Let us not forget

In my efforts last week, I returned to a time honoured subject upon which I have often waxed lyrical as it is a subject close to my heart- the occupation of Palestine and the subsequent illegality of many actions committed by the Zionist entity which monopolized power in the state of Israel since its founding in 1948. In last weeks post I focussed in particular on how Zionism as a movement has been particularly effective in monopolizing support for itself in the media primarily through omission and distortion of facts and heavy-handed bully-boy tactics that might make even this man quiver…

The sole reason that anyone in the UK should willingly pay a licence fee.

The sole reason that anyone in the UK should willingly pay a licence fee.

After much deliberation this week I have decided to continue casting an inquisitive spotlight over the actions and beliefs of Zionism in an effort to make clear, for any readers who have not already made their mind up, the moral repugnance of Zionism as a philosophy. In particular this post will focus on the main means through which practitioners of this peculiarly vile philosophy have demonstrated their bankruptcy in terms of morals – the distortion of the history of the Holocaust. That anyone would distort a tragedy of such size as the holocaust to secure for themselves benefits of any kind speaks a great deal already, but when you take into account how Zionism as a movement has continually served to distort the holocaust to serve its own ends at the expense of many of the other victims of the Nazi’s exterminatory policies then I vehemently believe you really have come face to face with evil.

I hope that as I progress through this post, the problems this image poses will become increasingly clear

I hope that as I progress through this post, the problems this image poses will become increasingly clear

I recognise in proceeding along this road the likelihood that I may upset some people,  and it is perhaps with something of a heavy heart that I do proceed knowing that but to defend my decision I will bring the readers attention once more to a quote which I have utilised many times by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu which more articulately describes the situation than I could ever hope to – “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Further to this I would like to make clear that my aim is not to diminish the suffering of the Jews who were killed during the holocaust but to illuminate the vast scale of slaughter that was equally committed against other minorities who today do not remain free of the common prejudices of many people across the world. With these caveats out of the way please feel free to read on at your own discretion to find the body of my argument.

The first problem in arguing for recognition of the other victims of the Holocaust is that the very definition itself is tied up in the political wrangling that surrounds how we record this event. Eminent historians, who have officially recognised that many groups alongside Jews were targeted, presumably due to the immense political pressures placed on anyone who specialises in the Holocaust academically have resorted to offering almost Orwellian definitions of the nature of the Holocaust. It pains me to repeat these capitulations (in my view) or whitewashes in one case by historians who otherwise command the utmost respect but below are a sample of statements on how leading historians define the events of the Holocaust:

  • Timothy Snyder states that “The term Holocaust is sometimes used in two other ways: to mean all German killing policies during the war, or to mean all oppression of Jews by the Nazi regime.”
  • Donald Niewyk and Francis Nicosia offer the opinion in The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust that the term is commonly defined as the mass murder of more than five million European Jews. But alongside their definition presented there, they offer the platitude that “Not everyone finds this a fully satisfactory definition”.
  • Martin Gilbert in stating the number of victims of the Nazi Holocaust only cites the figure for Jewish deaths.

This might sound like semantics to those not particularly interested but the way we define the holocaust is of critical importance. It is demonstrably clear that in two out of three of the cases I have listed above that the author, while acknowledging the facts that there were other victims of Nazi exterminatory policy, is towing the official line in only recognising Jewish victims as the ‘official’ ones. There is no logical reason why the ‘other’ victims of the Holocaust are defined separately and so it logically follows that they should be recognised as victims of the holocaust and not victims of some separate yet less hideous atrocity. In defining the Holocaust for myself, I lean very closely to the first term described by Timothy Snyder above when he says that the Holocaust is taken ” to mean all German killing policies during the war”. In choosing this as the definition I believe to be the clearest representation of historical fact, I conducted an analysis of my own as to the intentions of Nazi extermination policies firstly, towards the Jews of Europe and the secondly, towards all other persecuted groups. In studying the intentions of Nazi policy in attempting to wipe out these groups it is eminently clear that the Nazi intentions were the same in both cases,  the intentions being namely:

  • To clear land otherwise occupied by undesirable groups to make way for its settlement by ethnic German populations and also in liquidating undesirables freeing up their property, homes, financial resources etc for use by German population. 
  • To maintain the fabled blood purity of the ‘Aryan’ race by destroying all potential ‘pollutants’ which could potentially pollute the blood of the vaunted German race.
  • To maintain the ideological purity of the Nazi vision for its empire by destroying all potential ‘pollutants’ who might challenge the ideologies valued in the public sphere of the vaunted German race.

Taking the above facts as truth, we can see that the policy of extermination of various groups all served the same ends and therefore it makes complete sense that the the attempts to exterminate undesirable groups should be classed together as a singular event in history. The current approach is incorrect in my opinion as it breaks up the attacks by the Nazis against the different undesirable groups into distinct atrocities as if separate and distinct motives informed the crimes when as I have demonstrated above the reality is that the exact same purposes were at work in every case. 

When wondering how to define the holocaust in a much more non-specific way then my definition would be that it is amongst a group of events in human history that are uniquely troubling in their vileness and also provide the perfect retort to every drivelling idiot who sees something that warms the heart and says something like this “faith in humanity restored.” I mean how can you ever hold any faith in humanity when members of the human race, albeit deranged fanatical fascist ones, enacted a deliberate policy to systematically slaughter whole parts of the human race, how dense does it make you that someone giving up their seat on the bus or the train makes you think humans aren’t irreversibly damaged on a philosophical level?  The critical reason that we must recognise the multitude of groups who were targeted alongside Jews is that if we fail to do so, we commit an act almost as hideously vile in denying the recognition to victims of such an atrocity. In the words of one notable holocaust survivor, when speaking about the victims of an altogether separate genocide, to deny the victims the recognition they deserve is to kill them a second time. By failing to acknowledge properly the ‘other victims’ of the Holocaust we effectively say that their suffering is less significant than that of the Europe’s Jews. This is an issue of critical important as ultimately since the Holocaust if only one positive end has been reached, it is that popular prejudice against Jews is no longer a commonly held value whereas those victims who have not received the proper recognition for their suffering still face much discrimination to this day which is justified in many of the same ways as the hatred of Jews was justified in Nazi Europe.

Now that I have made clear my opinion on how the Holocaust should, and hopefully one day will, be defined, and also made perfectly clear the reasons recognition of the other victims of the Holocaust is vitally important, I will begin to demonstrate the scale in which other minority groups were targeted by the Nazis, which should leave the reader in no doubt that we must recognise the fact that the Holocaust was much wider reaching in its scope than current definitions recognise.

  • The first group that I believe need to be included in the total cost of life’s that the Holocaust reaped as opposed to being listed as victims of some other arbitrary atrocity is the Poles. The decisions that carried the Nazi armies onto Polish soil in 1939 were exactly the same as those which informed the change of policy towards Europe’s Jews. The decisions that informed the ethnic cleansing of both groups from conquered territory revolved around clearing ‘Lebensraum’ for Germans and so it makes sense that the the killing of both groups falls under the same category of crime.
    The same practices that we instantly recongise as associated with the specifically "Jewish Holocaust" were used to equally ill effect to identify and massacre Poles throughout the Second World War.

    The same practices that we instantly recognise as associated with the specifically “Jewish Holocaust” were used to equally ill effect to identify and massacre Poles throughout the Second World War.

    It is true that the Poles as a general rule were persecuted as vigorously from the outset of the war meaning that they were less victims of the gas chambers and more victims of the gun but this does not diminish in any way the scale of the casualties suffered by Poland with approximately 14% of the polish population (5 million including Jews) lost at the hands of the German forces. It is also worthy taking into account that of the roughly 6 million Jews that were killed in the Holocaust as we currently recognise it that approximately half would have been Polish Jews so there is a definite argument to be heard in the notion that if we are to subdivide the Holocaust into separate atrocities that instead of subdividing it by group targeted that we should instead group the targeted populations and divide by theatre of the the holocaust. Instead then of dividing the Holocaust up into the genocide committed against Jews and that committed against Slavs, we should perhaps split the Holocaust up into the Holocaust as waged in Poland, that waged in the Ukraine, that waged in Belgium etc. Such an approach would arguably be preferable as it takes into account that within a country there was no real hierarchy of murder and that each group was targeted on an equal basis and it also would help to make clear that the Holocaust was waged very differently throughout Europe with Jews originating in France receiving much less brutal treatment than those from the Eastern Bloc and Soviet countries.

  • Another group which has arguably been white-washed  even further from the officially recognised victims of the Holocaust are Soviet POW’s. Unlike the Jews and Poles who formed a potential physical corruption of German blood in the mind of the Nazis, the Soviet POW’s who ended up in Nazi hands were persecuted and exterminated on account of the perceived ideological danger that they created for Germany as Communists had formed one of the many groups that the Nazis were persistently opposed to in Germany and this carried on into their occupation of Europe. Alongside the purposeful targeting of Soviets for ethnic cleansing along Ideological lines it is also true that the treatment of Soviet POW’s was also informed by one of the chief aims of the Holocaust which was to reduce the burden on limited resources and free these up for the German population – fair treatment of the multitudes of Soviet POW’s that were captured in the early stages of Operation Barbarossa would have entailed a massive logistical effort for the Germans which would have been extremely difficult to maintain in a war environment. This disregard for human life combined with the ideological hatred of Soviet prisoners ultimately saw between 2 and 3 million die in the early stages of the war. That the savagery unleashed was intentional and not purely an accident in the fog of war was probably to some extent proven by the fury that was unleashed against the Germans after the Soviets halted the German offensive and returned one of their own onto German Soil. Further proof that the treatment of Soviet POW’s was a genocidal behaviour on the part of the Nazis is provided by the disparity between the number of Western prisoners from Great Britain and the US who were killed after capture and the number of Soviets who were killed. From a total of 231,000 British and American prisoners captured 8300 died whereas in the case of the Soviets around half of the roughly 5 million prisoners died in German captivity.
Vast swathes of captured Soviets would have been an all too common sight on the Eastern Front.

Vast swathes of captured Soviets would have been an all too common sight on the Eastern Front.

  • Another group that I believe should be included and is often recognised but as I have already mentioned, only recognised in the context of their own separate ‘Holocaust’ called the Porajmos, is the Romani and Sinti people. In more common parlance (and racist for that matter) we know the Romani and Sinti as Gypsies. That they were targeted by the Nazis was not something that was well recognised before the 1980s but since then the record has begun to recognise that atrocities were committed against these people as they too were defined much in the same way as other groups who were targeted as ‘undesirable’ and ‘dirty’. One problem that complicates the recognition that these people deserve is that genocidal policy regarding them differed from country to country (in my opinion adding further weight to the need to subdivide the Holocaust not by groups targeted but by country. That the policy differed from country to country does not however change the fact that there was a reasonably large population of Romani in Europe at the time and where they were targeted they were exterminated on a large scale .
    A map of countries showing the number of Romani prior to WW2.

    A map of countries showing the number of Romani prior to WW2.

    In the debates that have raged since the end of the Second World War, the number of Romani/ Sinti victims of the Holocaust has been placed as low as 130,000 by Niewyk and Nicosia and on the other hand by a specialist in Roma studies, Ian Hancock the number has been placed as high as half a million possibly even one and half million. Hancock argues that whatever the figure that proportionately as many if not more Roma and Sinti were killed in the Holocaust than even the Jews and so it is markedly noticeable that their suffering receives so little attention in most accounts of the Holocaust.

  • One last group that I will identify as having suffered tremendously as a result of the Holocaust for the exact same reasons as all other groups, therefore qualifying them as victims of the Holocaust, is Homosexuals. Targeted from a very early period in Nazi history, a large number of Homosexuals were at some pointed targeted by discrimination by the Nazi authorities, although the proportion is difficult to ascertain as it is obviously easier to hide manifestations of sexuality than it is to hide race or membership of communities. Records show that around 50,000 homosexual men were targeted and of those around 15,000 ended up in concentration camps were they were subjected to an unusual level of torture and suffering relative to most other groups which speaks volumes about the level of hatred being just the same if not worse in some ways than that shown to other groups. A leading Scholar Rüdiger Lautmann believes that the death rate of homosexuals in concentration camps may have been as high as 60% and that would certainly on a surface level appear to sound correct when the camp guards ‘interests’ are taken into account. The recording of Homosexuals who were targeted was ultimately complicated by the fact that Homosexuality remained criminalised in post war Germany and so the the reality is we will probably never know the true extent to which the Holocaust exterminated Homosexuals.

I have decided for the sake of brevity to end my identification of other groups who should equally be recognised as victims of the Nazi Holocaust there. Given more time and space I would also identify Slavs, Peoples with disabilities (both mental and physical),  Religious minorities such as Jehovahs Witnesses, Non Europeans and enemy nationals as other groups equally worthy of identification as having been targeted for extermination in the Holocaust. The reason I plumped for three of the four groups was I discussed above  was quite purposeful on my part. The reason was to demonstrate that while as a result of the recognition of their suffering during the Holocaust, Jews have been able to put an end to popular prejudices against themselves as a race, in the case of Poles, Romani and Homosexuals who are not really recognised as a victims of the Holocaust despite the historical facts, common prejudices against them remain relatively widespread throughout Europe. There are two other reasons also why I believe it is critical that we acknowledge and recognise  the other victims of the Nazi Holocaust that I will now briefly explain. Firstly, by only acknowledging the Jewish suffering  that took place in the Holocaust, we have allowed Zionist elements within Judaism to claim the status as the sole victims of the worst atrocity in history which they have used as a smokescreen to commit ethnic cleansing of their own, and continuing to this day that status as sole victims is being used to avoid all criticism in all forums. By acknowledging that actually there were many other victims of the Holocaust we remove that status of sole victim, which has been used too often as an excuse by Israeli elites to commit morally reprehensible acts, whilst still recognising the massive suffering of the Jewish people that came about as a result of the Holocaust. The second reason that I believe it is important that we recognise the other victims of the Holocaust is that to not do so is to diminish the scale of the atrocity committed, especially when we take into account that when the other groups are counted amongst the victims the death toll of the Holocaust doubles, and therefore to prevent its proper recording in History which serves no-one.

Through continual manipulation of the historical facts, Zionists as a movement have exploited a tragedy which their people endured, and exploited it past all interpretations of good taste or even just plain taste. In doing so they have escaped culpability for many crimes against humanity and international law whilst diminishing the suffering of others who were equally persecuted in the darkest days of humanity. By reclaiming the Holocaust as an event which crossed ethnic divisions we remove this excuse. In removing this excuse we live in hope that by removing the Holocaust from the sole ownership of the Zionists who cradle it for all of its political worth that we remove its use as a political tool and instead allow it to become a solemn moment in history from which we learn a lot of lessons about why our common prejudices are and have always been wrong.

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The enemy of my enemy…

Last week, a most unsurprising development in the Syrian civil war was announced in the news which then was presumably followed by much agonised chin scratching in western political circles who’s narrative regarding the ongoing conflict in Syria prior to said announcement had been relatively simple considering the convoluted nature of the crisis. The announcement that I make reference to is that of the Al-Nusra Front declaring themselves for Al-Qaeda which was surely news to no-one yet hit with devastating force none the less as people perhaps began to wake up and see that again foreign policy is all to often dictated by the proverb that I have used as the title for this post and that once again in Syria we are in bed with a group we barely understand. In years to come I genuinely fear that this saying will only gain in poignancy as we reflect on the legacy of the Arab Spring which despite holding such dreamy promises in its early days seems to have mutated into something bearing a greater resemblance to a nightmare. While many forces have been at work throughout the ongoing Arab Spring, this mutation of the idealistic revolution into something resembling more on a daily basis the revolutions of France and Russia is in all likelihood due in no small part to the part that has been played by Western actors who have armed factions with whom they shared all too convenient hatreds. In this post I intend to discuss notable times where the sentiments of this proverb have been applied and will demonstrate that each time it has been used that the results are always as spectacularly disastrous for innocent lives and show further that the Arab Spring is seemingly no different.

Perhaps the most notable case in relatively recent history of the use of this maxim to broker alliances between nations that were ultimately hostile to each other in the name of overriding interests would be the Second World War. Two alliances of convenience were formed during the six years in which this conflict raged, both involving the USSR as a regional power. First off the bat, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a mutual non-aggression pact known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact after the foreign ministers responsible for signing it. This pact on the part of Nazi Germany guaranteed that the Soviet Union would stay uninvolved in any emerging European war leaving Germany able to focus its energies on subjugation of Poland and other Western European nations. This is a prime example of an alliance of convenience as the Nazi party ultimately clawed hold of power in Germany through stoking the fires of suspicion against Communists working to subvert the Reichstag and democracy yet in a moment of need came to an agreement with a supposedly newly found friend. It is also a prime example this type of alliance as it ultimately collapsed once the supply of mutual enemies between the once antagonistic nations came to an end with Great Britain seemingly at the point of collapse and the USA yet to enter the war. In one of history’s most disastrous back-stabbings, Hitler then suddenly re-remembered that he despised communism and that his rant in book form Mein Kampf called for the annexation of much Soviet territory to satisfy the Nazi hunger for land.

Molotov signs the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact. Behind him are Ribbentrop and Stalin.

Molotov signs the Nazi–Soviet non-aggression pact. Behind him are Ribbentrop and Stalin.

Another reason that the Second World War is a prime example of this proverb in action is that in the aftermath of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, another alliance of convenience was formed this time between Great Britain (and later the USA) and the Soviet Union who if anything despised each other more than the Nazis and the Soviets had done. After all, the political movement which Stalin was a figurehead of at the time had in the minds of the British at least deserted them in their hour of need during the First World War and also the central ideology of the Soviet Union was deeply antagonistic to the ways of life of the British Empire and the United States. The feelings of dislike were very much mutual with Stalin reportedly saying that Churchill was “the worst of the capitalists” but ultimately the common interest of beating back Nazism prevailed momentarily at least. Of course, the ultimate legacy of this alliance was that while it did put an end to the threat of Nazism it evolved into a cold-war between the two diametrically opposed ideologies with almost fifty years of tension that could have at any moment ended the human race ensuing. Besides the irony of an alliance between enemies breaking down into a conflict which greatly outlasted the original war it sought to end, history will look back on this and likely say the strangest thing of all was the Britain and the USA in an effort to stop one tyrant bedded another far worse one in Stalin who is often blamed for upwards of 50 million deaths throughout his reign.

Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the Tehran conference - Papa Joe, king of the political wheeler-dealers and (probably) world mass murderers.

Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the Tehran conference – Papa Joe, king of the political wheeler-dealers and (probably) world mass murderers.

As has already been alluded to in the above section on the series of alliances of convenience that were struck in World War 2 the Nazi party, inflammatory rhetoric put to one side, wasn’t afraid to make alliances with nations that it despised in order to get ahead of more direct threats. Another example of the Nazi’s propensity for such types of alliances is the friendship that developed between Nazi agents and Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and one of the most divisive Palestinians to ever enter the political stage. Again, this relationship on the surface makes little sense as according to the racial hierarchy that much of the Nazi empire was classified by, the Palestinian Arabs who al-Husseini represented, were not many steps higher than the Jews and consequently would likely have experienced the same treatment had the Nazis every really made headways in the Middle East. The decision  by al-Husseini to ally with the most vocally anti-Semitic power in the world was seemingly based around a mutual dislike for the British who ruled much of the Middle East at the time through League of Nation Mandates and also around the concern of Jewish immigration into Palestine as European Jews escaped the persecutions of the Nazis. And we can assume that all the Nazis saw in an alliance with the Arabs was simply a convenient ally who could support in the fight against the more militarily powerful British. Whatever the reasons for the alliance, time passed and eventually it broke down and back fired on the Palestinians. By allying himself with Hitler, al-Husseini arguably seriously discredited the Palestinian cause for a long time by making his antipathy to the foundation of a Jewish state appear to be related to anti-Semitism rather than simply being a result of his support of Arab nationalism. In appearing to be close to Hitler, whatever the ultimate reality of their relationship, al-Husseini gave the most ardent Zionists a conveniently unapologetic figurehead of supposed Arab anti-Semitism who to this day is used to justify the position of strength Israel feels the need to maintain.

Not the type of image you want surfacing later in life when fronting advocacy campaigns of any sort.

Not the type of image you want surfacing later in life when fronting advocacy campaigns of any sort.

The next case of a country following the mantra “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is perhaps one of the most famous instances of this idea in practice, the USA’s collusion and financial backing of Pakistani and Arab forces in Afghanistan after the Soviet Union’s invasion of 1979. Much has been done throughout the Cold War, the USA backed paramilitary forces that often were unlikely to reclaim power from the communist forces in whichever country but militarily were adept enough to be a serious thorn in the side of the supposed “international communist conspiracy”. The financial and logistical support which the foreign Mujahideen received enabled them to hold off the military juggernaut of the Soviet Union for over 9 years until Gorbachev decided that Soviet forces would withdraw in 1989 and arguably this defeat was critical in ensuring the eventual downfall of the one time superpower. If the record ended there then this alliance might have be the most successful alliance of convenience in the history of man but unfortunately for all parties involved the story does not end there. Slowly but surely after the Soviet armed forces withdrew, the Mujahideen warlords who, during the 9 years for which the conflict had raged, had amassed massive political and military power in Afghanistan dragged the country into a vicious civil war which ended tens of thousands of lives and destroyed more of the country than the Soviet Union ever managed. This period of Chaos did eventually end when the Taliban, a politico-religious force which sought to the end the period of instability  managed to gain control of the country. This in itself might have been enough proof that alliances of convenience are often very dangerous agreements but again history added some more spice to the dish when the Taliban allowed Al-Qaeda, architects of global terrorism, to take refuge in their Islamic fundamentalist state.

The direct result of Cold War politics

The direct result of Cold War politics.

Now that I have considered some historical examples of the use of the proverb “the enemy of my enemy …” I will now discuss the Arab Spring and show how true to form, alliances that were formed with groups purely on the basis of a common shared enemy seem to be doomed to failure. Either these alliances have already broken down in a remarkably short time scale, in the cases of Libya and Syria or seem consistently on the verge of breaking down as is the case in Egypt and to a questionable degree also Tunisia. For a movement that sprung from boundless optimism with the lofty intentions of killing off the corrupt old guard regimes throughout the Middle East and North Africa we have come a long way to the point at which we are at now with the only thing that seems to have changed being the dictator who happens to sit on the throne. I’ll now briefly look at each case in hand:

  • Tunisia – The first country to overthrow its leader and the birthplace of the Arab Spring. When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire little did he know where his actions would end. The Arab Spring in Tunisia resulted in a massive democratisation of Tunisia with Ben Ali, head of state for 24 years overthrown, the dissolution of the political police and elections to a constituent assembly later that year. The newly democratised country of Tunisia is perhaps the most safe of all the countries who managed to overthrow their governments being as relatively speaking it was the most peaceful upheaval and did not rely on paramilitary groups or major violence to end the regime unlike the other three countries in question. However this is not to say that that the Tunisian “Jasmine revolution” isn’t endangered by foolish alliances of convenience like in neighbouring Libya. The calls to revolt which sounded in later 2010 appealed to a broad social consensus ranging from liberal human rights based groups through to hard-line Salafist groups and ultimately the success of the revolution was based on the involvement of every group that participated. In the time that has passed since Ben Ali was overthrown concern has been voiced that hard-line religious elements have begun to co-opt the democratic process for their own ends. In the case of Tunisia then the alliance that was formed between a variety of groups has yet to result in any major backlash as the result of hastily formed alliances and so there is still hope that Tunisia will buck the trend of one time allies either usurping the democratic process or forces supported by the west turning out to be a bigger threat than the government overthrown.
  • Egypt – The second country to successfully overthrow its government during the Arab Spring and a significantly more important regional player. Much the same as in the case of Tunisia the overthrow was ultimately achieved through the power of the Egyptian people themselves and not through the force of Western arms. Similar to the case of Tunisia, the threat to the Egyptian revolution is not one posed by alliances with external powers but created instead by alliances between liberally minded groups and radical elements such as the Muslim Brotherhood who were a critical component of the Egyptian revolution. Since the Election of Mohamed Morsi to the presidency and with the Islamist Bloc forming the second largest group in the Egyptian house of representatives, many Egyptians feel disillusioned and believe that their alliance with such elements was not worth it as increasingly Morsi rolls back the democratisation that took place in the absence of Mubarak and brings Egypt more in line with the Gulf Arab states.
  • Libya – The third country to overthrow its government and head of state, but the first to utilise Western military aid and financial support in doing so. Unlike in Tunisia and Egypt where protests were widespread and the majority of society seemed to support the overthrowing of the regime in Libya the protests were very much localised and relied on specific groups within society to achieve its aims. When Qadaffi’s armed forced seemed on the verge of crushing this regional rebellion. NATO intervened and through the use of air support helped the rebels slowly capture more and more of Libya until it fell to them. The alliance in question here is more at risk and this probably due to the fact that instead of being an alliance between different elements of society as a whole who had all suffered equally, it was an alliance between internal rebels and external powers with the only shared interest being the overthrow of a somewhat unpopular leader. From the beginning of the the Libyan revolution right through to today we have been aware of highly dangerous elements active in Libya and the end result is that while Qadaffi is no longer in power Libya does not seem much safer than when Rebels and the Libyan army were fighting throughout the country. The alliance struck between the West and forces in Libya is a perfect example of an alliance based on the proverb and like many such alliances has already broken down with Westerners and other traditional victims of fundamentalist Islamic groups being murdered and chased out of the country and this is still the early days with the new government seemingly unable to control the militias that fought in the uprising.
  • Syria – This last country is a slight aberration when compared to the rest I have discussed as unlike the others the revolutionary movement has not overthrown its government and is seemingly unlikely to do so. However as in Libya, Western politicians who have never been fond of the al-Assad family and its close ties to Russia, Iran and Hezbollah have decided to aid the rebel movement, helping them in this are the Gulf Arab states who are wary of a Shia dominated Arab nation with close ties to Iran. As a result of these regional rivalries what started as a genuine revolution for reform and perhaps even the overthrow of the government has increasingly mutated into a sectarian civil war with militias financed by external powers aiming to establish again a nation far closer in style to Saudi Arabia than the enlightened democracies of Scandinavia for example. While support for the rebels in Syria has repeatedly been vocalised and Bashar al-Assad demonised, the actual military support that we saw given to Libyan rebels is yet to materialise and we can hope that this remains the case or in all probability what will happen is that we will see one dictatorial regime overthrown and a far greater threat replace it in the form of allies we have armed whose stated aim is the establishing of a worldwide fundamentalist Salafist state. Whether the support will dry up by itself as a result of the Al-Nusra fronts declaration of support for Al – Qaeda remains to be unseen but I would not hold out too much hope as I’m sure the people in charge knew the elements that were present in Libya before Qaddafi fell.

Of course one difference in this region is that the identity of who is friend and foe is generally speaking continually and rapidly changing and the Arab Spring only seems to have exacerbated this tendency. Perhaps in years to come, unlike the instances of such alliances I offered earlier in this post which have been critically assessed, politicians will escape the blame for  some of the foolish decisions that have already been made and in all likelihood will continue to be made by using this as an excuse and failing to learn the lessons of making alliances based purely on mutual enemies. It is not too much to hope that international politics moves away from rash alliances of convenience and towards building relationships based on much broader and more substantial criteria. An ideology based on hatred – of anything, what so ever, is a curse on all our houses.