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Sat Dec 26, 2015, 12:29 PM Dec 2015
Back to the 1930s – Hitler, Da'esh and the West
Back to the 1930s Hitler, Da'esh and the West
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book Divide and Ruin: The Wests Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and 'austerity'. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
Published time: 24 Dec, 2015 15:40
Whilst Da'esh [Islamic State] is constantly being compared to the Nazis, the real parallel the Wests willingness to build up fascism in order to cripple Russia is often forgotten.
The recent debate in the British House of Commons on bombing Syria saw comparisons coming thick and fast. Da'esh are the fascists of our time, said Labor MP Dan Jarvis; this is the fascist war of our generation opined Sarah Wollaston; whilst Hilary Benn rounded off the debate by explaining that we are faced by fascists and what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated.
The parallels are real: the political worldview of Wahhabism the ideology of Da'esh, al-Qaeda, and Britains number one weapons buyer, Saudi Arabia does indeed have much in common with that of Hitler and Mussolini.
In essence, European fascism was an emotional response to national humiliation at the hands of the so-called Great Powers military defeat in the case of Germany, and a denial of the fruits of victory in the case of Italy. The fascists blamed this humiliation on an enemy within whose presence was corrupting the nation and sapping its strength, and who therefore must be purged before rejuvenation could take place. We are all aware of the political program that flowed from this.
Similarly, by the late 1700s, the Ottoman Empire which just a century earlier had been at the gates of Vienna was also entering a phase of decline. European military prowess was becoming virtually unassailable, and a series of defeats at the hands of Russia led many Ottoman subjects to wonder what lay behind their apparent weakness.
Muhammad ibn Al-Wahhab, a radical Sunni preacher from the Nejd desert in central Arabia gave them an answer: the Muslims were being punished for their departure from true Islam. In particular, the presence of rival sects such as Sufism and Shiism which, he argued, did not even count as Islamic at all - were weakening Muslim power. Only by eliminating them from the caliphate along with any Sunnis who disagreed - could its strength be restored.
It is this thinking that motivates the countless executions of Yazidis, Alawites, Christians and others at the hands of ibn Al-Wahhab modern-day disciples. Just like fascism, Wahhabism is a politics of strength through ethno-ideological purification.
But that is not the whole story. Neither fascism nor Da'esh drew their strength solely from the commitment of their fighters rather, the rise of both is inextricable from the Western worlds response to its own economic and geopolitical crises.
In the 1930s, fascism was viewed much more favorably by Britains ruling elites than Benns statement that this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini, would have us believe. What has Hitler done of which we can reasonably complain? asked Conservative MP CT Culverwell in 1938, a year after the Luftwaffes devastation of Guernica.
Three years earlier, Mussolini had invaded Abyssinia. Hearing of the pending invasion, Labor Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald wrote to El Duce to inform him that "England is a lady. A lady's taste is for vigorous action by the male, but she likes things done discreetly - not in public. So be tactful, and we shall have no objection. These views were not untypical; as historian J.T. Murphy has noted, "It was conspicuous that no government in the capitalist world quivered with apprehension when this new power (Fascism) arrived. The world's conservatives hailed it with glee, and there was not a Tory who, as he nodded approval of the Hitler and Mussolini method of dealing with the "labor problem", did not feel confident that in the bargain-basement of diplomacy, he could make a deal with the new anti-Bolshevik champion."
Sir Stafford Cripps, British ambassador to the USSR during World War Two, noted of the interwar years that throughout this period the major factor in European politics was the successive utilization by Great Britain... of various fascist governments to check the power and danger and the rise of communism or socialism." In particular, Hitler was seen as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, and was supported by British and US elites throughout the 1930s for this reason.
And so, too, with Da'esh. The West and its regional allies have been the cheerleaders, patrons and armorers of the Wahhabi insurgency in Syria since its very inception: not despite its sectarian nature, but because of it. A recently declassified US Defence Intelligence Agency document from 2012 revealed that the Pentagon were well aware of the nature of the forces they were supporting, noting that the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq, the forerunner of DAESH] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.
The same report predicted the establishment of a Salafist [Wahhabist] principality but noted this was exactly what the supporting powers of the opposition [defined as the West, Gulf countries and Turkey] want. Of course, none of this was revealed at the time just as Hitler received early support from the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, the Western press was still trying to convince the world that the Syrian rebels were valiant freedom fighters, fighting for democracy and equality.
Long Read Continued at.........
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