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THE MODERN HISTORY of the Middle East begins with World War I, when the Ottoman Empire dissolved in October 1918. The Ottoman Turks had entered the war on the side of the Germans in October 1914. During the war, both Arabs and Jews had played significant roles in the victory of British General Sir Edmund Allenby. The Arab Revolt of June 1916 tied down thousands of Turkish troops and made possible a bitter guerrilla war against them. T.E. Lawrence, the legendary Lawrence of Arabia, had fought with the Arabs under Prince Faisal. The Jews helped with high-level intelligence-gathering and the efforts of the Jewish Legion allied with the British Army. The resulting postwar situation left a power vacuum in which many progressive reforms could ...

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