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November 2002 • Vol 2, No. 10 •

A History of Imperialist Evildoing in the Middle East

By Brian Schwartz

History is not without its ugly ironies. Fascism’s iron heeled boots can march under the banner of the Star of David just as easily as it can under the Swastika. Zionism’s reactionary essence is exposed before our suffering world today—it is the wrong history lesson applied by the victims of the Nazi holocaust.

Zionist leaders and their followers are saying to the world: This time we are going to be on the opposite end of the holocaust. We will be the Gestapo and SS. We will use military might to acquire lebensruam (living space) for our master race.

A holocaust against the Arabs residing in Palestine and Iraq is being organized by the United States, Israel, and Great Britain. Palestinians at this time are now a ghettoized people without human rights. Just like the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto, Palestinians are now deemed sub-human, denied medical care, employment, and shelter.

The Israeli Defense Forces mimic their grandparents’ SS tormentors carrying out random terrorist killings. Israel is holding the entire Palestinian population responsible for suicide bombings just like the Nazis did when they hanged Russian and Serbian civilians whenever German imperialism’s soldiers were killed in the service of a conqueror army of occupation.

Many Israeli civilians are tarred with the occupier’s brush because they are willing participants in the Zionist occupation that reduces the Palestinian population’s living standards to rock bottom. Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of a program to give privileged Zionist settlers more land. This is why Israeli civilians become targets for suicide bombers.

If the United States attacks Iraq, U.S. forces will indiscriminately slaughter Arab civilians from the air. It will degenerate into an ugly race war when U.S. ground forces violate the sanctity of Arab homes and engage in brutal street fighting. Inevitably, U.S. soldiers will have to use atrocious repression to control the population during Iraq’s “regime change.”

American and British citizens are being deceived into supporting this unwarranted invasion under the phony charge that Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat with weapons of mass destruction. Ex-UN arms inspector, Scott Ritter, warns us that the public is getting speculation, not facts: “Is Iraq a terrorist threat to the U.S.? Unlikely. Could they be in the future? Possibly, but we can’t just assume they will be.”

This refutation gains added weight, coming as it does from an ex-Marine officer and Republican.

The United States is the only nation in the world today that used atomic weapons on civilian populations, leveling the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It was the United States that left behind the “Highway of Death”—incinerated hulks of military hardware and burnt corpses that were once the Iraqi Army, as they beat a hasty retreat across the desert from Kuwait to Iraq back in 1991.

It is the United States government that is supporting a murderous imperialist 20th century ideology. Let’s go back to May 12, 1996 when 60 Minutes News reporter Leslie Stahl, asked Madeline Albright whether or not pursuing sanctions against Iraq was worth it, considering that 500,000 children were killed by the sanctions. Madeline Albright justified it as “a hard choice, but I think it is worth it.” She was later confirmed as Secretary of State. No celebrity politician condemned her.

It is the American and British ruling classes and their politicians that have created the miserable conditions that Arabs endure in the Middle East. Here is some of the history of Arab nationalism and its endless struggle with the United States and Great Britain.

The origin of modern Arab nationalism

Modern Arab nationalism had its beginnings in 1915 when Sherif Hussein Ibn Ali of Mecca and his sons Ali, Abdulla, Faisal, and Zeid, exploited a ripened opportunity to break the Arab people away from the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

Unfortunately, Sherif Hussein petitioned Great Britain for material and logistical aid. Hussein naively thought that Great Britain would be grateful for another war front opened up against the Turks, further weakening their resolve to fight Great Britain.

Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence, known in the West as “Lawrence of Arabia,” was sent by British Intelligence to assess the fighting capabilities and material needs of Sherif Hussein and his sons. Lawrence spoke Arabic, which he learned in his youth in the course of his tour of the Middle East studying Crusader castles for his undergraduate thesis at Oxford.

He arrived in the midst of a powerful Arab nationalist uprising, knowing full well that Great Britain’s promises of Arab self-government were worthless. Lawrence justified his country’s betrayal of the Arab national dream this way: “I risked the fraud, on my conviction that Arab help was necessary to our cheap and speedy victory in the East and that [it is] better we win and break our word than lose.”

While the Arabs fought for national liberation, Great Britain and France were planning to implement the 1915 Sykes-Pikot Agreement dividing the Arab nation into phony emirates and kingdoms whose oil resources would be delivered as over-generous concessions to British and French petrochemical corporations. The Bolshevik Soviet government exposed this thieves pact to the world’s working classes in 1921.

After the triumphal entry into Damascus by Faisal’s Bedouin Army and Egyptian regulars, Colonel Lawrence and Faisal attended the 1919 Paris Peace Council. Lawrence convinced Faisal and Abdullah Hussein to accept quisling monarchies in Iraq and Jordan. Their father, Sherif Hussein Ibn Ali, refused to go along with the wretched British Mandate. As punishment, Sherif Hussein and his Hashemite people were driven from Mecca and Medina by a shameless groveling warlord, Ibn Saud, who became a willing accomplice of the British to artificially divide the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia had its ignominious birth on the wrecked nationalist dreams of Sherif Hussein and the Bedouins.

Faisal Hussein is a tragic figure in the sense that he was a charismatic and talented leader capable of initiating a movement that could have united the entire Arab world, only to end his days as a quisling monarch, watching helplessly as Great Britain slaughtered and dispersed with armed violence the people he once led. Lawrence describes the power of Faisal and the Arab national uprising to overcome tribal divisions:

“The Arab movement became in the best sense national, since within it all Arabs were at one, and for it private interests must be set aside: and in this movement, chief place, by right of application and by right of ability, had been properly earned by the man who filled for those few weeks of triumph and longer months of disillusion after Damascus had been set free.”

As Faisal sat in dishonor on the British-created Iraqi throne, the Arabs of Iraq stayed united to fight the British. Whether they were Bedouin, fellaheen, or cosmopolitan urbanites, all remained true to Arab liberation.

Britain first to use poison gas on their Mideast victims

Great Britain crushed this rebellion pulling out all the stops on violent repression. Winston Churchill, British Secretary of State in 1919, gave his military subordinates the backbone they needed to use poison gas on the Arabs. Some British officers were evidently hesitant to use gas because they had witnessed first hand its cruel effects on human beings on both sides of Europe’s trenches during World War I.

Churchill upbraided the boys saying: “I don’t understand this squeamishness about the use of poison gas. I’m strongly in favor of using it against uncivilized tribes.” (!)

After pacifying the Arabs, the Kurds were the next victims to suffer British armed attacks on their national aspirations. Great Britain crushed three Kurdish uprisings in Iraq between 1922-1932 and now has the audacity to hypocritically demand that Saddam Hussein leave the Kurds alone. At the same time, it is public knowledge that Turkey is persecuting the Kurds with torture and sub-human prison conditions, yet the U.S. and Great Britain are silent about that and cynically attack Saddam Hussein’s use of gas on the Kurds.

Arab nationalism reawakened in the 1950’s, inspired and led by Egyptian Army Colonel Gamal Nasser—to be sure, for his own reasons. Radicalized Arab military officers, serving in the armies of other Arab states, mobilized against the feudal monarchs that were imposed upon them by the British and French. Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Libya won nominal independence from their colonial masters. Minor agrarian reform and some nationalization of resources like the Suez Canal, improved life for the Arab masses residing in these countries. But it wasn’t lasting.

Raphael Patai writes in The Arab Mind: “There is at present a pervading consciousness of being one nation, the Arab nation, irrespective of the number of political units into which this one nation is broken up.” A genuine revolutionary unification of the Arab peoples would create a rich and diverse land-mass stretching from west- to east-Africa, northward to the fertile crescent regions of Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. The oil rich Arabian Peninsula would be the crown jewel in a unified Arab nation.

Faisal and Nasser failed in their attempts to unify the Arab nation because they did not base their power on the Arab working class and the poor and landless fellaheen. A properly led and organized working class is the only social force in the so-called Third World capable of leading a war of national independence to victory. Actually, only the working class can carry the colonial revolution to victory by also beginning the socialist revolution. Faisal aligned himself with British imperialism and Nasser kept Egypt’s economy in the hands of bankers and business people. Today, American and British imperialism derive their profits from the Arab world’s underdevelopment and Arab capitalists and landlords gain a small share of the loot by helping imperialism maintain control over the Arab masses.

Cuba is an example of what can be done. Fidel Castro, the son of a wealthy landowner, realized that Cuban independence and industrial development hinged on a thoroughgoing break with U.S. imperialism and Cuban business interests. Castro saved the Cuban Revolution by integrating his middle class, July 26th movement with the Cuban working class. It was Castro’s embrace of the Cuban working class that was able to initiate Cuba’s real development and secure a genuine distribution of land to the landless. After their power was overthrown and Cuba’s means of production expropriated, Cuban capitalists fled to Miami and U.S. imperialism imposed a crippling economic blockade. Fidel Castro, unlike Faisal and Nasser, made the only correct policy choices to secure independence and economic development in an age dominated by imperialist powers.

September 11th was a self-defeating and unprovoked act of terrorism against the innocent. But while the victims of the attack that brought down the Twin Towers were indeed innocent victims, the capitalist propaganda mill has made it appear as if there had not been hundreds of times that number of innocent victims in the current imperialist assault on Palestine and the first war on Iraq alone. Gruesome images of office workers leaping to their deaths and waving at helicopters filming this tragedy as they prepare to burn to death infuriated many Americans. It led many to remain silent in the face of the far greater act of terrorism in Afghanistan alone. (It’s no accident that we see no estimate of the numbers of innocent dead and crippled victims of imperialist terrorism in Afghanistan and so few references to the thousands of its victims in Arab Palestine.)

The 19 Arab hijackers, humiliated by the continued U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia and oppression in the Middle East, carried out this attack. Our nation’s military used Saudi Arabia as its primary staging ground to attack Iraq in 1991. Saudi Arabia has been the custodial land of Mecca and Medina, two of the holiest cities belonging to the entire Islamic faith. It is the duty of every Moslem to make at least one pilgrimage to Mecca in their lifetime. For centuries Moslems have had unhindered access into this land to accomplish this once-in-a-lifetime commandment. Now a non-Moslem entity has the audacity to utilize this neutral ground as a staging area to butcher its faithful and unfaithful alike.

The staggeringly obvious truth is that our foreign policy to dominate the Middle East is the only reason the Twin Towers were attacked. Had there been no U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia it is unlikely that 9/11 would have occurred.

National Security Council Resolution 5401 was the U.S. response to the Nasser-inspired Arab nationalist movements. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, articulated the aims of the policy this way: “The United States must regard Arab nationalism as a flood which is running strongly. We cannot successfully oppose it; but we could put sand bags around positions we must protect—the first being Israel and Lebanon and the second being the oil positions around the Persian Gulf.”

The first President Bush and the United States ruling class had initiated a policy change from sand bagging to outright military intervention. The UN charade of using diplomatic pressure may be over. If an Arab government defies the U.S. government in any way it will be deemed terrorist, and the second President Bush has given American capitalism the right to send its centurions in to restore a U.S.-imposed imperialist order. In other words, Israel and other nations are disposing of their troublesome nationalities under the rubric of fighting terrorism.

Armegeddon will become an increasing reality in the Middle East if the United States uses direct military intervention to continue super-exploiting the oil resources of the Middle East that belongs rightfully to 280,000,000 Arabs. Israel’s fanatical and reckless slaughter of Palestinian Arabs will inevitably bring terrorist danger to U.S. citizens.

A world freed from imperialist and capitalist-imposed want and affliction will be a world free from terror. Our first course of action is to get U.S. forces out of the Middle East and end financial and military aid to Zionist Israel, without which the atrocity against the peoples in the region would be impossible.


The Arab Mind by Raphael Patai

Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence



“Very Contrary” by Alex Tresniowski, Diane Herbst, Melody Simmons. People Magazine, September 30, 2002







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