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Two Questions

Reader comment on item: The Roots of Iraq's Rebellion

Submitted by JG (United States), Apr 14, 2004 at 10:34

1. Doesn't the four-century period in which the European powers eschewed empire-building in the Middle East roughly coincide with the effective rule of the Ottomans? Couldn't perceptions of Ottoman power be an equal (or better) explanation of this phenomenon rather than some anti-colonial idiosyncrasy of Islam?

2. In the age of naval power, didn't the Europeans consider the Middle East mostly to be colonial backwater (with the exception of the Strait of Gibraltar and later Suez)? Therefore, their colonial acquisitions were focused on access to raw materials and markets until industrialzation on the discovery of Middle Eastern oil reserves?
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