I swore I wouldn’t do this. I swore I would not use this as some political pulpit. However, due to current political climate in the US, I feel I have to at least say something. Most of you will adamantly disagree with what I am going to say, and that’s fine. But take into consideration the following points: I am not Muslim, nor Christian nor any other Abrahamic faith; I am not running for any sort of political office, nor am I employed by any sort of political action committee to spread any sort of propaganda; I have absolutely nothing to gain by posting this other than a somewhat clear conscious.
To begin with, “Islam” is not the problem. Secondly, the West’s self-serving interests pre-date the discovery of the oilfields; pre-dating even the importance of petroleum in general. It’s not even really the whole Israel / Palestinian thing (more on that at a later date). The bone of contention has always been surprisingly, Russia.
Does anyone remember the “Cold War”? US foreign policy since 1945 has been geared toward one thing: “Russian containment”. Which as also been the policy of the West as a whole since Catherine the Great annexed Odessa in 1793. Western powers (then, mainly the UK, France and Spain) have been terrified of Russia gaining a warm-water port, especially in the Mediterranean. Perhaps you have read Tennyson’s epic poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade ? Maybe you have heard Iron Maiden’s homage to said poem, The Trooper ? That went down during the Crimean War (1853-1856). The causes of this particular conflict were multi faceted, but it still ostensibly boiled-down to “Russian containment”.
I’m not going really delve into the earliest history, or the Crusades, etc. I would like to concentrate on what is currently going on. In order to do that, I will need to explain a bit of the background. So, bear with me.
From 1299 until 1922/23 the Middle East was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. At it’s height in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Ottomans controlled a swath of land from Central and Southern Europe (the Balkans, Greece, etc) all the way though Allepo and Kabul in the East, as well as the entirety of the old Crusader kingdoms (the Levant , including Egypt) and the North African coast of the Mediterranean. Despite the immensity of it’s territory, it’s power was generally decentralized and relatively weak; most areas on the periphery exercised a remarkable degree of autonomy. What held together the “sick old man of Europe” for so long was it’s geographic position; being between the West and Russia. This gave the UK and France the excuse to provide financial assistance to the Sultans for generations, buying their favor and influence against Russia. That is not to say everyone in the Ottoman Empire were happy with the situation. Far from it. There was a great deal of internal strife since the Empire spanned so much territory across three continents , it was also incredibly culturally diverse and boasting no less than forty major languages being spoken. So, of course, understandably, there were going to be problems.
One of those problems was, of course, religion. When Russia invaded the Khanate of Crimea (in modern Ukraine) as well as the Balkans in 1853, and thus kicking-off the Crimean War, they did so ostensibly to “protect” Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman fold. The French of course took umbrage, because they were the self-proclaimed protectors of the Catholics (ie. Maronites in Lebanon who are a hold -over from the Crusades), and the British? Well, the British were more concerned with maintaining their trade-monopoly and puppet government in India than religion in this case. The immediate concern for the British at this point was to prevent Russia from gaining direct access to the warm water ports of the Mediterranean. Not only was the the Crimean Peninsula a strategically important area in the Black Sea, it’s port of Sevastopol along with Odessa to the Northwest gave Russia an ample area of operation to threaten Istanbul and the crucial Bosporus Straits, the gateway to the Mediterranean. The Crimean War, known for the ineptitude of the British high command, was also one of the first to be covered extensively by war-correspondents, and thus the propaganda campaign against Russia began.
The allied armies of the Ottomans, France, Britain and Sardinia eventual “won”, more or less. With over half a million killed on both sides, the only change to the map was the Ottomans’ loss of Moldova and Wallachia. And Russia was forbidden from ever having any warships in the Black Sea again. Done and done. Russia contained. However, the cracks in the Ottoman’s facade were beginning to show; revolutionary murmurings had drifted from Western Europe. This concerned the West as well; they would much rather have kept bribing a single sultan to contain Russia’s expansion, rather than have a myriad of smaller, independent states that might not always want to play ball with them. Sound familiar?
Let’s jump ahead.
So while the Ottoman Empire was in the midst of it’s death throes, the “west” was propping them-up militarily and financially; to contain Russian hegemony in the area. However, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before it would be impossible to keep them propped-up. Foolishly, the Ottoman Turks sided with Germany in World War One, believing they would once again be masters in Eastern Europe, assisted by the Germans to keep Russia contained. Because, yes, even Germany feared Russia gaining a warm-water port to the “soft-underbelly of Europe”, the Mediterranean.
Perhaps the most confusing campaign, resulting in yet another loss in half a million lives was in Dardanelles, or the Battle of Gallipoli, again at the mouth of the Bosporus Strait. Winston Churchill, who was First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, devised a hair-brained scheme to use mainly the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) to storm the beach at Gallipoli and overrun Turkish positions and secure the eastern shore of the Strait. For eleven months, these two armies fought each other to a standstill. The goal of the campaign was to seize control of the Strait before their Russian allies could, not to defeat the Turks, their enemy. The eventual defeat of the Ottomans was never in serious doubt; Germany was unable to provide a whole lot of the very much-needed military support due to them carrying-on the war on the Eastern Front with Russia and the Western Front with the UK, France and eventually the US.
But, the West had a contingency-plan already in the works. Well before the outbreak of the First World War and the Ottomans threw in their lot with Germany, Britain and France had devised “spheres of influence” in what we call the Middle East. What was interesting about this is that these spheres idled mainly around the “Levant” a Crusader term for the eastern Mediterranean coast.
British archaeologist, army officer and all around badass, T.E. Lawrence, the legendary Lawrence of Arabia , who lead the Arab revolt against the Ottomans was lead to believe the British would support a pan-Arab state. Of course there was no serious official consideration for any such state. The UK assumed the mandate for Palestine, Mesopotamia (Iraq), and Trans-Jordan while Qatar and Kuwait became British protectorates; the French took up Syria and Lebanon. This was known as the Sykes-Picot agreement– named for the main UK and French architects of the mandate after World War I , these were doled-out to puppet governments friendly to the west.
By the time the Second World War rolled around, most of the Middle East and North Africa was firmly in the hands of leaders who were in the pocket of the British and French. This of course lead to problems in itself. But generally speaking, Iran didn’t want to play nice, so in 1953, the UK and US stirred-up a “revolution” there so they could get the pro-western Shah in power.
The partition of the Middle East never took into consideration the will of the Middle Eastern people. Now, before you go off regarding Israel– that, as well as political Zionism was a tool the British came-up with and the British were quite selective when it came to allowing the Jews to settle there. They were mainly European Jews, not Semites. Arabs are Semitic people. In reality, Israel began as really nothing more than the UK’s toehold in the old Levant Crusader kingdom. Israel was selectively “planted” with European Jews who would play along with British interests. The Israelis, for all their faults regarding the Palestinians, are being played as pawns in this game of Russian Containment.
Remember, this is all a continuing effort to “contain Russia”
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is a different story — the Arabian peninsula was partitioned off between the Sultanate of Nejd got Saudi Arabia, the Mutawakkilites got Yemen. The remaining bits, Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, etc became British protectorates. Eventually, the House of Saud took over the majority of Arabia in the 1930s and that’s when things start getting a little weird.
The Saudis are nominally Sunni Muslim, in that they are not Shiites. Most Muslims are in fact Sunni, while Shiites are centered mainly in Iran, parts of Syria, Lebanon, Yemen. But what the Saudis are really into is something called Wahhabism that was started in the late 1700s and is a lot like the old school Puritans. Very strict teachings of the Koran, incredibly fundamentalist, etc. A vast majority of Muslims, both Sunni and Shiite, condemn Wahhabism. The clowns in ISIS / ISIL claim to be into Wahhabism as well. This is important to remember.
Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy has been panned by by many critics as being one of the most authoritarian regimes in the world. In 2012, The Economist, ranked it as the fifth most oppressive out of 167 countries. There are no political parties, no elections. The King, by a 1992 royal decree, must adhere to Sharia Law. Now, ain’t that something? One of the West’s most “strategic allies” practices Sharia Law. Additionally, the Saudi regime has been criticized heavily for it’s record of flagrant human rights abuses and is still one of a handful of countries that has rejected the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. Beheading for drug offenses is quite common. Women are stoned to death for reporting they had been raped. Hell, they even crucified and beheaded a 19 year old anti-government protester as recently as 2014 who had been arrested in 2012. As of January 2016, now they are on the UN Council for Human Rights. Clearly, there is something askew.
Then there is Afghanistan. Britain had already tried to establish a puppet state in Afghanistan as a buffer between India and Russia before. The British invaded from India in 1839 and by 1842, they had their asses handed to them. Then again in 1878-1880 to again, curb Russian influence. This became known among the the British as “The Great Game”, the British more or less won the second round, and tried once again in 1919 when Afghanistan attempted to invade British-dominated India. This ended in a draw, but an important draw as the Treaty of Rawalpindi officially recognized Afghanistan as an independent nation and formally defined it’s borders.
In a nutshell, Afghanistan experienced a coup which overthrew the self-proclaimed president at the time. The coup resulted in the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan coming into power. And they ruthlessly suppressed any and all dissent and by the end of 1979, most of the country was in the midst of a full-blown civil-war. The Soviets, feeling rather uneasy with such a mess going on so close to home, invaded on Christmas Day, 1979 to assist the PDPA against the Mujaheddin. The US and the Saudis began openly funding the Mujaheddin and was also being trained by the CIA in camps mainly in Pakistan. This arrangement given the codename : The Base — or al Qaeda, in Arabic. which eventually became the Taliban, inspired by Wahhabism. bin Ladin’s connection with the CIA is well documented. Guess where he was from…Saudi Arabia.
So you have to ask yourself a few questions here:
1, What is the real motive behind ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) / ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)?
Seriously, no self-respecting Islamist group is gonna refer to itself with a Christian Crusader name. This is akin to an Irish Republican grouping having the term “Ulster” in their name. And if they actually wish to create a blood-soaked Islamist state in the Levant, why apologize for attacking the Israelis?
ISIS Fighters Attack IDF Unit, Then Apologize
2. How many of the 19 9-11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia? (15) How many of them were Iraqi? (none)
So, the US invaded Afghanistan — an entire country– because of one guy. The “mastermind of 9-11”, living in a cave in Afghanistan. A Saudi citizen, who had been working with the CIA. Rather interesting that since the US invasion, the opium market has been thriving. Is it possible that Western-based pharmaceutical companies have been profiting handsomely off this as well? And it’s kinda impressive how the Taliban was able to keep Osama bin Ladin alive in those caves. considering your man needed daily kidney dialysis. Truly, a monumental undertaking.
3, Why has the US sold the Saudis over $200 billion in military gear in the last two years? To fight Yemen? Recall, the Saudis are Wahhabi, so is “ISIS”; a denomination a vast majority of Muslims wholeheartedly reject.
How the US Fueled ISIS
4. Why were Obama, Kerry and McCain so hot to supply “moderate rebels” in Syria with military gear? (hint: there is no such thing as a “moderate rebel”. rebellion by definition is the exact opposite of “moderation”)
5. This one is is rather mind bending. Why did McCain claim to know these people “intimately”?
Kinda sounds like John McCain is a war criminal. But that’s neither here nor there.
6. How closer are we now to “defeating terrorism” than we were September 12th 2001?
Sadly, we are standing at nil. US foreign policy has not only instigated, but exacerbated the problems in the Middle East. And unfortunately this is now spilling-out in Europe. But strangely not in the US. The US has neo-Nazi Christian White Supremacists. Why would the US need an “ISIS”?
The “problem” in the Middle East is multi-fold. Remember, the CIA is not a “governmental agency”. It is in fact a private company that is contracted by the US to “gather intelligence”. It’s entire reason to exist is to stir-up shit all over the world; it doesn’t “protect” anyone. They have a “classified” budget and there is absolutely no oversight as to what they do. Recall how they pumped cocaine into US inner cities and created the “crack epidemic” in the 1980s? Or how about their “intell reports” of Iraq having WMDs (the US has them..and has actually used them on civilians. twice) ? However, none were ever found in Iraq. The CIA really should be de-funded and disbanded. But that will never happen.
The only difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense. So, if you aren’t confused, you aren’t paying attention
There are a few books you might like, they are quite informative and will give you a better grasp of the continuity than I can here.
The Crusades, Thomas Asbridge
Bible and Sword : England and Palestine : Barbara Tuchman
A Peace to End All Peace , David Fromkin
The Great War for Civilization, Robert Fisk
“Islam” is not the problem. A short-sighted, expensive, violent, fucked-up US foreign policy is the problem.