How much blame for the current troubles in the Middle East lies with the decisions made by the West in 1919 â€“ when the Ottoman Empire was carved up arbitrarily into the modern states we know today? Is it true that Arab society has tended to define itself less by what it aspires to become than what it is opposed to: colonialism, Zionism, and Western imperialism? That era seems to be coming to an end with the recent Arab Spring movements. As ethnic and religious loyalties intensify, will new lines be drawn? And will they lead to greater harmony in the region or exacerbated conflict?
These are some of the questions we asked in this Intelligence Squared event, which focuses on two of the central players behind the formation of the modern Middle East, Lawrence of Arabia and King Faisal I. Both are subjects of brilliant new biographies. On 27th March 2014 at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the booksâ€™ authors, Scott Anderson and Ali Allawi, discussed the intertwining lives of these extraordinary men, and the war, treason, and secret colonial plots that are part of their story.
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