European states re-align
The entry before last ended with a promise, that this site would look at the power struggles, which took place in Europe between the late 1700s and 1852 and how these impacted on Syria, which then, included the Lebanon. According to historical accounts, a massacre of the Christian population occurred in Syria (or actually in modern day Lebanon), due to the relaxation of the Ottoman rule in the region. This was caused apparently, by a re-alignment of the big powers, at the outset through to the aftermath of the Crimean war.
Karl Marx: The stirring up of religious differences and other issues
In an essay, written in London, in 1860, entitled, ‘Events in Syria-Session of the British Parliament- (The state of British commerce)’, Karl Marx describes the intrigues invoked, for some time, by Russian and French agents, as they sought to stir up political and religious differences, in the Crimea and in Syria, respectively. In Marx’s view, a war was required to stave off the pending revolution in Russia. As Russian forces amassed around the Dalmatian coast, off the former Yugoslavia, a stretch of coastline, that incorporates some islands in the Adriatic sea, unrest began in Montenegro and the Herzegovina (now in Croatia and Bosnia, respectively).
The consequence of this was, that the Ottomans withdrew their forces from Syria, ready to defend their territory. At the same time, France was mobilising off the Syrian coast with a view to intervening there; in the event, that it needed to acquire more territory, to buoy up its economy.
In the same essay, Marx wrote, that Lord Palmerston, the English prime minister, in 1841, gave arms to the Lebanese Druze (a sect that purports to be neither Christian or Muslim (though they are regarded as a Muslim sect by most), which they stored until they required them. In 1846, Britain agreed with Russia, that the Ottomans should grant Syria ”quasi-independence”.
Marx implies the move was to enable those two powers, to stir up trouble in the region, at a future date. More about the role of Britain below but first a quick word about Britain’s trade with India. According to Marx this was suffering and the amount of imports and exports fell between 1859 and 1860; applicable here, as Britain would have to acquire new markets or improved trade routes.
Marxist analysis: its relevance today
It is important to understand that Marxist analysis inevitably sees the stirring of religious differences as instrumental to the outbreak of wars, which are really the result of expansionist and monetary policy. I agree with this analysis and suspect it is a view shared by many readers, who do not consider themselves Marxists.
Since this account involves the impact of the Crimean war on Syria, it is impossible to discuss its impact on the Baltic states, or the religious differences, which exist in that region. Suffice to say religious differences can be invoked again and again. Look at the role they played in the break up of Yugoslavia, through the 1980s and 1990s. Lastly it is worth pointing out there were other powers involved in the struggle for the Crimea but this blog focuses only on Britain, France, Russia and the Ottomans, as they were the main influences on the Levant, or Syrian empire.
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.