A history of Syria, the beginnings of the ”state; of Syria and Zionism, part iii: the break up of Greater Syria begins again
Unfortunately as is usual with wordpress it refuses to display the title of the post in the proper place.
‘Syria and the Holy Land”, exploitation, amelioration and the new Syria
The last entry discussed how some Zionists proposed, that they could secure the safety of the Suez canal for Britain, if they acquired a ”homeland” This suggestion was rejected by some prominent Conservative parliamentary peers, in 1920. According to the archive report ‘Syria and the Holy Land’, those Zionists who wished to see the Jewish homeland constructed under a British protectorate knew they had to serve British interests in some way and this was it.
It is worth saying here, that the publication ‘Syria and the Holy Land’, though careful not to criticise Zionism, refers to a ”newly formed Jewish colony in North East” Palestine, where a wall was erected and the native, peasant farmers exploited. The writer took this as a warning as to, what might occur if a ”homeland” was constructed under Zionist rule.
After the Turks have gone!
The above document provides a fascinating account in defence of colonialism as it not only incorporates the social factors, which led to Zionism but a no holds barred defence for the break up of Greater Syria. In the chapter the ”Frontiers of New Syria”, the writer refers to the southern border as stretching to Al-Arish, now in the Suez region of Egypt but popularly believed to be in Sinai.
If people remember the issue of the Palestinian tunnels, recently privatised by entrepreneurs or closed down by President Mubarak, the former Egyptian president, then they will remember they extended from Gaza to Al-Arish and enabled an alternative economy after the siege of Gaza began in 2006.
It is from this position, that the Zionists proposed to secure the Suez canal for Britain. The writer concedes it was useful to have an ally in the region, he terms Southern Syria, but doubts it would provide sufficient security. He describes the Lebanon largely as a Christian province, recognised as such in 1860 by ”some of the great western powers” and suggested it should contain Beirut as its borders were re-drawn.
Damascus appears to be the proverbial thorn as the writer concedes, that Lebanon and Syria are inextricably linked by familial ties and trade but Damascus also carries ”wider responsibilities… to the rest of Syria and Arabia”. By this, one can only assume he means administrative and religious responsibility.
He then mentions Aleppo and suggests its fate, as a Northern city depends on the future of Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Lastly he suggests the eastern frontier should include Jordan, though this would require strong leadership, in order to protect the region from the desert tribes. As is apparent today, only part of this vision materialised.
Another interesting aspect of the account is the description of events following the Ottoman withdrawal from Jerusalem. Apparently on December 9th, 1917, the anniversary of Judas Maccabeus, a Jewish warrior and icon, an entourage entered Jerusalem. This consisted of a British force, supported by detachments of French, Italian and overseas troops. The latter included Islamic Indians (remember this was prior to the partition of India), who were put in charge of the mosque of Omar.
It is difficult not to relate these events to the current struggle in Syria, where so many British mercenaries of Indian or Pakistan origin are fighting in Syria. Who knows what India was promised in exchange for supporting Britain against the Ottomans at the end of the 1914-1918 war?
Next time the Arab revolt and Sykes-Picot.
Last time I referred to the situation in Iraq and two radio programmes aired on BBC Radio 4. One programme described how the Kurdish had occupied Kirkuk and were conducting a trade deal in oil, with the opposition forces in neighbouring Mosul. Today I saw a friend, who is nothing if not an expert on Iraq and she threw light on the situation. Contrary to the many accounts, that put Mosul in the hands of mercenary groups, this is not the case.
Many former military personnel or old guard (in the Ba’ath party), who live in Mosul were promised compensation for their job losses but this never materialised, under the present leader President al-Maliki. The current army is untrained and no match for the old force, a factor, that accounts for why the capture of Mosul was so easy. The mercenaries are an incidental force, who are said to be controlled by the secular indigenous Sunni inhabitants.
Since Mr. Maliki took power, Iraq is poorer and the infrastructure has deteriorated to a point, that is worse, than before economic sanctions were removed in 2003. You will recall, that the sanctions followed the Gulf war in 1990 and were in place for thirteen years. The regime now, is austere, right wing, with definite leanings towards fundamentalism. An earlier entry described how marriage between Shias and Sunnis was banned immediately after Maliki came to power.
The above explanation accounts for Britain’s panic over the situation, after all they took many years to dismantle the previous regime, leaving Iraq in turmoil. Now the country at least has a chance to recover, Mosul forces hope to restore the old status quo, which was inclusive of all cultural groups. Britain will be hard pressed to turn against their friends the Kurds, as they made that cultural group their reason for over-throwing the Ba’athist regime.
It all goes to show, that there were not too many differences between the groups in the first place but Britain is always straight in there if they get a whiff of dissent. I just hope the local people can control the mercenaries, though it’s a different situation, look at the Syrian Brothers, they didn’t stand a chance them.
Double think, Mr. Orwell would be proud again
I just suffered ‘PM’ on BBC Radio 4: at the end of the coverage of Iraq, it discussed how Muslim mercenaries left Britain to fight in the various wars, that have occurred since the 1980s. They cited Afghanistan, where people fought against communism, fair enough, if referring to people from Afghanistan and Pakistan (two countries, that are closely related). Not fair to Syria though, as Pakistan people are culturally quite different. After this example they mentioned Bosnia, Syria and Iraq (not in 2003, when Britain invaded but now).
The story degenerated as the commentator described how people were suffering in Syria and claimed it was the new Bosnia as Muslims were defending a country against……? I couldn’t make out whom. Of course in all the situations cited, Britain and its cohorts needed the government overthrown, which could be the case with Iraq, Mr Maliki was given asylum in Iran, I believe. If Iran is not drawn into a war with Iraq, then Mr Maliki is of no real use to the west; he is not a popular bunny in Iraq by all accounts.
Back to the radio story, I forgot the Syrian Ba’ath party has communist leanings. When people went to fight in Afghanistan against Britain in 2001 it was a rather different story, Guantanamo Bay was built and the only communist factor was, that it was built in Cuba putting two fingers up to its communist leader, Fidel.
Britain has now had talks with the Kurdish, who sent a similar message of a united Iraq built on more secular lines. This didn’t stop American dropping a bomb from a drone on the Iraq, Syrian border, to take out mercenaries apparently. Fingers crossed for an end to the madness in both countries.
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.