14: Islam Today

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RELI 3320 | Intro to Islam


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In the Ashes of WWI
Ansary Ch. 15

After WWI: Nationalism in the Middle East

  • The Wahhabis (helped Britain win WWI)
    • 1932 | “Saudi Arabia” (vast oil reserves found 10 yrs later)
  • The Hashemites (helped Britain win WWI)
    • 1932 | 3 former Ottoman territories: “Iraq”
    • 1946 | the eastern half of the British Mandate: “Jordan”
  • French-held Levant
    • 1945 | an Arab state: “Syria”
    • 1946 | a Christian state: “Lebanon”
  • British-held Levant (western half of the British Mandate)
    • 1947 | a Jewish state: “Israel”
    • 1947 | an Arab state: “Palestine”

Three Islamic Responses to Nationalism

  • The Secular Nationalists
    • Atatürk (Turkey)
    • Reza Shah (Iran)
  • Pan-Arabism (One big Arab super-nation)
    • The Ba'athists
  • A return to the Caliphate
    • Salafi ideology
    • Repudiate the Sykes-Picot Agreement
    • Example: ISIS (the “Islamic” State of Iraq & Syria)


After WWI: the West seeks oil for future wars
Ansary Ch. 15

Iran & the West’s Quest for Oil

  • Qajar king sells all oil rights to Mr. William Knox D’Arcy
  • D’Arcy sells his interest in Iranian Oil to the British Gov.
  • The British Gov. starts “British Petroleum” (BP)
    • By 1923 | Britain: £40 million, Iran: £2 million on Iranian oil

Iraq & the West’s Quest for Oil

  • British (BP), Dutch (Shell), the U.S. (later, ExxonMobil): the Iraqi Petroleum Co.
  • The IPC maintains a monopoly on Iraq’s oil fields

Saudi Arabia & the West’s Quest for Oil

  • Saudi oil reserves are the largest in the world
  • Saudi petrodollars ensure the advancement of Western powers in Nazi-occupied Europe
  • U.S. President & Saudi king reach an agreement:
    • US: unlimited access to Saudi oil
    • Saudis: unfettered access to American tech and military
  • In this way, the USA becomes the modern guarantor of Wahhabi-Saudi power
    • As a consequence, the well-funded, well-protected Saudis go on full attack against the Secular Modernists
    • The US-Saudi Alliance ensures Secular Modernism has little chance in the Middle East


Israel & Palestine
Ansary Ch. 16

The Levant: A Jewish History

  • Judah (self-rule from Jerusalem) | Since time immemorial, the Jews called this land Judah. It’s where the term Jew originates.
  • Judea (self-rule from Jerusalem in 160 BCE) | conquered by the Persian (538 BCE) and Greek Empires (198 BCE)
  • Judea (self-rule from Jerusalem in 132 CE) | conquered by the Roman Empire (37 BCE) who destroy the Jewish Temple (70 CE)
  • 135 CE  | Province of the Roman Empire | Jews no longer majority of population, but never totally abandon it
  • 390 CE  | Province of the Christian Byzantine Empire | the Temple Mount is left in ruins

The Levant: An Arab History

The Levant: A Modern History

  • 1920 | U.N. Mandate of the British Empire, from London
  • 1946 | The British split up their Mandate
    • east of the Jordan River becomes the Arab nation of “Jordan
    • west of the Jordan River will become “Israel” & “Palestine” (both self-ruling from Jerusalem)
      • Historically, this is the 4th time Jews enjoy self-rule in their homeland
      • Also the first time since the 135 CE that the region enjoys self-rule for any group

A Jewish Perspective (1896-1948)

An Arab Perspective (1924-1948)

  • Palestinian Arabs are an admixture of ancient Canaanites, Jews, Cretan-Philistines, Greco-Romans, Arabs, & Europeans
  • For antizionists, the modern illegal immigration of Jews into their land was a European crime against the Arab world
    • The Ottoman Turks had occupied the Levant for 500 years. Then the British came. Then the Jews. All foreign occupiers.
    • As Zionists, the incoming Jews insisted this was their land and they took it by force. Sometimes through terrorism.
    • On 15 May 1948, the neighboring Arab nations declare war on the Zionist state of Israel

The 1948 Arab-Israeli War

It was Palestine, not Israel, that became the stillborn child.

Tamim Ansary
Destiny Interrupted, pg. 324

The 1948 Arab Israeli War & the Nakbah

  • On 15 May 1948, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria declare war on Israel
    • The result shocked the world. The Israelis won.
    • Israel kept all its UN defined territory, while pushing the Arab forces back far enough to take 60% of what was going to be the State of Palestine
    • The other 40% of Palestine was taken by Jordan (West Bank) and Egypt (Gaza)
    • The West Bank Palestinians asked Jordan for a state but were denied one
  • The Catastrophe (Arabic: Nakbah): 700,000 Palestinian refugees are displaced
  • About 700,000 Jews are expelled or leave the Arab nations and become Israeli citizens

Three Major Options for Israel going forward

  • Option 1: there is one Jewish state, without democracy
    • Jews could vote, but Arabs could not. This would be apartheid, which is unacceptable.
  • Option 2: there is one democratic state, without a Jewish identity (cf., the One-State Solution)
    • In a generation, the Arabs would outnumber Jews and vote “Israel” out of existence. Also unacceptable.
  • Option 3: the “Two-State Solution” of an independent Israel and Palestine
    • This is the most complicated and popular solution
    • Both sides must first agree on the other nation’s right to exist (and we’re not there yet)
    • Both sides must come to an equitable sense of justice
      • Immigration: Right of Return for Palestinians (to Israel) and Jews (to their Arab homes)? Reparations?
      • Capital: What would be the capital city of Palestine? East Jerusalem (and split the Israeli capital)?
      • Security: What assurances can Palestinians give Israelis that they won’t immediately invade Israel? (cf., Hamas)
      • Borders: Demographics have changed since 1948. Land swaps will be necessary. But who gets what?
  • Other less popular options to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    • The Three-State Solution: there is no Palestine — Egypt gets Gaza, and Jordan gets the West Bank (like in the 1950s)
    • The One-State Solution: all conflicted regions come under a new democratic confederation made of 2 equal parts
    • The Hamas Charter: there is no Israel — the current State of Israel is transformed into an Islamic State by force