Political comment, Syrian history

Unhappy Alliances?: Britain, France, Russia, Turkey

The re-emergence of the Ottoman empire

It was an interest in Mohammed Ali Pasha, the Ottoman coloniser, whose family tree can be traced back to the abolition of the Egyptian ”monarchy” in 1954, which inspired me to trace the European power struggles back to the 1700s. This interest proved fortuitous in the light of the current situation in the Balkans and because Syria is under threat from the Ottoman empire again; or so it seems. If this seems a peculiar concept it is one, that has recently occurred to me.

Despite the break up of the Ottoman empire after the Hitler war, Turkey has always been an anomaly. Though it has been refused entry into the European Union, the Turkish ruling class seems to be in agreement always, with the western powers, and their expansionist policies.

Support for the Israelis and the break up of Iraq are illustration of this as is the invasion and colonisation of Syria by the Turkish and inhabitants of the other former Ottoman colonies, which are ”hell bent” on bringing ”Islam” to Syria. Of course The colonisation of Palestine by the Zionists and the divisions in modern Iraq and Syria, were approved by Turkey along with Russia, Britain and France, after the 1914-1918 war.

Do motives ever really change?

I was sent an article by a friend of mine, ‘Big Oil’s “Sore Losers” Lead the Drive to War’ written by Mike Whitney, which analyses the situation in the Balkans. I noticed the article blames America and capitalism for the conflict and while I agree with the politics, anyone who reads my blog will know I hold the view, that Britain is far from the meek little country it pretends to be and collaborates with America every step of the way.

Responses to the article invoked disagreements about the motivation for America’s interference, as some commentator’s denied it was about resources but rather was about over-powering Russia’s nuclear capacity. Unfortunately my comment was reduced to one line after a lot of time and effort (no idea what went wrong) but I was angry because I didn’t save it. The essence of the lost comment was does it matter?, as the acquisition of land has always been about power as well as resources and money.

Commentators referred to the invasion of Iraq and it being about oil, which was only part of the story. It was as much a military, threat to Russia, which was in a weak position at the time and along with France, lost out on substantial oil revenue, which was acquired under the Ba’ath regime.

The break up of Iraq has seen concessions to the Kurdish populations of Turkey and Iraq, who are foolish enough to put their faith in Britain again. These benefit Turkey too, as they want that particular population contained. (Luckily the Syrian Kurdish are not so compliant as yet). Using the Kurdish population of both those countries benefits Britain and its cohorts as it gives them a toehold in an area not too far from the Black and Caspian seas.

Round in circles we will go!

In some ways the article gives me an excuse to re-hash some of the content of this blog. In the 1700s England was looking for a safe passage for goods produced in India and tried to obtain permission from Russia to ship-build in the Caspian sea, this was made difficult even for the England/Russia company, as Russia itself now recognised the merits of international trade.

There was much intrigue between the two powers and Persia a country, that was too close to the Caspian sea for comfort, in Russia’s eyes. Persia then had a close relationship with England. Readers will remember England finally established a sea route by which to transport goods from India to Britain. Goods that were then exported back to Syria and Iraq, impacting on their internal trade.

The Plot Thickens

If people remember, the entry entitled ”You can take the religion out of politics but you can’t take the politics out of religion”, described how, in the late 1700s, the British governing classes (whigs and tories) were divided in  their allegiance between Russia and Turkey. An issue that, was resolved eventually when Napoleon threatened to invade Egypt.

Less than a hundred years later, in 1856, the struggle in the Crimea saw different alliances as France, Britain and the Ottomans joined forces with Sardinia and a broken Austrian empire; against Russia. Not that time stood still in the mean-time; but more about that again.

No to NATO!!

There will be a NATO summit held in Newport and Wales is none to pleased. We plan to oppose this debacle. If you are interested see www.nonatonewport.org for further info.





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