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EDITORIAL FOREWORD

  • Beth Baron

Extract

This special issue on World War I appears on the centennial of the war. The issue went to press as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was challenging the borders set nearly a hundred years ago in the Middle East by the imperial powers. Guest editor Mustafa Aksakal introduces the six research articles, part of a wave of scholarship examining the “transformative processes spawned by the war” in response to new historical questions and newly available archival sources. That half of the articles touch on sieges (in Medina) and famine (Syria/Lebanon, and in particular Beirut) produces an eerie echo at a time when civilians once again face hunger and the ravages of an armed conflict, with large numbers of refugees on the move. As we look back, so do the articles, moving backward chronologically from the “minority protection regime” established by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 to “atrocity propaganda” of the Balkan Wars of 1912–13. The issues raised by these two articles resonate loudly, as does the matter of American influence in the region, which is discussed in an article on the wartime politics of Syrians in Cairo. So, too, does the photograph on the cover of this special issue: Ruins of Gaza at the Time of the Great Attack, 1917.

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EDITORIAL FOREWORD

  • Beth Baron

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