It is part of what creates the Arabs-as-victims-of-The-West narrative we deal with since we look at history in context of Post WW I. I’d beg to differ on The Middle East being the center of the World at that time; Islam sprang from what is now known as the Arabian Peninsula on the heels of the Roman and Persian Empires wasting themselves through 100s of warring on one another. At the time the Arabs were 2 centuries behind either civilization technologically and used both the depleted energies/resources of the two empires and their own skills at warfare and newborn energies to take over most of the world starting with Jerusalem (the Holy City of both Judaism and Christianity at the time), what we now call Syria/Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, Anatolia (home of Troy), most of the Balkans, India, east and North Africa including Egypt. The Berbers who converted to Islam took over the thrust into Iberia and attempted repeatedly to conquer what we now call ‘Europe’ and the Turks (who did not come from what we call Turkey but the Russian Steppes and followed in on the tail of the Arab/Islamic conquests in Anatolia then Jewish and Greek) took up the mantle byt conquering Anatolia and the other Holy City of Christianity, Constatinople, eventually swallowing up the Arab/Islamic lands of “Palestine” and the Arabian Peninsula. The conquests IN what we call now Palestine I discsussed earlier not only took place during this whole expansion but pre-dated it by a milennia at least. The Crusades which the West is constantly asked to apologize for consisted of the ‘European’ Christians attempting to take back not only the aforementioned lands in general but their Holy City, Churches and most importantly religious artifacts such as the cross Christ was crucified on back from Islam and simultaneously the Iberians/Spaniards trying to take *back* Iberia/Spain. The Spanish named their campaign much better: Reconquista or Reconquer or take-back-our-lands which puts it in a more accurate historical light. All this to say that this article above portraying Syria/Arabia as a victim of Western aggression is only accurate if you view history as the slice of time AFTER you were the victor and AFTER you were the victim. We forget how much of European history was driven by and affected by Arab expansion/aggression (no more or less than European aggression/expansion but the point is it was universal). When the Muslim Berber General Tariq invaded Iberia/Spain from North Africa they named the Mountain near where he landed his forces after him “Mountain of Tariq”, in their language “Jabal al Tariq” which eventually became pronounced Gibraltar. It took the Spanish a few hundred years of fighting to regain their lands (using the term lightly since they in turn had conquered it centuries earlier) after being subjected to being murder, looting, colonization, occupation, taxation and reduced to second class citizenship in their “own” country. No one came along and conquered the Berber Muslims and said ‘here Spaniards, your land” either.