I think most Americans know little of Middle Eastern history. One of the biggest surprises is that the nations of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel are now only 100 years old. Israel is even younger; it was created in 1948. Before WWI these nations did not exist, they were part of one large Ottoman Empire. It was only after the Ottomans sided with the Germans during the War and lost, that the Empire was divided into new nations. Really it was the French and British that divided them into what are known as mandates. The mandates were supposed to be independent nations under the watchful eye of the French and the British, but in reality, they were colonies. Eventually groups like the Ba’ath Party, Sudan Husain’s group, kicked out the British and French and their chosen Arab leaders to set up their own governments in Syria and Iraq.