Posts Tagged ‘Middle East’

100 years ago, the First World War was a devastating conflict in which many millions of people lost their lives and in which the political, social and even geographical state of the world was changed forever.
But, far from being the “war to end all wars”, the consequences of World War I are very much still relevant, still being felt today, particularly in regard to the Middle East.

The First World War was, after all, thought of as “the war to end all wars”, but within less than a generation of that apocalyptic conflict came the Second World War, the causes of which were directly traceable to World War I and specifically the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and the treatment of Germany.

World War II then was arguably just a continuation of World War I. And the Cold War that followed World War II was arguably still a result of World War I and the Russian Revolution: in theory, the Cold War continued until the end of the 1980s.

But it’s fascinating to note how much of today’s conflict is rooted also in the events of the First World War.

For example, the situation currently occurring in the Middle East is directly traceable to the events of World War I, albeit via a much longer period of time; the Balfour Declaration, the creation of the modern State of Israel in Palestine, the Sykes-Picot agreement, the creation of the Saudi Kingdom and its continuing influence on the region and on international politics, the Colonial carving up of Iraq, Syria and the Middle East – these, among other things, are all traced back to the events of World War I or its immediate aftermath.

Strictly speaking, of course, the war did end in 1918. But, if you factor in conflicts or scenarios originating in that war and still going on now, then you could argue that the war certainly wasn’t wrapped up with a tidy little bow in 1918.

The argument that World War I never really ended (or, at least, that we’re still living in its enormous shadow) was reinforced by, of all things, the advent of the so-called Islamic State group and the bloody chaos that ripped apart the heart of the Middle East in recent years – with ‘ISIS’ having literally talked about “the end of Sykes-Picot” as part of its ill-conceived ‘manifesto’. (more…)

Advertisements

The murder of former Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh by Houthi rebels will simply guarantee continued and intensified attacks by the Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing Yemen since March 2015.

By Sunday, Houthi fighters had taken control of most of the capital, Sanaa, with intense battles going on in the city.

Saudi airstrikes didn’t prvent the Houthi fighters from reaching former President Saleh’s own home on Monday. Shortly after this, the reports began to circulate that he had been murdered, with some versions of the story claiming he had been taken out of the vehicle he had attempted to flee in and summarily executed by Houthi fighers acting no better than Al-Qaeda fighters or jihadists. (more…)

Official British events to mark the centennary of the Balfour Declaration could be seen as questionable, to say the least.

Theresa May’s commitment to the commemorations were promised to Benjamin Netanyahu some time ago – regardless of the fact that the it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many or that we’re talking about one of the most divisive documents in modern history.

Both the critics and supporters of Israel are guilty of propagating historical illiteracy about the origins and meaning of Zionism.

Some anti-Israel activists see Zionism in super-simplistic terms as a source of all evil or as a Nazi-style ideaology, while its defenders demonise or shut down anyone – Jewish or non-Jewish – who raises any questions.

The reality and the real history isn’t anything like as simple as either of those positions – real history never is. (more…)

I’ve been pondering this for some time; and have tried to somewhat lay out the subject as best as I can here in this article.

This is something of a thought-experiment; trying to track the various strands of consequences from a single event, but moreover, trying to understand why that event has everything to do with where we are now – and on multiple levels – in this first decade-and-a-half of the twenty-first century.

With all the bad things and negative situations going on in the world today, why have things come to this? How could most of this stuff – in the Middle East, in Europe, even in the US – have been avoided?

Could it have been avoided? (more…)

As expected and predicted, the danger of further conflict in both Iraq and the Middle East has become apparent again – this time centering on the issue of the Kurdish situation in Iraq.

In effect, it looks like the seeds for the next problem were already bearing fruit behind the surface of the ‘ISIS’ conflict.

Before the dust has even settled from the ongoing conflict with the so-called ‘Islamic State’, more conflict is already being generated. It’s like an endless conflict that keeps mutating and re-arranging itself so that it can continue in some new form or another: as if the ‘conflict’ itself is a living entity that keeps regenerating in some new configuration so that it always lives on. (more…)

Tense, divisive or controversial ‘referendums’ seem to be the in-thing right now.
Presently, a lot of coverage has been given to two independence referendums in different parts of the globe: one in Spain and one in Iraq.

Both referendums also have things in common.

Regarding the Catalonian independence referendum in Spain, I have no personal views on whether Catalonian independence is a good idea or not.

However, the apparent extent of the Spannish government’s attemps to derail, discourage or vilify the vote has reinforced my original suspicions some weeks ago that the apparent Barcelona terrorist attack (vehicle attack) wasn’t what it appeared to be – and may in fact have been a Deep State or Gladio style operation to intimidate Catalonians ahead of the vote and also to provide a pretext for sending armed military or police into the region ahead of the impending vote. (more…)

It was difficult to work out exactly what is behind the ‘Qatar Diplomatic Crisis’ that seemed to suddenly emerge early in June.

The Qatar diplomatic crisis apparently began on 5th June when several countries – principally Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE – abruptly cut off diplomatic relations. This included trade and travel bans.

Subsequent to this, the Saudi-led group of governments has issued an ultimatum to Qatar in the form of a list of demands that the Gulf State will have to meet.

Why? On the surface of it, Saudi Arabia and the other countries have criticised Qatar for funding terrorist organisations. There has also been criticism of Qatar’s relations with Iran and criticism too of the Al-Jazeera broadcaster that is based in Qatar.

Donald Trump joined in, endorsing the isolation of Qatar and accusing it of being a state sponsor of terrorism. (more…)

I came across this old footage of Syria’s First Lady, Asma al-Assad, and found the content of her talk here striking: and also somewhat poignant, given when it was made and what has happened since.

Given the current situation and escalating tensions, I thought this was well worth sharing. In this talk, from way back in 2008, London-born Asma al-Assad (or ‘Emma’ from Acton) is addressing an international charity and talking about Syria in particular and the Middle East in general and her experiences.

In doing so, she touches on the popular international misconceptions about the region, as well as refugees, and the right of the Syrian people to live in peace and with dignity. (more…)

Aaaaaannd… here we are again.
Hope you enjoyed the brief break from the Neo-Con/regime-change program: but we’re back to the regularly scheduled program. Chemical attack in Syria against civilians. Assad must go. A line has been crossed. Let loose the dogs of war. Etc. 

Suddenly, after all the false hopes of a changing foreign policy that would accompany the Trump administration’s arrival, President Trump himself now says he has changed his mind (literally) about Bashar Assad.

I’m not particularly surprised by all of this sleight-of-hand and I always have the view that pre-existing, longstanding foreign policy agendas are designed not to be undermined by incoming officials or pesky changes in administration. (more…)