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The international system and the Middle East
Raymond Hinnebusch

The Ottoman system was the antithesis of the European nation-state system. It was a patrimonial empire headed by a Sultan-Caliph whose rule was legitimated by the implementation of the Islamic law, the outward sign of the supranational Islamic umma . The ruling elite’s multi-national origins reflected the universalistic aspect of the state: Greeks were prominent in the bureaucracy; Mamluks (slave soldiers) of Christian origin rose to top military and political office, while in the provinces Turkish landed notables and Arab religious leaders ( ulama ) linked state

in The international politics of the Middle East