Sunday, September 8, 2019
The European Occupation of the Middle East Literature review
The European Occupation of the Middle East - Literature review Example The problems which had begun with the European occupation continued to increase after independence to such an extent that they led to the Arab Spring between 2011 and 2012. Despite the fact that these countries were given independence, the western powers have continued to exert their influence on the region to such an extent that they have come to inspire the hostility of the Middle Eastern population. During the European occupation of the Middle East, the population in the occupied territories was denied any political freedoms. They could not directly elect their representatives, and where they were allowed to do so, these representatives did not have enough power to effectively represent their people. Many in the Middle East, therefore, agitated for the independence of their countries in order to regain the political freedoms that they had lost. They felt that it was their right to have self-determination, and not have their future decided for them by the European colonial powers. When the occupied territories in the Middle East were finally given independence, there was a high expectation among the populace that it was the start of a new age of freedoms (Cleveland 2010, p.408). This, however, turned out not to be the case because the governments which came to power tended to be autocratic which worked towards further denying their people their basic freedoms so that they could remain in power. The failure to deliver on their promises at independence led to their lack of legitimacy among the populace and the only way that they could legitimately remain in power was through the use of force. The vast oil reserves that were discovered in the Middle Eastern countries were used by these regimes to gain the necessary financial power to retain their authority (Cleveland 2010, p.514). It is the lack of political freedom in their countries which led the populations of various Middle Eastern nations to recently stage demonstrations against their governments, and it is these demonstrations, and at times military conflict, which came to be termed as the Arab Spring. One of the means through which the European powers established their dominance in the region was the favoring of the Christian population over the Muslim one. Since the European powers were Christian, they chose to strengthen the influence of their fellow Christians in the Middle East as well as to protect them from what they perceived to be a threat from the Muslim population.