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North Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia
Transcript of North Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia
Historical Roots of Civilization
Historical Roots of Religious Clash
1. Hittites: developed first iron in modern Turkey
2. Lydians: first gold/silver coins in modern Turkey
3. Phoenicians: developed the "phonetic" alphabet in modern day Syria. They traded good such as their valuable purple cloth throughout the Mediterranean Sea world which spread their phonetic alphabet to the Greeks. For instance, their port Byblos is the root word of "Bible" and "bibliography."
4. Hebrews: first ancient monotheistic group
5. Persians: expanding from modern Iran, they conquer the entire Middle East including Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Persians were poised to dominate world history development with superior government organization when they were defeated by the tiny Greeks in the turning point Persian Wars.
Other Ancient Middle Eastern Groups
At this point, civilization splits into two branches from Egypt. Western Civilization branches from Egypt to the island of Crete, to Greece, and then to Rome. The Romans conquer the entire Mediterranean World until they divide and collapse. The collapsed Western Roman Empire becomes Spain, France and England (eventually Italy and Germany) and spreads Western Civilization to North and South America in the Age of Exploration.
Meanwhile, an Eastern branch of civilization grows from Egypt to Persia, filtering through modern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to Ancient India and eventually through the Himalayas to Ancient China. Chinese civilization will heavily influence modern Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.
The two branches culturally evolve and lead to clashes of culture in the Age of Exploration, WWII and the Cold War conflicts such as the Korean War and Vietnam War.
West vs. East:
The Great Divide in Civilization
The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476 AD just as Christianity was gaining popularity throughout the empire. Spain, France and England rose from the collapse and were culturally tied and organized by Christianity.
However, Islam began to rise in the Middle East at about the same time. The fierce growth of competing religions led to cultural geographic clashes that still resonate today.
The Middle Ages
The Hebrews were a small, monotheistic group of the ancient world. They were caught between the wars of the great civilizations and enslaved at various times in Mesopotamia and Egypt. However, they stubbornly maintained their monotheism and unique identity.
The Hebrews established the city of Jerusalem in modern day Israel and wrote their beliefs in the Old Testament. However, they frequently clashed with the Romans over monotheism.
The controversy over the prophesied "messiah," crucifixion and growth of Christianity caused even more problems between Jews, Christians and Romans.
The Romans eventually destroyed Jerusalem and sold the Jews into slavery throughout the Roman Empire. Thus, Jews ended up in Spain, France and England....oh, and Germany, too...to be further abused from the Middle Ages to World II. After the discovery of the Holocaust in WWII, though, the Allies re-created Israel as a homeland for the Jews after 2,000 years of exile. The Arab/Muslims who had moved in for 2,000 years were not happy. Thus, our current events discussion that is coming.
Jews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah spread his beliefs throughout the Roman Empire during the Pax Romana. Their writings were collected in the New Testament. After centuries of persecuting Christians, the Roman Emperor Constantine converts to Christianity. The Western Roman Emperor evolve into the popes with the rise of the Roman Catholic Church and use their power to organize the nobles and knights of Spain, France and England to defend Europe from the attacks of Vikings, barbarians and the spread of Islam. Christianity becomes the glue that holds Europe together during the Dark Ages. As Europe becomes stronger, though, the popes call for Crusades to re-capture the "holy land" from Islam. The Crusades end in absolute failure, but re-introduce Europe to the spices and silks of India/China which were still available in the Middle East.
Islam was established by Mohammed about 500 years after the birth of Jesus. Mohammed was from Saudi Arabian trading city of Mecca, a crossroads town on the trade routes between the Roman Empire and India. Mohammed adds the Koran to the Judeo/Christian bible.
Five Pillars of Islam
1. There is no god but Allah
2. Daily prayer facing Mecca
3. Charity to the poor
4. Fasting during Ramadan
5. Haji: a pilgrimage to Mecca
The death of Mohammed caused a split in Islam into Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims, but the religion spread quickly throughout North Africa, the Middle East and Southwest Asia. The use of jihad, or holy war, enhanced the spread of Islam, but religious toleration also helped support the Muslim Caliphate. The heirs of Mohammed ruled the Muslim Middle East until the end of WWI. The region was politically and economically dominated and drained European nations such as England to gain control of oil supplies. The United States also became a political and economic presence in the region after WWII and the re-creation of Israel due to the Holocaust. The clash of Muslim and Western/Christian cultures has led to conflict.
Muslim Expansion and Legacy
The Roman Empire harassed the Jews on a regular basis for refusing to worship the Roman emperors. The Jews revolted on a regular basis until the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and sold the Jews into slavery throughout the Roman Empire. Thus, Jews ended up living in Spain, France and England. They were particularly welcomed in the later Middle Ages for their skills in Germany and Poland.
The discovery of the Holocaust during WWII and the long history of Jewish abuses caused the Allies (England, Soviet Union, US) to find a permanent homeland for Jews. The state of Israel was recreated and Muslim "Palestinians" were removed from their homes of 2,000 years.
Furthermore, the demand for oil made the Middle East more valuable. The Cold War competition between the US and USSR caused tension in the area. The USSR supported a government shift in Iran which was then overthrown by the CIA to re-install the young, corrupt Shah of Iran.
Middle Eastern nations would turn to Islamic nationalism in the post-WWII years to assert their power over their own land in the 1960's and 1970's.
This cultural conflict impacts modern events.
World War II
The USSR invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to establish communism and gain influence in the oil rich Middle East. The US CIA financially supported Mujahideen forces to turn the war into a "Vietnam" for the USSR. Osama bin Laden became a great hero in the Islamic worls as the USSR was defeated. However, he was a warrior left with no war when the USSR withdrew in 1988. Success led to the rise of the fundamentalist Muslim Taliban to govern Afghanistan. The Taliban allowed Bin Laden's Al Qaeda to train and use Afghanistan as a base of operations.
Saddam Hussein became dictator of Iraq in 1979 during the rising tide of Islamic nationalism. Hussein was a minority Sunni Muslim and ruled the majority Shiites with an iron fist. England and the US supported Hussein in a long, bloody war with Iran since Iran had offended us in the 1979 Hostage crisis. However, Hussein invaded oil rich Kuwait in 1990. President Bush launched Operation Desert Shield to protect Saudi Arabian Oil, gave an ultimatum of Jan. 16, 1991 to withdraw from Kuwait, and launced Desert Storm to free Kuwait. In the process, Osama bin Laden was greatly offended by the Western cultural presence of the U.S military and the bowing of the Saudi Arabian government to America. Thus, Bin Laden organized Al Qaeda to commit acts of terrorism against the US in the 1990's. His hope was to hurt the US enough to withdraw US support from Saudi Arabia so he could re-stablish an Islamic Caliphate. Therefore, he planned the 1994 WTC bombing, the USS Cole bombing Yemen, US embassies in Afric, and, utlimately, the 9/11 attacks.
1. Arab Spring: Egypt, Libya, Syria
2. Iran: nuclear progam vs. sanctions vs. hostage crisis
Most Current Events
North Africa, Middle East, and Southwest Asia
Cultural Influence of Major World Religions
9/11 and the War on Terror
Mesopotamia: the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers
Mesopotamia was geographically ideal to develop the first civilization since two rivers produced twice as much fresh water, irrigation, water, and transportation
Civilization indicates the Sumerians there had government, religion, division of labor, social structure and...most importantly...WRITING!
Cuneiform Writing was developed to keep track of business records and Sumerian literature such as the Epic of Gilgamesh
Archaeologists have translated some of it through the Behistun rock
Mesopotamian religion was polytheistic and centered in the city ziggurats, or step-pyramids.
The most famous ziggurat was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which was built by King Nebuchadnezzar to please his wife, who was from the distant Kingdom of Persia (Iran)
Another Babylonian king, Hammurabi, influenced our future culture with the first written law code...The Code of Hammurabi
Random Mesopotamian Influences:
2. 360 Degree Circles
3. 60 Minutes/60 Seconds
4. Signs of the Zodiac/Astrology
Mesopotamia endured constant warfare due to the value of the "fertile crescent." Mesopotamia today is modern Iraq. Surely we can make some discussion of the consistent 5,000 year history of warfare in Mesopotamia/Iraq.
The rise of Christianity and the power of the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages led to persecution of the Jews throughout Europe. The Spanish Inquisition was particularly cruel to Jews and Muslims during the Reconquest of Spain.
The Crusades increased tension between Christian and Muslims. The First Crusade successfully captured Jerusalem, but the position was impossible to hold surrounded by Muslims. Thus, the Christians lost the next 17 Crusades. However, the contact with Muslims re-introduced Europeans to the Greco-Roman knowledge the Muslims maintained and good such as silks, spices, gunpowder, telescopes and compass. These goods lead to the Age of Exploration, Industrial Revolution and, ultimately, Europeans dominating Muslims and exploiting Middle East for oil in the 1900's.
The 2nd Civilization