Author Topic: The Fall of the Antiochene Empire  (Read 1896 times)

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Offline Eritrea

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The Fall of the Antiochene Empire
« on: September 29, 2010, 11:10:55 AM »
It takes more than success on the football pitch to make a nation. Even as the Antiochene squad was winning glory in Israel, back at home, questions were being asked of a regime that had never seemed entirely certain of its own identity, much less direction.

The month of August saw the first faint stirrings of popular discontent as unresolved ethnic rivalries began to resurface with a vengeance. In Mosul Province, recently assigned to the new administrative region of Kurdistan despite its mixed population, clashes broke out between local Kurds and Arabs; distracted by the war in Central Asia and unwilling to be seen as favouring one side over the other, the regime prevaricated and the violence intensified. By the time Damascus belatedly recognised the seriousness of the situation and turned to the army to restore order, events were already slipping beyond the regime’s control: the conscripts of the local 4th Army Corps chose to mutiny rather than open fire upon the rioters, many of whom were friends and neighbours.

The imperial regime had always relied upon the support of the armed forces; the very public collapse of this relationship made the empire’s fall inevitable. By September it was all but over: Emperor Antiochos had vanished, spirited to safety by his remaining supporters, leaving precarious provisional governments in Damascus and Baghdad trying to impose their will upon the squabbling peoples of Syria and Iraq. Only in distant Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan did the old order survive. Unlike her co-ruler, the young Empress Esther had always insisted on retaining direct control over her own separate military forces, whilst a common Turkic identity imbued her realm with a cohesiveness sorely lacking in the rest of the empire.

When, on the 29th of September, the Empress took the logical step of asserting the independence of her dominions as the Empire of Albania (in the process seizing a large quantity of military equipment on loan from her former co-ruler), the once-mighty Antiochene Empire was consigned to the pages of history.