GPF Presents: The Cartography of the Levant

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The Levant. A roughly demarcated area in the western portion of the Middle East is home to some of the most troubled areas of a region already rife with resource competition, ethnic and religious tension, and military conflict. It includes parts of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. Creating a complex political landscape that defies easy explanation. Perhaps the best way to understand this political landscape, is to understand its physical landscape. The modern version of which took shape just about a hundred years ago. European powers always had an interest in The Levant, but the discovery of oil at the turn of the 19th century gave them a new sense of urgency, eager as they were to transition from coal to oil. The Levant offered a geographic advantage to European empires, too. Proximity to the eastern Mediterranean and Indian Ocean would give imperial powers greater naval access to commercial routes, colonies, and trade partners in Africa and Asia. All they needed was an opportunity to pounce. That opportunity came when the Ottoman Empire collapsed after the end of WW1. France and the United Kingdom immediately moved to fill the ensuing power vacuum. Several […]

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