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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

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Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Corona, 'The Science' or Scientism, Islam, the State, the cult of Gender Fascism, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion...

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Lessons from the Suez crisis of 1956: Western weakness; Arab militarism; & the rise of modern Islam

The Suez defeat in 1956 was a political and military disaster for the US and Britain.

by StFerdIII

Egypt was a British dependency from 1882 to 1954. In 1954 Britain under then foreign secretary Anthony Eden, made a deal with the Egyptian leader and pan-Arab internationalist Nasser. This agreement was simple. The British, who had paid for the Suez canal in the 19th century, and through which passed 80% of Europe’s oil, would immediately withdraw all troops and colonial administration from Egypt. In return Nasser would leave the Suez canal, along with British financial firms, insurance companies, and private property, alone. The British kept their part of the accord. Nasser of course did not keep his. In July of 1956 he nationalized the Suez and the Western powers did nothing to prevent this. The impact on the history of the region has been enormous.

The importance of what Nasser accomplished cannot be underestimated.

In 1955, one year after making his deal with Nasser, Eden became Prime Minister replacing the aged Churchill. As soon as Churchill was out of office Nasser took the opportunity to solidify his dictatorship and inflame pan-Arab opinion. Nasser was the first leader who spoke of an ‘Arab nation’ from the Atlantic to Persia, able to not only confront the West, but actually to defeat it and wrest control of vital oil supplies; trade routes and land away from the colonizing Western powers.

Nasser was of course bitterly anti-Semitic. In a pre-visioning of what Hussein and Ahmadinejad would utter 50 years later, Nasser openly called for the annihilation of all Jews. Nationalizing the Suez canal, Britain’s most precious Middle Eastern asset after oil production, would be Nasser’s attempt to rally Arab and pan-Islamic support in his quest to be the undisputed leader of all the Arab nations [something Hussein in Iraq also attempted from 1980-2003]. Once thus rallied Nasser would lead the Arab Muslims in the destruction of the Jewish state and in the ejection of all ‘crusaders’ from the Middle East.

In July of 1956 Nasser announced the canal’s nationalization and moved troops in to secure the waterway. Eden responded by telling then US President Eisenhower that, ‘As we see it we are unlikely to attain our objective by economic pressures alone…’ He was right. United British-American military intervention was mandatory. Eden knew that a show of weakness would be devastating to British and Western interests in the region. Eisenhower and the Americans thought otherwise. In their haste to dismantle the British empire, the Americans erected pan-Islamic jihad and chaos.

1956 was a US election year. Hungary had been invaded by Soviet troops. Tensions between NATO and the Soviets were high. Eisenhower was worried that frictions in Egypt could lead to a wider war with the Russians. His platform in the 1956 election was basically one of peace, and liberal internationalism. Eisenhower the victorious Allied commander in World War II, was now a politician who adjured that all troubles and disputes be adjudicated through the United Nations. Rather ironic.

Eisenhower and the Americans made it quite clear from the beginning of the crisis that they would not support Eden and the British in reclaiming what was legally a British asset. US foreign policy based on poor analysis, domestic posturing and deranged by a liberal-left wing media that eschewed international conflict, was in the ascendant, lasting well into our own times. Anti-Americanism and the questioning of American moral constructs were to be the result of this duplicitous and misinformed analysis, which lead directly to the British-French defeat at Suez.

Far from being the dunce and moron portrayed by revisionist historians, and the contemporary media, Eden was far more clear-headed about the implications of losing the Suez canal than the Americans or the pro-internationalist posturers. Unfortunately for Eden, he was knifed in the back, not only by the media, but by a cabal of power seekers inside his own party, who saw the death of Eden’s leadership and credibility as a political opportunity.

This craven domestic political conflict was engendered by the fact that the Americans had forced the British to waste precious months trying to get UN support to peacefully settle the crisis. Even at this period in history the UN was a world body heavily dominated by Arab and Muslim states. Expecting any positive support for the British position was of course a fantasy. The Americans knew this, but they also knew that the longer the British were prevented from acting the harder it would be for them to in military action. The loss of these months also allowed the media and Eden’s political rivals to shape and sharpen their protests, vulgarities and their knives.

In order to gain some semblance of international approval Eden engaged the French and Israeli’s in a Machiavellian plan that would have the Israeli’s first invade Egypt [on the rather legitimate claim that Muslims were attacking Israeli targets from Egyptian soil], allowing Franco-British forces would intervene to keep the ‘peace’ between the two combatants. This devious plot was hatched to appease US and internationalist opinion and to give a fig leaf of ‘peacekeeping’ to what was in effect a Franco-British invasion of Egypt to rescue the canal.

The plan was smart, well-organised and would easily have worked. The Israeli’s pushed back the poor Egyptian army, the French and British had little problem in landing and projecting their forces, and British units were only 2 days away from occupying the major towns and strategic points along the Suez, when Eden halted the attacks. The French were incensed, British public opinion inflamed, and the Arab world saved from yet another humiliating defeat thanks to US and British domestic politics. From this victory would spring the hubristic call for Muslims and Arabs to defeat the Western powers.

Eden crumbled at the critical moment when nerve and courage would have succored victory. He collapsed under the American threat to destroy the value of Sterling. The Americans, ever fearful of a Soviet military engagement in the Middle East, threatened the British with financial destruction if Eden persisted in his war. In reality the Americans could have done no such thing [see Yale historian, Diane Kunz’s analysis]. But the economic threat, in a country that 11 years after the defeat of Hitler was economically still vulnerable, caused the British leadership to panic, internal Conservative party politics to broil, and the invasion to be stopped. In this sorry tale the British and French were ejected from Egypt and Pan-Arabism and militant Islam was handed a resounding victory which still echoes to this day.

The 1956 Suez defeat had enormous consequences in shaping Middle Eastern history. In direct violation of UN treaty and signed contractual arrangements, Nasser and the Egyptians stole a valuable Western built, Western paid, and Western controlled asset and a vital communications and trade link between the Indian Ocean and Europe. It is fair to conjecture that the current eruption of Islamic and Muslim violence, jihad and extremism, which has overtaken most North African and Middle Eastern states, is directly linked to this signal event. The lessons from Suez are legion but the crisis, ending in a debacle for Britain and France, and revealing an appallingly perfidious and uninformed US foreign policy, holds 3 key insights, all of which are still especially relevant today.

First the Suez victory by Nasser clearly exposed the incoherence of US foreign policy. In short you don’t subordinate national interests to corrupt international bodies.

US foreign affairs were, and still are rivened and shaped by domestic politics. In the case of the Suez seizure American policy was immoral, hypocritical and premised on cheap political vote buying by appealing to ‘liberal internationalism’ in justifying the supposed breakup of British imperial interests in Egypt and beyond. American support of Nasser bought it no goodwill in the Arab world. Worse, American short-sightedness and nescience gave people in Britain, and France justifiable excuses for anti-American sentiment which is still in evidence today [any British political commentator who is anti-American will justify his view by invoking, ‘what about Suez?’].

This form of janus-faced US policy has also been in evidence since 1956, replayed in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the Balkans, Vietnam in 1975 and Iraq in 1991. In this and other locales, US media [Radio Free America for instance], US politicians [G.W. Bush Snr. for example in 1991 advising the Shia in Iraq to revolt and then doing nothing], and US military attaches and foreign officers, have actively encouraged groups, nations or people to ‘rise up’ and throw off oppression. These people are promised US aid and support, only to have the US sit idly by while thousands are slaughtered by fascist governments and militia. This is not how a great power acts. Prestige and deeds matter more than just words and rhetorical posturing.

A second outcome from Suez was the demonstration of US ignorance over what the Suez defeat really meant in the context of Pan-Arabism and militant jihadic Islam. This blind denial of militant Islam and the refusal to believe Nasser and other Arab leaders when they talked about a ‘united people from the Atlantic to the Gulf’, has informed US policy from 1956 until 2003. By ignoring the crucial issue – Islamic fundamentalism – and instead dwelling on domestic political games, or trying to score cheap electoral points with a cry for a ‘brotherhood of man’ internationalism, the US has in part allowed fascist Islam time to develop. In short, appeasement, not doing what is necessary, or mindlessly ignoring obvious threats only means a longer, bloodier and far deadlier confrontation at some point in the future.

A third outcome of Suez defeat is the demonstration by the US and the West of being weak. Nothing inflames aggression in a fascist ideology or a militarized state more then the recognition that their foes are weak. By allowing the pan-Muslim and pan-Arab leader Nasser to violate the 1954 agreement, the West demonstrated that it was feeble, divided and incapable of containing Muslim demands and aggression. By hiding behind the skirt of useless UN diplomacy the West revealed that it had no courage to defend its legitimate self-interests. Had Nasser been confronted and defeated the Middle East would look much different today.

Nasser’s rise and the advent of Pan-Arabism and militant Islam is directly attributable to Egypt’s stunning 1956 victory. From this defeat other setbacks followed. The West lost Iraq in 1958 only to recover it with massive loss of treasure and blood in 2003. The West lost Lebanon to Arafat and the Syrians starting in 1975. The West lost Iran in 1979 to the radical Shia theology of Khomenei. The West lost Afghanistan when the British left India and the Pakinstani-Afghani area fell into chaos, war, and violence, convulsed by radical Islam. The West has lost influence and prestige in East Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, West Africa and in North Africa – all areas where Islam is on the march, perpetrating jihad, death and instituting a pagan theology in the place of anything resembling civilization. It is a sordid and sick list of Western appeasement and defeat.

It is hard to make the claim that comforting Nasser or any of the modern elements of the pan-Arab, radical Islamic movement has, or will do the West any good, in the fight to save civilization. Lots of factual evidence suggests the opposite. What is truly frightening is that in Western nation states in 2007, we are even more apathetic, blind, internationalist and weak, then we were even in 1956.

Today not many people consider the import, the context or the magnitude of the confrontation, between pagan Islam and the West. Rest assured however that in the Arabic and Islamic world there is no such hesitation. Islam is confident. Arabs are confident. We are not. Ask the Lebanese Christians how ‘moderate’ the forces of Islam are as you contemplate the 100.000 dead Maronite Christians butchered in that state from 1975 to 1995 by Arafat controlled Muslim militia and gangs. Then think again about the lessons of 1956 and Nasser’s victory over the British and the French. Now link these observations to what is going on today in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Are you still convinced weakness and internationalism mean peace in our time?

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