Saturday, 12 March 2011

Intervention in the Middle East and the Maghreb?

"[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs."
Israeli past Prime Minister Menachem Begin

"We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem....All the rich Jews who will get compensation will travel to America....We of the PLO will now concentrate all our efforts on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps. Within five years we will have six to seven million Arabs living in the West Bank and in Jerusalem....You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State....I have no use for Jews; they are and remain Jews."
Yasser Arafat, 1996

With all the human suffering in Libya during the current period of unrest, calls are being made for intervention from the West. We always like to meddle in the desert. While people in Zimbabwe or North Korea have been subject to the same humanitarian injustices over longer periods of time the West never seem to intervene. The Islamic nations have for as long as many of us can remember, had troubles, but it wasn't always like this. It began with a war in Europe, nearly 100 years ago. 

The First World War erupted and split Europe in two. Britain decided to opt on the side of France, a country who it had been in war with for hundreds of years prior to the events of 1914. We had more in common with Germany, but our Government had created a vast empire, therefore France and Russia were seen as a better ally in order to protect the kingdom. Who knows how history would have turned out had we sided with our more natural allies the Germans. A quick war? No Russian Communist Revolution? No Adolf Hitler? No Joseph Stalin? Historically counterfactuals are always an interesting area of discussion but instead two balanced alliances slogged it out for 4 plus years. Various fronts were fought. One such front was in the middle east that the British created, the famous Lawrence of Arabia rallying the people of the middle east against the Ottoman empire.

At the same time with Britain desperate to recruit support, it promised Jewish volunteers land in the middle east for their efforts. They also made promises to the Arabs fighting against the Turks for the land in the same area.

After the war Arabs and Jews lived side by side in the early days during the British Mandate. During the post war years an explosion of Jewish immigrants flooded the area, so much so that the economy could not absorb the extra labour. Discrimination became common. Divisions became more visible. The British exacerbated the problem they had started. With the rise of Fascism in Europe, more Jewish people fled towards Israel. In the past America would have been able to absorb the numbers, but now with its strict immigration laws, it was no longer possible. America had closed its borders as it was no longer as scarcely populated as it once had been. 

With the Second World War Hitler spread anti-semitic propaganda in the region. The Jewish secret security forces, Haganah, fought alongside the British. After the war Britain was exhausted. Overstretched with its crumbling empire and the sensitivity of the genocide that took place during the war, America stood into the breach to act as peacemaker. For decades tensions have increased, never abating. All because the West intervened.

Nearby during the war a political party was being formed, the Ba'ath party. Saddam Hussein admired European leaders such as Hitler and Stalin and seeked to emulate their methods. Despite the party being ideologically opposed to Western influence, Saddam was seen as an ally to many Western leaders during the time. 

Another country in the region, Iran, had been a key oil exporter to Britain during the 1950's and 1960's with British oil companies operating in the region. The Shah at the time allowed the West to export oil out of his country to keep the peace. However he wasted billions from the oil money and attempted to implement secular politics. Iranian patience was running thin, revolution was on the cards. 1979, the Khomeini was installed, a religious revolution. 

Meanwhile Saddam was fearfull of Iran, a Shia majority nation that could ignite further revolutionary actions towards Iraq. Saddam being a Sunni decided to 'pre-empt' such an event and so began the Iran-Iraq war. Saddam got backing from the US and the Soviets along with other middle eastern countries. A long, brutal war ensued. Civilians were massacred. Our governments gave Saddam the weapons to perform such acts of terror, our dirty work and we called him our friend. 

Eight years on a stalemate was declared. Iraq was in poor nick. The commodity bull market since the war began back in 1980 had turned into a bear market. Oil prices were falling. Saddam owned huge sums of money. During these days Saddam asked if the debts could be written off from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. No such luck. Being the risk taker he was, his next master plan was to invade Kuwait, hold it to ransom and write off the debt. However his friends, the Americans didn't like this one bit. With UN backing, a swift war, the Gulf, was fought. George Bush Snr decided against toppling Saddam fearing it would cost more lives or the coalition forces would break up. So the West decided to try topple Saddam with sanctions, the infamous oil for food program was implemented by Bush's successor Clinton. The Iraqi people suffered greatly with such policies, more so then if Bush had finished the job. We love to meddle but always get it wrong. Saddam meanwhile prospered. He was able to maintain control and persecute his people. A younger George W. Bush was critical of such policies that the Clinton administration had taken, setting the scene for the invasion when he became President.

With the 9/11 bombings it was the green light for Bush to invade Afghanistan. A Nation that was an ally of the West during the Soviet invasion, perversely our governments had trained many of the people who made the 9/11 bombings possible. With all the history our Governments also gave them a motive. The Mujahideen was once labelled by President Regan as 'Freedom Fighters', now they are seen as terrorists to people of the West. We trained them. We had betrayed them. Now we invaded their land. 

Why stop there with interfering? Iraq was next, the mass weapons of destruction was the next scare story told to the public. Saddam may have been a risk taker or stupid, but he would never pose a threat to the West. If he did have such weapons he would never use them, given the arsenal we posses. North Korea under Kim Jong il have Nuclear capabilities but we can ignore that nation. It's too near China. Theres no oil. It's far easier to meddle in our 20th Century laboratory, the middle east.

You don't make allies with such a checkered history. Are we surprised that there is so much Western resentment? If my country was invaded, if I'd lost a family member, if I'd witnessed the contradictory policies of this foreign country, if I'd had no job prospects, could you understand if I was a little mad?

With Libya again people in the UK are demanding intervention. The right want a coalition force to oust Gaddafi. The Left say no intervention, although again in their contradictory manner, they say we should help the rebels. I say we should do nothing. If the Libyan people want Socialism or another dictator or Democracy then we should let them choose and let them fight their own battles. 

Arab people in Islamic nations are not crazy suicide bombers portrayed by the media. They are people with feelings and thoughts. Just like us they want future generations to have a better life. Our leaders shock us with fear to induce support to take such actions. If we don't act now, then it will be a risk to national security. All it does is create the next 'martyrs' of suicide bombers. It creates further tensions between cultures and people. Despite the fact that we are all the same.

Once again we feel compulsion to interfere. The state can only create more problems. Let individuals work these things out. The only reason we have problems in the middle east is from past state intervention. In order to solve this we need to stop swallowing the lies that the Government can solve such a problems. They were the ones that caused it. History, as detailed above, can give answers as to why events happen. People are rational. Government actions make people act irrational, just like with the recent economic bust. Just like the next financial disaster. They tell us they are here to help solve such issues. All smoke and mirrors. They cause them and with it take further liberties away from us all. Anyone for Intervention in Libya? 

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