise other areas. It isn’t till early 19 century that large parts of the former ottoman empire gets colonized but ultimately European colonialism expands to the middle east. So in a period of a hundred years large chunks of middle east came under European control. Nibbling away at bits of ottoman empire. In some cases (oman and Kuwait) local rulers who were normally part of the ottoman empire but were aligning themselves with the british to break away from the ottoman empire. Protectorate: when you are an independent govt. and we sign an agreement that I will protect you in exchange of positive relations. It starts nominally as a state to state agreement in which I protect you in exchange of trade concessions or we have concensus on foreign policy. But it becomes a de facto colonial rule in French in north Africa n british in the gulf. So we see Europe expanding its influence during 19 and 20 century. This penetrations provoked some reaction. One of these was: defensive modernization: recognition by local leaders that they needed to reenergize their economies, states, build up their powers to defend against foreign/external pressures. 2 cases: muhammed ali: he had grown out of mamluks (mamluks were slave soldiers who were recruited as slaves but could rise to generals. Muhammed ali emerged as the leader of the mamluks. So muhammed ali got rid of mamlukes as a social group, reorganized military and beureuacracy along European lines. Education to increase productivity. Jump start economy. He went at war with ottoman empire which he supposedly was part of but wwasnt really. Ottoman turks engaged in their own reforms. Economy was in real problem and state was increasingly indebted to European countries. These reforms were unsuccessful. Cost of modernization: you had to borrow money to modernize the state but led to debt problems ultimately leading to brit conquering Egypt later on over debt issue. Uneven local support for reform cos every reform has winners and losers. Defensive modernization was only partially successful and certainly unsuccessful in defending middle east from European penetration. There were ideological responses to European pressures too. One of em was to call upon Islam in a conservative way to try to rally support amongst your population. Sultan abd ul hamid was a classic example of this: he reasserted turkeys claim to caliphate and tried to use conservative islam to appeal to locals to avoid pressures from Europe, non muslim minorities like Balkan. There had been real pressure for reform upil 1876 till sultan abd al hamid came along and reversed that. He tried using the old style of conservative islam to mobilize support. There were fundamentalist movements: wahabi and Mahdi who were critical of foreginors but also of local elites and rulers as well arguing that local elites were so weak cos they had strayed away from ideological islam and a cleansing was needed of the muslim world as the essential first step to reassertation of muslim power. This is saying the problem is nto just foreginors but problem is mainly us. The problem is that we have strayed away from islam. Islamic modernists: who argues to dif degrees to dif ways that islam was compatible with modernitiy that educational reform was a good thing. That science was fully compatible with islam that islams problem has not been that it had changed too much but it needed to be more adaptive to modernity and science. What was required was not only going back to past but also going forward. Nationalism: decline of ottoman empire was accompanied by by the rise of local nationalism particularly Balkans who didn’t want to stay with ottoman. ottoman nationalism: prob of ottoman empire is that the real problem of ottoman empire is that there is no real sense of being ottoman so the young ottoman were the first multi culturalist emphasizing that people from dif regions to establish an ottoman identity. The young ottomans ultimately lost ideological ground to turks. Ottoman nationalism thought that ottoman empire doesn’t have a single identity/unifying idea. Turks thought that the unifying idea should be Turkish instead of ottoman. that the unifying idea ought not to be some sort of multi cultural cosmopolitanism but it ought to be some sort of nationalism like rise of European nationalism (brit, French). Time of rise of modern ethinic nationalism ( Germany being unified, Italy being unified). So turks also realize that we are fundamentally Turkish society so we should stretch our Turkish identity. So they formed the community on union and progress to advocate this idea. So in 1908 military officers associated with community on union and progress overthrew the sultanate. The overthrow the sultan not the sultanate but then essentially end mey they ceased poli power. Despite their rhetorical embrace of reformism their rule was increasingly authoritarian. Turfication: makisng Turkish the ling in non Turkish parts, emphasizing turks over non turks in civil service position. To make the ottoman empire into a Turkish empire. It took hundred of years in Europe for nation state to emerge. This idea was then being followed by turks. But then this idea took root in minorities in the area of the ottoman empire too. Spur the growth of arab nationalism in response to Turkish national policies. Arab nationalism rise to the years approaching world war 1. Ww1 arrives. Starts in Balkans. Orginally pits Austria hungary against Russia. Germans back Austrian. British and French back Russian allies. Imagine you are turks, who will u back? The germans and Austrians who haven’t done anything to you or the brit, French and Russians who have been nibbling at your empire for last two hundred years. So turks join with Austria Germany and hungary. During ww1, the brits who were actively fighting the turks in north Africa, (brits first used chem weapons in middle east in gaza against the turks, also used it in Iraq against the kurds aftr ww was over in 1920) Brit began negotiating with sharif who is actualy an ottoman official but he is an ambitious arab tribal leader and he allies with the brits against the ottoman (his nominal bosses). Mcmahon (brit official) and Husayn correspondence where brits basically promise that if husayn revolt against ottoman then brit will back arabs for indep after the war. This sets the stage of arab revolt in 1916 and so arab tibes led by sharif husayn and faisal attack turks while brit regular army are marching up the mediteranian coast to Palestine. Towards the end of the war both the brit forces and arab revolt forces arrive at Damascus at the same time. So the war eventually end wih allies power victorious with Turkish empire reduced to what now is just turkey. So now places like Iraq, lebonon Syria etc which were part of ottoman empire are now under European control. During ww1 brits made all kinds of contradictory promises to all kinds of people and that’s what they did. Arabs promised indep if they help brits in ww1. That helped to secure some arabs. There were other arabs (most notably Saudi) who took bribes from brits to not join turks and vice versa. Saudis dint get into war they just got resources by promising not to join the opposing force. And once the ww1 was over the Hashemite family was thrown out of the Arabian peninsula. They also promised jews establishment of a home in order to secure jewish support. British and French and sometimes Russia get together and decide how they will divide the middle east once war is over. So the brits were making 3 entirely contradictory promises during world war 1. They tell arabs you will get independence. They tell the Zionist movement you will get a jewish national home and they tell their allies that we will divide up amongst ourselves. Those three promises set stage for poli problems not far down the line. End of ww1  problem with ww1  ww1 fought under the ideas of self determination, democ  having advocated that it was a bit hard to put people under colonial regimes. Then how do you balance acquiring territory with all the rhetoric of democ of ww1  system designed was a league of nations mandate  which put parts of third world under temporary admin of European powers who would help them grow up until they were ready for independence. So league of nations was a ‘partanelistic; mandate but it was just a way to legitimize colonialism,. Syria and lebonan (not Syria and lebonan at that time) were assigned as French mandate. And Palestine Transjordan and Iraq under brit (these borders weren’t there then ofcourse). Brit had a problem at the end of ww1 cos Syria got promised to French yet faisal and his army were sitting in damascus thinking they will become indep and French troops landed and started marchin to Damascus and looked like brith arab allies will start fighting with brits French allies over control in syria. Faisals brother Abdullah was marching with another army to Transjordan to reinforce his brother for this fight. So brits said wait we have an idea. Faisal u cant have Syria cos we have given that to French but we will make u king of Iraq although you are not from Iraq and have never been to Iraq but we will hold a referendum and by 98.6 percent of vote you will be elected king of Iraq. And Abdullah is still marching to Iraq and churchil said wait stop where you are and we will invent a country called Jordan for you. So manrchy not traditional. So brits establish Hashemite monarchy in Iraq and Transjordan. While the hashemites who were from mecca madina all got kicked out by the Saudis Mount lebono: Beirut and mountain immediate to east and French took that area (which was mostly Druze and Christians) and added more of sunni coast and shia south and desgined/carved a new country that was the largets entity they could draw with what they thought had a Christian majority. With Syria the French tried diff borders for a couple of years and so ended up with modern day Syrian borders. We are about to get the UN report is likely to confirm the use of chem in Syria. This report is apparently leaked to some p5. The mandate of weapons inspectors was not key who was using those weapons. Rusians dint want the inspectors to have that mandate. Syrian civil war is a unique civil war as we know the names of whose dying when they are dying like within 24 hours and that info on whats happening on the ground is being send out on a regular basis. Civil war in the congo where we don’t know how many ppl died plus or minus 3 million. Even Libyan civil war we didn’t really know how many are dying. But in Syria the chem weapons we knew very soon whats going on. Differences in abilities of now analyzing. In the interwar era, (ww1
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