Insights and Perspectives
The Middle East and the Centenary of the Great War
During the decades prior to the Great War, leading European powers consolidated their positions by expanding the spheres of influence: i.e., their colonial/imperial possessions. Great Britain was interested mainly in securing the route to India, meaning with respect to the Middle East, annexing Aden (1839), and controlling Bahrain (1880), Muscat (1891) and Kuwait (1899). The French began the foundation of their Empire by the conquest of Algeria (1830), followed later by the occupation of Tunisia (1881) and the incorporation of Morocco (1912). Russia was building a vast Asian Empire, also at the cost of the Ottoman Empire. All of the Middle East – including Egypt, Persia (Iran) and the Sudan – was drawn into great powers’ politics.
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