Wednesday 14 November 2018

From David Fromkin's 'A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East' (1989)

It's a wonderful book that I recommend highly and, like John Buchan's Greenmantle, it's been very topical since September 2001.

“It has been estimated that the total of military and civilian casualties in all of Europe’s domestic and international conflicts in the 100 years between 1815 and 1915 was no greater than a single day’s combat losses in any of the great battles of 1916.”

"As soon as they began to plan their annexation of the Middle East, Allied leaders recognized that Islam’s hold on the region was the main feature of the political landscape with which they would have to contend. Lord Kitchener, it
will be remembered, initiated in 1914 a policy designed to bring the Moslem faith under Britain’s sway. When it looked as though that might not work—for the Sherif Hussein’s call to the Faithful in 1916 fell on deaf ears—Kitchener’s associates proposed instead to sponsor other loyalties (to a federation of Arabic-speaking peoples, or to the family of King Hussein, or to about-to-be-created countries such as Iraq) as a rival to pan-Islam. Indeed they framed the postwar Middle East settlement with that object (among others) in view.”

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