The Middle East c. 1960

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Map Code: Ax01216

The Middle Eastern map changed dramatically in the early 20th century, with many countries gaining independence from the Ottomans and later from British or French control. By 1960–61, the region was comprised of independent states, many of them made wealthy by their oil production and reserves. Pan-Arabism, initiated by the Arab League foundation in 1945, expressed the political and economic collaboration between Arab North Africa and the Middle East. This was also exemplified by the short-lived United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria (1958–61), and military alliances against Israel and the West. The creation of Israel destabilized the region, as did sectarian and ethnic conflict, such as Christians fighting Muslims in Lebanon, and the Kurdish quest for independence. There was further destabilization of the region by the overthrow of the monarchy in Iraq, when King Faisal II was machine-gunned in an army military coup in 1958.

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