Contemporary Middle East History

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1. Discuss the difficulties faced by the Middle Eastern empires in adapting to the intellectual, technological, economic, political and social challenges presented by the West in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The 18th and 19th century history of the Middle East illuminates much regarding the current frustration of the region in terms of self-determination.


While not completely Western but also combined with Islamic ideals, the Ottoman Empire presented different challenges for the Middle East than the British and French Empires. The Ottomans demonstrated a semi-Islamic influence in the region. This means that while initially embracing some Islamic ideals, the Ottomans later rejected others and according to Islamic perceptions in the Middle East, the Ottomans while at first more favorable than the British and French Empires were eventually seen as un-Islamic (Gelvin 2005; Khatar, 2004). While many in the region may blame so-called imperialists - (whether they be Ottomans, British-French or American) - for the conditions in the region, the failure of nationalist successive governments to take control of their own destiny is an inherent problem in the Middle East and until today needs to be adequately addressed and confronted (Huntington, 1996). As Huntington (1996) notes 'Western style democracy' in the Middle East has served to increase anti-Western political forces. The history of how and why this rage against Western style democracy can be seen in the social, political, technological and economic forces that have been imposed upon the Middle East via successive colonial administrations.
The Ottoman Empire under the absolute rule of Sultan Seleyman had the responsibility of guaranteeing complete justice or ...
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