Arabism, Islamic history, Syrian history

Competing ideologies revisited: Islamic nationalism v Arab nationalism, uprisings in Syria: 1982, 2012, some comparisons, mercenary forces as tools of destabilisation

France; sauce for the goose?

The recent tragic events in Pakistan and now France show the divisions in the Islamic world and provide a backdrop for this post. Amidst the panic and moral outrage I find it remarkable, that the west believes it is acceptable to impose ”radical” Islam on parts of the world they consider enemies; countries such as, Afghanistan and Syria are recent examples.

In both countries this back fired, leaving them in turmoil. Syria is the more recent victim as the British government make no attempt to conceal the fact they condone Muezzim Begg and his association, with the Syrian Brotherhood. Mr. Begg was visiting before the demonstrations, certainly he took money to Syria but we can only guess how it was spent. He was arrested and freed last year, by the British government, which was, no doubt, afraid he’d reveal too much about their involvement in Syria.

Though western governments deny sponsoring or employing mercenary forces to bring down a stable regime, it is too much of a co-incidence, that demonstrations led to mayhem in the course of a few days. President al Assad was attempting to modernise and elections were on the cards.

Britain took centuries to stabilise into the electoral ”democracy”, which it is, (though fewer people vote) and Syria required the same breathing space. Any frequent visitor to Syria should have noticed the increase in people wearing black, my euphemism for Islamic nationalism, this was a sure sign the Syrian government was liberalising but plots were afoot.

The Islamic Brotherhood is a legitimate contender for government as was the case in Egypt and in Gaza, of course we know Hamas and the Egyptian Brotherhood both won elections and that the west refused to recognise the former and assisted in the overthrow of the latter. I wonder if the same would have been true of Syria, if the Brotherhood had taken power, I suspect so as, these Islamic nationalist groups are useful tools for destabilisation opponents of the west and nothing more.

Competing ideologies

Arabic ideology is divided broadly into two spheres, Arab nationalist and Islamic nationalist. Arabic history shows the two  ideologies have opposed each other for decades; and continue to do so. The situation is not helped by the west and its readiness to exploit any situation, by financing mercenary groups. Now the oil revenue from Syria and Iraq is under threat the west is, of course, intervening directly by bombing both countries intermittently.

The Syrian Brotherhood

It is interesting, that the Islamic nationalist group, the ‘Syrian Brotherhood’, has had little or no media recognition, since the first wave of demonstrations in 2011. The media usually refer to the ‘Free Syrian Army’, which is almost certain to consist of mercenaries, from other countries.

Readers will be familiar with the events of 2011, where Hims and to a lesser extent Hama, were besieged by the ‘Free Syrian Army’, but not so familiar, with the events of 1982, when the Syrian Brothers attempted a coup in the same districts, calling opponents of the government to rebel.

This coincided, with the Lebanese civil war, when there was general upheaval in the region. The historian Peter Mansfield recalls how the Syrian security forces (recruited mainly from the Alawite population), re-captured the Hims and around 8000 lives were lost; resulting in the episode being named the ”horror of Hama”.

According to Mr. Mansfield the rebellion failed to receive support, because the extreme views of the Brothers, alienated the Christian population, other minority sects and many of the Sunni majority. He tells, how a united opposition to the Assad regime was difficult to form, not only because of the complex make-up of the country but the extremism of the brothers.

A previous post described, how during the Lebanese civil war, Britain and America were preoccupied, with events in Palestine and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon as well as appeasing the Saudi Arabians. Syria was assisted by Russia in its resistance to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the late Syrian president Hafez al Assad deployed troops to Lebanon, with the sanction of many of the surrounding Arabic countries, including Saudi Arabia, who financed the momentum.

There are comparisons to the current situation in Syria, though the essential difference lies in the rise of Islamic nationalism, enabled by the diminution of the state socialist model and the freedom of capital. The former is associated strongly, with the Soviet bloc and the latter depends on keeping populations divided so their resources are easily exploited.

The latest round of Islamic nationalism owes more to western sponsorship, than the word of God

Arabic nationalism is relatively new but Islamic nationalism has existed since the time of the Prophet Mohammed. The spread of  the monotheist religions involved entering other countries and persuading the population to convert, either peacefully, by force or with tax incentives; and Islam is no exception.

Arab nationalism saw an end of this for a while but as the two ideologies continue to compete, the spread of Islam appears to relate less and less to the word of God or the teachings of the Qu’ran. While the capitalist momentum flourishes, the west will always employ mercenaries and who better, than young people, who are confused and displaced.

Why there won’t be an attack in Britain

Of course there’s no guarantees but it is doubtful. France fought a civil war and overthrew its monarchy, thus is a republic. This has shaped its attitude to religion and in recent years it has come down heavily on its Muslim population, particularly in forbidding the wearing of the hijab in state sector work places.

Britain is a classic neo-liberal country, its ruling class is fluid with a monarchy, that would find it difficult to establish its own origins. In addition the Liberal Democrats have their roots in Roman Catholicism, the Tories in Protestantism and the Labour movement in secularism, making it easy for Britain to accommodate all religions or no religion. This is helpful in maintaining social control; well done Britain you’ve got it down to a fine art.



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