The middle east has been at the centre of involvement for great powers for centuries. Its people have been subjected to conquest, colonization, and regime change. The Ottoman Empire, European powers and the United States have each impacted the region. The combination of their actions created the modern states of the Middle East as we know them today. This argues that the current social and political situation in the region is a direct consequence of these various powers.
The Ottoman Empire was facing a decline in the 19th century. It faced nationalism from its own subjects internally and superior European military capability externally. In response, a new western educated elite arose and carried out reforms under Mahmud II. The aim was to secure the empire by upgrading its military to a level on par with European standards. This would allow the empire to hold its own against the west. Westernization eventually spread across various institutions during the Tanzimat era, where…show more content… The European powers were motivated by their own strategic defence and economic needs. In consolidating their dominance over the necessary resources and assets they unwittingly sparked the forces of nationalism. These nationalist forces, however, tended to have their roots in western liberal ideals of sovereignty and equality as seen in the cases of Turkey, Iran and Egypt. This sparked backlash from Islamist elements of society against these western ideals as seen in Iran. Therefore, the process of societal change kickstarted by the Ottoman Empire in response to Europe was further accelerated by the European powers themselves and expanded upon in both the political and social realms. A legacy of upheaval and struggle have been left in their wake, allowing for the emergence of the many modern Middle Eastern