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Thread: War in our Time?
May 29th, 2008 5:24 PM #1
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- May 2008
War in our Time?"Few nations in the world present more of a justification for the study of history than Iran."
I promised on the Bush to Attack Iran thread that "I'll do a post in the next few days." and have been thinking about it ever since. The causes for a possible air-strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, have been blamed on many things, ranging from Israel, Oil, Repbulican elections, WMD, Iraq, terrorism, Apocalyptic prophesy, religion, culture, strategic position, Russia, China, and... if we try... We can probably even get the Olympics in there too.
Unfortunately, to a greater or lesser extent, they're ALL true. This gives me such problems as;-
Where do I start?
How deep do I go?
From who's perspective, do I write?
Can we draw any conclusions?
I'm not a Muslim, nor was I born in that area. I study war, not history, though the two are ALWAYS linked. I've travelled through the area, but have never resided. In fact, I've even sought to avoid the area because of it's so complicated and ever changing politics. I don't espouse any political or religious platform, rather I prefer the deeper fundamentals that they all contain.
There are many words and links in the following posts.... It is complicated. For brevity I've had to make generalisations, and not all opinions will be addressed.... sorry. I'll try to make it as impartial as possible.... as best I'm able. Finally, the conclusions I draw are not fixed predictions.... merely indications of potential.
There is a lot of propaganda. For simple consistancy I'll use the Wiki, though there are "Disputes" on some of the Articles. For links to articles of journalistic publications I cannot necessarily guarantee their impartiality. Of the links I post, the bold face ones are worth reading to their full extent, whilst the others are simply confirmation, and further reading. I simply don't have time to write it all in one session, and you probably don't have time to read it all, hence I've reserved future posts to include other topics in the next few days.... Consider it "Under Construction". It is worth taking the time, and hopefully you may find it enlightening.
If you don't.... there's plenty more you can find out for yourselves. This is afterall a discussion not a lecture.
Last edited by Lightmind; May 29th, 2008 at 8:56 PM.
May 29th, 2008 5:25 PM #2
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- May 2008
It's been said that the Middle East is the birth place of Civilization.
From a strategic point of view it is, and has always been, the crossroads between Africa, Europe and Asia. Many of the earliest societies of man began here. They flourished into civilizations and later empires. They rose and fell, each leaving not just a physical footprint, but an ideological one too. These ideologies, philosophies, and innovations, have been adopted in Africa, Russia, India, China and certainly form the defining ones for Europe, in this form, they were carried on to the Americas. This transfer has not just happened once, but many times, with each new influx bringing confirmations, reinforcements, arguments, and conflict.
However, this transfer is not just one way. Many of these ideologies have been absorbed, changed and then brought back, using exactly the same mechanisms as they went out with. It means that over it's 7000+ years of history, the Middle East has seen more changes than any other place in the world. When you are a crossroads, you get to see more traffic. Which also means it one of the most diverse, complicated and fractured. It is also the birth place of the 3 most significant Monotheistic religions in the history of mankind:
1) Judaism differs from many religions in that in modern times, central authority is not vested in any single person or group, but in sacred texts, traditions, and learned Rabbis who interpret those texts and laws. Throughout the ages, Judaism has adhered to a number of religious principles, the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to govern it. According to traditional Jewish belief, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Israelites, and revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah, and the Jewish people are the descendants of the Israelites. The traditional practice of Judaism revolves around study and the observance of God's laws and commandments as written in the Torah and expounded in the Talmud.
Another important concept here is that Judaism is not just a Religion, but a racial herritage. A Jew is a member of the Jewish people, an ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the ancient Middle East. The ethnicity and the religion of Judaism, the traditional faith of the Jewish nation, are strongly interrelated, and converts to Judaism are both included and have been absorbed within the Jewish people throughout the millennia.
2) Christianity believes that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah (or Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament, the part of their scriptures they have in common with Judaism. To Christians, Jesus Christ is a teacher, the model of a pious life, the revealer of God, the mediator of salvation and the saviour who suffered, died and was resurrected in order to bring about salvation from sin for all. Christians maintain that Jesus ascended into heaven and most denominations teach that Jesus will judge the living and the dead, granting everlasting life to his followers. Christians describe the New Testament account of Jesus' ministry as the Gospel, or "good news".
3) Islam originating with the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, a seventh century Arab religious and political figure. The word Islam means "submission", or the total surrender of oneself to God. An adherent of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning "one who submits [to God]". There are between 1 billion to 1.8 billion Muslims, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world, after Christianity.
Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jews and Christians distorted the revelations God gave to these prophets by either altering the text, introducing a false interpretation, or both.
It's important to realise that all 3 of these stem from Abraham, worship the same God, and are (depending on your point of view), changes, diversions or heresies of the others. Similarly all have divergent paths within their own teachings. Finally they all hold the lands of the Middle East as either their centre, or foundation, and consider the area to be it's Holy Land. Although all 3 warrant fair and equal discussion, for purposes of "War in Iran", brevity and the fact that Islam is the prevailing, governing religon within the area, I'm only going to consider the third, and more specifically the divergent lines of Sunni and Shia.
The Rise of Islam
The incredible spread of Islam began shortly after the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad in 632, with the first four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and continued with the Umayyad Dynasty. Within 120 years of the death of the prophet, the Umayyad Caliphate stretched from the Atlanitic to the Indian Ocean. It is important to realise here, that this was an Arab Military Conquest, exploiting the weakness of a beleagured Byzantine and a declining Sassanid (Persian) empire. Mass conversion and assimilation to Islam came in the following centuries, with the more multi-culturally minded Abbasid Dynasty.
The Abbasid Dynasty (750-1258) was marked by a loosening of restrctions against non-Arabs within the empire, and greater trade to neighbouring regions. Expansion ceased and the central disciplines of Islamic philosophy, theology, law and mysticism became more widespread and the gradual conversions of the populations within the empire occurred. Significant conversions also occurred beyond the extents of the empire such as that of the Turkic tribes in Central Asia and peoples living in regions south of the Sahara in Africa through contact with Muslim traders active in the area and sufi missionaries. In Africa it spread along three routes, across the Sahara via trading towns such as Timbuktu, up the Nile Valley through the Sudan up to Uganda and across the Red Sea and down East Africa through settlements such as Mombasa and Zanzibar. These initial conversions were of a flexible nature and only later were the societies forcibly purged of their traditional influences.
The "Golden Age of Islam", with it's capital in Baghdad, flourished for over 200 years, an enfranchisement was experienced by the Mawali and a shift was made in the political conception from that of a primarily Arab empire to one of a Muslim empire and c. 930 a law was enacted that required all bureaucrats of the empire to be Muslims. Both periods were also marked by significant migrations of Arab tribes outwards from the Arabian Peninsula into the new territories. However the Dynasty slowly went into decline with the rising power of the Ayyubid Dynasty and the Turkish Mamluk army. Within 150 years of gaining power across Persia, they were forced to cede control to local dynastic amirs who only nominally acknowledged their power. Large areas, such as Spain and North Africa were lost. Their rule was ended in 1258, when Hulagu Khan, the Mongol conqueror, and brother of Kublai Khan, sacked Baghdad. While they continued to claim authority in religious matters from their base in the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, the dynasty's secular authority had ended.
The expansion of Islam continued in the wake of Turkic conquests of Asia Minor, the Balkans, and the Indian subcontinent.The earlier period also saw the acceleration in the rate of conversions in the Muslim heartland while in the wake of the conquests the newly conquered regions retained significant non-Muslim populations in contrast to the regions where the boundaries of the Muslim world contracted, such as Sicily and Spain, where Muslim populations were expelled or forced to Christianize.
Further Muslim expansion into South-Eastern Europe occurred with the Ottoman Empire conquests of the Byzantine Empire during the 14th and 15th centuires. At the height of its power (16th–17th century), it spanned three continents, controlling much of Southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, stretching from the Strait of Gibraltar in the west to the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf in the east, from the edge of Austria, Slovakia and parts of Ukraine in the north to Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen in the south. The Ottoman Empire contained 29 provinces, in addition to the tributary principalities of Moldavia, Transylvania, and Wallachia. With Constantinople as its capital city, it was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. Based primarily on Naval Superiority, it controlled the trade routes of the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, and the land routes of the Spice trade.
Suleiman's death in 1566 marked the beginning of an era of diminishing territorial gains. The effective military and bureaucratic structures of the previous century also came under strain during a protracted period of misrule by weak Sultans. Discovery of the Americas and the establishment of independant trade routes to the East, by-passed the Turkish monopoly, reduced income and brought rampant inflation. Combined with risng European military power, and strengthening Catholic influence, challenging the Ottoman navy in the Meditterranean, with the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Whilst changes in military technology and tactics led to developments such as Pike and shot and the Trace Italienne, rendering the Turkish Sipahi cavalry almost obsolete, and giving more power to the Janissary Corps. All these factors, plus a rising population, led to the Jelali revolts (1519-1610) and the Janissary revolts of 1622. In spite of these difficulties, the Empire remained a major expansionist power until the Battle of Vienna in 1683, which marked the end of Ottoman expansion into Europe.
During the Tulip Era, named for Sultan Ahmed III's use to symbolize his peaceful reign, the Empire's policy towards Europe underwent a shift. The region was peaceful between 1718 and 1730, after the Ottoman victory against Russia in the Pruth Campaign in 1712 and the subsequent Treaty of Passarowitz brought a period of pause in warfare. The Empire began to improve the fortifications of cities bordering the Balkans to act as a defense against European expansionism. Other tentative reforms were also enacted: taxes were lowered; there were attempts to improve the image of the Ottoman state; and the first instances of private investment and entrepreneurship occurred. Ottoman military reform efforts begin with Selim III (1789–1807) who made the first major attempts to modernize the army along European lines. These efforts, however, were hampered by reactionist movements, partly from the religious leadership, but primarily from the Janissary corps, who had become anarchic and ineffectual. Jealous of their privileges and firmly opposed to change, they created the Janissary revolts of 1807. Selim's efforts cost him his throne and his life, but were resolved in spectacular and bloody fashion by his successor, the dynamic Mahmud II, who massacred the Janissary corps in 1826. This event is now called The Auspicious Incident.
The period of Ottoman decline is typically characterized by historians also as an era of modern times. The Empire lost vast territory on all fronts, and there was administrative instability because of the breakdown of centralized government and rising nationalism, despite efforts of reform and reorganization such as the Tanzimat. During this period, the Empire faced challenges in defending itself against foreign invasion and occupation. The Empire ceased to enter conflicts on its own and began to forge alliances with European countries such as France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Russia. As an example, in the Crimean War the Ottomans united with the British, French, and others against Russia. The Rise of nationalism swept through many countries during the 19th century, and the Ottoman Empire was not immune. A burgeoning national consciousness, together with a growing sense of ethnic nationalism, made nationalistic thought one of the most significant Western ideas imported to the Ottoman empire, as it was forced to deal with nationalism-related issues both within and beyond its borders. There was a significant increase in the number of revolutionary political parties. In an attempt to reform The First Constitutional Era began, a Constitional Monarchy established, and the short-lived parliament sat. These failed reforms, uprisings, war, and occupations, in Ottoman territory had many far-reaching consequences during the 19th century and determined much of Ottoman policy during the early 20th century.
Beginning with Greek Independance in 1829, and a French occupation of Algeria in 1830. After the Crimean War (1853-56), the Russo-Turkish War (1877-78) saw the independence of Serbia, Romania, Montenegro, the autonomy of Bulgaria, and Cyprus was lent to the British, for favours at the Congress of Berlin. In 1882, under the pretext of restoring order, Britain occupied Eygpt and the Sudan. More North African occupations occured with France in Tunisia in 1881 and Italy in Libya in 1912. European loans increased Ottoman public debt and caused the formation of the Ottoman Public Debt Administration. All these loses were not just eating away at the once mighty Islamic Empire, but also bringing in Western contact, values and morals, that many Muslims considered a corruption.
After the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, parliament was re-established, and the Committee of Union and Progress emerged. Although over-shadowed by the Chinese and Russian Revolutions of 1911 and 1917, it fired many other movements for politcal reform within the Muslim world. Despite playing a leading role in the Revolution, it managed only 22% of the vote in the 1908 elections. However, as a result of the "Law of Associations" shutting down ethnically based organizations and clubs, by the time of the second general election in 1912, smaller parties had coalesced with the CUP. At this election, a total of 67% or 184 seats were won by the CUP. However, this Parliament was a very short session, due to the on-going Italo Turkish War over Libya, and the imminent First Balkan War, in which the Ottoman's lost Albania, Macedonia and western Thrace, emergency powers were enacted, and a wartime coalition government was formed called the Liberal Union.
Now I bet you've been thinking the CUP were the good guys....
On 23rd January 1913, a full blown coup d'tat occurred. Parliament was stormed, Nazim Pasha, the minister of war was shot, Grand vizier Kiamil Pasha was driven from power, a new CUP-led government was formed, and within a year became the only legal political party. Although the Sultan remained, actual governance of the Ottoman Empire now passed to a triumverate known as the Three Pashas. Mehmed Talat Pasha, Enver Pasha, and Cemal Pasha. Growing beligerence from Bulgaria, caused Serbia, Greece and Montenegro to align, and in June 1913, the Second Balkan War began. This forced a Romanian and Ottoman intervention against Bulgaria, and concluded with Serbia, an ally of the Russian Empire, becomming a major regional power, much to the alarm of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
On June 28 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb citizen of Austria-Hungary and member of the Black Hand. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against the Kingdom of Serbia activated a series of alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations. On 31st of July, the Czar of Russia, ordered a full mobilization of forces in support of Serbia, and Germany, bolstered by belief in it's Schlieffen Plan declared war on Russia, followed by France 2 days later. And so with politcal and national borders changing faster than I can type, on the 2nd August 1914, the Three Pashas negotiated a secret deal with the Central Powers, and the Ottoman-German Alliance was signed and ratified by parliament, against the wishes of the Sultan.
Still under construction sorry took time off to feed.
Last edited by Lightmind; May 31st, 2008 at 12:32 PM.
May 29th, 2008 5:26 PM #3
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- May 2008
Middle Eastern Politics
Last edited by Lightmind; May 30th, 2008 at 11:10 AM.
May 29th, 2008 6:17 PM #4
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- May 2008
Current situation and conclusions
Last edited by Lightmind; May 30th, 2008 at 11:11 AM.
May 29th, 2008 7:11 PM #5
Reserved 11 Islam.
Are you referring to their practice of control of the land they once occupied?
Or of the way they converted foreign nations by the sword?
Jun 20th, 2008 12:37 PM #6
LightWeight come back !! You need to finish off this thread ..... it's a fine piece of work dude
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God Bless His Totally Kickass Bitch-Slapping Anti-Retard Soul !!
The Greatest Poster On The Internet Is Back - And Will Be Just As Unpopular As Before !!
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Jun 20th, 2008 7:53 PM #7
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- Nov 2006
Israelis 'rehearse Iran attack'
A step closer?
And for what purpose a dry run maybe?
Israel has carried out an exercise that appears to have been a rehearsal for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, US officials have told the New York Times.
Jun 21st, 2008 2:04 AM #8
Lightmind, you are such a fantastic writer. The information you have given so far is great! Keep it coming."When you gaze long into the Abyss, the Abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
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