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World War One was four years of bitter conflict from 1914 to 1918. Called ‘The Great War’ and the ‘war to end all wars’, it is often remembered for its grim and relentless trench warfare – with Europe seen as the main theatre of war.
But this was a battle fought on many fronts. There is a story other than the mainstream European narrative. It is not told as often but was of huge importance during the war and of lasting significance afterwards. It is the story of the Arab troops who were forced to fight on both sides but whose contribution is often forgotten.
They fought as conscripts for the European colonial powers occupying Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia – and for the Ottomans on the side of Germany and the Central Powers. The post-war settlement would also shape the Middle East for the next hundred years.
In this three-part series, Tunisian writer and broadcaster Malek Triki explores the events surrounding World War One and its legacy from an Arab perspective.