Sheldon Richman on the West's Long Neocolonial History in the Middle East

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British troops outside Baghdad, 1941
Public Domain

Nearly a century ago, after four bloody years of World War I, British colonialists created the state of Iraq, complete with their hand-picked monarch. Britain and France were authorized — or, more precisely, authorized themselves — to create states in the Arab world, despite the prior British promise of independence in return for the Arabs' revolt against the Ottoman Turks, which helped the Allied powers defeat the Central powers. And so European countries drew lines in the sand without much regard for the societies they were constructing from disparate sectarian, tribal, and ethnic populations. A hundred years later, writes Sheldon Richman, the rise of the brutal Islamic State, with its unspeakable violence against innocents, is an appalling but unsurprising outcome of the last 100 years, including seven decades of neocolonialist American intervention. 

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