Syria Scorecard - NYTimes.com:
ISTANBUL — IF you look at it from 30,000 feet, what we’re actually dealing with in the Middle East today are the long-delayed consequences of the end of the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed as a result of its defeat in World War I, the colonial powers Britain and France were right there, for their own interests, to impose their own order on the diverse tribes, sects and religions that make up the Arab East. When the British and French left after World War II, they handed power, in many cases, to monarchs, who, in many cases, gave way to generals, who, in all cases, kept their diverse populations in line with iron fists.
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