At the so-called Peace Conference held at Paris in 1919, T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) arrived with Sheik Faisal, leader of the Arabs who had acted as vital British allies in the war against Ottoman Turkey, and were promised, in return, a nation of their own. Lawrence and his friend were kept waiting for several weeks before Faisal was allowed to speak on behalf of his people and the lands they had been promised – which included Palestine [see documents in the British Arab Office archives]. Faisal was allowed only a brief time to speak, since by then the secret Sykes-Picot agreement had already divided up the major Arab territories, like Syria and Iraq, between Britain and France. Faisal left empty-handed, and Lawrence eventually committed suicide out of shame for the deceit he had, unwittingly, played a major part in perpetuating. The harsh treatment of Germany by major powers at that conference led directly to the rise of Hitler, who was persuaded by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, leading Muslim authority in Palestine, not to deport European Jews there, since it would cause a severe conflict. This led directly to the Holocaust.
In 1955, President Eisenhower in Washington was informed at an intelligence briefing that the hostility towards America displayed by the average Arab was a direct consequence of US support for tyrannical dictators in the region who effectively dashed the hopes of the masses for a semblance of democracy. Eisenhower, a decent man [see his last address on the dangers of a Military-industrial complex], was disturbed by this news, yet the CIA assured him the situation in West Asia was just as it should be. The US and UK destroyed Iran’s first democratically-elected government in the fifties, too, replacing it with a puppet Shah, whose mandate was to crush communism in any form, and in any way necessary. His Savak secret police used this excuse to eradicate all varieties of resistance, leading directly to the 1979 Revolution. Always favouring dictatorships, and craving light sweet crude oil – the finest – first the UK, then the US, backed Saudi Arabia – now the worst and most backward tyranny on earth – for its oil. No one knew, or else no one cared, that, traditionally, half the Saudi state’s income – hundreds of billions – went to the princes, while the other half went to an hereditary clergy. These clerics subscribed to what is, essentially, an Islamic heresy concocted by a self-proclaimed prophet in the 18th century named Wahhab, whose primary goals were to please the old King Ibn Saud, and to make himself Caliph of a vast Islamic state. To please the King, whose main desire then was to raid rich Persian caravans – forbidden in Islam, where a Muslim may not fight another Muslim – Wahhab declared the Shia, a sect ruling Iran, to be non-Muslims,, thus their caravans could be raided. Similarly, he banned the Sufis, Ismailis, and everything not orthodox Sunni Islam; also banning music and dancing while he was at it. In effect, he reduced the magnificence of Islam to a prison code. His descendants now rule Saudi religion with an iron hand, executing homosexuals, oppressing women, and so on; also using their share of the oil billions to establish free schools in poor countries, where their hate-filled perversion of Islam is taught, with an emphasis on Jihad as war against all infidels – an easy thing, since the Koran in Arabic is impossible to definitively understand, and all translations are merely interpretations. The Wahhabite clergy finance numerous websites which attempt to radicalize impressionable minds, often by quoting spurious apocryphal prophetic texts predicting a kind of End Time war, which will be fought in Iraq and Syria – although their strategic and tactical advice is designed for 9th century tribal war, not the 21st century variety, no matter that the countries mentioned still exist. It does not take a genius to work out that Saudi clerics, and some royalty, are behind the so-called Jihadist movement, and are funding the fantasised Islamic State, which is really just the resurrection of pseudo-prophet Wahhab’s monomaniacal dream 200 years ago. It is telling that the deranged kid, who shot a guard and tried to invade Ottawa’s Parliament, told his mother he wished to study Islam in Riyadh, where all he would learn would be the heresy of Wahhab. A serious student would aim to study at al-Ahram in Cairo, the heart of Sunni orthodoxy. To me, at least, this proves he was radicalized by Wahhabite websites, which need to be identified, traced, and shut down. The financial affairs of Saudi clerics also need to be examined, and all funds frozen. Their schools in the undeveloped world need to be monitored for inciting hatred and distorting Islam, and then, ideally, replaced by UNESCO with real schools. The Saudi tyranny also needs to be dismantled, liberating women, as well as paving the way for real democratic elections.
As the above snippets of history show, the originators of this current chaos in West Asia are the UK, France, and the US. Canada has no responsibility in the matter, which ought to be left to the three nations involved.
Since the fanciful Islamic State, or ISIS, has now, contrary to Koranic teachings, declared war against innocent civilians – some even Muslims – in the West, the only possible response is massive retaliation. Between them, the UK, France, and the US need to put a million boots on the ground, backed up by drones, Stealth Bombers, Cruise Missiles, and accurate intelligence. Attack, as we know, is the best method of defense. The ISIS leaders – not idiots in the least – need to be identified and, ideally, captured. To drive home the point, after a proper trial, I would not object to these poisonous individuals being publically guillotined in the Place de la Concorde, the video also posted on U=Tube, just to show that a liberal democracy does not mean weakness. If ISIS commanders, as is their wont, hide in public places or World Heritage sites, like Palmyra – which I know well and fear is now gone forever – Special Forces need to go in and take out only the enemy. I have seen the SAS and others in action, and know their extraordinary capabilities at such clean operations. A coalition of those three countries perpetrating this current mayhem, whether in the past or in the present, would symbolize much to the majority of Arabs who yearn only for peace. A million men on the ground would tell ISIS that their game was over.
It will mean scouring Syria, removing Assad – let the Iranians or Russians have him if they’re so fond of him – sorting rebels from ISIS interlopers, and installing a provisional government until such a time as free and fair elections are feasible. Access to the important Shia shrine, the tomb of Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, must be guaranteed for all Shia pilgrims – which is the main reason Iran is backing the sectarian Shia leader, Assad. Should the empire-hungry, and increasingly militant, Czar Putin object, he ought to told to back off, and take a salutary lesson from the military might displayed, realizing no Russian winter could save his country from a similar assault, if was provoked.
In Iraq, the situation would be different. Although the author of ISIS Apocalypse attributes the collaboration of Iraqi tribes to an al-Quaeda innovation, it is in fact a technique Saddam Hussein deployed whenever he sought mass-support, which shows that much of the ISIS insurgency there consists of skilled fighters from the old Sunni Republican Guard, which has a legitimate grievance relating to the current Shia domination over Baghdad’s parliament. Since the uninformed idiocy of US Intelligence services was responsible for creating this unthought-out mess, it behooves America to fashion a new Iraqi government in which Sunni, Shia, and others are are equally represented, and Kurdish loyalty is appropriately rewarded with a sovereign state. In the new Iraq, those all-important oil revenues must be equitably shared by all. If Iraqi Sunnis were convinced of such a bright future they would themselves rid the country of ISIS fanatics, whose whereabouts and strategies they will know well. Tribal leaders, if approached with the respect they warrant – not summoned to US HQ, as they were in 2003 – would also be of invaluable assistance. US Intelligence seems to have no understanding of tribal ways, possibly dating back to their brutal mistreatment of Native Indians after 1776?
As for Saudi Arabia, my preference would be for a UK-US invasion of liberation, ousting the royalty, and rounding up those clerics most responsible for fomenting terrorism, and, if found guilty, offered – as Saudi law rarely offers – a choice between execution or a videotaped denunciation of their own distortions of Islam, including the admission that murder and terror are nowhere endorsed in the Koran, nor are killers or suicide-bombers promised rewards in paradise. If necessary, a videotaped debate between orthodox Islamic scholars and Wahhabite clergy should be arranged, to show Muslims worldwide that they have been wantonly misled, and often by the use of spurious texts written long after the Prophet’s death, in direct contradiction to his teachings. Even the Hadith states that Mohammed’s last words were an order for his followers not to schism and to take care of women’s rights. Nowhere does he sanction a priesthood, either, so the injunctions from Imams or Ayatollahs have no validity whatsoever for any devout Muslim. It rests upon the shoulders of Saudi clerics to undo the damage they have done to a faith they profess to uphold. Such a liberation of Saudi Arabia would also need to confiscate all oil revenues to be put in escrow and then be equitably divided up amongst the people by an elected government. Furthermore, the Saudi military should be deprived of all the sophisticated aircraft and weaponry supplied by the US, thus preventing any more attacks on Shia communities in the Yemen and elsewhere, which, to date, have been carried out freely.
As opposed as I am to the two-state solution for Israel-Palestine’s eternal conflict, I think a Palestinian state is probably the only answer – but it ought to comprise parts of Jordan, Iraq, and Syria, with access to holy sites, like Hebron or Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, common to three religions, guaranteed under international law as neutral zones, with the proviso that any violence perpetrated by any member of any religion will result in all members of that faith being denied access to the site or shrine for many years. Similarly, any hostility from a new Palestinian state towards Israel would result in severe penalties, including a military purge and international embargoes. Israel must accept the same conditions, and receive funding for helping build infrastructures and agriculture – thus good relations – with the new Palestine. Any peace talks will now stall over the question of Jerusalem; this plan overcomes the problem by making all holy sites neutral, weapons-free areas, supervised by Israelis with oversight by UN peacekeepers. A glance at the map shows clearly those areas of Jordan, Iraq and Syria, largely empty now, that could easily become Palestine without threatening Israeli security.
Since the UK and France drew the map – thank you Winston Churchill – and the US solidified its irrational borders, the three nations can just as easily redraw it along more rational lines to serve new needs.
Canada, however, cannot be blamed for the Mess, and ought to have no military involvement. It is not hard to observe that most terrorist attacks are against the three imperialist culprits responsible for deceiving the Arabs or imposing military dictators in the region – as is yet again the case in Egypt, whose brief democracy displeased Washington, much as the one in Iran did sixty years ago. Dictators are so much easier to deal with: they do what they’re told, or else they’re replaced. A democracy does not jump so readily when the ringmaster cracks his whip.
ISIS has to go. The appalling attacks in Paris alone are an act of war; and wars are won by overwhelming force and grim determination. Land a million troops pledged to erase ISIS from history, and the Arab tribes will swiftly get the message. They admire enormous strength and ruthless retribution. The Hydra may have been able to grow more heads endlessly, yet ISIS will not be so endowed. The body of its leadership gone – ideally on U-tube – the many-headed networks or foreign cells will wither and die, especially when told they are violating Islamic principles rather than furthering them.
The Caliphate was an early medieval dream, and even then it did not last long – besides having no sanction in the Koran. Those whose imperial hubris caused these problems ought now to correct matters in every way, and then, having done their very best, leave these new nations to shift for themselves peacefully and through their own form of democratic processes. Canada’s ‘allies’ have only ever summoned us to help fight their wars. Americans know nothing about us, except for the igloos; and the English scorn us privately as just another colony renamed. As Pierre Trudeau often said, our real friends are the Scandinavian countries, with which we have most in common, and which stay well away from neo-imperial adventures. Justin Trudeau should take his father’s advice, and let those who broke West Asia mend it. Canadians have no wish to be a super-power, nor do we have the means. An alliance with the neighbourhood bullies only brings you more trouble when you’re caught alone. Besides, we are going to need all that money spent on machines of death to fulfill all those rash election promises for which we voted.
Sincerely with love,
Paul William Roberts