Author(s): HYDE ANDREW
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The tragic news of the ISIS-inspired massacres in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Orlando, and countless other locations throughout the Middle East, in conjunction with the recent failed political coup against Erdogan in Turkey, have raised the spectre of an ideological struggle that is more than a century old. As the West struggles with the consequences and implications of its 'War on Terror', parallels with the 'First Jihad' become increasingly manifest. The sprawling Ottoman Empire was at its nadir by November 1914, when she declared a jihad - Holy War - against the Allied Powers and threw in her lot with Germany, a disastrous decision that set in chain a series of cataclysmic events that culminated in the final demise of an ancient regime and the emergence of a modern secular republic. The first jihad in the Arab world since the Crusades was to continue long after the official Armistice of 1918, as a prostrate and defeated empire faced a renascent Greece - supported only by Britain - seeking to re-establish hegemony over Anatolia; a Holy War which caused outrage throughout the Muslim World, threatened British paramountcy in India, diplomatic relations with close allies and the political unity of her empire. Confronted with the indefatigable resistance of one man, Kemal Ataturk, Greek dreams ended in ashes, whilst the stubborn support of Lloyd George for his ally resulted in his own political extinction. It is a warning from history, unheeded today, with tales of ethnic cleansing, pogroms, regime change, political hubris and national survival. It is the story of steely determination against expediency, and of dogged bravery in the face of brazen territorial expansionism. It is the history of the first truly modern jihad.