Middle East conundrum

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The Middle East remains a complex amalgam of civil wars, sectarian strife, and a battlefield for regional and global rivalry overlaid by the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Often all these factors fuel each other.

With the fall of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, the British and the French divided much of the Middle East into their virtual territory/kingdoms, thus creating artificial borders and divisions.

After the Second World War, these became part of the Cold War between the west and the Soviet Union. And into it was added the newly created state of Israel, with the US and its allies turning it into a political and security fortress as well as an advanced outpost in what was considered a volatile region.

The imposition of Israel was resented and opposed by the Arabs and led to the 1948 War between the newly created state of Israel and a coalition of Arab states. The Arab coalition was defeated but the region was plunged into perpetual conflict, with Israel expanding its territory and control of Palestine, particularly after the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and a coalition of Arab states with Israel coming out much stronger from the war.