In modern-day Europe, the French speak French in France and the Germans speak German in Germany. In contrast the ‘modern’ Middle East contains only four such states, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and even Israel, which has a 20% Arab minority population

Turkey also ignores its supposed ethnic homogeneity, openly rejecting 15 million Kurdish minority, which was only achieved after the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians and the expulsion of 1.5 million Greeks (20% of the Turkish population that time) in the aftermath of WW I.

Since the Ottoman Empire broke down, applying the principles of “self-determination” to the Middle East has been contemplated, but never fully realized. American president, Wilson, 14 Points Adoption, included a specific reference to self-rule to the Ottoman Empire’s non-Turkish minorities. It was never implemented

After expelling the British-installed Hashemite ruler of Damascus in 1920, France created 5 separate Levantine states, based on the old Ottoman ‘vilayets’ (“provinces”) ; Greater Lebanon, an Alawite mountain state, Druze mountain state and the state of Damascus.

However, concerned that a rising Nazi Germany was making inroads to the French colonies,  France acquiesced to unify Syria in 1936, ending the short-lived experiment in its tracks. Only Lebanon survived as an independent entity, which incorporated large non-Christian populations over French objections.

A renegotiated settlement, “Treaty of Lausanne” ended the dreams of a Greater Kurdistan and Greater Armenia, setting the borders of modern Turkey.

Like Europe once was, the map of the modern Middle East is potentially on the cusp of drastic changes. A renaissance in Kurdish nationalism is now emerging while the Kurds living in northern Iraq & Syria already benefit autonomous rights in the regions they live in. Mosul was actually the Kurdish capital, before ISIS invaded the territory. / AA-Magnum-News 2017.


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