Whilst Da’esh are constantly being compared to the Nazis, the real parallel – the West’s willingness to build up fascism in order to cripple Russia – is often forgotten.
The recent debate in the British House of Commons on bombing Syria saw the comparisons coming thick and fast. “Daesh are the fascists of our time”, said Labour MP Dan Jarvis; “this is the fascist war of our generation” opined Sarah Wollaston; whilst Hillary Benn rounded off the debate by explaining that “we are faced by fascists” and “what we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated”.
The parallels are real: the political worldview of Wahhabi’ism – the ideology of Da’esh, Al Qaeda, and Britain’s number one weapons buyer, Saudi Arabia – does indeed have much in common with that of Hitler and Mussolini. In essence, European fascism was an emotional response to national humiliation at the hands of the so-called ‘Great Powers’ – military defeat in the case of Germany, and a denial of the fruits of victory in the case of Italy. The fascists blamed this humiliation on an ‘enemy within’ whose presence was corrupting the nation and sapping its strength, and who therefore must be purged before rejuvenation could take place. We are all aware of the political programme that flowed from this.
Similarly, by the late 1700s, the Ottoman Empire – which just a century earlier had been ‘at the gates of Vienna’ – was also entering a phase of decline. European military prowess was becoming virtually unassailable, and a series of defeats at the hands of Russia led many Ottoman subjects to wonder what lay behind their apparent weakness. Muhammad ibn Al-Wahb, a radical Sunni preacher from the Nejd desert in central Arabia gave them an answer: the Muslims were being punished for their departure from true Islam. In particular, the presence of rival sects such as Sufism and Shiism – which, he argued, did not even count as Islamic at all – were weakening Muslim power. Only by eliminating them from the caliphate – along with any Sunnis who disagreed – could its strength be restored. It is this thinking that motivates the countless executions of Yazidis, Alawites, Christians and others at the hands of ibn Al-Wahb’s modern-day disciples. Just like fascism, Wahhabism is a politics of strength through ethno-ideological purification.
But that is not the whole story. Neither fascism nor Da’esh drew their strength solely from the commitment of their fighters – rather, the rise of both is inextricable from the Western world’s response to its own economic and geopolitical crises.
In the 1930s, fascism was viewed much more favourably by Britain’s ruling elites than Benn’s statement that “this entire House stood up against Hitler and Mussolini” would have us believe. “What has Hitler done of which we can reasonably complain?” asked Conservative MP CT Culverwell in 1938, a year after the Luftwaffe’s devastation of Guernica. Three years earlier, Mussolini had invaded Abyssinia. Hearing of the pending invasion, Labour Prime Minister Ramsey MacDonald wrote to El Duce to inform him that “England is a lady. A lady’s taste is for vigorous action by the male, but she likes things done discreetly – not in public. So be tactful, and we shall have no objection”. These views were not untypical; as historian J.T. Murphy has noted, “It was conspicuous that no government in the capitalist world quivered with apprehension when this new power (Fascism) arrived. The world’s conservatives hailed it with glee, and there was not a Tory who, as he nodded approval of the Hitler and Mussolini method of dealing with the “labour problem”, did not feel confident that in the bargain-basement of diplomacy, he could make a deal with the new anti-Bolshevik champion.” Sir Stafford Cripps, British ambassador to the USSR during World War Two, noted of the interwar years that “throughout this period the major factor in European politics was the successive utilisation by Great Britain… of various fascist governments to check the power and danger and the rise of communism or socialism.” In particular, Hitler was seen as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, and was supported by British and US elites throughout the 1930s for this reason.
And so, too, with Da’esh. The West and its regional allies have been the cheerleaders, patrons and armourers of the Wahhabi insurgency in Syria since its very inception: not despite its sectarian nature, but because of it. A recently declassified US Defence Intelligence Agency document from 2012 revealed that the Pentagon were well aware of the nature of the forces they were supporting, noting that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq, the forerunner of DA’ESH] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria”. The same report predicted the establishment of a “Salafist [Wahhabi’ist] principality” but noted this was “exactly what the supporting powers of the opposition [defined as “the West, Gulf countries and Turkey”] want”. Of course, none of this was revealed at the time – just as Hitler received early support from the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, the Western press was still trying to convince the world that the Syrian rebels were valiant freedom fighters, fighting for democracy and equality.
It was not only rhetorical support that Hitler received from Britain, however. The London Stock Exchange Gazette noted in May 1935 that “Without this country as a clearing house for payments and the ability to draw on credits… Germany could have not have pursued her plans… Time and again Germany has defaulted on her obligations, public and private; but she has gone on buying wool, cotton, nickel, rubber and petrol until her requirements were fulfilled, and the financing has been done directly or indirectly through London…” Indeed, British financing of the Nazi war machine was so extensive that German capitalist and Nazi financier Hjalmar Schacht pointed out after the war that “If you want to put on trial the industrialists who helped Germany arm itself you must put on trial your own industrialists.”
Da’esh, likewise, have been generously funded by the West. The US alone has directly provided well over $1 billion of military support to the insurgency in Syria in the form of training and weapons, much of which has found its way into the hands of Da’esh. And, in terms of its financial flows, London is likely to have played a particularly significant role. HSBC has been repeatedly taken to task by US Senators over its relationship with Al Qaeda’s main banking arm in Saudi Arabia, whilst French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, when announcing a new crackdown on terrorist funding last month, specifically singled out the City of London and demanded the world be “vigilant” with Britain given its reputation. Alex Salmond, former Scottish National Party leader claimed in parliament that “Whenever I ask the Prime Minister about [cutting off Da’esh’s funding], he tells me that he is sitting on a Committee. For two years, we have heard nothing. Little or nothing has been done to interrupt the flow of funds and to identify and stop the financial institutions without which Daesh could not have lifted a finger against us or anyone else.”
But why? Why was Britain so keen to finance Hitler then, and so reluctant to crack down on Da’esh’s financing today? The Nazis were supported, as we have seen, as a bulwark against communism, and in particular as a force to be hurled into action against the Soviet Union. The terrorist insurgency in Syria, meanwhile, was viewed by the West as a means of crippling an independent state with an independent foreign and monetary policy – and in the process, undermining its allies Iran and, once again, Russia. In both cases, the ultimate target was Russia, and by extension the entire non-Western geopolitical project of which Russia was and is a leading part.
This being the case, what lessons can be drawn from the experience of the 1930s and 40s? What policies should Russia pursue in the face of Western-sponsored fascism/ terrorism?
There were three main aspects to Russia’s anti-fascist policy in the 1930s – all of them correct in my view, and all with clear lessons for today.
Firstly, the USSR clearly understood that fascism relied on foreign support, and tried to break the West away from supporting it. Proposals for a ‘grand alliance’ were constantly being put forward to Britain and France. France, especially, was seen as ‘wavering’ in its commitment to German fascism, for obvious reasons, and so particular effort was made to pull France into such an alliance – with some degree of success (the 1935 Franco-Soviet pact). Britain was more of a lost cause, but the spectacle of Britain repeatedly rejecting an anti-fascist alliance did at least help to cut through the rhetoric and expose the British government’s true attitude towards fascism. All of this applies as much to Wahhabi terrorism today as it did to fascism then.
Secondly, if Russia were not able to convince the West to stop supporting fascism, she moved to militarily defeat it herself. Once Germany and Italy had made it clear they would not respect the non-intervention arrangements agreed by the League of Nations over the Spanish civil war, the USSR moved to crush the fascist uprising itself. Similarly, once it became clear that the West would not respect Syrian sovereignty, Russia moved to smash the Wahhabi’ist insurgency directly.
The real masterstroke of Soviet diplomacy in that period, however – and the one that ultimately allowed Russia to defeat Germany – was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Doing the seemingly unthinkable – a peace treaty with Hitler – not only bought Russia time to prepare for war, but divided Hitler from his former British, French and American patrons. It ensured that Russia would not fight alone when the time came, and would not be fighting an enemy still supported by the West.
I am not advocating a peace treaty with Da’esh here (although Russia’s moves to divide the insurgents and bring as many as feasible to the table is laudable); it is too late for that. That would be like negotiating a peace treaty with Hitler in 1943. Molotov-Ribbentrop was based on the principle that the alliance between fascism and the West had to be broken, and so if the West could not be pulled away from fascism, then fascism would have to be pulled away from the West. By the same token, the alliance between Wahhabi terrorism and the West must be broken. In practical terms, the main regional state sponsors of Wahhabi’ism – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Turkey – must be pulled from out of the West’s orbit. This is obviously easier said than done: Erdogan has thrown in his chips with NATO, and Saudi Arabia was virtually a creation of the British Empire. Yet, their leaderships cannot be blind to the fact that there is no future in hitching their wagons to the West’s flaming chariot. That way lies only destruction – and it is becoming clearer by the day that the West is pushing Turkey to a frontline position in an ever-wider conflagration with Russia. This is not in Turkey’s interests. The true interests of the Turks, and indeed the Saudis – as of all humanity, ultimately – lie in realigning themselves with the global South and the BRICS, rather than continuing to act as the agents of its destruction: the minute they themselves realise this, and realign their diplomacy accordingly, the West’s war games are over.
About the author: Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]
As he launches his new TV series offering a critical view of US overseas exploits, the film director tells MEE he didn’t always see it that way.
American controversies are Oliver Stone’s forte.
The Hollywood movie director has turned his cameras on the assassination of John F Kennedy, the Vietnam War and the 9/11 attacks.
But, when researching his television series, The Untold History of the United States, it was American exploits in the Middle East that left him with the most lasting impression, he told Middle East Eye on Wednesday.
“When I studied the untold history, one thing that really hit me hard was ...
The Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s main evidence thus far in his “Russiagate” probe is not actually about possible Russian collusion with Trump to win the Presidency, but instead about definite Israeli collusion with Trump after Trump had already won the Presidency but before he became inaugurated. As a lawyer explained on the day when Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was indicted in a plea-deal: “Mr. Flynn has just become the prosecution’s star witness.” What Flynn had pled to was his trying to obtain Russia’s support for Israel’s Government, against the Palestinians. Russia said no; Putin said no to Flynn’s request, ...
Millions of white people glorify mass murderers because their sense of identity and place in society is deeply tied to white supremacy.“It is important to name and shame the mass murderers.”The perpetrators of crimes against humanity are often elevated to positions of respect and admiration. It all depends on who did the killing, and who was killed. Now the murderers are being called to account. The new movement in the United States against police and other state violence has inspired this welcome change taking place all over the world. The criminals are being exposed decades and even centuries after their atrocities ...
Michigan-based filmmaker Michael Moore makes the connection between Kosovo and the Columbine shooting in his Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine (2002). Moore puts Kosovo in the context of a broader U.S. foreign policy agenda and a domestic culture of violence. Moore asks: “Are we a nation of gun nuts or are we just nuts?”
In the first scene, Moore walks into the North Country Bank in Michigan to open an account. He saw an ad in the newspaper that the bank would give out free guns to those who open accounts there. Moore walks into the bank and tells the ...
The U.N. Organization was established in 1945 for the very security reason – to preserve the peace in the world. We believe that the governmental bodies and administrative structures of the U.N. have to be composed by the proved democratically oriented politicians and magistrates but above all this requirement has to be applied to the post and function of the U.N. Secretary-General. Nevertheless, in the history of the U.N. there is at least one (extremely) problematic appointment to the post of the U.N. Secretary-General: Kurt Waldheim from Austria.
On the official website of the U.N. about its fourth Secretary-General one can ...
It is hardly a coincidence that the Declaration of Independence, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach’s On the Natural Variety of Mankind were all published within a year of one another, for each supports a necessary aspect of a larger, integrated project. Not only was the rationale for seizing political power (provided by the Declaration) supported by Smith’s popular text (which justified rule by the wealthy business class). Because this wealth and power was contingent on slavery, and territories seized by conquest, Blumenbach’s theory that the “Caucasian race” (a designation he coined, by the way) was the supreme race was ...
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics, and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]SaveSave
Churchill’s famous dictum about the Soviet Union, that it was “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” is arguably just as applicable to Srebrenica. July 11 this year will be the twenty-fifth anniversary of that landmark event of the Yugoslav wars which the late Prof. Edward Hermann, speaking somewhat less poetically than Churchill, had called “the greatest triumph of propaganda at the close of the twentieth century.”Whether we choose to view Srebrenica as a criminal investigation to sort out who and at whose direction executed prisoners of war, or as a political provocation to lay the groundwork for ...
The new coronavirus and its accompanying disease Covid-19 has stopped the globe in its tracks. Governments, markets and news cycles have become dominated by the pandemic. Europe is now the epicenter for the disease, with reportedly more fatal cases of infection than China where the virus first erupted in December.Several European Union countries have declared themselves states of emergencies, including Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. The 27-member bloc has sealed off external borders. Some states, such as Poland, have begun closing borders with other EU members. Brussels, the administrative center of the EU, is alarmed because the much-vaunted single ...
At the age of 15 on a riverbank he was shot eight times just for being Serbian. He survived and a few days later during the religious holiday of Transfiguration he was out of his coma. But until now he has not received an answer to his question: who shot the children bathing in the river near the Kosovo village of Gorazdevac on August 13, 2003? In his interview to the Voice of Russia Bogdan Bukumiric tells a wonderful story of his rescue.“It is not so scary to die as to be buried alive” – this is the inscription on ...
Accoring to the “Zeri” news agency from the city of Priština, women who join the Islamic state are mostly 23 years of age, and before joining them they were “modern girls“.
One of them is Laura Huseni who was, according to the editor-in-chief of the “Zeri” magazine, a typical teenage girl from Kosovo who used to go out and have fun with her mates.
– She would take a cab and go with her friends for a drink. She used to dress like all her friends, she would wear skirts of jeans. She was very modern – said Faik Ukasmajli, whose son married ...
Peter M. Tase (PMT): Cuales son algunos proyectos de gran importancia para la región que usted ha facilitado durante vuestra trayectoria como representante de la CAF (Development Bank of Latin America)?Dr. Rubén Ramírez Lezcano (RRL): Conozco en profundidad a la organización desde distintas perspectivas habiendo sido Viceministro de Economía y Canciller Nacional del Paraguay y, luego, funcionario de la CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) por muchos años, en los cuales tuve la oportunidad de desempeñarme como Asesor del Presidente primero, posteriormente como Director – Representante de CAF en la oficina de Panamá, con responsabilidades para Centroamérica, El Caribe y México, y ...
On April 7, two U.S. Navy battle ships USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at al-Shayrat military airfield in Syria’s Homs province from the Eastern Mediterranean. The U.S. strikes particularly targeted the main landing strip, aircraft, radio locators, air defense system and fuel stations.
The strike was approved by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said that the Syrian Air Force used affiliated al-Shayrat air base to prepare chemical attack on the city of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and ...
What could cause Russia to invade Israel
At the time, Israel’s Prime Minister had flown to Washington, and was making a desperate bid to get Obama’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Only a few weeks earlier a discovery had been made that would serve to increase tensions on the question of sovereignty over the Golan – huge oil deposits were found on the Golan Heights, and verified by an Israeli company.
Yet, weeks later, Benjamin Netanyahu returned to Israel having failed to secure Obamas support.
It wasnt long before the United Nations – including Russia – condemned Israels “occupation” of the ...
Donald Franciszek Tusk, (born 22 April 1957) is a Polish politician and historian. He has been President of the European Council since 1 December 2014. Previously he was Prime Minister of Poland (2007–2014) and a co-founder and chairman of the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska) party.Tusk began his public career as an activist in his home town of Gdańsk, supporting Solidarity and organizing his fellow university students. With the exception of one four-year stretch, Tusk has served in the Third Republic Sejm (parliament) continuously since its first elections in 1991. He was Vice Marshal (deputy speaker) of the Senate from 1997 ...
Crimea’s breakaway from Ukraine and rejoining Russia is treated in the US-and-allied world as being justification for the explosive re-emergence in 2014 of America’s Cold War NATO alliance as being a restored war against Russia; and, so, whether or not that ‘justification’ is truthful is the paramount geopolitical issue in our era; and it will therefore be discussed and (via the links here) documented in this article.Though international law is generally an unenforced mess that is interpretable far more by partisanship than by any clearly applicable principles, the US Government does quite blatantly violate it on a routine basis, by ...
Since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the nineties, its former constituent republics have been mired in a state of perpetual conflict.Nowhere is this more apparent than the contested state of Kosovo.In 1998, Albanian separatists in the Serbian province of Kosovo i Metohija began a campaign of attacks, with the express objective of creating a unified, ethnically homogenous, Greater Albanian state. Spearheaded by an organization known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which is widely regarded by many nations, including the United States, as a terrorist organization, ethnic Albanian militants attacked Serbian security forces, and terrorized civilians in a brutally violent ...
A hegemonic power never says sorry.Three recent episodes underscore this truism.When US President Barack Obama offered a floral wreath at the cenotaph of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on 27 May 2016, some peace advocates in the United States, in Japan and in other parts of the world hoped against hope that he would say “sorry” for the Atom bomb that the then US President, Harry Truman, had ordered to be dropped over Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945. The deadly bomb claimed 140,000 lives. Three days later a second Atom bomb destroyed the city of Nagasaki killing another ...
One of the most disturbing aspects of the past two years of Donald Trump foreign policy has been the assumption that decisions made by the United States are binding on the rest of the world. Apart from time of war, no other nation has ever sought to prevent other nations from trading with each other. And the United States has also uniquely sought to penalize other countries for alleged crimes that did not occur in the US and that did not involve American citizens, while also insisting that all nations must comply with whatever penalties are meted out by Washington.The ...
Oliver Stone’s American History: “We’re not under Threat. We are the Threat”
“Russiagate” is Actually “Israelgate”: Trump as “Agent of Israel”, not of Russia?
Freedom Rider: Churchill, Columbus, and Leopold Fall Down
Kosovo: The US “Psyche”, US Culture and US Foreign Policy
A Biography of Kurt Waldheim (Austria) – A Fourth U.N. Secretary-General
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Is it an Empire? See the Facts
Unwrapping the Riddle of Srebrenica
Covid-19 Shatters the Facade of the European Union
The Killing of Serbian Children in Kosovo: The Story of a Survivor
Muslim Albanian Women from Kosovo are Training ISIS Terrorists
Entrevista Con El Dr. Rubén Ramírez Lezcano, Candidato Del Gobierno Paraguayo A Presidir La CAF
Chemical Attack in Idlib – Duplication of Scenario in Eastern Ghouta
Donald Trump – A Super Zionist?
Donald Franciszek Tusk: “Blood is Thicker than Water”?!
The Lies that are Used for Denying the Legitimacy of Crimea’s Breakaway
The Continued Conflict in Kosovo: The Outright “Criminalization” of the Pristina Government
Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cuba: A Hegemonic Power Never Says Sorry…
Does Washington Rule the World?