media power, Political comment, Syrian history

Ashshams: Kurdish Watch; Anatolia, Idlib, Antioch and Aleppo, part one

As Idlib, a region in the North West of Syria and close to the border with Turkey, remains a battle ground for the world and his wife, the following entries offer a brief history of three interconnected Northern territories, Idlib, Antioch and Aleppo.

Idlib: The Salafi and the Turkish, Division and Unity, Political Comment

The North of Syria from West to East borders with Turkey and Idlib and is said to be held by one of the many Islamic groups that have entered the fray during the last eight years. As such, from October 2017, there has been talk, on the internet, of Turkish troops fighting ”terrorism” alongside the constructed  ‘Free Syrian Army’, an entity, that is a euphemism for the Syrian Brotherhood.

In my view the Islamic usurper was welcomed into Syria by the Syrian Brotherhood hierarchy, who shares its Salafist ideology (those who wish to return to the precise doctrines of the first 400 years of the Prophet Mohammed). If there is a fallout between the Salafist factions, I cannot muster any sympathy, whilst they continue their activities in Syria, not least because they are in the pay of the west.

Turkey clearly has ambitions to control some parts of Syria, though its reasons are not apparent. It may be to restart the centuries of war that preceded the demise of the Ottoman empire, after all Western Europe is under reconstruction as the European Union disintegrates. Another possibility and a more likely one is that Turkey is there to combat the granting of parts of the Syrian North, by the west, to the Kurdish.

This too would result in perpetual war, though on a different scale, particularly because the Kurdish population in question, is likely to be majority Turkish. In the last entry we saw how the Kurdish population in Anatolia grew in the late 1800s until the Armenian Christians were a minority. Of course Turkey itself may end up with a slice of Syria, which is certainly being carved up as I write. Both the Turkish and the Turkish Kurdish are unpopular and feared among the Arabic people.

On the other hand, Turkey’s concerns about the Kurdish may be good news for the Syrian regime, particularly if Russia can persuade president Erdogen to forego his designs on Syria. Britain has reneged on its promises of a Kurdish ”homeland” on several occasions and though the territory in the North of Iraq seems secure, if Turkey makes its peace with the West who knows?

After all, throughout the Ottoman era, Turkey and Britain, notably the Tories, were allies on many fronts, particularly when combatting Russia. Conversely all three powers, including both the British Liberal and Tory parties, joined together to fight Napoleon. At the end the Kurdish are an unknown quantity when it comes to real power and after the massacre of Sunni Muslims in Mosul last year, it is far from clear whether or not a huge portion of Iraq will pass to Iran. Iraq has a large Shi’ah population, many of Persian origin.

The Siege of the Iranian Embassy in London, Khuzestan

Recent threats by the West, of a war with Iran, seem spurious. This was attempted in the 1980s after the election of the Islamic government and the holding, as hostages, for more than a year, of American consular officials. The West nurtured a war between Iran and Iraq, by selling arms to both sides, the conflict lasted eight years and was a disaster as, if anything, it showed Iran to be impenetrable, though it did destabilise the region. I’ll digress here and mention the Iranian embassy seige, in London, by Khuzestan Arabists.

The reason I refer to it is, I just found a rehashed 1980 edition of the ‘Daily Mirror’ newspaper and noticed the perpetrators at the seige were from a territory known as Khuzestan, I remember the seige but my knowledge of the Middle East was negligible at the time. Khuzestan is an Iranian province with a majority Arab population but more relevantly is the main reason the late president Saddam Hussain went to war with Iran. Khuzestan borders on Kuwait and Basra, a British stronghold in Southern Iraq and all are oil rich.

Don’t get me wrong I was aware that the sieges marked the beginning of the Iran/Iraq war but the nuances were lost on me. For instance I only became aware of Khuzestan and its oil wealth in 2004. I do remember that, at the seige, the SAS tactics were interesting and decisive as the hostages were murdered in defence of British soil and their demands unclear as was Britain’s intention to play Iraq and Iran off against one another.

The Mirror article said also that Mrs Thatcher, the then British prime minister and president Carter of American were discussing military action but Mrs Thatcher was reticent. Not surprising as she, at least, had decided on a different strategy in the Middle East, a war between Iraq as Iran, which began in September 1980. the manoevre is reminiscent of that used in Syria, when Islamic mercenaries were used in place of a traditional incursion by the Western powers.

President Carter had paved the way for the upheaval in the Arab world when he played his hand at Camp David where the two state solution for Palestine was decided and the revolutionary Palestine Liberation Organisation, PLO was liberalised. Mrs Thatcher’s stance was hardly surprising as she was to meet her her soul mate in November 1980, when Mr Ronald Reagan won the American election. Now it was time to commit to real neo liberal policies and to the monopoly game (globalisation).




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