WW1 legacy in the Middle East is one of deep division: paper

ABU DHABI: The legacy of First World War in the Middle East is one of deep division created by the colonial boundaries that have largely survived to this day and the presence of Israel with its nightmare policies of occupation and military aggression, a U.A.E. newspaper said Saturday.

“The legacy in Europe was not much better with the disaster of the Versailles Conference, leading directly to the tragedy of the Second World War,” the English-language newspaper The Gulf News said in an editorial comment on the anniversary of the First World War (1914-1918) which led a complete rebalancing of world power in the Versailles Conference after the deaths of about 16 million people.

This, it went on to say, leaves nothing to celebrate, but a lot to remember as the anniversary of passes.

“One hundred years ago, today, a Serbian nationalist shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the vast Austrian-Hungarian Empire. Gavrilo Princip was seeking to break off the empires s Slav regions so they could join a new greater Serbia. He failed in that aim, but he did succeed in unleashing the terrible events that led to the First World War and a complete rebalancing of world power in the Versailles Conference after the deaths of about 16 million people.

First World War triggered the disastrous colonisation and division of the Middle East, as Britain and France moved quickly to grab whatever territories they could as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, noted the paper.

“Britain wanted access to Iraq s oil to keep its Royal Navy afloat and so invaded Iraq and then kept control after the war (in a startlingly similar manner to the America-led coalition in 2003). Britain also needed to defeat the Ottoman Empire in the Levant and sought Arab support, led by the Hashemite rulers of Makkah.” “But the British political promises made to the Arabs were in direct contrast to the British promises to support a Jewish homeland, leading to a terrible betrayal after the war, which was further compounded by the Sykes-Picot agreement when Britain and France simply carved up the Arab world to their own convenience,” The Gulf News said.

SOURCE: WAM