Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Major Bases For Nazi Propaganda And Activity In The Middle-East

FrontPage |  In the Western world, knowledge of history is poor -- and the awareness of history is frequently poorer. For example, people often argue today as if the kind of political order that prevails in Iraq is part of the immemorial Arab and Islamic tradition. This is totally untrue. The kind of regime represented by Saddam Hussein has no roots in either the Arab or Islamic past. Rather, it is an ideological importation from Europe -- the only one that worked and succeeded (at least in the sense of being able to survive).

In 1940, the French government accepted defeat and signed a separate peace with the Third Reich. The French colonies in Syria and Lebanon remained under Vichy control, and were therefore open to the Nazis to do what they wished. They became major bases for Nazi propaganda and activity in the Middle East. The Nazis extended their operations from Syria and Lebanon, with some success, to Iraq and other places. That was the time when the Baath Party was founded, as a kind of clone of the Nazi and Fascist parties, using very similar methods and adapting a very similar ideology, and operating in the same way -- as part of an apparatus of surveillance that exists under a one-party state, where a party is not a party in the Western democratic sense, but part of the apparatus of a government. That was the origin of the Baath Party.

When the Third Reich collapsed, and after an interval was replaced by the Soviet Union as the patron of all anti-Western forces, the adjustment from the Nazi model to the Communist model was not very difficult and was carried throughout without problems. That is where the present Iraqi type of government comes from. As I said before, it has no roots in the authentic Arabic or Islamic past. It is, instead, part of the most successful and most harmful process of Westernization to have occurred in the Middle East. When Westernization failed in the Middle East, this failure was followed by a redefinition and return to older, more deep-rooted perceptions of self and other. I mean, of course, religion.

Religion had several advantages. It was more familiar. It was more readily intelligible. It could be understood immediately by Muslims. Nationalist and socialist slogans, by contrast, needed explanation. Religion was less impeded. What I mean is that even the most ruthless of dictatorships cannot totally suppress religiously defined opposition. In the mosques, people can meet and speak. In most fascist-style states, openly meeting and speaking are rigidly controlled and repressed. This is not possible in dealing with Islam. Islamic opposition movements can use a language familiar to all, and, through mosques, can tap into a network of communication and organization.