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|Topic: How Britain destroyed the Middle East|
Joined: 30 August 2013
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| Topic: How Britain destroyed the Middle East
Posted: 30 August 2013 at 5:19am
This article describes how the British stole the world's largest supply of oil, how they set the Middle East on a course of permanent misery and suffering, how they invented the myth that Jews control the world, and how they blame the Jews for their own crooked behavior.
The words “Ottomans” and “Turks” are, for the most part, used interchangeably throughout the article, as are the words “Ottoman Empire” and “Turkey.” The Turks were, after all, the ones who led the Ottoman Empire, for the most part. And after World War I, what was left of the Ottoman Empire became known as Turkey.
Throughout the article, whenever I included information from another source, I listed the source in parenthesis. Usually, the source is listed as a page number from a book. Page numbers which do not include a title are from the Kindle edition of the book “A Peace to End All Peace” by David Fromkin. Page numbers which include the title “The Prize” come from the Google Play version of the book “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power” by Daniel Yergin. Page numbers which include the title “The Young Turks in Opposition” come from the Google Play version of the book “The Young Turks in Opposition” by M. Sukru Hanioglu. Page numbers which include the title “Preparation for a Revolution” come from the Google Play version of the book “Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908” by M. Sukru Hanioglu. Kindle Locations which include the title “A Brief History” come from the Kindle edition of the book “A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire” by M. Sukru Hanioglu. References which include the phrase “The Times” come from the newspaper The Times of London. Page numbers which include the title “OSS in China” come from the book “OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War” by Maochun Yu. Page numbers which include the title “Legacy of Ashes” come from the book “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” by Tim Weiner.
As a final note, if anyone would translate this article into Arabic (or any other language) and post it all over the Internet I would be forever grateful.
A friend once asked David Fromkin to explain to him why the Middle East has, over the years, had to endure so many tragedies. The book “A Peace to End All Peace” is his answer to that question. The title of the book was derived from a quote by Field Marshal Earl Wavell, who once said, “After ‘the war to end war’ they seem to have been pretty successful in Paris at making a ‘Peace to end Peace.’”
For centuries, the Ottomans ruled the Middle East. But after “the war to end war,” otherwise known as World War I, Europe dissolved the Ottoman Empire and fundamentally reshaped the region. In his book, Fromkin argues that those changes caused the misery and suffering that now engulf the people who live there. For him, the settlement which ended the war “does not belong entirely or even mostly to the past; it is at the very heart of current wars, conflicts, and politics in the Middle East.” (Page 565) The conflict between Israel and the Arabs, the civil war in Lebanon, the hijackings, the assassinations, the massacres throughout the region, all these atrocities can all be traced back to the end of World War I, according to Fromkin. (Page 9)
The original war for oil
The event that triggered the start of World War I took place on June 28, 1914. Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated. But to understand the cause of World War I, a more important date would be August 12, 1908. On that day, Ford Motor Company finished producing their first Model T. The Model T was the world’s first affordable car. Over the next two decades, Ford would produce over 15 million of them. Those cars, and others like them, were powered by petroleum.
Britain recognized the importance of oil from very early on. They switched their Navy from coal to oil right before the war. (Page 52) Back then, although no one knew how much oil could be extracted from the Middle East, Britain suspected that the region contained large amounts of oil. (Page 141) They were right. The Middle East contains more than half of all the oil in the world.
Were Europe to allow the Ottoman Empire to survive, the Ottomans would become extremely wealthy and powerful because of all the oil buried beneath them. To prevent that from happening, Europe started the war and used it to seize their land.
Throughout the war, Britain repeatedly showed that oil was the primary motivation for every action they took. Right before the war ended, Britain ordered their forces to “occupy as large a portion of the oil-bearing regions as possible.” (Page 364) For only those regions where British troops controlled when the ceasefire took place could Britain lay claim to after the war. Once the war ended, Britain annexed Iraq, one of the most oil rich lands in the world. The Muslims who lived there began to riot. They refused to live under the thumb of the British Empire. Some Britons were exasperated by the riots and wanted their country to leave Iraq. But David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, was determined to stay.
“If we leave we may find a year or two after we departed that we have handed over to the French and Americans some of the richest oilfields in the world,” said Lloyd George. (Page 509)
Towards the beginning of 2011, a few months after the Arab Spring began, the Financial Times published an editorial called “The feeble monster.” The newspaper urged Europe to implement a common foreign policy rather than allow individual European nations to act in contradictory ways.
“Above all, [Europe] must start acting like a responsible force in world affairs, not a many-headed monster,” said the Financial Times.
Unfortunately, to some extent, the Financial Times let Europe off the hook. They never explained their analogy. They never explained how Europe is like a many-headed monster. In my opinion, each individual country of Europe is one head of the monster. The different heads act in seemingly contradictory ways. But in fact, the heads are all working together. Their actions are all coordinated by a single heart, a monster's heart, a heart that belongs to Britain.
In World War I, by secretly controlling Europe, that allowed Britain to control both sides of the conflict. You may be wondering, if Britain could control Germany and Austria, then why fight at all? Britain suffered a tremendous number of casualties during the war. About a million British soldiers died. But because of the war, Britain added a million square miles to her empire. (Page 401) Britain gained about one square mile of territory for each fatality. For Britain, that was a price worth paying, especially when that territory contained the richest supply of oil in the world.
A Trojan Horse
Whoever won the war could annex territory from the countries who lost. That meant the British, after they won the war, could annex the Middle East, they could steal the world's largest supply of oil, if they could convince the Ottomans to become their enemy, if they could convince the Ottomans to form an alliance with their opponents, Germany and Austria. At the start of the war, they had Germany win a string of impressive victories against the Russians. The victories convinced the Ottomans that Germany would win the war, that they should ally themselves with the Germans as that would allow them to annex territory from Russia after the war ended. (Page 70)
Despite those victories, however, there were many Ottomans who were leery of joining the war at all. Some, like Djavid Bey, the Minister of Finance, argued his country could not afford to go to war. The country was bankrupt. (The Rupture With Turkey by The Times 12/11/14) The Ottomans had another reason for refusing to fight. Their recent history indicated they were not very good at it.
In the preceding years, the Ottomans had suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the Europeans. In 1911, Italy declared war on the Ottomans in the hopes of extracting Libya from them, a goal which Italy achieved. In the First Balkan War, which began in 1912, the Ottomans lost nearly all of their territory in Europe. With their empire disappearing before their eyes, the Ottomans decided they had to ally themselves with one of the Great Powers in order to ensure their survival. (Page 48) They first asked Britain for an alliance, then France, they even asked Russia, their mortal enemy, the country which had been trying to destroy them for the past 150 years. (Page 66) None of those countries were willing to form an alliance with them. (Page 49) With seemingly no where else to turn, the Ottomans formed an alliance with Germany.
The information released, the documents which describe how the Germans and the Ottomans would come to embrace each other, those documents are filled with holes and inconsistencies. It is impossible, based on what I have read, to definitely describe how and when their alliance was formed. But that does not mean an examination of the evidence is not worthwhile. The evidence proves, conclusively, that the Ottomans were both pushed into the alliance by the actions of Britain and they were pulled into the alliance by the actions of the Germans themselves. Not only did Britain refuse to form an alliance with the Ottomans, Britain did everything in her power to provoke them, to push them away, into the hands of the Germans. The Germans, meanwhile, did everything they could to entice the Ottomans, to force the Ottomans to join the war on their side. The Germans and the English were two heads of the European monster, whose actions were meant to force the Ottomans into forming an alliance with Germany, an alliance which would destroy their empire.
The principal theater of the war was in Europe. It was the battle between the armies of France and Germany. (Mr. Churchill’s Book by The Times 2/9/23) To succeed against the Germans, the French needed to transport their troops from North Africa to Europe. Those troops would have to rely on the French Navy to protect them as they made their journey across the Mediterranean.
“But there was one ship in the Mediterranean which far outstripped in speed every vessel in the French Navy,” said Winston Churchill. “She was the Goeben.”
The SMS Goeben, a German battlecruiser built in 1911, was by all accounts the most advanced ship of its kind in the Mediterranean. The Allies had only three ships in the Mediterranean which could compete with the Goeben in terms of size and speed – the Indomitable, the Indefatigable, and the Inflexible.
The Indomitable and Inflexible each weighed 17,250 tons, had 41,000 horsepower, and could travel at 25 knots while the Goeben weighed 22,640 tons, had 70,000 horsepower, and could travel at 27 knots. (Goeben and Breslau by The Times 8/12/14) The Indefatigable was similar to the other two British warships, though slightly larger.
“This comparison shows that, on paper at any rate, the Goeben is the larger, better protected, faster and – as far as the lighter guns are concerned – better armed ship,” said the Times.
“It seemed that the Goeben, being free to choose any point on a front of three or four hundred miles, would easily be able to avoid the French Battle Squadrons and, brushing aside or outstripping their cruisers, break in upon the transports and sink one after another of these vessels crammed with soldiers,” said Churchill. “It occurred to me at this time that perhaps that was the task she had been sent to the Mediterranean to perform.”
Two days after the war began, the British Admiralty sent a message to their Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean.
“Your first task should be to aid the French in the transportation of their African army by covering and if possible bringing to action individual fast German ships, particularly Goeben, which may interfere with that transportation,” said the Admiralty.
“Except in combination with the French as part of a general battle do not at this stage be brought to action against superior forces.”
One would have expected the Germans to use the Goeben against the French Navy, in the manner envisioned by Churchill. But the Germans never used that strategy. Instead the Germans gave the Goeben to the Ottoman Empire. The Goeben was a Trojan Horse, a gift offered in malice, which once accepted, would lead to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.
There are several accounts of what happened to the Goeben, including three published by the Times of London. One version consists of the articles published by the Times as the events happened. (Chase of the Goeben by The Times 8/7/14) Another version was based on the recollections of a German warrant officer who served aboard the Goeben. (Flight of Goeben and Breslau by The Times 4/5/15) A third version was based on the logbook of the Goeben and the words of Admiral Souchon, the German in charge of the ship. (The Goeben’s Escape by The Times 2/14/16) And we also have the account written by Fromkin in his book.
Now let’s try to figure out what happened, based on all these sources. On August 3, Germany declared war on France. The following day, two German warships, the Goeben and the Breslau, shelled two cities in Algeria, Annaba and Skikda. Back then, Algeria was part of France and the two cities were known as Philippeville and Bone.
After the attack, a fleet of French warships began chasing after the Goeben. (Chase of the Goeben by The Times 8/7/14) As the German ships sailed away, they encountered a fleet of English warships. Neither side fired a shot as Britain and Germany had not yet declared war on each other. A few days after this encounter, the Times reported that the English fleet contained two Inflexible class battlecruisers. This information nearly matches what the German warrant officer reported. By his recollection, the the two battlecruisers were the Indefatigable and the Inflexible and they were accompanied by two additional vessels, the Gloucester and the Weymouth.
“And now our business was to clear out, as their superiority was altogether too much for us,” he said.
Though the Goeben may have been the best ship in the Mediterranean, she would’ve had a hard time defeating two British battlecruisers by herself. The other German ship, the Breslau, was much smaller. She only weighed 4,500 tons, which was lighter than even the Gloucester, which weighed 4,800 tons. The Times didn’t think much of the Breslau. While the Times referred to the Goeben as a “great battle-cruiser,” the Time denigrated the Breslau, calling her “unimportant.” (In Battle Array by The Times 8/7/14)
The British fleet followed the Goeben throughout the day. But the Goeben was faster and managed to outrun them. At the end of the day, Britain declared war on Germany.
On August 5, the German ships sailed into Messina Straits, a narrow strip of water located between Sicily and the Italian Peninsula. The Allied warships could not attack them inside the straits, as the straits belonged to Italy and Italy was neutral. Nor could the German ships seek refuge inside Italian waters forever. To maintain her neutrality, Italy was required to either disarm the German ships or force them to leave within 24 hours of their arrival. (Italy’s Decision by The Times 8/7/14) The Germans loaded as much coal as they could, knowing that they had to leave the straits before the deadline.
According to a Times article published on the 7th, there was an English Fleet waiting for them at the south side of the straits and a French squadron guarding the north side. (Chase of the Goeben by The Times 8/7/14) The German ships, it seemed, were now facing imminent destruction.
“There will be much gratification at the news that the two vessels have at last been cornered,” said the Times.
“The German vessels must now be disarmed or come out and fight. In any case they can hardly be a menace to the commerce and coast towns of the Mediterranean much longer.”
The following day the Times reported that, on August 6 at 5 PM, the Goeben and the Breslau left the southern entrance of Messina. (The Goeben Chase by The Times 8/8/14) By all accounts except one, the Goeben managed to leave Messina without having to engage the British fleet. (The Fleets At Sea by The Times 8/8/14) The one exception was the account written by the German warrant officer, who claimed the Goeben and Breslau had to fight their way out. According to Admiral Souchon, instead of placing their ships at the southern entrance of Messina, the British placed them in the Straits of Otranto.
“The English should have waited before the Straits of Messina and nowhere else,” said Souchon. “But so confident were they that the Goeben and Breslau must try and break through to the Adriatic in order to reach an Austrian port that they thought it safe to wait in the Straits of Otranto.”
Fromkin agrees that the British blocked the entrance to the Adriatic, though in addition, he claims they placed their vessels west of Sicily to prevent the Germans from interfering with the French transports. (Page 63) Curiously, he also cites the following quote.
“Who but an Admiral would not have put a battle-cruiser at both ends of the Messina Straits, instead of putting two at one end and none at the other?” said the British Prime Minister’s daughter. (Page 63)
The quote appears to contradict Fromkin. It implies the British blocked the north side of the straits but not the south whereas Fromkin implies they really didn’t block either side of the straits.
After leaving Messina, the German warships sailed to the Dardanelles, which was their plan all along. The Dardanelles is a narrow strip of water, controlled by the Ottomans, which separates Europe from Asia. Once the ships arrived at the straits, the Ottomans faced a dilemma. They wanted to remain neutral. But they had signed several treaties which prohibited them from allowing foreign warships to pass through the Dardanelles. (The Goeben and the Dardanelles by The Times 8/14/14) If they allowed the ships to enter the straits, they were required to disarm them.
The Ottomans did not allow the ships to pass through the straits. Nor did they disarm them or refuse them entry. Instead they bought the Goeben and Breslau. The Times argued that the sale was illegal, that the ships were trying to evade capture, that the Ottoman Empire, as a neutral country, could not buy the ships under those circumstances. The sale saved the ships. Had the Ottomans forced them to sail back into the Mediterranean they would have faced a vastly superior Allied fleet.
Nevertheless, the Allies indicated they would accept the sale as long as the German officers and crew were removed from the ships. (Goeben as a Turkish Cruiser by The Times 8/15/14) The Ottomans assured the Allies they would meet their demands. (Turkey’s Naval Coup by The Times 8/13/14) But they were lying. Their sailors did not know how to operate the German warships. Only the Germans knew how, which meant the Ottomans had to keep the German crew in order to operate the ships. (Page 65)
The Ottoman government declared they bought the ships to ensure their fleet would be as strong as the Greek fleet. (Purchase of the Goeben by The Times 8/16/14)
“Greece has just added to her naval forces two battleships which were ceded to her by the United States,” said Rifaat Pasha, the Ottoman Ambassador to France. “The Balkan equilibrium was upset.”
“We know by the experience of the last Balkan war how fatal is naval inferiority and that the war might have taken another turn if we had been stronger on the sea.”
To further bolster his case for buying the ships, the ambassador noted that, as the war started, Britain was building two battleships for the Ottomans - the Reshadieh and the Sultan Osman I. (Page 54) Although the Ottomans had already paid for the ships, Winston Churchill, then the First Lord of the Admiralty, decided that his navy needed the ships for the war and so he expropriated them, an act which for the Ottomans “was a cruel disappointment,” according to their ambassador. Britain told the Ottomans they would be compensated. That was a lie. The British never compensated the Ottomans. (www.canakkale.gen.tr/eng/
Not only could the Goeben help the Ottomans against the Greeks, the Goeben could also help them against the Russians, who “had no vessels in the Black Sea comparable to the Goeben as regards age and power, and her battleships in commission, though powerful enough, are handicapped by the speed of the German battle cruiser, which could literally steam round any one of them,” according to the Times. (The Fleets At Sea by The Times 9/9/14)
Despite their claims to the contrary, the Ottomans never paid the Germans for the ships. Instead the money flowed in the opposite direction. Less than a month after the Germans handed over the Goeben, they delivered sixty boxes of gold to the Ottomans. (The Goeben’s Crew by The Times 9/5/14) The Ottomans had said they would join the war if Germany gave them two million Turkish pounds. (Page 71) But after receiving the payment, they changed their minds and decided to maintain their neutrality.
The Germans were desperate. They made every promise they could think of, made every argument, plausible or not, all in the hopes of convincing the Ottomans to join the war on their side.
“German success in the European war was said to be assured,” said Louis Mallet, the former British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. “The perpetual menace to Turkey from Russia might, it was suggested, be averted by a timely alliance with Germany and Austria. Egypt might be recovered for the Empire. India and other Moslem countries represented as groaning under Christian rule might be kindled into a flame of infinite possibilities for the Caliphate of Constantinople. Turkey would emerge from the war the one great Power of the East, even as Germany would be the one great Power of the West. Such was the substance of German misrepresentations.” (The Rupture With Turkey by The Times 12/11/14)
But despite the gifts, despite the promises, much of the Ottoman government still opposed going to war with the Allies. Unfortunately for them, after the Goeben and Breslau arrived, their voices of opposition grew weaker and weaker whereas the voices calling for war grew stronger and stronger, in part because the German warships were not empty. They were filled with German soldiers who had their own agenda.
“Not only did these ships remain under effective German control, but a strong German element was imported into the remainder of the fleet,” said Mallet.
“Large numbers of Germans were imported from Germany as unostentatiously as possible, to be employed in the forts of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus and at other crucial points.”
Another provocation from Churchill
While the Germans were exerting the greatest effort, pulling the Ottomans towards them, into the abyss, the British were pushing them in the same direction, closer and closer to the Germans. At the end of September, in accordance with the orders given to them by Churchill, the British navy prevented an Ottoman torpedo boat from leaving the Dardanelles after they discovered the boat contained German sailors. Enraged by what the British had done, the Ottomans sealed off the Dardanelles in retaliation. (Page 67)
“Once again the Ottoman authorities were violating their obligations under international law, and once again they appeared to have been provoked to do so by the actions of Winston Churchill,” said Fromkin.
The closure of the Dardanelles was a devastating blow for Russia who sent half of her exports through there. (Page 67)
Entry into War
On October 29, the Goeben and Breslau shelled Odessa, a Russian city located on the northern shore of the Black Sea. (Flight of Goeben and Breslau by The Times 4/5/15) Mallet blamed the Germans for the attack. (The Rupture With Turkey by The Times 12/11/14)
“Events have confirmed … that so long as the German admiral and crews remained on board the German warships, the German Government were masters of the situation, and were in a position to force the hand of the Turkish Government if at any given moment it suited them to do so,” he said.
After the attack, he met with the Grand Vizier.
“His Highness convinced me of his sincerity in disclaiming all knowledge of or participation in the events which had led to the rupture, and entreated me to believe that the situation was even now not irretrievable,” said the ambassador. “I replied that the time had passed for assurances.”
The British demanded the Ottomans expel the German mission or else there would be war.
“The Grand Vizier again protested that even now he could undo what the War party had done without his knowledge or consent,” said the ambassador.
Later that evening, the Turkish Council held a meeting in which the Grand Vizier asked the members to support his efforts to avoid a war against the Allies. The ministers voted in favor of peace, though no one put forth a motion to remove the German mission.
Two days after the attack, on October 31, Winston Churchill ordered his navy to begin hostilities against the Ottomans immediately. (Page 72) Churchill had finally succeeded in dragging the Ottomans into the war. This was the outcome Churchill wanted. If you don't believe me, consider his words. After the Ottomans joined the war, he openly argued that having the Ottomans as an adversary had its advantages, as that would allow Britain to chop up and consume their empire after the war. (Page 74)
The importance of the Goeben
“No two warships have had such an important effect upon the war as the Goeben and the Breslau. They will always be remembered in naval history.”
– The Times, from The Goeben and the Breslau, 1/22/18
The escape of the Goeben was the critical event which directly led to the Ottomans joining the war on the side of Germany. For the Ottomans, the Goeben was “a pledge and proof of Germany’s power.” (Goeben Visited by The Times 11/15/18) The Ottoman public “believed she was invincible.” (The Goeben and the Breslau by The Times 1/22/18) Her acquisition enormously strengthened those who wanted to join the war on the side of the Germans against those who wanted to remain neutral. (The Turk Old And New by The Times 1/16/23) The German commitment to the Ottomans seemed real, seemed substantial. The Ottomans were compelled to reciprocate.
“The arrival of the Goeben in the Dardanelles gave the war party in Turkey the upper hand, and thus led to the Turkish declaration of war,” said the Times. (Looking Things in the Face by The Times 11/23/14)
“From the moment she reached Constantinople Turkey moved steadily towards a rupture with the Allies.” (The Goeben and the Breslau by The Times 1/22/18)
Edwin Montagu, the British Secretary of State for India, believed as I believe, that the Ottomans were driven into war by the actions of both Germany and Britain. (The Near East by The Times 10/14/22)
“Turkey had entered the war against us, partly as the result of errors in British diplomacy which need not now be discussed, partly as the result of successful German efforts, partly as a direct consequence of the escape of the Goeben,” said Montagu.
An intentional mistake
“Very rarely in war has a single error had more far-reaching consequences.”
– The Times on the escape of the Goeben
The Goeben and the Breslau 1/22/18
The British Navy should have been able to sink the Goeben before she reached the Dardanelles. John Fisher, the First Sea Lord of the British Navy at the start of the war, said the Goeben “escaped because the British battle-cruisers that were in the Mediterranean were not used.” (Lord Fisher on the Navy by The Times 9/9/19) Later in the war, another British battlecruiser of the same type, the Invincible, sunk the the sister ships of the Goeben and Breslau which proves, in his mind, that his battlecruisers in the Mediterranean would have been able to sink the Goeben and Breslau, as those ships were the same as the Invincible.
The Germans too believed the British could have destroyed the Goeben if they wanted to. A few days after the Goeben escaped, the German Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, wrote, “After thorough consideration I regard it as probable that England is holding back so as to prevent any decision which would lead to the prolongation of the war.” (German Navy In the War by The Times 6/21/20)
This was the only way he could explain the escape of the Goeben. Were this explanation untrue, then the escape was, from his perspective, a “gigantic mistake of the British Admiralty.”
From the moment she arrived in Messina, the Allies had 24 hours to mass a fleet of ships on both sides of the straits to sink the Goeben upon her departure. Instead, by most accounts, when the Goeben finally left Messina, she faced no opposition whatsoever.
Instead of blocking the south entrance, the British stationed their fleet in the Adriatic Sea. This makes no sense. Even if you believe the Goeben was headed for the Adriatic, once she realized a British fleet was waiting for her there, she would chart another course, as going to the Adriatic would mean her certain destruction.
Though there was little to prevent the Goeben from leaving Messina, after the Goeben entered the Dardanelles, there was an overwhelming force outside the straits to prevent her escape. One wonders where these ships were when the Goeben left Messina. One wonders why the Allies were willing to let the Goeben leave Messina, but not the Dardanelles. Their actions indicate they wanted the Goeben to reach the Dardanelles, but not be able to leave. Their actions indicate they wanted to put the Ottomans in a bind. The Ottomans could not allow the Goeben to sail through the Dardanelles. That would have violated their treaty obligations. Nor could the Ottomans deny the Goeben entry, for then she would have faced certain destruction. The Germans would have been enraged and would have ended their relationship with the Ottomans. The Ottomans would have been completely isolated from all the major powers of Europe. Their only option was to buy the Goeben, an action, which though illegal, the Allies indicated they would accept because they wanted the Germans to expand their influence amongst the Ottomans. They wanted the Germans to take control of the Ottomans. The Goeben was a Trojan Horse, a gift offered in malice, which once accepted, would lead to the destruction of the Ottoman Empire.
Sergey Sazonov, the Russian foreign minister, argued the Ottoman entry into the war was “the result of German treachery towards the Ottoman Empire, which invited German instructors and the mission of General Liman von Sanders, hoping to perfect its army with the object of assuring its independence against the Russian danger insinuated by Berlin. Germany, however, took advantage of this penetration into the Turkish Army to make that army a weapon in realizing her political plans.” (Indictment of Germany by The Times 2/11/15)
“All the acts of the Turks since the appearance of the Goeben in the Dardanelles had been committed under the pressure of Germany,” he said.
The British Admiralty court-martialed two of their admirals for allowing the Goeben to escape. One of those admirals was Ernest Troubridge, the man who led the First Cruiser Squadron. The proceeding was closed to the public and the press. He was honourably acquitted. (Admiral Troubridge Acquitted by The Times 11/13/14) The court-martial ruled that the Goeben “was a superior force to the First Cruiser Squadron.” (The Escape of the Goeben by The Times 4/16/19) As he was ordered not to engage a superior force, the Admiralty judged his decision to allow the Goeben to pass by was the right one. It is important to note that the warships included in his squadron were all smaller than the Goeben. It included none of the three battlecruisers which were capable of sinking her.
The other admiral who was court-martialed was Archibald Berkeley Milne, the man who led the British Navy in the Mediterranean. The Admiralty exonerated him too. They declared “that the general dispositions and measures taken by him were fully approved.” (Sir B. Milne and the Nore by The Times 2/20/19)
The Times was incredulous that both men were acquitted. They demanded an explanation.
“The nation should be told quite frankly how these two blameless Admirals came to let the Goeben escape, and thus set in motion a series of events of great importance, the end of which no man can forsee,” said the Times. (Looking Things in the Face by The Times 11/23/14)
When it came to the Goeben and Breslau, the Times detected a cover-up, a plot to conceal the truth from the public.
“The story of their escape from Messina represents one of the greatest of our blunders,” said the Times. “It is also the first of a long series of unfortunate episodes about which the public have been told that no one was to blame, while the suppression of the facts has prevented any opportunity of forming an independent judgment. A blunder, a pail of whitewash, and rigid secrecy-these are the three main factors in the Goeben case.” (The Goeben and the Breslau by The Times 1/22/18)
A few months after the escape, Churchill declared that, at the present time, all the information related to their escape could not be released without prejudice to vital interests, and that a partial explanation of their escape would have no value. (The Goeben and Breslau by The Times 11/27/14)
Carlyon Bellairs, a British Conservative Parliamentarian, who had access to the finding from the Troubridge court-martial, said the Admiralty was concealing the finding because they wanted to cover up the bad arrangements they made at the start of the war. In response to the allegation, Walter Long, the First Lord of the Admiralty, made the following reply.
“The action of the Board at the time in regard to the Court-martial on Admiral Troubridge was taken in what they believed to be the highest interests of the State,” he said.
“To publish the report or anything like it without also publishing a great deal more that was not at present available for publication would be to run the gravest risk of doing injury to gallant men who ought not to be injured and would not be injured if the other vital information were made known.”
The facts would be released to the public at the right time, he insisted, which begs the question, what time is the right time? Apparently, not two and a half decades after the war, in 1933, when someone asked the British government if they would publish the proceedings of the Troubridge court-martial.
“The full proceedings of the Court-martial are much too voluminous for publication, and a large part of them is confidential,” was the reply given. (House of Commons by The Times 3/23/33)
Nor was the right time in 1966, nearly sixty years after the war. The Troubridge court-martial proceedings, the documents about the inquiry into the escape of the Goeben, those documents were still closed to the public. The British government decided that they should remain classified for 100 years. (Access To Documents by The Times 1/6/66) Next year is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. It will be very interesting to see if the British government declassifies the documents, and if they do, if they release the actual documents, or if they release forgeries.
As neither Milne nor Troubridge were punished for allowing the Goeben to escape, we can conclude that they were adhering to the wishes of the British Admiralty. But by all accounts, they did allow the Goeben to escape, which means that the British Admiralty wanted the Goeben to escape. The British are telling the truth when they say that releasing all the facts would prejudice their vital interests. The facts would prove to the world that Britain allowed the Goeben to escape so that she could destroy the Ottoman Empire.
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Where were the French?
Many have questioned the conduct of the British Navy for allowing the Goeben to escape. Much less attention has been directed towards the French Navy, which seems odd. The Goeben was the biggest threat to the transportation of French soldiers across the Mediterranean. One would think France would have been determined to sink her.
The Times mentioned the French had their fleet stationed at the north end of Messina, which makes sense. From that position, they could prevent the Goeben from returning to Algeria, from interfering with their transportation operations. And after dealing with the Goeben, the ships could have returned to Algeria faster than had they been stationed on the south side, which would have forced them to sail a longer distance.
Two years after the incident, out of the clear blue sky, Ronald McNeill, a British Conservative Parliamentarian, asked the foreign secretary if he had any official information which indicated that a French Admiral notified the British government that he was pursuing the Goeben, that he intended to sink her before she reached the Dardanelles. But before he could do so, the French government ordered him to stop his pursuit based on a request from the British government. (House of Commons by The Times 1/21/16) The foreign secretary denied that such information existed. However, in my opinion, it is the most likely explanation for why, when the Goeben emerged from Messina, the French were nowhere to be seen.
The Ottomans should have known better
We know, in retrospect, that for the Ottomans, their alliance with Germany was a Faustian bargain. The alliance led to the destruction of their empire. One might be tempted to excuse the Ottoman leadership, to argue that they simply could not have refused the Germans, to argue that they had no idea, at the time, how badly things would go for them in the future. A thorough examination of the facts, however, indicates the Ottomans should have known the Germans did not have their best interests at heart.
The Ottomans should’ve had this epiphany when the Goeben shelled Odessa. That was not how the Ottomans should have joined the war. The bombardment made the Ottomans look like the aggressors. If the Ottomans wanted to join the war, they should have made it look like the Russians were the aggressors. That would not have been difficult.
By the end of October, the British and the Russians had declared that the sale of the Goeben was not valid, that they would attack the Goeben if she entered the Black Sea. (Goeben and Breslau by The Times 10/27/14) To make the Allies look like the aggressors then, the Ottomans could have ordered the Goeben sail into the Black Sea and wait for her to be attacked. Or the Ottomans could have sent the Goeben into the Black Sea, had her sink an Allied warship, and declare that she was acting in self defense. In fact this second option was, according to Fromkin, the plan the Ottomans ordered the Germans to implement. Two Ottoman leaders, Enver Pasha and Djemal Pasha, secretly ordered the Germans to move the Goeben and Breslau to the Black Sea, have her attack Russian warships, and claim that the Russians attacked them first. (Page 72) But the Germans ignored these orders and instead fired on the Russian coast. In doing so, they prevented the Ottomans from credibly arguing that they were acting in self defense. When the Ottomans found out what the Germans had done, they ordered the ships to stop firing and sent the Russians an apology.
After this incident, the Ottomans should have known that the Germans had little concern for their fate, or even for the fate of the German Empire. The Germans attacked Odessa because they wanted the Ottomans to look like the aggressors. They gave the Allies a justification for carving up the Ottoman Empire after the war.
The narrative for the start of the war could have been: the Allies steals two battlecruisers from the Ottomans and then fire on the two warships the Ottomans got from Germany to compensate for the ships Britain stole. Instead the narrative is: the Ottomans fired on the Russian coast for no apparent reason.
The incident shows that the Germans were controlled by the British. Their actions discredited the Ottomans in the eyes of the rest of the world. The Ottomans were supposed to be their allies. It makes no sense to discredit your allies. It does make sense to discredit your enemies, which is what the Germans did. If the Germans were the enemies of the Ottomans, that means, in reality, they were on the same side as the British. The incident also showed that the Ottoman leadership were controlled by the British. Once the Goeben fired on Odessa, the Ottomans should have realized that the Germans never really gave them the Goeben. They should have realized that the Germans were trying to discredit them. They should have expelled the German mission as requested. But they didn't, which means they too were controlled by Britain.
The Young Turks
The rapid advances made by Europe during the Industrial Revolution had, by the late 19th century, left the Ottomans in a precarious position. They were far behind their European competitors. They were in danger of losing their empire, of being swallowed up by Europe. The Ottomans realized they needed to learn how to modernize their country from the Europeans. They sent their students to Paris to study. (Page 6 of The Young Turks in Opposition) The Ottomans wanted their students to learn how to reproduce European technologies and nothing more. But the French taught them something else. Once in Paris, some of the students formed oppositions groups dedicated to overthrowing the Ottoman government. The most prominent of these groups was the Young Turks, otherwise known as the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). In 1908, they managed to seize power and overthrow the Ottoman sultan.
It is ironic, and perhaps not even a coincidence, that the Young Turks executed their revolution in 1908, the same year in which Ford produced its first Model T. Perhaps Britain knew how revolutionary that car was, knew that the Middle East had an ocean of oil buried beneath it, and forced the Young Turks into action, knowing that the Young Turks would destroy what they vowed to save.
William Morton Fullerton, an American journalist in Paris who had watched the Young Turks for a decade prior to the revolution, predicted that they would “wreck their country” in three years time after assuming power. (Page 24 of Preparation for a Revolution) The Young Turks did indeed destroy their country, though it took them a bit longer than Fullerton thought.
The Europeans, both the French and the British, provided shelter for the Young Turks during their time in opposition. The British allowed the Young Turks to live in London. At one point, the Young Turks had their headquarters there. (Page 146 of The Young Turks in Opposition) During this period, the British press provided them with favorable coverage. Britain also allowed the Young Turks to live in countries which they controlled, including Egypt and Cyprus. (Page 99 and 106 of The Young Turks in Opposition) In the case of Cyprus, the British even encouraged the Young Turks to become active there.
The sultan asked the British to crack down on the Young Turks in Egypt, but the British refused, arguing, apparently with a straight face, that they could not interfere in the domestic affairs of Egypt, a country which they controlled. (Page 80 of The Young Turks in Opposition)
The Young Turks were not a monolithic movement. They had a diversity of opinion which, for the most part, was divided into two groups - those who wanted Europe to intervene in Ottoman affairs and those who did not.
The group that supported European intervention wanted Europe to help them overthrow the Ottoman sultan. The interventionists took a more accommodating view towards the ethnic minorities who inhabited the Ottoman Empire.
The interventionists often conspired with the British government to overthrow the sultan. (Page 60 of The Young Turks in Opposition) However, although the British were willing to talk to the Young Turks about staging a coup, when it came time to act, the British were never willing to follow through. (Page 125 of Preparation for a Revolution)
Privately, the British had a condescending attitude towards the Young Turks, in particular towards Murad Bey, one of the movement’s leaders.
“Mourad is an impecunious scamp,” said Lord Cromer. “I dare to say that he will do what I tell him.” (Page 80 of The Young Turks in Opposition)
For the British, the interventionists were nothing more than a tool which they used to pressure the sultan.
“Using the Young Turks as a wild card in order to obtain concessions from the sultan was a more common form of political pressure,” said M. Sukri Hanioglu. (Page 22 of Preparation for a Revolution)
Whenever the British wanted something from the sultan, they would pretend to support the interventionists and their efforts to stage a coup. The British hoped that this routine would scare the sultan into giving them whatever they wanted. But regardless of how the sultan responded, in the end, the British would never support a coup led by the interventionists. Over time, the interventionists lost credibility. The Young Turks who opposed European intervention took over the movement.
One would think that Britain would have supported the interventionists, as the interventionists admired Britain and wanted to work with them. But they didn't. Instead they allowed the anti-British faction to seize power. The British view of the Young Turks was similar to the way Colin Powell viewed invading Iraq.
When America was thinking about invading Iraq, Colin Powell recommended against it, arguing that if America broke Iraq, America would have to fix it. Britain thought the same thing about the Ottoman Empire. If Britain decided to overthrow the sultan, the world would expect Britain to fix the Ottoman Empire. But Britain did not want to fix the Ottoman Empire. Britain wanted to destroy and partition the empire, to annex the parts of the empire that contained oil. In order to do so, Britain needed Ottoman rulers who hated Britain. If the empire was ruled by people who loved Britain, they would never go to war with Britain. Then the only way to destroy the empire would be to unilaterally declare war against the Ottomans, an act which would be perceived by the rest of the world as evil and unjustified.
Though the Young Turks were foolish for going to war with Europe, their opinions about Europe, about how Europe was evil, about how Europe was trying to destroy their country, those opinions were completely justified. They accused Britain of “provoking and prodding” the Armenians, Bulgarians, and Arabs into revolting against the Ottoman government. (Page 178 of Preparation for a Revolution)
“The provinces of Salonica, Ioannina, Edirne, and Monastir have been filled with foreign schools and Catholic and Slavic churches,” said the Young Turks. “These schools are not content with teaching arts and sciences, they also teach Christian children that they should strive hard to separate themselves from the Turks, and work for the extinction of the Ottoman government.” (Page 43 of Preparation for a Revolution)
Using minority groups to destabilize other countries is the job of the British external intelligence agency. When most people think of British intelligence, they think of James Bond and the organization he belongs to, MI6. Although many people refer to the British external intelligence agency as MI6, its official name is the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS).
Until recently, I never knew that the phrase “secret intelligence” refers to a specific category of intelligence activities. I learned its definition after reading a book about an offspring of British intelligence - the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). The book is called OSS in China: Prelude to Cold War.
In December 1940, fifteen months after Britain entered World War II and a year before America joined the war, the British government paid William Donovan, an American, to take a tour of the Mediterranean. Accompanying him was William Stephenson, the chief of British intelligence for the Western Hemisphere.
While on this trip, Donovan decided that America needed to centralize its intelligence operations, that America needed to create a new agency which would control the country’s intelligence apparatus. Roosevelt accepted this proposal and put Donovan in charge of the new organization. Originally the agency was called the Coordinator of Information. It was later renamed the Office of Strategic Services.
OSS was essentially an arm of British intelligence. British officials trained all the OSS agents, first at a British training camp in Ontario called Camp X, later at training camps in Virginia and Maryland. (Page 19 of OSS in China) Britain knew the identities of virtually every OSS agent. The converse was not true, however, as OSS knew little about British secret intelligence activities. A few months before the end of the war, a U.S. military officer, Colonel Richard Park Jr., wrote a blistering report about OSS. (chroniclesoftheendofhistory.
“O.S.S. is hopelessly compromised to foreign governments, particularly the British," said Colonel Park. “Further questioning of British intelligence authorities will evince nothing but praise because the O.S.S. is like putty in their hands and they would be reluctant to forfeit a good tool.”
Like its British counterpart, secret intelligence was one of the duties of OSS, as was special operations. While reading the book OSS in China, I kept wondering what was involved in secret intelligence and special operations. The author kept using those terms but he never defined them. I tried to find a definition for these terms on the Internet but I couldn’t find a satisfactory answer there either. I eventually found a definition for those terms in Appendix III of the Park report. That appendix contains an outline of the activities performed by OSS. Section 1 and 2 of the outline list the activities that fall under the categories of secret intelligence and secret operations. I assume secret operations is the same thing as special operations. The following is a copy of sections 1 and 2 of the outline:
Liaison with undergrounds, minority groups, and subversive groups in various countries throughout the world.
Interception (radio, telegraph, telephone, etc.).
Dark chamber (cryptanalysis).
After reading this outline, I came to the conclusion that I had a hard time finding a proper definition for these terms because the government does not want the public to know what these terms mean. The government, I presume, rarely if ever has defined those terms publicly. That is why it is hard to find an accurate definition for those terms on the Internet. Why the government was willing to declassify this document is something of a mystery to me.
From section 1a and section 2, we can deduce that secret intelligence and special operations involves using subversive groups, including minorities, to destabilize other governments. For the Ottoman Empire, the most infamous case of Europe using minority groups to destabilize their country involved the Armenians.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Armenians began revolting against the Ottoman government. In 1895, they escalated their attacks, hoping the violence would cause Europe to intervene. (Kindle Locations 3275-3276 from A Brief History)
Britain denounced the Ottomans for suppressing the revolts. They used the revolts as a pretext to to turn against the Ottomans.
“[British] sympathies with Turkey have completely changed and she would never again make great sacrifices for a government which she so thoroughly distrusts,” said the Marquis of Salisbury. (Kindle Locations 3278-3279 from A Brief History)
The Young Turks knew what Britain was doing and they hated them for it.
“Wherever a shameful act or outbreak of disorder occurs in the Ottoman dominions, [the European statesmen] immediately put all the blame on the Turks and their religious fanaticism, thereby intervening in our domestic affairs on the pretext of safeguarding the Christians-as if the non-Christians were not human beings!” exclaimed Ahmed Riza, a prominent Young Turk. “They bombard towns with the cry of ‘Turks are not capable of progress and reform, and the Ottoman state cannot be put into any kind of order,’ and attempt to turn European public opinion against us.” (Page 301 of Preparation for a Revolution)
In many cases, after a revolt broke out in the Ottoman Empire, the Europeans used the revolt as a pretext to intervene, ostensibly to fix the problem, in reality to destroy the Ottoman Empire.
“Whenever the Great Powers intervened in our domestic affairs they concluded their intervention by separating an element [of the empire] from us, or obtained new privileges for profiteers and missionaries; to sum up, they always diminished the strength of the Turk,” said the Young Turks. (Page 32 of Preparation for a Revolution)
This was why they opposed European intervention. Were Europe allowed to intervene again, they suspected that Europe would chop off a part of their empire.
“If Europe came to rescue us by accepting our invitation she would at first try to separate the Armenians and Macedonians from us,” they said. (Page 32 of Preparation for a Revolution)
By the way, after World War II, OSS would undergo several name changes. After the last name change, the organization became known as the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Young Turks were nationalists. They believed the Turkish people should enjoy a dominant, elevated position above the other ethnicities of the Ottoman Empire. (Page 171 of Preparation for a Revolution) They argued that their language, Turkish, “was the most superior and advanced Oriental language.” (Page 66 of Preparation for a Revolution) They often looked down on the other races of the empire.
“Why should we bow before these Armenians, who make us a laughingstock though we never deserve it?” said the Young Turks. “The fortunes that they have made, the arts that they have mastered all arise from the fact that they have lived at our expense.” (Page 67 of Preparation for a Revolution)
The Young Turks took a hard-line on the issue of autonomy. They argued that granting others autonomy would lead to their secession.
“To give a little bit of power and credit to the separatists encourages them to detach themselves completely,” said the Young Turks. (Page 291 of Preparation for a Revolution)
Their opposition to autonomy, their hard-line views on Turkish nationalism alienated the ethnic minorities and prevented the Young Turks from forming alliances with them. (Page 179 of Preparation for a Revolution)
The Young Turks were positivists. Positivists believe that scientific truth is the only truth, that religious beliefs are invalid. This ideology was inconsistent with the views of the Ottoman people, many of whom were Muslims. Despite their beliefs, the Young Turks often spoke in religious, Islamic terms in the hope that such rhetoric would boost their popularity. They saw Islam as a tool which they could use to unite the world’s Muslims. Such a unification would be a powerful force which they could use against Europe.
“The Europe Christian governments are very much afraid of even the term ‘Union of Muslims,’ said the Young Turks. “Our enemies’ fear is convincing proof of the necessity of a union for the Muslims.” (Page 157 of Preparation for a Revolution)
Unfortunately for them, it was not a secret that they were positivists. Their opponents labeled them as such in order to discredit them.
“This hostile propaganda was very damaging to the CUP,” said M. Sukri Hanioglu. (Page 305 of Preparation for a Revolution)
The three pillars of Young Turk ideology - nationalism, anti-imperialism, and positivism - rather than forming the foundation which allowed the Young Turks to rule the empire, formed the foundation which Europe used to destroy it. Positivism alienated the empire’s Muslims. Nationalism turned the minorities against the Young Turks. Anti-imperialism led the Young Turks to fight against the Europeans instead of trying to reach an accommodation with them.
The Young Turks got each of these pillars from Europe. Yusuf Akcura, a Turkish nationalist who was involved in the movement, was heavily influenced by Albert Sorel and Emile Boutmy, two of his professors at Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, one of the most prestigious universities in France. (Page 293 of Preparation for a Revolution)
The Europeans taught the three pillars to the Young Turks knowing full well that such an ideology would destroy the Ottoman Empire. With such a ridiculous ideology, the Young Turks could not seize power unless they had help. The help came in the form of the humiliations imposed on the sultan by the Europeans.
“The Muslim elite, extremely disheartened by the Ottoman government’s inability to thwart foreign intervention, viewed the Young Turk movement as a last chance to save itself from Greek domination,” said M. Sukri Hanioglu. (Page 152 of Preparation for a Revolution)
By humiliating the sultan, the Europeans were paving the way for the Young Turks to seize power.
In 1903, a group of ethnic Bulgarians launched an insurrection against the Ottoman government in Macedonia. The Murzsteg program, a series of reforms concocted by Europe, was implemented in reaction to the violence, but it failed to resolve the problem. Instead the program created an enormous amount of resentment amongst the Muslim population. (Page 208 of Preparation for a Revolution) To protect themselves against the insurgents, the local Muslims formed groups of vigilantes.
In the past, when it came to Macedonia, the British had sat on the sidelines and let other countries take the lead. But all that changed at the end of 1907. (Page 231 of Preparation for a Revolution) The British declared that the situation in Macedonia was unacceptable. Things needed to change.
“The Ottoman authorities have displayed an utter incapacity to maintain public tranquility,” said Edward Grey, the British foreign secretary. (Page 231 of Preparation for a Revolution)
Britain suddenly began cooperating with Russia on this issue. (Page 232 of Preparation for a Revolution) To solve the problem, Britain put forth a proposal that they knew the Ottomans would refuse.
“If a Turkish Governor were appointed for a fixed term of years-a man whose character and capacity were accepted and recognized by the Powers-and if he had a free and willing hand and his position were secure, I believe that the whole Macedonian question might be solved,” said Grey.
Britain made this same proposal three decades ago, during the Constantinople Conference. The Ottomans refused their proposal. The failure of the conference led to the Russo-Turkish War. (Page 232 to 233 of Preparation for a Revolution) The British knew that this proposal would still be unacceptable to the Ottomans thirty years later, but they made it anyways.
“Sir Edward’s proposal was one that obviously would be found entirely unacceptable by any Ottoman government in office,” said M. Sukri Hanioglu. (Page 232 to 233 of Preparation for a Revolution)
The Young Turks proclaimed that the proposal was aimed at “the partition and extinction of the Ottoman state and expulsion of Turks from Europe.” (Page 234 of Preparation for a Revolution) This propaganda, which denounced Europe and warned of their impending intervention, struck a chord with the Ottoman soldiers in Macedonia. For unlike other areas of the empire, in Macedonia, foreign intervention was a fact of life. Due to the Murzsteg program, there were foreign officials in the area who were interacting with the local Christians, who were listening to their complaints. The Ottoman soldiers were deeply resentful of their presence. The soldiers viewed those officials as “arrogant.” Those officials were “bossing them around in their own land.” (Page 236 of Preparation for a Revolution) Angry at Europe and afraid for their future, many of the soldiers allied themselves with the Young Turks.
The Ottoman soldiers stationed in Macedonia enjoyed a freedom that their counterparts located elsewhere lacked. The chaos throughout the area meant those soldiers were free to move wherever they wanted to chase after the insurgents. This meant they could distribute Young Turk propaganda throughout the province while claiming they were trying to find the enemy. Such activities were not possible in other parts of the empire. (Page 236 of Preparation for a Revolution)
Rumors of an outrageous agreement between Russia and Britain to partition Macedonia caused the Young Turks to launch their revolution early and provided them with yet another piece of propaganda which they used to rally support to their side. (Page 235, 260, and 264 of Preparation for a Revolution)
The Young Turks had the Ottoman soldiers in Macedonia mutiny. When the sultan sent troops to Macedonia to restore order, the Young Turks had the leader of those troops assassinated. Many of the troops sent to restore order joined the rebellion, as they were secretly connected to the Young Turks to begin with. Rather than start a civil war, the sultan ceded power to the Young Turks.
Since the purpose of the revolution was to thwart foreign intervention, the Young Turks had to convince the other ethnic groups that the situation would improve after they assumed power, otherwise the revolts would continue and the Europeans would still intervene. To convince the minorities to support them, the Young Turks told those minorities whatever they wanted to hear. (Page 175 of Preparation for a Revolution) Although some ethnic groups supported the Young Turks, most did not. (Page 241 of Preparation for a Revolution) Those minorities knew that, although the Young Turks were saying the right things, in their hearts, the Young Turks were nationalists who had an agenda that was the exact opposite of what those minorities wanted.
Nevertheless the leading insurgent group in Macedonia, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO), halted their attacks temporarily at the request of Bulgaria. Bulgaria, in turn, made this request to show their support for the British reform proposals. (Page 243 of Preparation for a Revolution) This implies that it was Britain who wanted IMRO to temporarily halt their attacks. The ceasefire allowed the Young Turks to seize power. Once again, the British had paved the way for them.
Before the revolution, the Ottoman elites were loyal to the sultan. (Page 313 of Preparation for a Revolution) After the revolution, they were swept away and replaced by hard-line nationalists who clamored for autonomy. (Page 313 of Preparation for a Revolution) These nationalists seized control of the various ethnic groups.
Instead of trying to reach an accommodation with these nationalists, the Young Turks cancelled the privileges given to non-Turkish Muslims. Instead of granting autonomy to the various ethnic groups, the Young Turks centralized power. Instead of recognizing that minorities had their own ethnic identities, the Young Turks demanded that they view themselves as Ottomans first. (Kindle Locations 4173-4175 from A Brief History)
“Between a center predisposed to view all demands for the recognition of difference as evidence of separatism, and a periphery decreasingly inclined to compromise, all-out war was inevitable,” said M. Sukru Hanioglu. (Kindle Locations 4180-4181)
The First Balkan War began in October 1912. The Ottomans lost almost all their territory in Europe.
The Ottomans lost the rest of their empire during World War I. Most of the blame for this debacle has been directed towards one man, Enver Pasha, the Supreme Commander of the Ottoman military. His critics blame him for a litany of disasters, including the decision to attack a heavily fortified Russian position in the middle of winter. (Page 120)
The obstacles which impeded the attack were overwhelming. Between Enver and the Russians stood the Caucasus Mountains, rivers that had no bridges, land that had no railroads, and snow, lots and lots of snow. The snow prevented his artillery from ever reaching the battlefield. A sane person, realizing they had no artillery, would have called off the attack. But not Enver. He sent 100,000 soldiers to attack Russia. Eighty six thousand of them died. (Page 121) One German officer said the Ottomans had “suffered a disaster which for rapidity and completeness is without parallel in military history.”
Towards the end of the war, as Britain was attacking the Ottoman Empire, instead of defending their territory, inexplicably, the Ottomans began attacking Russia in Azerbaijan and Turkestan. (Page 313) Britain was free to seize whatever parts of the Ottoman Empire they wanted. Enver was blamed for this fiasco too.
The criticism leveled against him came not just from outsiders, but from his colleagues as well. The Grand Vizier blamed him for the war. (Page 369) The other Young Turks claim that at end of the war, only Enver knew that Germany was losing, that Enver misled them into into believing the Germans were actually winning. (Page 367)
“Enver Pasha’s greatest guilt is that he never kept his friends informed of the situation,” said the Ottoman finance minister. “If he had said five or six months ago that we were in so difficult a situation, naturally we would have…made a favourable separate peace at that time. But he concealed everything, and…he deluded himself and brought the country to this state.” (Page 368)
His decisions were so incomprehensible one wonders why the other Young Turks allowed him to remain in his position throughout the war. According to one theory, offered by the Times of London, the other Young Turks were afraid of him. The Grand Vizier “was fully alive to the precarious nature of his own position and to the fact that any real attempt on his part to run counter to the policy of Enver Pasha and the military authorities would have meant his elimination.” (The Rupture With Turkey by The Times 12/11/14)
Though there is evidence which implicates Enver for the failures of the Ottoman government, there is also evidence which distributes the blame more broadly. Perhaps other people were blaming Enver for their own lapses in judgement. Enver was an easy target. He died in August 1922, right as the war between the Turks and the Allies was drawing to a close. Blaming him was easy, as he was no longer alive to defend himself. Indeed Fromkin suggests that Enver was not solely responsible. Although most historians claim that the Ottoman Empire was run by “a dictatorial triumvirate of Enver, Talaat, and Djemal, ... in fact, as the German archives now show, power was wielded by the C.U.P.’s Central Committee of about forty members, and especially by its general directorate of about twelve members who functioned as a sort of politburo, in which personal rivalries abounded. Decisions of the Central Committee were reflected in the positions taken by party members in the Cabinet and in the Chamber of Deputies.” (Page 44)
Unfortunately, this is the only time Fromkin mentions the Central Committee. He never mentions its members, who they were or what they stood for. Instead, ironically, he focuses mostly on the actions of Enver and to a lesser extent Talaat and Djemal.
To be fair to Fromkin, the committee was very secretive, which makes it a hard target to decipher. The identity of its members were kept secret. (Kindle Locations 4013-4014 from A Brief History) Still, some of its members and activities are known.
Historians believe that Bahaeddin Sakir played a pivotal role in the emergence of the Young Turks.
“Bahaeddin Sakir was undoubtedly the individual most responsible for reshaping the coalition and transforming it into a well-organized activist committee,” said M. Sukru Hanioglu. “His foes accused him of converting the Young Turk movement into a ‘nationalist activity.’” (Page 129 of Preparation for a Revolution)
I personally believe that historians are overstating the importance of Sakir. He was a doctor. Doctors are not known for their ability to organize opposition movements, conduct assassination campaigns, and overthrow governments. Those skills fall within the domain of intelligence agencies.
The Young Turks did have a prominent intelligence official working for them. Ahmed Celaleddin Pasha, once the head of Ottoman intelligence, defected to the Young Turks in 1904. (Page 78 of Preparation for a Revolution) He was close to Bahaeddin Sakir. (Page 128 of Preparation for a Revolution) I believe he had a powerful influence on the Young Turks behind the scenes and that he hid the true extent of his involvement and responsibility.
Regardless of which official had the most power, odds are that Enver played an important role in the decision making process. He was, after all, a member of the Central Committee himself. The British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire once said that Enver Pasha “was entirely in German hands.” (The Rupture With Turkey by The Times 12/11/14) But the Germans were in the hands of the British, which meant the Ottomans too were under their control. You could see this control reflected in the decisions Enver made. His decisions were not in the best interest of the Ottoman Empire, but in the best interests of the British.
The British had the Young Turks implement a somewhat convoluted plan to cede the Ottoman Empire to them. The plan had to be convoluted. The Young Turks could not simply hand over the Ottoman Empire to the British. That would have generated an outcry from the Ottoman people. The Young Turks would have been labeled as traitors, their decisions declared invalid. They needed to fight a war against the British, a war that would give the British a pretext for stealing their land.
Europe had to work together to convince the Ottoman public to allow the Young Turks to lead them down that path. The Europeans had to bolster the Young Turks. The Germans gave them gold. They gave them the Goeben. The Europeans allowed the Young Turks to end the Capitulations, which were contracts that gave certain privileges to Europeans. The Ottomans hated the Capitulations and were overjoyed when they were terminated. The Goeben, the end of the Capitulations, and the gold gave the Young Turks a tremendous amount of political capital. The Ottoman people thought the Young Turks knew what they were doing. The Young Turks, having gained the confidence of their people, were now ready to lead their country into war against the Allies.
At the start of 1915, the British attacked the Dardanelles. At that time, the Ottoman forces there were dangerously low on ammunition. Some of their gunboats only had enough ammo to fire for a single minute. (Page 134) The British began their attack on February 19. (Page 134) The Ottomans ran out of ammo a month later. (Page 151) But right as that happened, the British commanders at the Dardanelles decided to halt their attack and wait for the army to arrive. (Page 153) Winston Churchill was in disbelief. He knew the Ottomans had run out of ammo. Everyone knew that. He wanted to force the navy to resume their attack. But the decision was not his to make. The decision belonged to the prime minister, who sided with those who wanted to wait. (Page 153) And so they waited.
The British army was unable to begin their attack until April 25. (Page 157) By that time, the Ottomans had replenished their supply of ammunition. Before the attack began, the British army commander was given an inaccurate map of the terrain. (Page 156) His army landed on the north side of the straits, on the Gallipoli peninsula. The attack was a fiasco. Britain suffered 250,000 casualties in the ensuing fight. (Page 166)
The British had several reasons for bungling their attack on the Dardanelles. The high number of casualties gave them an excuse to steal the world's largest supply of oil.
"The sheer magnitude of Britain's commitment and loss at Gallipoli made it seem vital years later that she should play a major role in the postwar Middle East to give some sort of meaning to so great a sacrifice," said Fromkin. (Page 166)
Britain had another reason to bungle the attack. Britain had promised to give Constantinople to the Russians after the war. (Page 138) Had Britain won the war in 1915, when Russia was still their ally, Britain would’ve had to fulfill that promise. For Lord Kitchener, the British War Minister, that was unacceptable. The only acceptable outcome was for both Germany and Russia to lose the war. (Page 98) And for that, Russia had to switch sides. Only then could Britain break her promise. Only then could Britain prevent the Russians from annexing Constantinople.
For Britain to achieve her goal, for Russia to switch sides, the Russian government had to be replaced with, ironically, a government that tilted away from Britain and towards Germany. It would take some time, but eventually Russia would collapse under the weight of a mismanaged war. Millions of casualties, inflation, and food shortages, those were the necessary ingredients for the collapse. In 1917, the Bolsheviks seized power in what became known as the Russian Revolution.
Russia could have avoided the collapse had her leadership performed better. There was no excuse for the food shortages that Russia suffered from in 1916 and 1917. Russia produced more than enough food to feed her population. The shortages were caused by “speculation, profiteering, and hoarding,” (Page 241) problems that the Russian government should have been able to handle.
“Russia’s failure was a failure of leadership,” said Fromkin. (Page 240)
Amongst the Russian leadership, there was, according to Fromkin, a “lack of patriotism” in some cases and a “lack of competence” in others. Let me be more explicit. They were British stooges. Russia was one head of Britain’s many-headed monster and an expendable one at that.
The Russian Revolution was a fraud. It was not about ideology. The revolution was supposed to be about the dictatorship of the proletariat, the dictatorship of the working class. Such a dictatorship should have allowed the Muslims of Central Asia to choose whether to become independent of Russia. Indeed Lenin had declared that non-Russians deserved the right of self-determination. (Page 475) But Lenin was a hypocrite. He declared that non-Russians lacked a proletariat and until one was formed they were not ready for independence. (Page 476) This is almost identical to what Britain told its Muslims. We'll give you guys independence...some day. For the Muslims of Central Asia, the dictatorship of the proletariat looked no different than the previous dictatorship. They hated Russia. They hated Russia just like the Muslims under British rule hated Britain. (Page 477) To keep them under control, Lenin had to subdue them by employing 250,000 secret policemen.
Britain had another reason for prolonging the war. They had to wait for the 1918 Congressional midterm elections in America. Due to the elections, President Wilson lost control of the Senate, which meant that any peace agreement he made in Europe would have to be ratified by his political enemies. The election was fixed, I believe, to make sure that America would not be able to seize any land in the Middle East. France and Britain wanted the Middle East for themselves. The elections took place right when the armistice agreement was completed. (Page 390) This was not a coincidence. The Europeans were waiting for the election.
Many experts believe the Allies could have won the war much earlier had they simply attacked through the Balkans. But they waited until the summer of 1918 before making their attack. At that point, the French invaded Bulgaria, which collapsed quickly. (Page 363) From there, the French moved north and opened a new front against Germany and Austria. Germany didn’t have the troops to fight on another front and decided to negotiate for peace.
The Germans wondered why the British did not employ this strategy earlier.
“If ever there was a prospect of a brilliant strategic feat, it was here,” said the chief of the German General Staff. “Why did England never make use of her opportunity?…Some day history will perhaps clear up this question.” (Page 265)
Change administrations to change policies
Britain formed their alliance with Russia in 1907, ostensibly in fear of a rising Germany, in reality to make sure the Ottomans would be their enemy. The Ottomans were forced to ally themselves with Germany, as the Ottomans could never join an alliance which contained Russia, their unyielding adversary. But once the war began, to prevent Russia from annexing Constantinople, Britain orchestrated a coup in Russia, a coup that would end the alliance.
What happened in Russia was a tactic commonly used in international politics. Often whenever a country has to change one of its policies, rather than simply changing that policy, a coup will take place, or an election will take place, the existing government will be removed, a new government will assume power and adopt the new policy line.
There are several reasons for using this tactic. Sometimes the existing administration is genuinely committed to the existing policy line. The only way to change the policy then, is to change the administration. In other cases, the tactic is used to prevent suspicion. Even if certain leaders are amenable to switching the policy, if those officials had, in the past, firmly backed the existing policy, they cannot simply change their position without arousing suspicion, without looking hypocritical.
Britain used this tactic three times in 1917, in three different countries, Russia, Britain, and France. In all three countries, the new leadership “held strong views about the Middle East which were totally at variance with those of their predecessors,” according to Fromkin. (Page 231)
In Britain, Herbert Asquith, the man who became prime minister six years before the war began, was replaced by David Lloyd George. During his tenure, Asquith argued that Britain could not afford to administer any new colonies. (Page 141) He seemed less than fully committed to winning the war, as he refused to force young British men to join the military.
His views were meant to bait the Ottomans into joining the war. His views were meant to make the Ottomans believe that they had a good chance of winning the war, and believe that even if they lost the war, they wouldn’t lose much of their territory. Having fooled the Ottomans into joining the war, Britain then switched their government.
His successor, David Lloyd George, on the other hand, was willing to reduce the freedoms of his people in order to win the war. Lloyd George viewed the Middle East as a prize that Britain should seize. (Page 235)
“Where the Asquith Cabinet eventually came to see hegemony over portions of the Middle East as something that Britain merely wanted, the Lloyd George government came to see it as territory that Britain needed,” said Fromkin. (Page 302)
In France, Georges Clemenceau became the new prime minister. Clemenceau focused all his energies on defeating Germany. (Page 236) He believed that France should not waste her time trying to colonize other countries. For him, colonies were a financial and military burden. (Page 237) His opinions provided a great boost for British imperialism. With Clemenceau in charge, Britain was able to seize more of the Middle East for herself. Originally, in the Sykes-Picot Agreement, Britain agreed to give the oil rich land of Mosul to France. But after the war ended, Lloyd George persuaded Clemenceau to allow Britain to have Mosul. (Page 375)
“The fortunes of war and politics had brought into power in their respective countries the first British Prime Minister who wanted to acquire territory in the Middle East and the only French politician who did not want to do so,” said Fromkin.
This was not a coincidence. This was a conspiracy, by Britain, to monopolize the world’s largest supply of oil. Although Lloyd George may have been the only British politician to openly display his imperial ambitions, other British politicians secretly agreed with his ideology, even if they refused to voice their agreement publicly.
Britain, more than any other country, is determined to maintain its reputation and conceal its true, evil nature. British politicians will say honorable words, but when it comes time to act, they will reveal their true nature. To maintain their reputations, and to prevent other countries from adding to their empires, British politicians will denounce imperialism, until their country has a chance to annex territory, at which point they will promote their one politician who supports annexation. And after he has seized all the land available, he will be replaced by someone who opposes imperialism.
In Persia, after the war, Britain secretly orchestrated a coup (Page 460) to extricate themselves from a prior commitment. Before the coup, Britain agreed to construct a nationwide rail system throughout Persia. (Page 456) The system would have been very expensive to build and it would have improved the lives of Muslims. There is nothing that Britain opposes more than spending a lot of money to improve the lives of Muslims. And so Britain organized a coup to abrogate the agreement. After the coup, the new government abandoned the rail agreement and signed a treaty with Russia. And Britain reacted in mock horror to the coup they had engineered.
During the war, the British Secret Intelligence Service incited the Armenians to revolt against the Ottomans. To suppress the revolt, the Ottomans began killing and deporting the Armenians in what became known as the Armenian Genocide.
Britain used the incident as a pretext to carve up and consume the Ottoman Empire. They launched a media campaign to discredit the Turks. They argued that the Turks were not fit to rule other races. Many people bought into their propaganda campaign. The U.S. in particular disliked what the Turks were doing. (Page 213)
While the Armenians were being killed, Djemal secretly approached the Allies about seizing power to end the massacre. (Page 214) He was willing to give Constantinople to Russia as long as he could retain Syria, Iraq, Armenia, Cilicia, and Kurdistan. This offer was made in December 1915, when the Allies were evacuating Gallipoli. After what happened there, one might have expected the Allies to accept the offer. But they didn’t.
“Djemal appears to have acted on the mistaken assumption that saving the Armenians—as distinct from merely exploiting their plight for propaganda purposes—was an important Allied objective,” said Fromkin.
Russia wanted to accept the offer. But France turned it down because they insisted on seizing Syria. (Page 214). Britain rejected the offer for the same reasons. They were determined to take control of the Middle East and steal her oil. Their loss at Gallipoli, apparently, was not particularly serious after all.
For evidence that Britain incited the Armenians to rebel against the Ottomans, consider this document (discovery.nationalarchives.
Three years ago, John Sawers, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, gave a speech about the organization he leads. (www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/
“Our agents are the true heroes of our work,” said Sawers. “They have their own motivations and hopes. Many of them show extraordinary courage and idealism, striving in their own countries for the freedoms that we in Britain take for granted.”
Those “agents take serious risks and make sacrifices to help” Britain.
The purpose of the speech was to persuade the public that SIS needed to keep its activities secret.
“Secret organisations need to stay secret,” said Sawers. “If our operations and methods become public, they won’t work.”
Let’s think about why SIS needs to keep its activities secret. In World War I, their “secret agents” were the Armenians. SIS had them revolt against the Ottomans. The Armenians thought they were fighting for their freedom. But SIS has an ulterior motive for inciting them to revolt. They wanted the Ottomans to massacre the Armenians. The massacre gave the British a talking point, an argument, which says, “The Ottomans can’t rule other people. Their empire must be split up.” This argument allowed the British to annex the largest supply of oil in the world. If the Armenians knew the British wanted them to revolt so the Ottomans could massacre them, a massacre which allowed the British to seize the world’s largest supply of oil, I doubt the Armenians would have revolted in the first place. Now you know why the British are so intent on keeping the activities of their intelligence agencies secret.
Germany and America: two heads of the monster
Had Germany wanted to win the war, they would have done everything in their power to make sure the U.S. military stayed out of the war. That should have been an easy task to accomplish, as the American people opposed joining the war. (Page 255) But instead of keeping the Americans on the sidelines, the Germans did everything in their power to provoke America into joining the war against them, which is exactly what Britain wanted.
In their first blunder, the Germans tried to form an alliance with Mexico. They offered to give Mexico a large chunk of U.S. territory if Mexico joined the war on their side. The U.S. government found out about the plan. They released the details of the plan to the public. The American people were outraged. For their second blunder, the Germans sank three U.S. merchant vessels. (Page 255) That was the last straw. America declared war on Germany.
But America did not declare war on the Ottoman Empire. America only declared war on Germany. (Page 256) America did not become a full-fledged member of the Allies. That meant America would not get a piece of the Ottoman Empire after the war.
“We have no selfish ends to serve,” said President Wilson. “We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensation for the sacrifices we shall freely make.” (Page 256)
“Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned.” (Page 259)
Lloyd George, meanwhile, had other ideas.
“Wilson proclaimed that the enormity of the war required peace without annexations,” said Fromkin. “Lloyd George took the other view: the enormity of the war required indemnities and annexations on an enormous scale.” (Page 263)
After failing to convince the leaders of Europe to settle the war in an honorable fashion, Wilson took his case to the European public, in the hopes that he could persuade them to adopt his ideals, in the hopes that they would force their leaders to act decently. (Page 259) Boy was he mistaken. The people of Europe were just as bad as their leaders.
It is, perhaps, unfair to single out Europe for condemnation. There were signs that Wilson did not sincerely believe in his ideals. Had he wanted to, Wilson could have forced the British into accepting an honorable settlement for the war. During the war, Britain relied on America for financing and supplies. (Page 253) So much so that John Maynard Keynes declared that by the end of 1916 “the American executive and the American public will be in a position to dictate to this country.” The war did not end until 1918. Had America been virtuous, we would have used our leverage to prevent Britain and France from chopping up and devouring the Middle East. Had America been greedy, we would have seized a good portion of the Middle East for ourselves. America did neither. We did the bidding of the British. We allowed them to mutilate and confiscate the Middle East without getting a portion for ourselves.
The first sign of Wilson's insincerity came at the end of the war, when the Ottomans tried to surrender to America on the basis of his Fourteen Points. The Fourteen Points were a set of principles which, if adopted, would have improved the situation in the Middle East considerably. One of the Fourteen Points said that the citizens of the Ottoman Empire should gain their autonomy. (Page 258)
America never accepted the Ottoman surrender. (Page 367) The Ottomans were forced to surrender to the British. But the Fourteen Points were only available to those who surrendered to America. By refusing the Ottoman surrender, President Wilson was effectively allowing Britain and France to chop up and seize the Ottoman Empire.
Fromkin has a preposterous story to explain why we refused to accept the Ottoman surrender. After the Ottomans made their request, we asked the British if we should accept the surrender. The British never replied. Because the British never replied to us, we never replied to the Ottomans. That’s the story Fromkin would have you believe.
Yet another sign that Wilson was under the thumb of the British came at the peace conference. To distract Wilson, to prevent him from denouncing Britain for her imperialist designs on the Middle East, Lloyd George had him focus on the imperialist designs of France and Italy instead. (Page 391)
President Wilson sent a commission to the Middle East to determine the desires of the people who lived there. He did not send his commission to Iraq, which Britain had control of. (Page 397) The only place the commission went to was Syria, the area claimed by the French.
At the peace conference, Britain declared that America should annex part of Turkey and Armenia. (Page 398) In all likelihood, Britain was being insincere. When Wilson tried to convince America to accept the mandates for Turkey and Armenia, his health failed him (at the peace conference, the word “mandate” was used as a euphemism for annexation). He became partially paralyzed. (Page 398) This made it hard for him to convince the American public to accept the mandates. It could not have helped that the Senate was now controlled by his political opponents. Wilson was probably the victim of a European poisoning program. The purpose was to prevent Congress from ratifying the peace settlement.
The British tried to prevent American oil companies from operating in the Middle East. After the war, Standard Oil Company of New York sent their geologists to Iraq to look for oil. (Page 534) One of the geologists declared that Iraq had “the biggest remaining oil possibilities in the world.” But Britain prevented them from carrying out their mission.
France and Britain secretly agreed to monopolize the oil in the Middle East. (Page 534) For the U.S. government, that was a bridge too far. America wanted a piece of the action. What they got was the Red Line Agreement, which was still heavily tilted in Europe’s favor. European companies received 71.25% of the oil. American companies received only 23.75%. (history.state.gov/milestones/
Ignore the Muslims
At the peace conference, when it came to the Middle East, the French foreign minister declared there were “only two parties whose interests had seriously to be considered and reconciled, namely, Great Britain and France.” The British foreign minister agreed. (Page 400) As for the people of the Middle East, their wishes and desires, their hopes and their dreams were ignored.
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 st**id. 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/
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 st**id 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.
“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/
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/
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.
“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. 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.
There are three narratives for World War I. One narrative, which is told by most historians, including Fromkin, is premised on two ideas. The first idea is called Hanlon’s Razor which says, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by st**idity.” When applied to World War I, it means that the actions taken by Britain, which destroyed the Middle East, were not intended to have that effect. Those actions were simply mistakes. The British were not evil. They were st**id.
The second idea comes from a quote by Blaise Pascal, who once said, “Cleopatra's nose, had it been shorter, the whole face of the world would have been changed.” According to this idea, the course of history is determined by random events such as the length of someone’s nose, the assassination of the Archduke of Austria, and a monkey who bit the King of Greece.
The second narrative for the war comes from Britain, who argues that Jews secretly controlled the world. This narrative is believed by many on the Internet and by many people who live outside the West. Iran, for example, often blames the misfortunes of Muslims on Zionists, though when they say Zionists, they are referring to Jews, not Britons.
The third narrative is the one I have argued here, that the war was a conspiracy hatched by Britain, a conspiracy to steal the world’s largest supply of oil, a conspiracy to destroy the Muslim world, a conspiracy to prevent Muslims from reaping the benefits of their naturally abundant resources.
Now let’s determine which narrative seems most likely to be true.
If Jews secretly controlled the world, why did they instigate the Arab riots against themselves? One would think if Jews actually controlled the world, they would have the power to prevent others from speaking ill of them. In a poll conducted by the BBC, Britain was the third most popular country in the world. Israel, meanwhile, was near the bottom of the list, only in front of Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea. (www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-
One of the reasons why the Israelis remain so unpopular is because they have been building settlements in the West Bank in an attempt to annex that territory from the Palestinians. But if the Jews were as powerful as their detractors say, they would have solved this problem in the beginning. Indeed, after World War I, the original plan was for the Jews to get all of modern day Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. (Page 512) But this plan was rejected by the British. If the Jews secretly controlled the world, this plan would have been implemented.
Take a look at the world’s largest oil companies - British Petroleum, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total. One of those companies is French (Total). Two of those companies are American (ExxonMobil and Chevron). Two of those companies are British (British Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell), though the second company is half British and half Dutch. None of them are Israeli. If Jews control the world, why do Europeans and Americans control the oil industry?
The British claim the Arab riots were a Jewish conspiracy against them. Historians like Fromkin acknowledge this claim is ridiculous but they insist that the British believed their conspiracy theories were true. Neither the British nor the historians are telling the truth. Their arguments are contradicted by the words and actions of the British themselves.
If the British believed in their conspiracy theories, why did Mark Sykes tell the French to deal with their colonies the same way Britain dealt with hers? Why did the British say they supported Arab independence? Why didn’t they install a British ruler in Iraq, in Jordan? Why did they install two Arabs instead? Why did the British, when it came time to defend their new colonies, why did they implement a plan which could not defend them against a foreign invasion, a plan which would only be useful in putting down a revolt? These actions show that the British knew the Arabs hated them. These actions show that the British were trying to fool the Arabs into believing that they had gained their independence, into believing that they were now ruled by their own people. When in reality, it was Britain pulling the strings, not only in Iraq and Jordan, but also in Russia. If the British could not control the Russians, they would have implemented a more robust defense plan which could have defended their new territories against a Russian invasion.
If the war was not a conspiracy to steal the world’s largest supply of oil, why did the British allow the Goeben to escape? If the war was not a British conspiracy, why did the British halt their attack on the Dardanelles right after the Ottomans ran out of ammo? Did the British suddenly forget that guns are useless without ammunition? Did they suddenly believe that throwing rocks was just as effective as shooting bullets?
Was Arnold Wilson, the man Britain put in charge of Iraq, simply being incompetent when he argued there was no way to ask the people of Iraq for their opinions on how to rebuild their government? Did he not know about the existence of translators? Did he not know that some humans can speak both Arabic and English? Or did he suddenly forget that humans have mouths and can speak, that they have ears and can listen? Perhaps the British did forget that humans have ears. Or perhaps their ears fell off their heads when that American missionary told them that the creation of Iraq went against four thousand years of history, when Colonel House told them their plans for the Middle East were awful. But the British, even without ears, still need to explain why they concocted their disastrous plan for the Middle East in the first place. Their ears were missing again when they decided the Mufti of Jerusalem should be a man in his twenties, a man who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison, a man who hated Jews.
For Britain, the goal was a weak, disunited Arabia. Was it through chance and incompetence that they achieved their goal? While London was busy telling Jews to move to Palestine, the British soldiers in Palestine were busy telling the Arabs to fight them. Why didn’t the British government stop their soldiers from encouraging the Arabs to riot? Did the British government forget that they could order their soldiers to implement their policy? That they could court-martial those soldiers for disobeying them?
Britain wanted a weak Arabia. Having the Arabs stuck in a permanent war against the Jews certainly weakened them. The war was a disaster for the Jews as well. Are we to believe that the British hurt the Jews, a people they hate, on accident? Remember it was David Lloyd George, the man ultimately responsible for Zionism, who did “not care a damn for the Jews or their past of their future.” Which seems more likely, that Britain mistakenly chose a course of action in complete accord with their values or that Britain is lying about their motives because they are evil and they are trying to hide their true nature from the rest of the world? I am not alone in questioning Britain’s motives for supporting Zionism. Back when Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, everyone was suspicious of Britain’s motives, particularly the Jews.
Why did Britain install a lazy and ineffective leader in Jordan? Why did they humiliate Feisal by allowing the Australians to march into Damascus first? Here again, the British achieved their goal - a weak Arabia - apparently through their “incompetence.”
The British achieved their other goal, a disunited Arabia, by backing several different Muslim groups and having them fight one another. On the Arabian Peninsula, the British India office backed Ibn Saud while the British Cairo office backed King Hussein. (Page 107) Both men received subsidies from the British government. Both men fought each other. One British official called this situation absurd. (Page 424) Fromkin would have you believe the British government was fighting amongst itself over how to resolve the situation. That’s a lie, a cover story to mask the real intentions of the British. Their goal was a weak, disunited Arabia. To achieve that goal, the British had the Arabs kill each other.
Ibn Saud won the battle for the Arabian peninsula and became the founder of a new state which bears his name - Saudi Arabia. King Hussein was sent into exile to live with his sons. Although the British allowed Ibn Saud to rule the Arabian peninsula, they had installed Abdullah and Feisal, the sons of King Hussein, in Jordan and Iraq, the two states that span the northern border of Saudi Arabia, the two states which connect Saudi Arabia to the rest of the world. For Abdullah and Feisal, Ibn Saud was their nemesis, the man who sent their father into exile. By installing Abdullah and Feisal in Jordan and Iraq, by installing Ibn Saud in Saudi Arabia, the British achieved their goal of a disunited Arabia. Does this sound like a coincidence to you?
By the way, this was not the only time the West pulled a stunt like this. The West has a habit of backing both sides of a conflict in order to kill Muslims and make them hate each other. The Iran-Iraq War was another example of this. During that war, which pitted the Iranians against the Iraqis, America provided assistance to both sides.
“At the same time we’re giving weapons to Iran in order to curry some kind of favor with them, we are at the same time providing intelligence to Iraq against Iran,” said Vincent Cannistraro, the former Chief of Operations and Analysis at the CIA. “So we’re seen playing both sides against the middle, and when this is finally revealed, it really exposes American hypocrisy and put us in a very bad light. The Iranians, for example, understand that, yes, we’re shipping them arms here at the same time we’re giving targeting information to the Iraqis so they can more precisely bomb targets in Iran. And from the Iraqi point of view and Saddam Hussein, he realizes that his erstwhile American friends are also arming his enemies.” (www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/
Those who believe that the British did not control Germany or America have to explain a few things. Why did the Germans have the Goeben fire on Odessa? That made the Ottomans look like the aggressors. The Germans could have easily had the Goeben sink a Russian military vessel. That would have allowed the Ottomans to claim self defense. Why did the Germans discredit the Ottomans, their allies? And later on in the war, why were the Germans so intent on provoking America into becoming their enemy?
Why didn’t America allow the Ottomans to surrender based on the Fourteen Points? Why, at the peace conference, did we focus on the imperial designs of France and Italy and ignore the imperial designs of Britain?
Why didn’t we force the British to repay the money we loaned them for the war? Over the course of the war, we loaned $10 billion to the Allies. (history.state.gov/milestones/
You don’t, through incompetence, add a million square miles to your empire. You don’t, through incompetence or coincidence, seize the most oil rich lands in the world right after you learn how important oil is. Countries which go to war on little more than a whim, which kill millions of people because someone assassinated some archduke and his wife, such countries do not survive.
Throughout the war, Britain showed that their primary concern was stealing the oil of the Middle East. That is why, at the end of the war, they ordered their forces to “occupy as large a portion of the oil-bearing regions as possible.”
Every time the British were given a choice between peace and oil, the British chose oil. They did everything in their power to provoke the Ottomans into becoming their enemy. The British stole their ships. They prevented Ottoman ships from entering the Mediterranean. And they fired on the Ottomans to commence hostilities at the first opportunity. Britain could have kept the Ottomans out of the war if they wanted to. The Ottomans never wanted to join the war in the first place. In general, forcing other countries to become your enemy is a recipe for disaster. But Churchill knew the Ottomans were an exception, that fighting the Ottomans could bring enormous benefits to the British Empire. The British could annex their empire after the war. Britain chose oil over peace.
During the Armenian Massacres, the British were given an opportunity to end the killing and take the Ottomans out of the war. But the deal would have prevented the British from annexing the Middle East. The British rejected the deal. Oil was their most important consideration. The fate of the Armenians meant nothing to them.
After the war ended, when the people of Iraq began to riot against the tyranny of the British, David Lloyd George again faced the same choice, peace or oil. Either leave the Middle East, end the riots, or stay, endure the protests, and take the oil. He chose oil. He refused to abandon “some of the richest oilfields in the world.” Time and time again the British chose oil over peace.
World War I was neither the first nor the last time the many-headed monster made its appearance. For a more recent example, consider what the West is doing in Syria. America, Britain, and France are providing aid to the Syrian rebels while Russia is providing support to the Syrian government. The West refuses to provide enough support to enable the rebels to win which indicates that the West wants Syria to remain in a state of civil war. Thus far, over 100,000 Syrians have been killed.
The many-headed monster operates outside the Middle East too. The American Revolution was a sham. It allowed Britain and America to gain the appearance of enemies. This allowed them to defeat the Native Americans in the War of 1812. In the war, the British pretended to ally themselves with the Native Americans in their fight against the United States. But this was all a ruse, a ruse which allowed the British to infiltrate the Native American leadership. Historians record that neither the British nor the Americans lost the War of 1812. The Native Americans lost the war.
My critics will undoubtedly argue that I have failed to show how Britain controlled other countries. Although I do not have an exhaustive list of every person who was a secret agent of the British, I do know of a couple of examples. One example is Benito Mussolini. After World War I, when he began his rise to power, he railed against Britain for cheating Italy out of its portion of the Middle East. (Page 532) But in all likelihood, this was nothing more than theater. In the fall of 1917, British intelligence started paying Mussolini 100 pounds per week. The payments lasted at least a year. (www.guardian.co.uk/world/
Mussolini was not the only fascist dictator brought to power by British intelligence. In Spain, they brought Francisco Franco to power. In 1936, Franco was living in exile on the Canary Islands. In the summer of that year, Hugh Pollard, a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service, transported Franco from the Canary Islands to Morocco. (www.theguardian.com/
In Japan, many of the ultranationalists who were involved in World War II were connected to American intelligence. One of those people was Nobusuke Kishi. After the war, he was imprisoned for three years. But after those three years, he was released. The CIA put him on their payroll. (Page 119 of Legacy of Ashes) He would eventually become the prime minister of Japan. Even while he was in prison, Kishi had powerful supporters in America. (Page 117 of Legacy of Ashes)
After the war, many of the ultranationalists, including Takushiro Hattori and Masanobu Tsuji, were employed by Charles Willoughby, the head of U.S. Army intelligence in Japan. Hattori was a former private secretary to Hideki Tojo. Tsuji was involved in the Bataan Death March. (www.japantimes.co.jp/news/
It seems unlikely that the relationship between the ultranationalists and U.S. intelligence began after the war. If American intelligence had no relationship with those people during the war, they almost certainly would not have tried to form a relationship with them after the war. It makes little sense to hire people you just fought a war with. Under normal circumstances, the U.S. government would have simply executed those people. The fact that they didn’t, the fact that, instead, they decided to put those ultranationalists on their payroll, indicates that those ultranationalists were connected to U.S. intelligence during the war.
In many respects the Second World War was similar to the first. World War I was about the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. World War II was about the dissolution of the Japanese Empire. But the aftermath of World War II was much different. The war resulted in the collapse of the British Empire as well. For more information about the Second World War, read this:
Another British agent was Allen Dulles, a member of the U.S. State Department. He supported British and French imperialism. He once argued that America would be hurt if Britain and France gave up their territories in the Middle East. (Page 535) During the Second World War, Dulles became a member of OSS. He was “strongly influenced” by Royall Tyler, another OSS official who also happened to be a British secret agent. (Appendix II, Page 2 of the Park Report) In 1953, Dulles became the director of the CIA. He would stay in that position for eight years, until 1961, which made him the longest serving CIA director in history. While at the CIA, Dulles continued to defend British interests, particularly when it came to Iran.
The Iranians knew that the British were taking their oil without adequately compensating them. And so in 1951, Mohammed Mossadeq, the Iranian Prime Minister, seized all of BP’s assets in Iran. The British were furious. They tried to convince America to remove Mossadeq but America refused. (www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/
In 1953, the CIA, now under the direction of Allen Dulles, executed Operation Ajax, a coup which ousted Mossadeq and made the Shah the ruler of Iran. The British regained their assets. They wanted to restart their oil production in Iran. But there was a problem. The rest of the world had already compensated for the loss of Iranian oil production. If Iran raised their output, other countries would have to reduce their production.
The British had another problem. They could not restart oil production in Iran by themselves. The people of Iran would not accept that. The British needed other countries to participate in the Iranian oil industry. But American oil companies were not interested in Iran. (Page 472 of The Prize) They already had all the oil production they needed. However, due to pressure from the American and British governments, those companies reduced their output in other countries and invested in Iran.
“If the U.S. and British governments hadn’t really beat us on the head, we wouldn’t have gone back,” said Howard Page of Standard Oil of New Jersey. (Page 473 of The Prize)
BP sold sixty percent of their oil business in Iran to a group of European and American companies. (Page 478 of The Prize) Those companies paid BP $90 million up front and another $500 million over time. (Page 480 of The Prize)
“It was a wonderful deal for Fraser, the best deal Willie Fraser ever made,” declared John Loudon of Royal Dutch Shell. (William Fraser was the chairman of BP)
To control a country, you must control its people. To control its people, you must control its media. You can exert a great deal of control over another country then, if you can infiltrate its media. The American media is crawling with Britons. Every person in the following list is British.
Mark Thompson, the chief executive of the New York Times
Gerard Baker, the top editor of the Wall Street Journal
Joanna Coles, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan
Colin Myler, the editor of the New York Daily News
Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue
Tina Brown, the editor of the Daily Beast and Newsweek
Nick Denton, who owns Gawker, Gizmodo, and Kotaku
Piers Morgan, a talk show host on CNN
Martin Bashir, the host of a political commentary show on MSNBC
Deborah Turness, the president of NBC News
Jon Williams, the head of international operations for ABC News
Paul Lee, the ABC Entertainment Group President
Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor, The Apprentice, and The Voice
Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller, the producers of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance
Simon Cowell, the producer of American Idol and X Factor
Ironically, the one place where you can argue Britain was incompetent was the one place that prospered - Saudi Arabia. Britain believed they had to compensate Islam for destroying the Ottoman Empire, the last major independent Muslim power. (Page 140) Britain decided to make a new independent Muslim state, a state which would be located on the Arabian peninsula. The peninsula was a natural choice, as it contained the two holiest mosques for Muslims. But for Britain, there were more important considerations. According to Fromkin, the peninsula “was a territory that none of the Great Powers coveted.”
“It was too arid a country to make it worth the while of any ravenous Power to occupy as a permanent pasture,” said Lloyd George.
Britain did not believe the Arabian peninsula had oil. The peninsula had no other apparent resources. It seemed to be just barren desert. There was no reason for the British to try to make the peninsula poor. The peninsula would be poor regardless of how smart their leaders were, regardless of how united their people were. Forming a unified country out of that land seemed harmless. It wasn’t like Iraq which Britain knew had oil, which Britain made into a basket case for fear of her Muslims becoming rich and powerful.
Ibn Saud led a group of Bedouins called the Ikhwan. Fromkin called the Bedouins “the greatest warriors in Arabia.” (Page 425) Britain allowed Ibn Saud and his Ikhwan to conquer and unify the Arabian peninsula.
In 1926, British Petroleum declared that Saudi Arabia was “devoid of all prospects” for oil. (Page 284 of The Prize) Their lack of interest left the field open to their American competitors. Standard Oil of California bought the oil concession for Saudi Arabia in 1933. (Page 294 of The Prize). To develop their concession, the company formed a joint venture with Texaco. (Page 302 of The Prize) The venture was called Aramco. Five years later, in 1938, they found the oil they were looking for. (www.cnn.com/2003/US/03/10/
During World War II, the U.S. government sent a mission to the Middle East to determine how much oil the region had. The conclusions reached were astounding.
“The oil in this region is the greatest single prize in all history,” declared one official. (Page 395 of The Prize)
By the time World War II ended, Ibn Saud hated Britain. He absolutely refused to allow Britain to extract oil from his country. After the war, Standard Oil of California and Texaco wanted to expand Aramco by adding another two oil companies to the joint venture. Ibn Saud did not object to the expansion. But he had one absolute demand which could not be violated. Neither of the two additional companies could be British. (Page 417 of The Prize) His demand was met. The two additions to Aramco were Standard Oil of New York and New Jersey.
In Saudi Arabia, Britain did everything wrong. They appointed a leader who was indigenous to the region, which gave him legitimacy. They appointed a leader who was not weak, not feeble and they allowed him to conquer and unite his country. And they did everything they could to alienate him and drive him into the arms of the Americans. The results speak for themselves.
Today, Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in the world while Iraq has gone from one disaster to another. Had, in 1914, Britain known that Saudi Arabia sat on the largest deposit of oil in the world, Britain would have done everything in her power to make sure that the Arabian peninsula would look more like Iraq (a basket case) and less like Saudi Arabia (one of the richest countries on earth).
Part of the problem
Ironically, in his book, Fromkin once accused Mark Sykes of not understanding that other British officials kept their motives and plans secret. (Page 319) But it is Fromkin himself who does a poor job of discerning their motives and intentions. He sees incompetence where he should see evil.
You may be wondering why, in the face of so much information which shows that Britain’s actions are intentional, malicious, and evil, why do historians continue to paint them in such a favorable light? Consider the following passage.
“The establishment of Allied control in the Middle East marked the climax of Europe’s conquest of the rest of the world,” said Fromkin. “It was the last chapter in a tale of high adventure—of sailors daring to cross uncharted oceans, of explorers tracking rivers to their source, and of small bands of soldiers marching into the interior of unknown continents to do battle with the vast armies of remote empires.” (Page 558)
Instead of presenting the British as criminals, Fromkin presents them as adventurers. One might be tempted to say that Fromkin, like other western historians, is simply covering up the horrendous crimes of the British Empire. And yet throughout his book he includes the most damning information, such as the Colonel House quote about how Britain was making the Middle East a breeding place for future war. Fromkin includes all the information one needs to indict and condemn Britain but throughout his book he refuses to do so. Instead he has kind words for Britain. One is left with the impression that he knows exactly what Britain did and he supports it.
Fromkin called the war a “doubly crowning achievement” for Britain. (Page 558) Indeed the war was a "doubly crowning achievement,” at least from the twisted British perspective. Britain had set the stage for permanent revolution, permanent war, permanent misery for the Middle East forever.
The verdict for Winston Churchill
“Victory in the First World War brought the British Empire to its zenith: with the addition of the territories it had occupied in the Middle East and elsewhere, it had become larger than it—or any other empire—had ever been before.”
– David Fromkin (Page 383)
If you still don’t believe that World War I was a conspiracy hatched by Britain, consider the fate of Winston Churchill. The war was a litmus test for him. When either the credit or the blame for the war must be assessed, much of it must be placed on his shoulders. If Britain viewed the war as a catastrophe, then Britain should have banished Churchill from office forever. But if Britain wanted to seize the world’s largest supply of oil, then they should have rewarded him.
After all it was Winston Churchill who switched the British Navy from coal to oil right before the war. It was Winston Churchill who provoked the Ottomans time and again into allying themselves with Germany, first by seizing their battlecruisers, then by blocking Ottoman ships from entering the Mediterranean. It was Churchill who ordered the British Navy to fire on the Ottomans. It was Churchill who extolled the benefits of having the Ottomans as enemies, of having the right to chop up and seize their empire. It was Churchill who once declared that the creation of a Jewish state in the Middle East “would be especially in harmony with the truest interests of the British Empire.” (Page 519) Let us now ascertain what those interests were, as seen from the perspective of the British. Was it to avoid a war? Or was it to steal the world’s largest supply of oil and put the Middle East on a permanent course of misery?
Churchill lost his seat in Parliament in November 1922.
“In 1922 it was almost universally agreed in Britain that Churchill was politically finished,” said Fromkin.
But only two years later he would return to Parliament as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the second highest position in the British government. Upon learning the news, George Lambert wrote him a note which said, “Winston my boy, I have got a fair instinct for politics. I think I shall live to see you Prime Minister.” (Page 567) His prediction came true. Churchill served as the British prime minister twice, first from 1940 to 1945, and then later from 1951 to 1955.
While in the short term Britain made it appear as though they had punished Churchill for the catastrophe that had just unfolded, a few years later Britain would show their true colors by bringing him back into the fold, which shows that they really loved what he did during the so-called Great War.
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Note: The 99 names of Allah avatars are courtesy of www.arthafez.com