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Southwest Asia. History and Government. Map of Southwest Asia. The Region’s Countries. Kuwait Saudi Arabia Afghanistan Qatar Oman United Arab Emirates Yemen. Turkey Syria Cyprus Iraq Iran Lebanon Israel Jordan. Quick History . . . Ancient History
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Southwest Asia History and Government
The Region’s Countries • Kuwait • Saudi Arabia • Afghanistan • Qatar • Oman • United Arab Emirates • Yemen • Turkey • Syria • Cyprus • Iraq • Iran • Lebanon • Israel • Jordan
Quick History . . . • Ancient History • 8000 BC – Fertile Crescent, establishment of agriculture and civilization • 3000 BC – Sumerians, development of writing, complex societies, etc… • 2000 BC – Judaism is founded in the region • Christianity would follow 2000 years later • 600s – followers of Muhammad swept over the Arabian Peninsula • The conquered would adopt the Islamic faith and Arabic language. • Other religions would be allowed to practice their faith. • 900s – Arabs began to lose their control of the region; the Turks (Seljuks) conquered the lands • The conquerors actually adopted the traditions of the people living in the region. • 1300s – the last great empire takes control - the Ottoman Turks • There were freedoms for all different peoples living in the region.
Quick History . . . (cont.) • 1700s – rivalries built up with tensions between different ethnic and religious groups • The Ottomans could not maintain their power, and many of these groups wanted to establish their own homelands • January 3, 1916 – Sykes-Picot Agreement • Limited the independent Arab state to the area that is now Saudi Arabia and Yemen • Syria became French-controlled; Iraq was now British-controlled, and Palestine was jointly ruled • 1917 – end of World War I • The fall of the Ottoman Empire
Quick History . . . (cont.) • Mid-1940s – the issue of Palestine and Israel • Many Jewish people were escaping the reaches of Hitler; tensions rose between the British, Palestinians and Jews. • 1947 – Great Britain withdrew from the disputed area and handed the issue over to the United Nations • Led to the creation of two states (one Arab and one Jewish) • 1980s – Iraq/Iran War • The two countries fought a war over control of oil fields. • 1991 – Persian Gulf War • Iraq invaded Kuwait . . . led to other countries intervening. • The US and 32 other countries found to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait and keep the oil fields open • 2003 – Operation Enduring Freedom & Operation Iraqi Freedom
The Region’s Governments • Theocracy • The government is run by religious leaders; there is no separation between church and state • The government claims to be guided by God, or divinely blessed • Republic • Simply Defined – a government without a king or queen; people elect representatives to make decisions • Traditional Monarchy • Major feature – the ruler inherits power • So, when the ruler dies, power automatically passes to one of the monarch’s children or close relatives. • Constitutional Monarchy • The power of the monarch is shared with a constitutional body • A modern adaptation of monarchy
Important Individuals • Abdul al-Aziz Ibn Saud • Responsible for the consolidation of land in the Arabian Peninsula under the name of the Saud family • By 1920s – almost all of the Arabian Peninsula was under his control • 1932 – the whole area became known as Saudi Arabia • His descendants still rule Saudi Arabia today • Saddam Hussein • Iraqi president, then dictator; ruled from 1979 until 2003 • He was in office during the Iraq/Iran War, Persian Gulf War, and the UN sanctions on Iraq. • He was deposed from office and put on trial for crimes committed early in his political term; found guilty, and sentenced to death
Important Groups • The Bedouins • Nomadic desert dwellers that traveled along the Arabian Peninsula; very family oriented • Known for their superior fighting - - - conquered many lands across the Arabian Peninsula during the 7th century • They spread the Islamic faith by placing Muslim leaders in control of the newly acquired lands. • Sunni & Shi’ite Muslims • The two major branches of the Islamic faith • 83% of Muslims are Sunni; most Iranians are Shi’ite. • These two ethnic groups have severe tensions that split them apart despite the religious ties.
Important Groups • The PLO • The Palestinian Liberation Organization; created in the 1960s • The group was formed to regain the land for Palestinian Arabs - - - they have used both military and political means to take possession of land. • The Taliban • A fundamentalist Muslim political group that imposed strict rules on the people’s behaviors (primarily in Afghanistan)
20th Century Issues • The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict • Prior to the late 19th century, Palestine was under Arab control, but then Britain intervened in political matters. • 19th century – the Zionist Movement began • The movement supported the creation and support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. • Post-WWI – Britain takes over the region; continues to allow Jewish immigration into the region • 1939 – the increase of tensions between Jews and Muslims was too high, and the British halted Jewish immigration to Palestine • Many Jews were attempting to relocate to the area from Europe (escaping persecution and Hitler’s Nazis)
20th Century Issues • The Israeli/Palestinian Conflict . . . (cont.) • Post-WWII – many Jews were relocating to the area; Britain handed over the issue to the United Nations • 1947 – the UN decision - - - divide Palestine into two states (one for Arabs and one for Jews) • May 14, 1948 – the Jewish states, Israel, was established • The surrounding Arab nations invaded the newly formed nation; the Jews fought back
20th Century Issues • The Kurds • The world’s largest stateless minority (est. 25 million) • Kurdistan – region where the Kurds are located • The region lies within the countries of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Armenia . . . Causes land disputes • The Kurds have dealt with centuries of oppression. • Recently: • 1988 – Iraqi troops killed thousands of Kurds (& destroyed villages) • Early 1990s – Iraq crushed another Kurdish uprising • One million Kurdish refugees fled (to Turkey, Iran, and northern Iraq)