In 861 the Abbasid caliphate held the Middle East, but because of the power of the Turkish mercenaries and the viziers, the caliphate began to collapse.  The mercenaries controlled twelve caliphs; six were murdered and six were imprisoned, blinded, or tortured.  Because the Persians had become powerful, the caliphate invited them to take out the Turkish mercenaries.  The Persian Buyids moved in and took over the empire.  The Seljuk Turks, a newly arrived Turkish family, came into power and were then taken over by the Persian Shahs.  War upon war reigned through the empire until the Ottomans finally took over and brought peace.  The empire increased in size but the power of the caliphs waned. Throughout this time blood feuds and civil wars continued, religious factions developed like Sufism and Manicheanism, and rebellions in outer territories were the norm.  The Middle East fought between three cultures: Arab, Persian, and Turk.  In the end, the Arabs were ruled by foreigners until 1923.

– Hannah S. Bowers

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