America wanted the British to ask the people of Iraq for their opinions, for their ideas on how to reconstitute the Iraqi government. But the British replied that there was no way of asking the Iraqis for their opinions. (Page 450) Muslims were outraged.
“You said in your declaration that you would set up a native government drawing its authority from the initiative and free choice of the people concerned, yet you proceed to draw up a scheme without consulting anyone,” said one leading Arab political figure in Baghdad. “It would have been easy for you to take one or two leading men in your councils and this would have removed the reproach which is levelled against your scheme.” (Page 451)
Asking Muslims for their opinions would have been a waste of time. The British already had a plan for recreating the Middle East, a plan which they knew Muslims would hate.
Blame everyone else
After the war, while British forces were occupying the Middle East, riots erupted. Muslims began attacking British soldiers. The people of Iraq revolted. Britain suffered 2,000 casualties before it was all said and done. (Page 453)
To explain away the riots, British officials concocted the silliest conspiracy theories ever invented. Arnold Wilson, the British officer in charge of Iraq, declared that the rioters were anarchists, that the Arabs had no desire for self government, and that they “would appreciate British rule.”
Other Britons blamed the revolts on Feisal, Kemal, Standard Oil, the Russians, the Swiss, and the Germans. Britain blamed America for not making its decisions quickly enough at the peace conference and for not accepting the mandates. Maurice Hankey, the British Cabinet Secretary, blamed the uprisings on Wilson’s “impossible doctrine of self-determination.” (Page 399)
But most of all, Britain blamed the Jews. For everything. They blamed the Jews for the war with the Ottomans. (Page 317) They claimed that Jews secretly controlled the world. (Page 198) John Buchan, a writer who had worked for the British government, wrote a novel called The Thirty-Nine Steps. In the book, he talked about a conspiracy to get Germany and Russia to fight each other. Buchan proclaimed “the Jew was behind” the conspiracy. Jews were “everywhere.” They had eyes like “a rattlesnake.” They ruled the world. And they wanted to destroy the Russian empire.
Many of the British conspiracy theories were laughably stupid. They blamed the Jews for instigating the Arab revolts against the Jews. They blamed the Ottoman sultan even after they occupied Constantinople and forced the sultan to do their bidding. (Page 466)
Fromkin has his own explanation for the riots.
“In fact there was an outside force linked to every one of the outbreaks of violence in the Middle East, but it was the one force whose presence remained invisible to British officialdom. It was Britain herself. In a region of the globe whose inhabitants were known especially to dislike foreigners, and in a predominantly Moslem world which could abide being ruled by almost anybody except non-Moslems, a foreign Christian country ought to have expected to encounter hostility when it attempted to impose its own rule. The shadows that accompanied the British rulers wherever they went in the Middle East were in fact their own.”
“The rebellions were not directed by foreigners; they were directed against foreigners.” (Page 468)
This is one of the best passages of the book, though it contains one significant error. The British knew their presence was the problem. The Muslims told them that. Aziz al-Masri, a leader of an Arab secret society, told them that he would never accept a British protectorate for the Middle East. (Page 318) But to protect their reputation, the British came up with a bunch of silly conspiracy theories to explain why Muslims kept trying to kill them.
Muslims hated the British. Even at the end of the war, when it became clear that the Allies were going to win, many Arabs still fought alongside the Turks against the British. (Page 220) Britain knew that Muslims hated them, hated the idea of being ruled by Christians. That is why the British gave the Egyptian government a Muslim veneer, a Muslim prince and a Muslim Cabinet. But behind the scenes, a set of British advisers whispered in their ears, telling them what to do. (Page 85) The British hoped this arrangement would deceive the people of Egypt, deceive them into believing that Muslims were in control.
The British tried a similar stunt after the war ended, when it came time to annex territory from the Ottoman Empire. Mark Sykes, a British Parliamentarian, urged France to deal with her new territory the same way Britain would deal with hers. Sponsor Arab independence. Find a Muslim crony who is willing to obey you and put them in charge. Were France to do otherwise, Sykes predicted they would have a lot of trouble on their hands. (Page 290)
Empires are expensive
“We cannot alone act as the policeman of the world. The financial and social conditions of this country make that impossible.”
– Bonar Law, British Prime Minister (Page 554)
Britain added a million square miles to her empire in World War I. Finding the resources to defend that territory would not be easy. From the beginning, Churchill argued that Britain lacked the money to forever occupy the Middle East. (Page 385) Had Britain decided to station her soldiers throughout the region, the cost would have been astronomical.
To save money, Britain decided to use air power to defend her new territory. (Page 500) This strategy was much cheaper. But it would not protect the region from foreign invasions. It would only be effective at suppressing revolts. The strategy indicates that Britain was not afraid of an invasion from Turkey or Russia. It is further evidence that Britain controlled the leaders of those countries. Otherwise Britain would have done more to defend her new territory. The strategy shows that Britain knew their only threat came from the Muslim inhabitants who would not tolerate being ruled by the British.
A region at war with itself
This is what the Encyclopedia Britannica had to say about the Arab race: “Physically the Arabs are one of the strongest and noblest races of the world…mentally, they surpass most, and are only kept back in the march of progress by the remarkable defect of organizing power and incapacity for combined action.”
It is not by accident nor by genetics that Arabs lack the ability to work together. This defect is the result of British mischief. The goal of British policy in the Middle East is to make its inhabitants fight each other.
At the beginning of the war, the British officials in Cairo made a stunning proposal. They wanted to make Hussein bin Ali the caliph, the leader of the entire Islamic world after the war. (Page 105) At that time, Sharif Hussein was the King of the Hejaz, an area located on the western coast of what is now Saudi Arabia. When the British officials in India learned of this proposal, they were mortified. Arthur Hirtzel, the Secretary in the Political Department, wrote that the proposal was “the very thing which this Office has always understood that” the British government “would not do.” (Page 106)
“What we want is not a United Arabia: but a weak and disunited Arabia, split up into little principalities so far as possible under our suzerainty—but incapable of coordinated action against us,” said the India office. (Page 106)
The India office misunderstood the intentions of their counterparts in Cairo. Cairo had no intention of making Hussein the caliph.
"I am afraid both the High Commissioner and Lord Hardinge are under the impression that I am a believer in the creation of a consolidated Arab Kingdom under the Sherif—Of course any such notion is altogether remote from my real views, but it has suited me, as I believe it has suited all of us, to give the leaders of the Arab movement this impression and we are quite sufficiently covered by the correspondence which has taken place to show that we are acting in good faith with the Arabs as far as we have gone," said Reginald Wingate. (Page 184)
One of the officials in Cairo said the India office “seems obsessed with the fear of a powerful and united Arab state, which can never exist unless we are fool enough to create it.”
Britain had two reasons for pretending to support the creation of a united Arab nation. This lie was meant to convince the U.S. Congress to support their vicious plans to recreate the Middle East.
“The idea of Arab nationalism may be absurd, but our Congress case will be good if we can say we are helping to develop a race on nationalist lines under our protection,” said Mark Sykes. (Page 343)
The other reason had to do with King Hussein. The British wanted Hussein to lead a revolt against the Ottoman Empire. To convince him to do so, they promised him the heavens, though they had no intention of fulfilling their promise. The promise, according to one British official, “was a private communication of Lord Kitchener’s,” not an official communication of the British government. Private communication. That must be the British code word for a lie. The British kept their real plans for the Middle East hidden from Hussein.
"Any detailed definition of our demands would have frightened off the Arab," explained Henry McMahon, the High Commissioner of Egypt. (Page 186)
Part of their plan was to give Syria and Lebanon to the French. Although the Cairo Office claimed they wanted to exclude France from the Middle East (Page 316), in reality, the British were simply telling Hussein what he wanted to hear.
Hussein had a few thousand troops who were supported by British funds. (Page 219) The British did not think much of him or his troops and they laughed at him for believing that they would help him become the caliph. Ronald Storrs, a British official in Cairo, once said that “his pretensions bordered on the tragicomic.”
Forcing King Hussein to join the war
Hussein never wanted to fight. His plan was to stay out of the war. (Page 218) But the Ottomans seized documents from the French consulates in Beirut and Damascus, documents which contained the names of people who knew about his dealings with the British. The Ottomans interrogated those people. Hussein feared that they told the Ottomans about his relationship with the British. When he learned that 3,500 Ottoman soldiers were going to march through the Hejaz, Hussein figured they were coming for him and decided to launch a revolt before they arrived. (Page 219) The Allies probably leaked those documents to the Ottomans in order to force Hussein to stage his revolt. Had the Ottomans not found those documents, Hussein might have been able to stay on the sidelines for the duration of the war.
How helpful were the Arabs?
King Hussein and his forces worked in tandem with the British to defeat the Ottomans. Some British officials claimed his forces were ineffective. Lawrence of Arabia thought that “one company of Turks, properly entrenched in open country, would defeat the Sherif’s armies.” (Page 222) Colonel Meinertzhagen declared that his forces “had not the slightest effect on the main theatre west of Jordan.” (Page 328) On the other hand, other officials, including Liman von Sanders, said King Hussein provided a significant contribution to the war effort. Mark Sykes argued his forces were successfully harassing 38,000 Ottoman troops.
The British had an incentive to minimize the contributions made by Hussein. During the war, Britain promised to grant the Arabs independence, but only if they could overthrow the Ottomans. (Page 103) This was a promise that the British thought they would not have to honor. They believed the Arabs would not revolt. (Page 185) Indeed most of the Arabs fought alongside the Ottomans against the Allies. (Page 209) Had King Hussein deposed the Ottomans, Britain would have been obligated to grant independence to the Arabs.
I personally believe that, in all likelihood, King Hussein provided a marginal contribution to the war effort. I can’t imagine Britain supporting someone who truly had the widespread support of the Arab people. If they had done so, then after the war that individual could have united the Arab people under his banner. Britain would have to contend with a united Arab nation under his leadership. This is an eventuality that Britain would never, in a million years, help bring to fruition.
After the war, Ibn Saud defeated King Hussein and drove him out of the Arabian peninsula. This too implies that King Hussein was weak.
Condemned from birth
After defeating the Ottoman Empire, Britain redrew the boundaries of the Middle East. They did indeed split up the region into little principalities so far as possible. Where there was once an empire, there was, after the war, several small states such as Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. To achieve their goal of a weak, disunited Arabia, the British placed their boundaries in the worst possible locations. They combined incompatible communities together and called them a country. They drew borders right through the middle of some communities, tearing them in half.
Instead of giving the Kurds their own country, Britain split their community into four separate regions and made each of those regions part of four different countries - Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. Even today, a century after the war began, the Kurds refuse to accept this outcome. They continue to fight for an independent, united Kurdish state. Over the past three decades, tens of thousands have died in fighting between the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Turkish authorities.
There is no worse example of malevolence then what Britain did to Iraq. Iraq was condemned from birth. In forming Iraq, Britain combined a Kurdish region, a Sunni region, and a Shiite region.
Iraq has the shape of a three blade propeller. Each blade contains one of the three primary constituencies of Iraq. The blade that juts to the north is inhabited by Kurds. The blade that juts to the west contains Sunnis. The blade that juts to the southeast contains the majority Shiites. Unlike a normal propeller which is made out of steel, Iraq is like a propeller made out of porcelain. As the propeller spins around it is constantly in danger of breaking apart. Rather than wanting to stay together, each of the three blades has, to some extent, a desire to break off and fly away.
There is no one who can lead the country because none of Iraq's three main constituencies will accept being ruled by someone from one of the other two constituencies. Each constituency wants to be ruled by one of their own.
Britain knew this would be a problem. Arnold Wilson admitted that the Kurds would “never accept an Arab ruler,” that the majority Shiites would never accept a Sunni leader. (Page 450) In spite of that (in reality because of that) every system of government considered by Britain had a Sunni leader.
Those who knew about Britain’s plans for Iraq were incredulous. They pleaded with Britain to reconsider.
“You are flying in the face of four millenniums of history if you try to draw a line around Iraq and call it a political entity!” exclaimed one American missionary. (Page 451)
Britain ignored their advice and implemented their calamitous scheme. Had Britain drawn the borders properly, the nations of the region would have become rich and powerful, as the region contains the largest supply of petroleum in the world. Britain would not allow that. They did everything in their power to make sure that the region stayed as poor as possible.
Britain made Iraq an unstable blend of Sunnis, Kurds, and Shia because that allowed their Secret Intelligence Service to keep the country at war with itself. The results speak for themselves.
Over the past three decades, the people of Iraq have suffered one catastrophe after another. They fought a disastrous war with Iran. During that war, the Kurds sided with Iran against Saddam Hussein. At the end of the war, Saddam retaliated by attacking the Kurds. More than 50,000 Kurds were slaughtered. (www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/iraq501/events_anfal.html)
Seven years ago, during the Iraq War, a group of Sunni insurgents destroyed the golden dome atop the al-Askari mosque. A wave of sectarian violence ensued. A thousand people were killed in a single day, the day after the bombing. Even today, now that U.S. forces have left, the sectarian violence continues. Thousands of Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. withdrawal.
You may be wondering why Britain made Iraq the shape of a propeller, rather than say the shape of a circle. By making Iraq the shape of a propeller, that minimized the size of the country. Had Britain made Iraq the shape of a circle, Iraq would have been much bigger, assuming that Britain still included the Kurdish areas to the north, the Sunni areas to the west, and the Shiite areas to the south and east. Making Iraq smaller meant that Iraq would be less powerful, as the country would have less land, fewer resources, and a smaller population.
What Britain did to Iraq, France did to Lebanon. France set its borders in a way that would allow western intelligence agencies to create a civil war amongst the various religious groups. They created Greater Lebanon, an expanded version of Lebanon which included many Muslim areas. (Page 439) According to Fromkin, the expansion of Lebanon led “to so much bloodshed in the 1970s and 1980s, as various groups attacked the leading position of the Marionite minority in what had become a predominately Moslim country.”
Fromkin never explicitly says that Britain ruined the Middle East intentionally. Instead, he has others speak for him. He uses the words of Colonel House, who was an adviser to Woodrow Wilson. Towards the end of the war, Colonel House met with Arthur Balfour, the British foreign secretary. The two talked about Britain’s plans for the Middle East. This is his reaction to those plans.
“It is all bad and I told Balfour so,” said Colonel House. “They are making it a breeding place for future war.” (Page 257)
Not only did Britain make the countries of the Middle East at war with themselves, they made them at war with each other. In Palestine, Britain unleashed a disaster, a war between Jews and Arabs which is still being fought today. The conflict is over Zionism, the creation of a Jewish nation in the heart of the Middle East, in a land that was occupied by Muslims. To create the conflict, Britain used two heads of their monster. Each head supported one side of the conflict. One head, composed of British officials in London, supported Zionism while the other head, composed of British officials in Palestine, secretly told the Arabs to oppose Zionism, to prevent the Jews from taking their land.
Britain had a cover story, a series of lies which they used to justify their support for Zionism. They based their justification on their lie that Jews secretly controlled the world. They argued that they could win the war by buying the favor of the Jews, by giving them a homeland in the Middle East. (Page 43) The Jews would be forever grateful and would use their mystical powers to defeat the Germans.
“Do our statesmen fail to see how valuable to the Allied cause would be the hearty sympathy of the Jews throughout the world which an unequivocal declaration of British policy might win?” said the Times of London. (Page 297)
Throughout the war there were a series of reports, all of which were false, that claimed the Germans and Ottomans supported Zionism. (Page 92 & 296). Britain used these reports as their excuse to issue the Balfour Declaration, a statement which announced British support for Zionism. Britain wanted the rest of the world to believe that the Germans and the Ottomans had forced them into supporting Zionism, when in reality Zionism was their brainchild. They wanted the rest of the world to believe that they had to issue the Balfour Declaration, or else the Germans and the Ottomans would announce their support for Zionism and the all powerful Jews would use their influence to help the Germans and the Ottomans destroy the British Empire.
President Wilson was suspicious of Britain’s motives for supporting Zionism. (Page 295) Jews were suspicious too. While Britain maintained that they supported Zionism, in part, to make the world a better place, Vladimir Jabotinsky, a prominent Jewish Zionist, knew better. Altruism is completely contrary to the fundamental nature of the British. (Page 517)
His suspicions were well justified. The British were anti-Semitic. (Page 269) And yet they wanted to create a homeland for the Jews. Fromkin never explains how they could support these two seemingly contradictory lines of thought. He merely identifies some of the officials who spoke along these lines. One of those officials was Richard Meinertzhagen, the head of British military intelligence in Cairo.
“I find myself alone out here, among the gentiles, in upholding Zionism,” said Meinertzhagen. “And that is the irony of the whole situation, for I am also imbued with antisemitic feelings.” (Page 447)
The strange mix of Zionism and anti-Semitism extended all the way to the top, to the highest levels of the British government.
“Curiously enough the only other partisan of this proposal [Zionism] is Lloyd George, who, I need not say, does not care a damn for the Jews or their past or their future,” said Asquith.
For his part, Fromkin argues that Asquith is wrong, that Lloyd George really did care about the Jews. Fromkin is really stupid if he believes that.
Britain knew the Arabs would adamantly oppose the Balfour Declaration.
“Palestine, up to now a Moslem country, has fallen into the hands of a Christian Power which on the eve of its conquest announces that a considerable portion of its land is to be handed over for colonisation purposes to a nowhere very popular people,” said Ronald Storrs, the governor of Jerusalem. (Page 325)
To convince the Arabs to adopt a more conciliatory posture, Chaim Weizmann, who eventually became the first president of Israel, asked the British to talk to the Arabs, to explain to the Arabs why they supported Zionism, and to impress upon the Arabs their determination to implement the policy. But the British refused. (Page 324) Although in private many British officials like Ronald Storrs voiced their support for Zionism, they refused to convey that sentiment to the public. (Page 445) They refused to even publish the Balfour Declaration in Jerusalem. (Page 322)
Other British officials in Palestine openly sided with the Arabs and opposed Zionism. They believed their government's policy on Zionism was intentionally designed to create trouble. They were right. But those officials didn’t mention that their opposition to Zionism was part of Britain's strategy to destroy the Middle East. Their opposition to Zionism encouraged the Arabs to revolt and fight against the Jews. Once that happened, anger and hatred between the Arabs and the Jews escalated. Britain had created the disaster they hoped for. Had those British officials tried to convince the Arabs that they had no alternative but to accept a Jewish Palestine, perhaps the Arabs would have decided to accept the Jews and make the best of it. Had they done that, the Arabs and Jews would never have fought each other and learned to hate one another.
Instead the British did everything in their power to convince the Arabs to fight the Jews. A high ranking British official conspired with the Arab Mufti of Jerusalem to incite the Arabs to riot against the Jews. (Page 447) During the riots, many of the Arabs shouted, “The Government is with us!” (Page 447) which shows the British made the Arabs believe that they supported them. When the Arabs rioted, the British prevented Jabotinsky from moving his Jewish defense forces into the Old City. In the areas where his forces patrolled, there were no casualties. The casualties only occurred in the areas where the British refused to allow his forces to enter. (Page 447)
David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, believed the Arabs rioted because the British convinced them that they could achieve their aims through violence. (Page 527) Support for the Arab cause was especially strong in the British military. Ninety percent of the British army in Palestine opposed Zionism. (Page 524) Had London wanted their policy of Zionism to succeed peacefully, they would have replaced those officials. Instead they allowed those officials to encourage the Arabs to riot, which proves that Britain wanted a war between Jews and Arabs.
Britain wanted to stick America with Palestine
Several British officials, including Maurice Hankey and Arthur Balfour, wanted America to accept the mandate for Palestine, rather than having Britain accept the mandate. (Page 374) They wanted America to take responsibility for the problems Britain would create. They wanted the people of the Middle East to blame America for the underhanded policies of their government. Britain eventually succeeded. Today many Muslims blame America for supporting Israel. They blame us for implementing Britain’s policy. Few people place the blame where it belongs, on Britain.
What does Fromkin believe?
When it comes to Britain’s claim that Jews were controlling everything behind the scenes, Fromkin has this to say.
“While in the clear light of history this conspiracy theory seems absurd to the point of lunacy, it was believed either in whole or in part by large numbers of otherwise sane, well-balanced, and reasonably well-informed British officials. Moreover, it could be supported by one actual piece of evidence: the career of Alexander Helphand. Helphand was a Jew who conspired to help Germany and to destroy the Russian Empire. He was closely associated with the Young Turk regime in Constantinople. He did play a significant role in selecting Lenin and in sending him into Russia to foment a Bolshevik revolt with a view to helping Germany win the war. He did continue to weave his conspiratorial webs after the war. He was what Wingate and Clayton believed a Jew to be: rich, subversive, and pro-German. Against this background, the trend of British Intelligence assessments in the immediate postwar years appears less irrational than would otherwise be the case.” (Page 467)
This entire passage is bizarre. Fromkin begins the passage by dismissing the claim that Jews were secretly controlling things. But right after that, he presents evidence which supports the very theory which he dismisses. It’s hard to know what Fromkin really believes. But I guarantee you one thing. Britain did not believe that Jews secretly controlled the world. Britain was blaming the Jews for their own crooked behavior.
Jews who knew opposed Zionism
The most prominent Jews in America and Britain opposed Zionism. (Page 300) Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State for India, vehemently opposed the policy. (Page 294) He argued that Zionism was a threat to his position in British society, that by making a Jewish state, British Jews like him would be less of a citizen of Britain and more of a citizen of Palestine. Montagu must have known that Britain had malicious reasons for supporting Zionism, that Britain wanted to blame the Jews for all their evil deeds, that Britain wanted to ignite a war between Jews and Arabs.
Montagu died in 1924, at the relatively young age of 45. He died about a year after the British mandate for Palestine came into effect. This was probably not a coincidence. Britain did not want their most prominent Jew to oppose Zionism. And so they executed him.
Today, the words he spoke a century ago seem prophetic. Four days after America invaded Iraq, Pat Buchanan wrote an infamous article blaming Jewish neocons for the war. (www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/whose-war/) He accused them of hijacking American foreign policy, of having a “passionate attachment” to a country not our own, of wanting to invade Iraq for the sake of Israel.
“What these neoconservatives seek is to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel,” said Buchanan.
Once again, the West was blaming Jews for their own crooked policies to destroy the Middle East. As Montagu predicted, Jews were seen not as citizens of their own country, but as citizens of Israel.
Though Israel has been a headache for Muslims ever since its inception, though the borders of Iraq and Lebanon made the country an easy target for British intelligence, when it comes to explaining the suffering of the Middle East or any other region, leadership is always at the heart of the problem.
Perhaps no country has had worse leadership than Cambodia, a former French colony in Southeast Asia.
“The humble people of Cambodia are the most wonderful in the world,” said Norodom Sihanouk. “Their great misfortune is that they always have terrible leaders who make them suffer. I am not sure that I was much better myself, but perhaps I was the least bad.”
The worst quality for any leader is greed, is valuing your own desires above the needs of your people. That was part of the problem with Sihanouk.
“His worst nightmare, he said in an interview, was to be pushed out of his country’s political life into a quiet retirement, like Vietnam’s last emperor, Bao Dai, who died in obscurity in Paris in 1997,” said the New York Times.
A decent leader would have said the suffering of his people was his worst nightmare. That obviously wasn’t the case with Sihanouk, the man who helped install the Khmer Rouge, a group of Communists who, once they seized power, killed almost a third of all the people in Cambodia.
Sihanouk had the same defects which plague leaders throughout the third world. He was infatuated with the West. He was willing to do whatever the West wanted as long as they made him rich. He was willing to sacrifice his people for himself. These are the fundamental qualities the West looks for when choosing the leaders of third world countries.
Youth is another quality they look for. Young people are long on passion and short on wisdom. The Young Turks were a textbook example of this. Enver Pasha was 31 years old when he seized power. (Page 43) An older person, someone who has spent their lives listening to the recommendations made by the West and watching the disastrous consequences, might be more skeptical before following their advice.
Rather than make King Hussein the caliph, Britain made his sons the kings of two new countries. They made Abdullah the King of Jordan. Fromkin called him “lazy and ineffective.” Lawrence of Arabia once referred to Abdullah as the ideal British agent. Abdullah was “a person who was not too powerful, and who was not an inhabitant of Trans-Jordania, but who relied upon His Majesty’s Government for the retention of his office.” (Page 505)
As the quote suggests, Britain has a habit of appointing leaders who are not indigenous to the domain which they rule. This makes them illegitimate, a foreigner in the eyes of their people who want to be ruled by one of their own, not by a foreigner. It makes the British appointed ruler weak. It makes him dependent on Britain for staying in power. And it is yet another reason for the country to remain in a state of civil war, as the indigenous population tries to oust the foreigner and install a native ruler.
Britain made Feisal, another son of Hussein, the King of Iraq. Compared to his father, he was more willing to do what Britain wanted. (Page 327) Like his brother, he was a foreigner in the country he ruled. To make matters worse, he was a Sunni. Most Iraqis were Shiites.
Iraq was not his first choice. Originally Feisal wanted to rule Syria. And he was willing to sell out the Arabs in Palestine to get his wish. He was willing to support Zionism, as long as Britain was willing to give him Syria.
“He is not interested in Palestine, but on the other hand he wants Damascus and the whole of northern Syria,” said Chaim Weizmann. “He is contemptuous of the Palestinian Arabs whom he doesn’t even regard as Arabs!”
Britain never had any intention of holding their end of the bargain. They had promised to give Syria to France in the infamous Sykes-Picot agreement. They misled Feisal into believing that they would allow him to rule Syria. But from the moment they seized Syria, Britain did everything in their power to delegitimize him. When the time came to march into Damascus, Feisal was supposed to enter the city first. (Page 336) That would make it appear as though he had liberated the city from the Ottomans. But an Australian cavalry brigade entered the city first. (Page 337) Fromkin presents this as an accident. It was not an accident. It was intentional. Britain did not want Feisal to liberate Syria. For then, as per their promise, they would have to grant Syria independence.
After taking control of Damascus, the Allies appointed a governor loyal to Feisal. The locals were outraged. In the face of this opposition, the Allies marched their troops through Damascus, ostensibly to force the people to accept their new governor. (Page 338)
“This was exactly what Allenby and Clayton had hoped to avoid: the population aroused, Christian troops defiling through the streets of a great Moslem city to restore order, and Feisal’s Arab troops—whose presence was meant to reassure local opinion—still nowhere in sight,” said Fromkin.
Fromkin is wrong. This is exactly what Britain wanted to do. They said they wanted Feisal to enter the city first. They were lying. They intentionally mishandled his entrance, in the hopes that their actions would delegitimize him, make him look like a British stooge, and thus pave the way for French rule. His impotence made him a spectator in his own country. Later on, other power centers in Syria were able to force Feisal into taking a hard-line against the British and French. That gave the French the excuse they needed. The French stormed into Damascus and sent Feisal into exile. (Page 439) Feisal never even put up a fight. Nor did the British.
After the debacle in Syria, Britain decided to put Feisal in charge of Iraq. But the Iraqis had other ideas. They wanted to make the Naqib, a prominent figure in Baghdad, the leader of their country. (Page 507) But when Sayyid Talib, a political leader in Basra, tried to have him installed, the British deported Talib. (Page 508) And they made Feisal the ruler of Iraq.
The British would not have made Feisal the King of Iraq unless they could control him. Since the British controlled Feisal, and since Feisal offered no resistance to the French when they invaded Syria, we can conclude that the British told him to allow the French to conquer Syria.
Although the British controlled him, Feisal pretended to oppose the British, to support the Iraqis in their quest for independence from British rule. But this was only a ruse.
“Political leaders agitated for independence, while British-appointed monarchs could only maintain their position by doing the same,” said Fromkin. (Page 510)
This is a common practice amongst the leaders whom the West controls. Their leaders in Africa, for example, often blame colonialism for the problems they face.
“I know lots of leaders blamed it [colonialism] for many years, which was a bit frustrating for some of us younger ones who said: how long are you going to blame it?” said Kofi Annan. “It’s the same argument that you hear in some quarters now. It’s not credible.” (www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/6ba2edc0-7c3a-11e0-a386-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2TRefXPl8)
The charge against colonialism has some truth to it. But here’s the irony. The African leaders who denounce colonialism are the very embodiment of the system they denounce.
Algeria is a good example of this. Algeria had been a colony of France for over a century. The current president of Algeria is Abdelaziz Bouteflika. In the past, he had denounced the French for their colonial rule of his country. He called it a genocide. (www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/opinion/global/france-algeria-and-the-ties-that-bind.html)
But a few months ago, Bouteflika suffered a minor stroke. Instead of going to a hospital in Algeria, he flew to France, where he was treated. After leaving the hospital, he moved into an apartment in Paris to convalesce.
“It is clear that Bouteflika’s health is not only a concern of Algerians alone,” said Robert Zaretsky, a professor at the University of Houston Honors College.
In his opinion, the hospital where Bouteflika stayed had been turned into “an annex of the French Foreign Ministry.”
For the people of Algeria, the entire episode was humiliating. The leader of their country, who was supposedly hostile to the French, in his moment of need, entrusted his life to the very people he supposedly hated.
In recent years, the French have tried to make the argument that they have modernized their relationships with their former colonies. But what happened to Bouteflika shows otherwise.
“As Bouteflika’s shadowy presence in Paris reveals, this ‘new era’ is the old era clothed in new rhetoric,” said Zaretsky.
Any attempt to alter the existing relationship between France and her former colonies in Africa has been squashed. Five years ago, Jean-Marie Bockel, the French State Secretary for Cooperation and Francophonie, proclaimed his intention “to sign the death certificate of France-Afrique.” (cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=08PARIS1568) France-Afrique is the name for the secret relationship between France and her former colonies in Africa. Under this system, leaders in Africa, who are educated in France, run corrupt governments for the benefit of themselves and France, at the expense of the people of Africa.
“In total, of $100 billion annually in aid for Africa, $30 billion evaporates,” said Bockel. “Certain countries have important petroleum resources, but their populations don’t benefit. Is it legitimate that our aid is distributed to countries that waste their own resources? We must re-examine conditionalities, to evaluate the effectiveness of our aid.”
One of his targets was Omar Bongo, the president of Gabon. An investigation showed that Bongo owned 33 properties in France, including a Paris mansion worth 18 million euros. Worried that his life of luxury might soon end, Bongo had his government retaliate against the French. They threatened to expel certain French citizens from their territory. Had they wanted to, France could have worked with other countries to force Gabon to change. Instead France surrendered. They replaced Bockel. The speed at which they surrendered to Gabon, a country whose economy is 150 times smaller, shows that France has no desire to change their existing relationship with Africa.
For France, corruption is their primary method of controlling the continent. France gives a life of luxury to the leaders of Africa who obey them. If those leaders ever dare to disobey them, France will simply expose their corruption. As you can see, corruption works for France in two ways. It buys them the allegiance of African leaders to begin with. And if those leaders ever disobey France, their corruption can be exposed and they can be be replaced.
The Mufti of Jerusalem
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem died in the spring of 1921. By law, his replacement should have been one of three candidates proposed by a Muslim electoral college. (Page 517) Instead Britain ignored the law, ignored the electoral college and selected Amin al-Husseini, a man in his twenties who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison. He violently opposed the Jews and would eventually form an alliance with Hitler. (Page 518)
The appointment of Husseini proves that Britain wanted to create a war between Muslims and Jews. For on the one hand, Britain was busy transplanting Jews to the Middle East, while on the other hand Britain appointed Arabs dedicated to fighting those Jews. The only way these two contradictory policies can be reconciled with one another is by arguing that Britain was trying to foment a war between Jews and Muslims.
The British government argued that Arabs were unable to govern themselves. (Page 144) The British were able to make this absurd argument seem somewhat believable by appointing completely unsuitable Arabs to leadership positions. For after Britain appointed those Arabs, after those Arabs screwed everything up, Britain declared that Arabs couldn’t govern themselves, that Arabs needed British guidance, when in reality it was British “guidance” which was destroying the Arab world in the first place.
Though Britain claimed they could give the Middle East a governance better than the Arabs could provide themselves, (Page 263) the results prove otherwise. The situation was much worse after the British sank their claws into the Middle East. The situation in Palestine was dire.
“Neither Jews nor Arabs have any confidence in the authorities,” said the Times of London. “The older inhabitants say that public security was far better maintained under the Turks.” (Page 516)
“Our government is worse than the old Turkish system,” said Lawrence of Arabia. “They kept fourteen thousand local conscripts embodied, and killed a yearly average of two hundred Arabs in maintaining peace. We keep ninety thousand men, with aeroplanes, armoured cars, gunboats and armoured trains. We have killed about ten thousand Arabs in this rising this summer.” (Page 497)
The war between the Jews and Arabs could never have existed without the complicity of the Palestinian Arab elite. They are the ones who made it possible for the Jews to move to Palestine. They sold their land to the Jews. While in public those Palestinian elites denounced others for selling their land to Jews, in private those same elites did exactly what they denounced. They sold their land to the Jews. (Page 522) They did the worst possible thing. They simultaneously brought the Jews into Palestine while they stirred up anger against the Jews.
After the war, all that remained of the Ottoman Empire was the millions of Turks who lived on the Anatolian Peninsula. They would inhabit a new country, a smaller country, which would bear the name of its people, Turkey. The British had to decide who would lead that country. Leaving the Young Turks in charge would not be a good idea. They would forever resent what Britain had done to their empire. Having led an empire, it seems unlikely that they could ever be happy leading a country so small in comparison. But if Britain appointed someone new, someone with a modest background, their new job as the leader of Turkey would seem like a gift from the gods. And that’s what Britain did. Britain had the sultan and the Young Turks removed. Their replacement was Mustafa Kemal.
Kemal was a general in the Ottoman military. In 1920, he led a movement to free the Anatolian peninsula from the Allied occupation. Fromkin presents his emergence as an accident, an error on the part of the British. The facts show otherwise.
After the war, the Ottoman military was disarmed, its weapons were stored in dumps. Britain allowed Kemal and his forces to seize weapons from those dumps. (Page 407) Once Kemal began his resistance movement, the British reacted in mock horror.
“Our military intelligence had never been more thoroughly unintelligent,” said Lloyd George (Page 408)
He is lying. Britain had to pretend to oppose Kemal. They could not allow anyone to know that they supported him. For if the people of Turkey knew that, they would never have accepted him as their new leader.
While the British hid their support for Kemal, when it came to the Ottoman Sultan, they did everything in their power to delegitimize him. Rather than attack Kemal, the British marched their soldiers into Constantinople and occupied the city, ostensibly in response to Kemal’s activities. (Page 428)
“An unintended effect of the Allied occupation was to destroy whatever prestige or legitimacy that remained to the Sultan’s government and to transfer it to Kemal’s regime,” said Fromkin. (Page 428)
That was not unintended. That was the entire purpose, to delegitimize the sultan, to humiliate him. While the British occupied Constantinople, they could force the sultan, who lived there, to do whatever they wanted, thus destroying his credibility.
Britain needed to dispose of the Young Turks too.
After the war, the Young Turk leaders, including Enver, fled to Germany. (Page 480) In October 1919, Enver boarded a plane headed for Russia. (Page 481) His goal was to form an alliance with the Russians against Britain. But his plane never made it to Russia. It had to land in Lithuania due to engine trouble. Enver was detained for two months as a suspected spy. After gaining his freedom, Enver tried for a second time to reach Russia. This time he was detained in Latvia. Eventually Enver did make it to Russia, but not until the summer of 1920, about a year after his original departure.
While Enver was spinning his wheels trying to get to Russia, Kemal was busy consolidating his power. Perhaps had Enver reached Moscow earlier, he could have made a comeback. The delay was not a coincidence. It was a conspiracy meant to empower Kemal and marginalize Enver.
If you had wings and could fly, if you started out in Athens and flew less than 200 miles to the east over the Aegean Sea, you would reach the west coast of modern day Turkey. There is a city located there called Izmir.
View Izmir in a larger map
But it used to be called Smyrna. Due to its close proximity to Athens, the Greeks had occupied Smyrna since ancient times. When World War I began, though the city was part of the Ottoman Empire, half of its population was Greek. (Page 393)
After the Germans surrendered, the Greeks were eager to annex Smyrna. When Kemal attacked the British near Constantinople, the Greeks offered to come to the defense of the British, as long as the British agreed to allow them to annex the lands around Smyrna. Lloyd George was overjoyed and agreed to their proposal. (Page 431) Though his military doubted the Greeks would succeed in their endeavor, Lloyd George did his best to convince the prime minister of Greece, Eleftherios Venizelos, that his military was mistaken.
In the summer of 1920, the Greeks began an assault which allowed them to take control of much of the country. But after their initial success, a monkey bit the King of Greece. The king became sick and died. (Page 432)
“It is perhaps no exaggeration to remark that a quarter of a million persons died of this monkey’s bite,” said Churchill.
Remarkably, the new king supported the Germans and opposed the Allies. (Page 128) To make matters worse, a week after the previous king died, Greece held elections. Much to everyone’s surprise, the supposedly popular Venizelos lost. The new prime minister had the same pro-German mindset as the new king.
“For anyone on the Allied side who wanted to abandon the complexities of the Asia Minor involvement, the turn-about in Greece provided the perfect occasion for doing so,” said Fromkin.
Here was yet another regime change which paved the way for a reversal in policy. The many-headed monster sprang into action. All the monster’s heads sided with Kemal, even the heads within the British government, they all sided with Kemal, except for one head - the head belonging to David Lloyd George. Italy and France switched sides. They stopped supporting Greece and started giving military equipment to Kemal. (Page 532 & 537) They encouraged him to fight the Greeks, while Lloyd George encouraged the Greeks to fight the Turks. (Page 433) The French negotiated a truce with Kemal. (Page 438) Before the agreement, France worried that Kemal might come to the aid of the Syrians, but after the agreement, the Syrians were on their own.
The Russians began providing Kemal with money and supplies (Page 430) which was ironic because Kemal hated Communism. He brutally suppressed the Turkish Communist Party. (Page 429) You would think the Russians would do everything in their power to crush Kemal. But they did the exact opposite. To justify their actions, the Russians claimed that, by helping Kemal, that would deal a heavy blow to the British. But in reality, the only people who suffered from Kemal’s actions were the Greeks.
Though Venizelos was no longer the prime minister, he still played a leading role in Greek affairs. He told Lloyd George that Greece would prevail in Turkey if Britain would support her. Lloyd George, in turn, gave him the impression that such support would be forthcoming. (Page 433)
In the spring of 1921, Lloyd George encouraged the Greeks to launch an attack against Kemal. (Page 540) The assault began soon after, but it ended in failure. (Page 543) The Greeks were in trouble. They asked Lloyd George to help them. Surely he would do so. He was, after all, the man who encouraged them to embark on their disastrous course of action in the first place. He was, after all, the man who implied that his country would come to the aid of the Greeks in their hour of need. The Greeks were, after all, the ones who came to the aid of the British when Kemal attacked them.
“Personally I am a friend of Greece, but…all my colleagues are against me,” said Lloyd George. “And I cannot be of any use to you. It is impossible, impossible.” (Page 543)
Amazingly, after refusing to help Greece, he demanded that they continue their assault against the Turks. He declared that he “would never shake hands with a Greek again who went back upon his country’s aims in Smyrna.” (Page 544)
Why anyone would want to shake the hands of David Lloyd George is beyond my comprehension.
While Lloyd George was busy trying to convince the Greeks to fight the Turks, another British official, Lord Curzon began working with other countries to reach an accommodation with Kemal. (Page 544)
With essentially all of Europe behind him, Kemal defeated the Greeks and forced their military to withdrawal from Turkey. The Greeks who inhabited Smyrna were defenceless.
“Hellenism in Asia Minor, the Greek state and the entire Greek Nation are descending now to a Hell from which no power will be able to raise them up and save them,” said the Archbishop of Smyrna. (Page 545)
More than half of Smyrna was destroyed. (Page 546) A million and a half Greeks were driven out of Turkey. (Page 546)
“Smyrna has ceased to exist,” said the Chicago Daily News. “The problem of the minorities is here solved for all time.” (Page 546)
In typical British fashion, Lloyd George and the rest of his government blamed others for their atrocious behavior. They blamed France. They blamed Italy. They blamed Russia. But most of all, they blamed America. (Page 546)
At the end of the war, Britain gave Kemal one last gift - Constantinople. The gift was provided in the same silly, theatrical, phony way the rest of the war was executed. When the Turks approached Constantinople, Britain published a communique about the impending Turkish threat. But Britain’s allies found the communique insulting. They refused to fight alongside Britain. Britain, now apparently without any allies, handed over Constantinople to Kemal. (Page 550)
The many-headed monster had dealt a crushing blow to the Greeks. Though Lloyd George and the rest of the British government had seemingly adopted contradictory policies, in reality, their policies were coordinated. Lloyd George, by supporting the Greeks, was able to convince them to attack the Turks. The rest of the British government, by not supporting the Greeks, gave Lloyd George the excuse he needed to refrain from helping them. In the end, the many-headed monster achieved its goals. Many Muslims were killed. Kemal was able to expel the Greeks from Turkey, thus cementing his position as the liberator of his country. And the British, meanwhile, didn’t have to lift a finger to achieve either of those two goals.