Arab Nationalism, Arab Socialism:

In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt and the Levant.  But he did so as the commander of a French Revolutionary Army; an army which brought the ideas of the French Revolution to the Near East--Liberalism, Democracy, Republicanism, Secularism, Nationalism, Socialism, Parliamentarianism. . . .   And Napoleon brought the internet equivalent of the day . . . the Printing Press.  The ideas of the French Revolution spread across the Ottoman realm like a plague, helping further undermine an already tottering empire.  But Arab Nationalism and Arab Socialism, which emanated from the ideas of the French Revolution, were never able to develop in the proper fashion.  This talk explains this phenomenon, including the Pan-Arabist Movement, the Ba'ath Party, Gamal Abdul Nasser, terrorism and the current upheaval known as the Arab Spring.  This talk is based off one of the lectures from the course I teach at Norwalk Community College for the Lifetime Learners Institute, Iraq:  A History.

The Iranian Nuclear Program:

This talk is every bit as much a Current Event as it is a history presentation.  Beginning with the Eisenhower Administration's "Atoms For Peace" program during the 1950s, the progression of Tehran's atomic program will be charted, beginning with the Shah to the current Fundamentalist Government.  Included will be references to Israel's nuclear capability.

Iraq:  Creation of Colonialism.

Many Americans are unaware that Iraq, as a modern nation among the family of nations, turned just 80 years old on October 3, 2012.  The British Mandate ended on October 3, 1932, enabling Iraq to join the family of nations as a member state of the League of Nations.  Hardly sovereign, it was still a fixture of British imperialism.  Beginning with the British East India Company in 1763, this talk traces eventual British hegemony in the face of a toddering Ottoman Empire.  Will include the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence;1916 Sykes/Picot Agreement; the Balfour Declaration; the 1920 San Remo Conference; 1920 Treaty of Sevres and the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923.  Palestine and the formation of Turkey will also be discussed.  Iraq is a product of colonial aspirations which has produced a jumble of conflicting grievances that are the result of a gross disregard for clannish affiliations, tribal associations, religious differences and ethnic passions.

The Sunni-Shia Schism.

The gap between Sunnis and Shias, which has lasted for centuries, seems to be a divide too cavernous to bridge.  Yet through strife, pestilence, foreign occupation and war, the Islamic religion has survived.  This talk examines the founding of the Islam in the 7th century and resulting split that has plagued the religion ever since.

presentations - middle east