For the Middle East, the last few decades1)http://www.timemaps.com/history/middle-east-2005ad have been troubled ones, dominated by two issues – oil, and Arab-Israeli hostility. Such are their geopolitical importance to the rest of the world that the region has attracted constant global attention, and frequent intervention.
The first of these, oil, has brought economic progress and dazzling modernity to several countries, especially in the Arabian2)http://www.timemaps.com/history/arabia-2005ad peninsula. The second has directly involved the surrounding countries of Syria,3)http://www.timemaps.com/history/syria-2005ad Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt,4)http://www.timemaps.com/history/egypt-2005ad and, indirectly, all the countries of the region. It has brought two full-scale wars, in 1967 and 1973, plus several bloody disturbances on – and within – Israel’s borders.
Virtually every major episode in the region’s recent history has been touched to a greater or lesser extent by these two issues. The rise and fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq,5)http://www.timemaps.com/history/iraq-2005ad and the Islamic Revolution in Iran,6)http://www.timemaps.com/history/iran-2005ad have had their impact multiplied by them. The Arab-Israeli question has made it much harder for Muslim leaders to adopt pro-Western policies, and has given anti-Western terrorist organizations widespread support. Oil wealth has helped finance terrorism, and has impeded the spread of democracy in the region: apart from Israel, Turkey7)http://www.timemaps.com/history/turkey-2005ad is the only country to have developed a proper parliamentary-style system of government.
ORIGINAL SOURCE: timemaps.com