The Middle East and the West

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1098 - 1291

The Crusades: Two Centuries of Holy War

Saladin; Credit: © Bettmann/Corbis

Aug. 17, 2004 · In the late 11th century, the Pope of Rome declares a crusade to seize Jerusalem from the Arabs, who have held the Holy Land for centuries. In just a few years, European knights seize the city, slaughtering most of its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants and launching two centuries of holy war. | Map | Bios

1453 - 1683

The Rise of the Ottoman Empire

Suleiman the Magnificent; Credit: © Bettmann/Corbis

Aug. 18, 2004 · Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. The Ottoman sultans dominate the Islamic world -- ruling over a region stretching from Iran to Morocco. The Ottoman Empire becomes the most powerful state in the Mediterranean, seizing European land in the Balkans and Hungary and twice laying siege to Vienna. | Map | Bios

1783 - 1912

Europe Carves Up the Middle East

Napoleon in Egypt; Credit: © Christie's Images/Corbis

Aug. 19, 2004 · In the midst of the French Revolution, Napoleon seizes Egypt in 1798, setting in motion century-long European scramble for the Middle East. Eventually, the British would take Egypt, Sudan and the small states of the Persian Gulf. France would seize Algeria and Morocco. And Arab resistance to European encroachment would prompt much bloody violence. | Map | Bios

1914 - 1936

World War I and its Aftermath

Lawrence of Arabia; Credit:  Bettmann/Corbis

Aug. 20, 2004 · World War I sees Europe complete the seizure of the Middle East. The Ottoman Empire, an ally of Germany, is crushed by Britain and France. The territories of Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine fall into European hands. The French and British draw the borders of the modern Middle East, and the League of Nations sanctions their domination of the region. | Map | Bios

1945 - 1973

The Rise of the U.S. in the Middle East

President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with Saudi King Abdul Aziz in 1945; Credit: National Archives

Aug. 23, 2004 · As World War II ends, the United States becomes the great outside power in the Middle East, with three main concerns: Persian Gulf oil; support and protection of Israel, founded in 1948; and containment of the Soviet Union. The goals prove difficult to manage, especially through the rise of Arab nationalism, two major Arab-Israeli wars and an Arab oil embargo. | Map | Bios

1979 - 2003

The Clash with Islam

Osama Bin Laden; Credit: © Reuters/Corbis

Aug. 24, 2004 · In 1979, Iran's Islamic Revolution and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan foreshadow a rise in Islamic radicalism. Violence intensifies, with the Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and the Persian Gulf war. By the mid-1990s, America faces a new enemy: Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. After the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. involvement in the Middle East is deeper than ever. | Map | Bios