The last couple of postings describe the religious conflict which, occurred between the Muslims and Christians in Syria; in the early part of the 1800s. It appears that, the western powers had a vested interest in creating a division and England supported the Druzes Muslims and France the Maronite Catholics.
An account of the Ottoman empire by C. E. Farrah explains the misgivings of foreign minister Palmerston who, was British prime minister through part of the Crimean war, in relation to the Pasha dynasty’s opposition to the Ottoman sultan.
According to Farrah, in 1839, Palmerston, feared for the Indian trade routes and was concerned that, the Turkish porte (government), would engage the help of Russia to combat the Pashas and in turn, be rewarded with the acquisition of Mesopotamia (Iraq).
For those, who thought that the Iraq invasion of 2003 was solely about oil, this should present a different argument, as history repeated itself and not for the first time. Interestingly Turkey has more or less allied to Britain in recent times, must be to do with the treaties drawn up at the end of the Hitler war.
Reporting on the house of commons debates, Karl Marx explains, how Palmerston had no objection to the ”dissolution” of the Ottoman empire though, this probably depended on who was to control various territories after its reconstruction.
Marx describes how Robert Peel, later to become the prime minister who, founded the British police force, challenged Lord Palmerston about his foreign policy, in the house of commons. Palmerston hedged his bets as to who, Britain supported or did not support in Europe.
In the same account Marx describes how, in the early 1830s, Palmerston countered the Turkish sultan and drew up treaties with the Pasha family. Though a few years later the tide changed. Marx’s interest stems from a distrust of Palmerston and his stance on Russia, rather on the Turkish empire (see the blue book, the Fall of Kars).
Prior to the tanzimet the Ottoman empire united under the unifying principles of the Ummah but the re-structuring process that, began in 1839 entailed a secularisation programme, designed to include all of the cultural and religious groups.
The process did not work over night and it might be said it never has. The initiative, no doubt, was the result of outside pressure from the western powers and did cause a backlash as a pan Islamic movement re-emerged which, was on a par with the move to radical Islam, inspired by the recent invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the author Albert Hourani, administrative cohesion in the different regions was beneficial to the ruling elites but as with the erosion of the feudal system in Europe, the middle people lost out. The administrative system was formalised and became less a family affair and more of a bureaucracy.
The world was changing and despite cultural differences and an urge to protect Islamic ideals, many people in the Ottoman empire wanted the advantages trading could bring. Nevertheless many landowners missed out as the merchant class grew and the industrial base suffered, e.g. the cotton trade in Syria; after all imported cloth was cheaper. Then of course there, were the capitulations which, affected trading in the empire and is the subject of the next post.
Since it has come to light, that the majority of mercenaries fighting for one of the Islamic group in Syria, are from Britain; it is time for the government to say no. Britain will inevitably portray this as liberalism on its part as its citizens go abroad and fight for ” the oppressed”.
As a country and state England is tighter and more calculating, than any you will find in the world. If so many people are travelling to Syria, then the English state will be behind it somehow and will show no humility, when it changes tactics and succumbs to public or military pressure to remove said British mercenaries. If the conviction of Mashudur Choudhury is anything to go by they will face criminal charges on their return.
I just looked at the Choudhury trial on the computer and he does seems a little ”flaky”, so has probably been scapegoated by the English authorities. I couldn’t help noticing a statement by a relatively high-ranking police officer, which said to other people, who go and fight for ”jihaddists” in Syria, ”you are likely to be killed or kidnapped and if you return to the UK you are likely to be arrested”. Threat, promise or hot air?; we’ll see.
As I pointed out in previous entries and to various British government officials and charities, these people are, almost certainly, being used to fight that war. After the hue and cry, by the public and various dignitaries, over the invasion of Iraq which, to my mind came at least 13 years too late; western rulers will not enter Syria directly.
Of course some of the emirates states (notably Qatar) are financing the mercenaries but they would not dare without the approval of a big western power. I say this, because they didn’t do it earlier. Such tyrannical regimes surely do not have a problem with the lack of electoral ”democracy”, so they must be concerned with the spread of Islam or their version of the Ummah.
Britain, needless to say, shares no such moral high ground, with their fellows in the gulf but does have a thirst for revenge (against the Assad family). This does not outweigh other considerations and increasingly the debacle in Syria appears to relate to the conflict in the Crimea where, there is an age-old stand-off for power and resources, between Russia and Britain and its cohorts, including Turkey.
To end this section it is worth saying, that I don’t follow the carnage, that is Syria now, or news about the ridiculous groups who, are committing murder there. I am just heart-broken for the whole country. Having said this, it is impossible not to spot or come across certain news items, or worse ”death porn”, which sit uncomfortably with me. People were concerned with, their ”freedom” to voyeur on Syria in the first place, when they simply could have visited the beautiful little country.
Worse though was the irresponsible acts of ”terrorism” committed by journalists and charities as they stirred up as much animosity as possible between the factions. Not everyone liked the Syrian regime but trust me, hardly anyone likes the regime in Britain but feel powerless to change it, so involve themselves unnecessarily in others’ business. The result; Syria was a stable country and now is not. Shame on everyone, who are so bored they need blood and guts to amuse themselves.
Huge apologies to the historian, Suraiya Faroqhi, referred to as a man, in the entry before last; she is of course a woman.
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.