Saturday, June 8, 2013

Islamic World Since 1945: Imitation, Division and Economic Ownership

Causes for political-economic vulnerability in the Islamic World

The political and economic problems of the Islamic states in the era of globalization have their origins in international history prior to 1945, but have been concreted into an international caste since the end of World War II.  One of the largest pre-World War II historical factors for the political and economic vulnerability, which details technology and military power, of the states of the Islamic world, has resulted from the Sunni-Shi’ite division between the Ottoman and Safavid Empires.  Instead of a powerful collective empire advancing forward, the division and wars that between the two Islamic Empires allowed the consolidation, technological and economic growth, and expansion of the Judeo-Christian European Empire, precisely identifiable between the Holy Roman Empire and the emergence of the British Empire, to surpass the Islamic world in power and control of emerging global markets resulting from colonial imperialism.  In the age of consolidated power and treaties, resulting from the two European World Wars, international economic-military control mechanisms were established in the form of the United Nations (an alliance of WWII victor states with a collective military hegemon), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (which set international currency exchange rates setting the stage for globalization), and the World Trade Organization (which initially allowed colonial powers to bring their colonial possessions into the WTO before setting up an independent puppet government set up at the time of independence for globalization purposes) .  On top of this consolidation of international power, much of the Islamic world was divided by national borders after the end of the Ottoman Empire, in addition, prior to and after the end of colonial exploitation by European powers, nation-states were left with domestic political voids, civil conflict and locked into a position on the international stage to subsist based off collective international economic crumbs.

End of Colonial Imperialism, Opening Stages of Globalization, and New States

In addition to colonial withdraw and so-called independence under global puppet governments, the Islamic world also suffered from several partitioning processes after the World War II by the international powers which created several new states: Kuwait, Pakistan, and in a unique situation based on a plethora of motives, Israel (where a native people were cleared out in order to establish a foreign people inside a completely new nation-state).  The Cold War was the last barrier, or temporary balance, for the establishment of a global Judeo-Christian capitalist market.  During this last international chess game, the Islamic nation-states would be used as game pieces. 

Using the newly established nation-state of Kuwait as our newly created state model, the economic motives for separating the area from the Iraqi peninsula are evident.  The southern tip of the peninsula is an avid trade port and Kuwait itself is rich in oil production.  Although the richness of Kuwaiti oil was known during Ottoman rule, technology dependency on oil vastly increased the economic value.  While the proponents, or muscle, of the private sector global market, mainly the United States and Britain, built up fears of aggressive Soviet threats in order to justify imperialism (quietly on behalf of private-sector capital) in newly created states such as Kuwait, the Soviets replied that “the United States and Britain with ridiculous fabrications about a "Soviet menace" to the countries of that area. Such inventions have nothing in common with reality, for it is a matter of record that the underlying basis of the Soviet Union's foreign policy is an unalterable desire to ensure peace among the peoples, a peace founded on observance of the principles of equality, non-interference in domestic affairs, and respect for national independence and state sovereignty”[1].

Even while colonialism ended and the international private sector capital powers behind the consolidated western nation-state military powers were able to get their footholds into newly partitioned states in the Islamic world, long term exploited nation-state tools were not relinquished.   Instead, the puppet regimes, often corrupted, left behind by colonial masters continued to volunteer for exploitation under global private sector incentives, regional foreign military presence and economic aid, and divided competition among the other states throughout the Islamic world.  Egypt had long been used, primarily due to the Nile and Suez Canal, as a territorial center piece by empires and global alliances.  In order to examine the sentiments of the Egyptian people and how the private sector arms of the Bretton Woods family infiltrated the post-colonial independent states for private sector exploitation through puppet regimes, we will examine the sentiments of the Egyptian writer, Taha Hussein,  from 1954 where he states “I think all Egyptians would agree with this...We want to be like the European nations in military power in order to repel the attack of any aggressor and to be able to say to our English friends: "Thank you, you may go; for we can now defend the Canal." Who wants the end must want the means”[2].  Despite these false hopes shared by individual states throughout the Islamic world after World War II, “the state of underdevelopment can be illustrated by looking at Egypt, the most modernized and populous country in the Arab world at the time” [3].  Just as the Ottoman Empire weakened itself by issuing the Tanzimat reforms, making concessions to European states, and attempting to integrate itself into the European market, the divided post World War II Islamic nation-states made the same mistake and, in an attempt to imitate or join the global market, opened the door for foreign private sector investments and loans (economic usury and exploitation of their natural resources) in the form of the Bretton Woods banks and manipulated by Foreign aid carrots.  During the post-World War II reforms in Egypt, similar to many other Islamic nation-states during this period, “international economic institutions typically made access to loans conditional on the preparation of economic plans by governments” [4].  Even though many domestic nationalization reforms were established in Islamic nation-states during the decades after World War II, the International banks owned the national deficits of these states and often placed conditions on international loans that required loan recipients to only liquidate funding through specific foreign international private sector corporations.

Long Story in the Short Version

In summary fashion, the two-empire Sunni-Shi’ite division between the Ottoman and Safivid Empires allowed technologic, military, colonial and economic advancements by European powers which through two World Wars solidified a global private sector capitalist market based off the extraction and exploitation of natural resources and labor.  Just as the Ottoman Empire scrambled, before demise, to incorporate into this system, Islamic nation-states were forced, in the aftermath of consolidated capital power, to submit to foreign ownership and become concreted into division (for national existence) from other Islamic nation-states: a true international rat race not exclusive to Islamic nation-states or domestic divisions in the ultra-consumer and ultra-capitalist United States and Britain.


[1] U.S.S.R. Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Security in the Near and Middle East, Soviet Reaction to the Baghdad Pact, April 16, 1955.  Public Domain.  Accessed on June 8, 2013 from

[2] Modern History Sourcebook, Tahâ Hussein, Future of Culture in Egypt (1954), Fordham Univeristy, Accessed on June 8, 2013 from

[3] Tarik M. Yousef, “Development, Growth and Policy Reform in the Middle East and North Africa since 1950”, Journal of Economic Perspectives 18(3), 2004, p. 91.
[4] Tarik M. Yousef, “Development, Growth and Policy Reform in the Middle East and North Africa since 1950”, Journal of Economic Perspectives 18(3), 2004, p. 94.

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