compiled by Dee Finney

7-22-2003 - VISION/VOICE - I was laying comfortably in bed, very relaxed and I had a colorful vision of a sandy desert area with a cave in some rocks. In front of the cave were camels and horses with a large group of men dressed in various colors of robes.

A voice in my left ear said - "_____ and Lawrence of Arabia were wrong."

I wondered who the other person was, but that wasn't that important.  If Lawrence of Arabia was wrong, whoever followed after him in that same thought pattern was probably wrong too.


Many of the Bedouin, who are Israeli citizens and a subset of the larger population of Arab Israelis, have long lived a largely off-the-grid existence in the Negev in what the Israeli government considers “unrecognized” villages. Forcibly relocating them would be a blatant violation of human rights. The Israeli government asserts that the purpose of the move would be to improve the Bedouin’s lives by bringing them into a more modern situation.

But unfavorable experiences of other Bedouin who had already been brought into “recognized” towns, where they had a similar lack of services and also found it more difficult to live the pastoral life to which they were accustomed, did not make the prospective move popular among those who would be affected. In fact, Bedouin leaders strongly opposed the move. Former minister Benny Begin, a principal architect of the plan, acknowledged when making this week’s announcement that he had never consulted with the Bedouin themselves.

The Jericho-based journalist Jonathan Cook describes the relocation plan as — and quotes Israeli leaders as saying the same thing — in effect a continuation of ethnic cleansing that took place during the 1948 war for Israeli independence. The plan to “concentrate,” in Begin’s words, the Bedouin would clear land for the construction of new towns open only to Jews. Cook notes that the new Jewish towns would be “dispersed as widely as possible in contravention of Israel’s own national master plan, which requires denser building inside existing communities to protect scarce land resources.”

Two caveats qualify this week’s good news about this issue. One is that the shelving of the plan may only be temporary. There is a good chance it will reappear, perhaps in slightly modified form, once world attention has drifted elsewhere. The other is that even this temporary halt was due partly to resistance from elements among the Israeli Right, who thought the plan lacked sufficient detail and was too generous to the Bedouin.

International opposition, however, certainly had something to do with this development. This shows how such opposition, even when short of what came to be mobilized against the South African version of apartheid, can make a difference. In particular, it shows the difference it can make against other aspects of the Israeli version of apartheid, which affects far more Arabs than only the Negev Bedouin.

Much of the international opposition came from Europe; significantly less came from the United States. Many British elites lent their name to the cause. The lesser involvement of Americans no doubt is linked to the well-known role of the Israeli government in American politics. But the difference might also be related to different aspects of national history.

Maybe many in Britain, when they hear of Bedouin, think of the ones with whom, and on behalf of whom, T.E Lawrence fought. By contrast, a close parallel to what the Israelis have been planning to do to their Bedouin is what the United States did to its Native Americans: relocating and concentrating an indigenous, semi-nomadic population in a way that largely destroyed its way of life and opened up land for the dominant ethnic group.

There is a lot of guilt about that now, but not enough to wipe the slate clean; look at what the football team in the national capital is still named.


lawrence of arabia

T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
British Soldier and Author

1888 - 1935

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the
dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity:
but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act
their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.

                                 —T. E. Lawrence from
"The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"


Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence was born on August 16, 1888 at Tremadoc in North Wales. He was the second of five sons of Sir Thomas Chapman and Sarah Junner. Popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, Lawrence became famous for his exploits as British Military liaison to the Arab Revolt during the First World War.

Lawrence had been fascinated by archaeology since childhood. After graduating with honors from Oxford in 1910, he served as an assistant at a British Museum excavation in Iraq (then known as Mesopotamia). When war broke out with Germany in 1914, Lawrence spent a brief period in the Geographical Section of the General Staff in London, and was then posted to the Military Intelligence Department in Cairo. In 1916 the Arabs rebelled against the Turkish empire. Lawrence was sent to Mecca on a fact-finding mission, ultimately becoming the British liaison officer to the Arabs. His account of the revolt is chronicled in his classic books, "Seven Pillars of Wisdom, A Triumph" and "Revolt in the Desert."

After the war Lawrence served in the British Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, where he promoted the cause of Arab independence. Despite his efforts Syria, Palestine and Iraq were mandated to France and Britain. Lawrence returned to England exhausted and disappointed. By the end of 1920, British attempts to impose a colonial rule in Iraq had provoked an open rebellion. Winston Churchill was appointed by the British Colonial Office to find a solution, and persuaded Lawrence to join him as adviser. By the summer of 1922 Churchill, with considerable aid from Lawrence, had achieved a settlement of the situation.

In 1922 Lawrence resigned his position with the Colonial Office and enlisted in the RAF under an assumed name. After four months he was discovered by the press and discharged. With the help of a highly-placed friends he re-enlisted in the Tank Corps as 'Thomas Edward Shaw'. Between 1922 and early 1927 Lawrence revising "Seven Pillars" for publication and edited an abridgement of the book called "Revolt in the Desert." Half way through this work he succeeded in transferring back to the RAF.

In March 1935 his twelve-year enlistment came to an end and he retired to "Clouds Hill " (the name of his cottage) in Dorset, England. Two months later he was thrown from his motorcycle while on a local errand. He suffered severe head injuries and died some days later without regaining consciousness.

The Foundations of the Arab Revolt

Seven Pillars begins with an overview of Arab history, starting with a short description of the Moslem conquest in the seventh century, and outlining events through the Arab's eventual overthrown by the Turks in the eleventh century. The Turkish empire were still overlords in Arabia during the First World War, and allied with the Germans against Britain and France. In 1916 Sherif Hussein of Mecca, (leader of the Arabs) declared a rebellion against the Turks.

Lawrence Goes To Mecca

Lawrence was sent to Mecca by the British military command in Cairo to conduct a fact-finding mission. The quality of his reports and the strong relationships he formed with the Arab leaders led to his ultimate assignment as British liaison officer, serving with forces of Emir Feisal, one of Hussein's four sons. Lawrence describes Feisal as the only Arab leader with the "necessary fire" to successfully lead the revolt.

The Arab Revolt

Lawrence chronicles the Arab revolt starting with his 1916 mission to Mecca. He describes his efforts to help Feisal unify the feuding Arab tribes against the Turks. He recounts missions of up to 1000 miles a month on camel back, traversing the harshest desert terrain through extremes of cold and heat. He describes several successful guerrilla campaigns against the Turkish railroad that played a key role in the ultimate victory.

Lawrence profiles British leaders including General Sir Edmund Allenby, the brilliant Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Egypt and Palestine in 1917 and 18. He compares the British "regulars," disciplined professional soldiers fighting for duty and empire, and the Arab "irregulars," undisciplined amateur soldiers fighting for freedom and the spoils of war. Seven Pillars ends with the Arab army's victorious capture of Damascus, but that's not the end of the story.

Hidden Agenda

During his years in Arabia Lawrence rode the razors edge between his duty to the British empire, and his moral duty to Feisal and the cause of Arab independence. The British military leadership believed an Arab uprising against the Turks would aid their war with Turkey's ally, Germany. Arab leaders were lead to believe the British were sincere in their desire to free the Arab people from the Turkish yoke. Unfortunately for the Arabs, the British agenda was governed by the politics of empire, not the aspirations of the Arab people. Several times in Seven Pillars Lawrence expresses his shame at dealing with the Arabs under false pretenses.

Immediately after the fall of Damascus Lawrence returned to England. In 1919 he served in the British Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference, working closely with the Feisal to secure Arab independence. The Arabs had helped the Allies win their war with Germany, but now it was time for England and France to get back to empire building. The French were determined to rule Syria, while the British had similar ambitions in Palestine and Iraq. In the ultimate betrayal, Syria, Palestine and Iraq were given over to France and Britain as mandated territories - colonies in all but name. Feisal, who ruled in Damascus after the war, was ousted by the French in 1920.

Exhausted and disappointed after the Paris Peace Conference, Lawrence returned to England. He had begun work on his chronicle of the Arab revolt while in Paris. He published the first edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom, A Triumph in December of 1926.

Other Military Figures in the Lucidcafé Library
Books By/About T.E. Lawrence
Videos About T.E. Lawrence
Related Websites
Hypertext Versions of Works By/About Lawrence


Massacre and Revenge

In the following account Lawrence describes one of the most controversial episodes of his experience in the Desert. On September 27, 1918 he and his Arab force were in hot pursuit of a retreating Turkish column numbering approximately 2,000 soldiers. Coming upon the village of Tafas south of the city of Damascus they were confronted with the horrifying aftermath of the Turk rampage through the village. Mutilated bodies of women and children lay among the smoking ruins. As the sickened Lawrence watched the scattered Turkish column disappear over the horizon he gave his order: "take no prisoners."

Map of War Campaign - Hedjaz 1916-1917

Map of War Campaign - Syria 1917-1918

T.E. Lawrence Studies

Lawrence of Arabias Eclipse

The first line in his book was: Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centered army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man's creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare.

- Seven Pillars of Wisdom (ch. I)

QUOTATION: This death’s livery which walled its bearers from ordinary life was sign that they have sold their wills and bodies to the State: and contracted themselves into a service not the less abject for that its beginning was voluntary.

ATTRIBUTION: T.E. (Thomas Edward) Lawrence (1888–1935), British soldier, scholar. The Revolt in the Desert, ch. 35 (1927).

"With two thousand years of examples behind us, we have no excuses when fighting for not fighting well." - Col. T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)


In 1917, Lowell Thomas was a young ambitious journalist in search of an interesting story in a lost backwater of World War I. In Jerusalem, he met a small (5-foot-4) British Army captain assigned as a liaison officer to Arabs living in a desert no one had ever heard of.

Thomas saw his chance. His breathless dispatches had the purpose of creating a myth around the liaison officer, who had begun teaching Arab tribes to blow up Turkish trains nobody cared about in the desert nobody ever heard of.

The liaison officer’s name was T.E. Lawrence, but Lowell Thomas called him "Lawrence of Arabia.” In 1919, Thomas went on a lecture tour in the U.K. and U.S., showing pictures of Lawrence posing in a sheikh’s robes in a London studio, and entranced audiences with stories about "the White King of the Arabs.”

By the time the Treaty of Sèvres was negotiated in 1920, with Lawrence in attendance and the media mob hanging on his every word, the British felt compelled to keep Lawrence’s promise to the chieftains of an Arab tribe called the Hashemites.

The political structure of the Middle East today is the result of that promise. The Treaty of Sèvres permitted the British to seize pieces of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled the Middle East for centuries but joined the Germans in WWI. Instead of British colonies, the pieces were called League of Nations "Mandates,” for which the Brits needed puppet rulers.

One of these "mandated” areas was the west coast of Arabia, a desert region called the Hejaz. Lawrence had promised the chieftains of the Hashem tribe that if they would join the British against the Turks, they would get to rule the Hejaz as their own kingdom. Thus the Hashem patriarch, Hussein Ibn Ali, became the King of the Hejaz.

At Lawrence’s insistence, the Brits installed Ali’s son Feisal as ruler of the "mandate” of Syria, divided the "mandate” of Palestine in two, and installed Feisal’s brother Abdullah as ruler of the part east of the Jordan River (the western part eventually became Israel 28 years later, no thanks to the British).

Lawrence (and Thomas) had bought into the phony claim that the Hashem tribal leaders were directly descended from Mohammad himself. The Hashemites claimed that this assumed mantle of Islamic holiness gave them a right to rule, without elections, all Arabs everywhere. So the Brits created the Hashemite Kingdoms of Hejaz, Jordan and Syria.

The Invention of Saudi Arabia

Then a problem arose from out of the desert wasteland. The chieftain of the Wahhabi tribe from central Arabia, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, kicked Ali out of Hejaz, took it over, and called his entire conquered area Saudi Arabia. The Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz was no more.

In the meantime, the French claimed Syria was their "mandate” and kicked out Feisal. As a consolation prize, Lawrence insisted the Brits install Feisal as the ruler of yet another "mandate,” that of Mesopotamia. Created out of three former Ottoman vilayets (provinces) without any regard to national coherence, this area was renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq.

Soviet-Saddam Connection

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan still exists (the current ruler, Abdullah II, is the first Abdullah’s great-grandson), but the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq was erased (with the entire "royal family” including Feisal’s grandson Feisal II slaughtered) by a military coup in 1958. Through the help of Soviet KGB agent Yevgeny Primakov, Saddam Hussein completed his control over the Iraqi military regime by 1979.

The bottom line to this saga is that Iraq is not a real country – like, say, Persia (Iran), which has existed for 2,500 years. It is an artificial construct and can only be held together by force.

The Phony Nation of Iraq

Iraq and its people have no history of nor familiarity with democratic institutions. The three former vilayets of which it is composed still have no mutual cohesiveness. Mosul in the north is Kurdish, Basra in the south is Shiite Arab, Baghdad in the middle is Sunni Arab. The Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis all hate each other. It takes a Saddam to hold the place together.

And that’s why Saddam has been kept in place, and allowed to ignore all those U.N. resolutions. A disintegrated Iraq could easily mean an independent Kurdistan, which the millions of Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran would clamor to join, splitting apart those three countries. It could mean an independent Basra, or just an inchoate anarchy, another Somalia.

The fear of these post-Saddam scenarios is what drives much of the international frenzy against G.W. taking Saddam out.

It is to G.W.’s enormous credit that he has the intelligence to realize that the threat of Saddam’s rule vastly outweighs the threat of its dissolution, and has the determination to eliminate the former.

It will be near impossible, however, to eliminate the latter. Let us hope that G.W. accepts this reality and assiduously avoids desperate attempts to put the Humpty Dumpty of a post-Saddam Iraq back together.

America’s and the world’s security must no longer be held hostage to a promise made by a junior British officer to a bunch of camel-herders wandering around a lost desert 86 years ago – a promise made important by an ambitious journalist’s romantic froth of promotional puffery, resulting in incalculably tragic consequences as the Curse of Lawrence of Arabia.

© copyright 2002 Dr. Jack Wheeler and the Freedom Research Foundation



In 1920 he wrote: The Government in Baghdad have been hanging Arabs in that town for political offences, which they call rebellion. The Arabs are not at war with us. Are these illegal executions to provoke the Arabs to reprisals on the three hundred British prisoners they hold? And, if so, is it that their punishment may be more severe, or is it to persuade our other troops to fight to the last?

We say we are in Mesopotamia to develop it for the benefit of the world. all experts say that the labour supply is the ruling factor in its development. How far will the killing of ten thousand villagers and townspeople this summer hinder the production of wheat, cotton, and oil? How long will we permit millions of pounds, thousands of Imperial troops, and tens of thousands of Arabs to be sacrificed on behalf of colonial administration which can benefit nobody but its administrators?


See also: Quicksands of History


This is selected segments and summary from,,3-578159,00.html  - link no longer valid

February 15, 2003 Invasion, bombs, gas - we've been here before By Ben Macintyre. Mr. Macintyre pointed out parallels between Iraq in the First World War and Iraq today as follows:

ARMED with high-tech weapons and even higher expectations, a British army marches on Baghdad to take control of the oilfields and topple a brutal regime.

Instead, the invaders get bogged down in the foetid marshes and broiling deserts; the enemy refuses to run away; soldiers perish in their thousands and Britain suffers one of its worst military defeats.

Even when regime change is finally brought about, the Iraqi people rise in rebellion and are cowed only by a ferocious aerial bombardment. There is talk of chemical weapons and the occupation drags on, draining blood and treasure, year after year.

This may sound like Tony Blair's nightmare, the worst-case scenario of the looming conflict. In fact, it is the story of Britain's first invasion of Iraq and provides an uncomfortable echo of the events unfolding today.

Then, the soldiers were clad in First World War uniforms; Baghdad was part of the Ottoman Empire and the enemy were Turks. The threat to use poison gas came not from President Saddam Hussein, but from Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill. The most strident voice urging aerial bombardment to put down Iraqi insurgents was that of Arthur "Bomber" Harris, who would later use those methods to reduce Dresden to rubble.

The Mesopotamia campaign of 1914-1915 was one of the least glorious chapters in British military history, which is why imperial historians made strenuous efforts to forget it. Even Saddam Hussein does not celebrate Britain's disaster in his propaganda, for the defenders of Baghdad were not Iraqis but Turkish imperialists. This is one chapter of history that Mr Blair will not be evoking in the coming days; for this, as General George Gorringe bitterly recalled afterwards, was "the bastard war", a war nobody much wanted to fight, and few cared to remember, then or now.

[ . . . ]

Eight thousand survivors were taken prisoner and paraded through the streets of Baghdad and Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town, where the captives were treated with notable brutality. One soldier recalled the march: "Some were thrashed to death, some robbed of their kit and left to be tortured by the Arabs. Men often fell out from sheer weakness."

The Mesopotamia campaign had shocked even the most ardent imperialists. "We pay for these things too much in honour and in innocent lives," wrote Lawrence. "We cast them by their thousands into the fire to the worst of deaths, not to win the war, but that the corn and rice and oil of Mesopotamia might be ours."

Iraq was invented in the resulting carve-up of the Ottoman Empire, with Britain annexing the provinces of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. The result was not so much a country as an imperial convenience, artificially shackling together Shias, Sunnis and Kurds, all of whom detested each other. But they loathed the British, and British taxes more, and two years after driving out the Turks, the new imperial rulers of the new- minted Iraq faced a mass rebellion in a country as saturated with guns as it is today.

The policy of mass bombing to "handle" that rebellion seem to be relevant today. Mr. Macintyre wrote that the Pentagon's "Shock and Awe" strategy is that policy's direct descendant. Back in those days, poison gas was preferred by some:

Winston Churchill, then Secretary of State for War and Air, encouraged the use of mustard gas, pointing out that it had already been employed "with excellent morale effect" on the ground. For technical reasons, gas bombs were less effective than delayed detonation explosives, but Lawrence was another enthusiast for chemical weapons. "It is odd that we do not use poison gas on these occasions," he said, as if describing what sort of canapé ought to be served at a cocktail party.

Some, however, doubted the effectiveness, let alone the morality, of bombing Iraq into obedience. "An air bomb in Iraq was equivalent to a police truncheon at home," wrote Air Commodore Lionel Charlton, who eventually resigned in horror at the "policy of intimidation by bomb". As today, politicians also wondered at the use of air power. Massive civilian casualties "will not be easily explained or defended in Parliament by me", said James Thomas, the Colonial Secretary. But bombs were a cheap and effective way of controlling a volatile country with its new puppet king.

The "puppet king" was Faisal I.

Shortly before he died in 1933, he [Faisal I] observed: "There is still no Iraqi people, but unimaginable masses of human beings devoid of any patriotic ideas, imbued with religious traditions and absurdities, connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil, prone to anarchy, and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatsoever."

[ . . . ]

In Iraq, 70 years later, the bygones are still anything but bygones. Perhaps the most salutary lesson from Britain's first campaign in Iraq is that war in Mesopotamia is never a picnic.


History Shows U.S. Faces Risks


AQABA, Jordan, April 6, 2003

At sundown, the gentlemen of Aqaba gather at outdoor tables under a spreading acacia to suck on water pipes, sip mint tea and watch the bombing, live from Baghdad.

The other night, a man in a soiled white gown exhaled smoke and muttered darkly into his cell phone. Others scowled and shook their heads at TV close-ups of a mother weeping over her broken child.

One fierce-faced Arab narrowly eyed an American sitting next to him, a rare foreigner in a Red Sea resort normally alive with European tourists. Finally, he asked his question: Are you American?

"I live in Paris," came the truthful, if incomplete, reply. The Arab relaxed to a smile. He lifted a thumb skyward and said: "Quayyes." Good.

France, against the war, is in good odor in the Arab world these days. America is another matter.

A glance at history's foreign footprints in the desert, from Trajan's to Lawrence of Arabia's, suggests what a challenge modern America faces in attempting to remake the Middle East.

Trajan, the Roman emperor, built his road to Aqaba but found it led him nowhere. Lawrence blew bridges near here to chase out Turks so that Britain could take its turn at imperial failure — Palestine, Suez, Iraq.

If it could point to a single success story, it might be Jordan, a sensible little kingdom in the middle of the Middle East, with an army and royal family steeped in British influence.

Now it will be the United States' turn to try to shape the region. Yet even here, in this most staunchly pro-Western of Arab countries, the prognosis is gloomy.

"It's just not going to work out, no matter how many people you kill or cow," said Hala Fattah.

Fattah is an Iraq historian with Jordan's Royal Institute of Interfaith Studies. She is a Palestinian who admires America. Her doctorate is from UCLA, and she worked for years in Washington.

"If you win, then what? You might install an Iraqi from outside. Then what?"

Her forecast: "Low-grade insurgency, civil unrest, power struggles."

Caught between powerful forces — Israel to the west, Iraq to the east — Jordanians are more likely than most to fault both sides: Iraqi President Saddam Hussein for starting the whole mess by invading Kuwait, and President Bush for believing an invasion of Iraq can put things right.

"All this because of two crazy people, one from the East and one from the West," said Mahmoud Helalat, director of tourism for Aqaba and the ancient city of Petra to the north.

Aqaba was once a Red Sea backwater of mud huts made famous by Lawrence of Arabia's World War I exploits. Today it is prime beachfront, and feeling the pinch of war — first from the 30-month-old Palestinian-Israeli conflict next door, and now the Iraq crisis.

Its coral reefs normally attract 1,000 tourists daily, but Helalat had seen no one for a week. At Petra, barely 10 people a day arrive in full season when there should be thousands.

"We are dying here," Helalat said. "And for what?"

Mohammed Sabri, a gentle-mannered accountant in an immaculate white robe, has a brother in Florida. He likes America. But he believes that statesmen in Washington have missed a crucial point.

"For visiting, outsiders are most welcome," he said. "For conquering, they are hated."

Many Jordanians draw a clear line between American people and their government. Some hate both. Some invoke Islam, others the United Nations.

In the spectacular southern Jordanian desert at Wadi Rum, where civilizations have risen and fallen for thousands of years, a desert-born Bedouin named Difallah Ateej smoked a cigarette and surveyed the shuttered fronts of tumbledown shops in Rum village.

It was here, in 1917, that Lawrence of Arabia fomented an Arab revolt against the dying Turkish empire and opened the way for the British army. Here the English accents are still tinged with British inflections and idioms. Travel a couple of miles north, cross the line that British and French surveyors drew to divvy up the Middle East after World War I, and the tones and name spellings take on a Gallic hue.

In the handsome stone house that Ateej built on the profits from his restaurant and guided tours of the desert, three of his kids played at a computer. Al-Jazeera, the satellite TV station that is the Arab world's prime source of Iraq war news, blared in the background.

Now, with tourism revenues drying up, Ateej cannot pay his electric bill. Soon he will take his family of 12, with his camels and goats, to live in his traditional black tent deep in Wadi Rum.

"I am at home in both worlds," he said "I take an airplane and stay in a big hotel, then I come to the desert and talk to my camels. It does not matter."

On the wall hangs a photo of Ateej's father, looking fierce in the crossed bandoliers and bemedaled turban of the king's desert corps. His grandfather, who rode with Lawrence, died recently at 105.

"The Americans believe they will just come in, and people will cheer them if they are victorious," he said. "They will learn."

Mafleh Salem, who lives in a black tent by Lawrence Spring in Wadi Rum, stirred embers to heat the inevitable cup of tea. He has a Toyota pickup but prefers his camels.

"I don't know Saddam, I don't know Bush, and it is not my place to say," he said. "I only want peace for Iraqi people. War is wrong. America is not like a policeman to stop each person in the street.

He introduced a young son, named Jihad. "Yes," he said, "that means holy war, but non-Muslims don't understand. Real jihad is peaceful propagation of the faith. Killing is only in self-defense."

Across the Middle East, and in Jordan especially, the issue of Palestine looms large. Many see Iraq as a sideshow, a chance to vent anger at a U.S. administration they believe is too close to Israel.

Near Amman, the squalor of Baqaa refugee camp is studded with fine three-story homes. Palestinians, now more than 100,000, have bided time there since 1948 awaiting a political solution.

U.N. aid has dwindled, and Arab states are reluctant to help. In one home, an old woman spewed invective, calling on Allah to burn all Americans and Jews for eternity. She would be thrilled, she said, to see her grandsons die in the holy cause of victory.

A group of kids, about 9 and 10 years old, stopped their pickup soccer game to offer their view of events: Saddam is a superstar.

By Mort Rosenblum

©MMIII, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


A Soviet Defector's Opinion

Just Who's Trying to Teach Us About the Middle East?

Col. Stanislav Lunev

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2002

In a time of practically nonstop violence in the Middle East, liberal politicians and the media often act as if countries such as Saudi Arabia are among the world's open societies. They do not want to recognize that the Middle East has 21 Muslim states, every one of them a dictatorship, and for Muslim dictatorships open societies are sworn enemies, never to be forgiven for carrying the germs of political and religious freedom.

America's liberals keep trying to underscore words that have no meaning in the democratic U.S., words such as 'royal family,' 'royal embassy,' 'crown prince' and others symbolizing the alleged "royal" connections of the present Middle East leaders.

They don't want to remember some of the lessons of history, which tell us something completely different from what our liberals are trying to promote.

Nonetheless, it's well-known that in 1914, during World War I, Germany signed an alliance with Turkey, whose territory then included almost all of what are today's Middle Eastern countries. The Arabian Peninsula was nothing more than a vast desert where travelers encountered only a few nomadic clans of Bedouins, robbers and brigands who robbed pilgrims visiting two of the holiest Muslim cities, Mecca and Medina.

For the war against Turkey, British intelligence hired some of these Bedouin gangs, headed by Wahhabi Saud and Sharif Hussein, and led by a British officer, the famed Lawrence of Arabia. Both of the Arab chiefs received gifts from British intelligence for their attacks against Turkey and, from 1917, for the support of British and allied troops, which arrived on the peninsula at the end of WW I.

Among the British gifts were promises to provide a large piece of land (currently Syrian territory) to Hussein's son Faisal, who would be proclaimed king of Damascus. Faisal entered Damascus riding a white horse and accompanied by Maj. Lawrence. He was soon driven out by French troops, which dashed his hopes of ruling over a united Arab kingdom.

British authorities, seeking to avoid problems with France, gave Faisal territory between the Jordan River and the Arabian desert, named it Iraq and proclaimed Faisal king. Faisal's brother Abdullah also received from British authorities a piece of land on the other side of the Jordan River and was declared king of Transjordan, which later was renamed simply Jordan.

Everybody was happy but Wahhabi Saud, who was granted a huge but empty territory in the Arabian desert and had no idea of the treasure that lay beneath this arid, barren land. A few years later Saud attacked and occupied Mecca, which was under the control of Sharif Hussein (father of Faisal and Abdullah), and proclaimed himself king of Saudi Arabia (Arabia of Saud).

Hussein complained to the British authorities, but they resolved the problem in their own way by granting Hussein a nice villa in Cyprus, where the father of the kings of Iraq and Jordan lived peacefully to the end of his life in 1930.

In other words, those whom we are currently treating as royalty and as kings and princes, etc., in the Middle East are nothing other than direct and non-direct heirs or successors of the former desert brigands whose nonstop fighting among themselves killed more Muslims than were killed by any nation.

From time to time, these kings and princes meet with U.S. officials and lecture them about what the U.S. can and cannot do in the Middle East. Currently, during the war on international terrorism, they are providing hospitality to terrorists and their families, refusing to inform U.S. authorities about terrorists' plans and intentions, insulting and abusing American troops defending them from potential aggressors, and criticising U.S. policy in the Middle East.

It's very difficult to predict how long this practice will continue, but American politicians have to know that in the Middle East they are dealing not with real kings and princes, but with successors of desert robbers. They must treat them accordingly.

Col. Stanislav Lunev is the highest-ranking Soviet military intelligence officer ever to defect from Russia. Read his gripping story, Through the Eyes of the Enemy.



Britain Tried First. Iraq Was No Picnic Then.

By John Kifner

New York Times
July 20, 2003

The public, the distinguished military analyst wrote from Baghdad, had been led "into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor."

"They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information," he said. "The Baghdad communiqués are belated, insincere, incomplete.

Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows."

He added: "We are today not far from a disaster." Sound familiar? That was T. E. Lawrence — Lawrence of Arabia — writing in The Sunday Times of London on Aug. 22, 1920, about the British occupation of what was then called Mesopotamia. And he knew. For it was Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence and the intrepid British adventuress Gertrude Bell who, more than anyone else, were responsible for the creation of what was to become Iraq. A fine mess they made of it, too.

During the First World War, Lawrence had been present at the birth of modern Arab nationalism and fought alongside its guerrillas to victory against the Ottoman Empire, only to see the same guerrilla tactics turned against the British in a rebellion in Iraq.

It is perhaps instructive to look back on that earlier effort by the leading Western power to remake the Middle East as the American occupation of Iraq appears increasingly beset.

It has not been going well, especially in Sunni-controlled central Iraq. Rather than being hailed as liberators, the American troops face "a classical guerrilla-type campaign" there that is increasingly organized, their new regional commander, Gen. John P. Abizaid, said last week. A Pentagon-approved independent body of experts criticized the lack of postwar planning. Soldiers of the Army's Third Infantry Division, have been told they are not going home as planned. The cost, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld now says, is running about $3.9 billion a month, nearly twice earlier estimates, and tens of thousands of troops may have to remain for years to come.

At the same time, the rationale for war is increasingly questioned. Terror weapons have not yet been found in Iraq, nor have links to Al Qaeda. The Bush administration is scrambling to explain how allegations based on forged documents purporting to show Iraqi uranium purchases from Niger found their way into the State of the Union address. All this has not helped build global support: last week, India rejected an American request to send some 17,000 peacekeeping troops. Meanwhile, clashes and increasingly sophisticated ambushes have been running at a rate of a dozen a day; by week's end, at least 33 American soldiers had been killed in hostilities since May 1, the date when President Bush declared that major combat was over.

Ominously, Iraqi crowds have emerged to dance and cheer around burned-out American Humvees. Many American officers had sensed trouble ahead. As their armor clanked north to Baghdad, officers in the First Marine Division said over and over that the war was no problem; the difficulties would come with the rebuilding of Iraq. Indeed, in the face of American might and technology, the enemy, for the most part, simply did not show up for the big battles.

The British had a tougher time of it in World War I; they lost thousands of troops — most of them Indian — in a five-month Turkish siege of Kut. But they regrouped and captured Baghdad on March 11, 1917. Maj. Gen. Stanley Maude greeted the populace with a speech that could have been written today: "Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators." Well, not quite, General.  

When World War I began in 1914, most Arab lands were under the decaying Ottoman Empire, whose ruler, the caliph, was also Islam's supreme authority. The Ottomans were Germany's allies, and Britain saw a chance to seize the Middle East; its interests were to command the trade routes to India and, as it would develop, to control the emerging resource of oil. Lord Kitchener, the war  minister, wanted to set up his own caliph Britain Tried First. Iraq Was No Picnic Then.

Enter the Arab Bureau, a special intelligence unit set up in Cairo. It had little expertise, and its early efforts to inspire an Arab revolt failed. Then Lawrence, a young captain at the time, volunteered to take a look on his vacation time. He recruited Hussein's second son, Feisal, as the charismatic leader of what became known as the Great Arab Revolt. His raiders crossed the desert to capture the port of Aqaba from the rear, repeatedly blew up the Turks' railroad tracks and harassed their troops, and finally entered Damascus in triumph (although this had to be staged because the Australian cavalry got there first).

The British had promised Feisal that he would be king of the Arabs in Damascus and he arrived at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference as the chief Arab spokesman. But Britain and France had secretly agreed to divide up the Middle East, and Feisal's reign in Damascus lasted just months — until the French came over the mountains from Lebanon. Meanwhile, things were not going well for the British in Mesopotamia. Bell was arbitrarily drawing lines on the map to make a new country out of three former Ottoman provinces — Mosul in the north, Baghdad in the center and Basra in the south. The districts were composed, respectively, of Kurds, Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims, all of whom hated each other — and the British even more. For one thing, the British were more efficient than the Turks in collecting taxes. By 1920, the country was in full rebellion, from Shiite tribesmen in the south to Kurds in the north. There were some 425 deaths on the British side and an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 among the Iraqis.

Hoping to restore order, the British, at the urging of Bell and Lawrence, switched Feisal's franchise to Iraq in 1921, although he had never set foot there. In a rigged plebiscite, the new king got 96 per cent of the votes. King Feisal and his strongman prime minister, Nuri as-Said, managed to solidify Sunni minority control over the rest of the country. But there was frequent turmoil.

IN response, the British turned to technology, with their air force commander, Arthur (Bomber) Harris, boasting that his biplanes had taught Iraqis that "within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or wounded." Winston Churchill, who, as colonial secretary, presided over the creation of Iraq, Trans-Jordan and Palestine, called Iraq an "ungrateful volcano." Still, it took 35 years for the disaster that Lawrence predicted to become total. Iraq gained independence in 1931, but the British-sponsored monarchy hung on and guarded British interests until 1958, when the royal family was murdered and dragged through the streets. That ushered in a period of successive military and Baath Party coups, all brutal, and by 1979 Saddam Hussein had assumed total control.

Like the Arab Bureau, neoconservative policy makers in the Defense Department, who have long been the most prominent advocates of removing Mr. Hussein, have a vision of the Middle East and a candidate. The vision is of a democratic Iraq that would be an example of change to other, undemocratic, Arab nations — the kind of change they believe would remake the region and make easier an Arab-Israeli peace. They have promoted as a leader Ahmad Chalabi, a secular Shiite from a wealthy family that had been close to the old monarchy, even though some Middle East specialists in the State Department distrust him and consider him ineffectual. As the head of the Iraqi National Council, Mr. Chalabi recently returned to Iraq after living in exile for decades. The American administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, has appointed a 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, with Mr. Chalabi among them.

One other thing about Colonel Lawrence. While some of his exploits are doubtless exaggerated, his guerrilla tactics are still much studied. He came to realize that when a small band faced more powerful conventional forces, its strength lay in avoiding direct battles and instead conducting stealthy raids. His own guerrilla force, he wrote in his memoir, "Seven Pillars of Wisdom," had "a sophisticated alien enemy, disposed as an army of occupation in an area greater than could be dominated effectively from fortified posts. It had a friendly population, in which some 2 in the 100 were active, and the rest quietly sympathetic to the point of not betraying the movements of the minority."

That larger army could be demoralized and worn down, its patrols and sentries made nervous and drawn, waiting for the next attack and never sure from where it would come. It is a feeling the weary soldiers of the Third Infantry Division are coming to know well.

The Iraq Conflict - The Historical Background

Historical Iraq Maps

Recent Iraq Maps



... Gilgamesh tomb believed found. Archaeologists in Iraq believe they may have found the lost tomb of King Gilgamesh - the subject of the oldest "book" in history. ...


... Iraq had invaded Kuwait about three weeks prior. ... And there were thousands of hostages being held in Iraq. But, the dream could be interpreted in another way. ...

Anti-War Global rallies protest possible US war on Iraq

Global rallies protest possible US war on Iraq. Lion King Hyenas. Goosestepping Soldier. Pink Floyd - The Wall Hammers Marching. IRAQ PEACE PLEDGE. ...


... US Newswire/ -- "President Bush's theatre missile defense will do more than just protect the free world from attacks by rogue nations like Iraq, Libya,

Transcript of President Bush's Speech

... Now, this war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. ...


... For example, the first week of trials was run on the Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq (SAKI) terrain database with no air defense artillery (ADA) threat. ...


... US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will meet in Northern Ireland this week to discuss the war in Iraq and the Ulster and Middle ...


... Persian Gulf War or Gulf War, Jan.–Feb., 1991, armed conflict between Iraq and a coalition of 32 nations including the United States, Britain, Egypt, France ...


.. Iraq's germ warfare arsenal in the 1991 Gulf War prompted nations to begin talks on creating a way to enforce the ban. ...

Revelation 19 - War of Armageddon

... by some of the worst terrorists of the 20th century - are no different than the regime that until recently ruled Iraq. ...


... Iraq Increases Attacks on US Planes Wires Tuesday, April 23, 2002 WASHINGTON ...


... Q. Will there be nuclear bombs in Iraq in the next 30 days? ..


... Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Syria, Xinjiang in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Mindanao in the Philippines, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia ...


... opposition in 1990 when the kingdom invited hundreds of thousands of American and other foreign troops into the country after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. ...


... camps, just like we had to bomb the Iraqi's several times now to try to take out the fiber-optics network that the Chinese are installing in Iraq's air-defense ...


... of a terrorist obtaining the machinery and material necessary to produce a nuclear weapon, although the programmes of rogue states such as Iraq and North Korea ...


... The US Air Force already has nearly 200 warplanes based in the region and involved in patrolling a ``no fly'' zone in southern Iraq. ...


... Will it be Iran, Iraq, the Red Chinese (fat chance, the Government is setting us up to be attacked by them at a latter date via Nuclear weapons), or some other ...


-- Uprooted weapon scientists from Iraq, Russia and South Africa are hunting for new jobs and spreading germ secrets.


... looting was a problem. "This is not like Iraq," said Ahmed Makhloufi, the city's vice president for social affairs. But outside the ...


... A. It was made by India for use in World War III. Q. Will the Chinese get involved on Iraq's side? A. They are already involved. ...


... United Nations Member Flags - M - R United Nations Member Flags - S - Z. China, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Korea North, Korea South, Libya, Pakistan, ...

DC Police Crack Down on Anti-Capitalist Protests

... environmental policies, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and "corporate greed." Others were there to voice their opposition to war against Iraq. ...


... Iraq, as Clinton knew, was planning a revenge terrorist attack against a federal office building in Oklahoma City, using US dissidents as surrogates, ...


... saying it's going to be very hard down the road to overlook Israel's nuclear potential if the world wants to keep countries like Iraq under sanctions for ...


... possess. Iraq denies it has such weapons. ... force. He was the youngest pilot in a team that bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981. ...

DAVID WILCOCK - PART IV - The Nineveh Constant

... This library was discovered in the ruins of the Assyrian civilization, located in modern – day Iraq in the nineteenth century through the work of Paul Emile ...


... Upper World home of our alleged creators, which they called the E.Din (“home of the righteous ones”) located in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley of modern Iraq. ...


... Meanwhile, despite these problems and the continuing Iran-Iraq war which is putting heavy pressure on the Iranian economy, the Tehran government continues to ...


... the United States during the 1991 Gulf War , seething at the deployment of US troops in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War campaign to oust Iraq from Kuwait. ...


Iraq. Bush and Blair bomb Baghdad. ...


... .". The US is also investigating Iraq's role in assisting the terrorist network, a US official told the Associated Press. ...


... War III. Q. Will the Chinese get involved on Iraq's side? A. They are already involved. Q. When will the first bomb be dropped?

Star Wars: The Next Generation

... They started talking about the possibility that if Iraq sent a biological or dhenical weapon into Israel, they could attack Saddam Hussein with a nuclear bomb ...


... IRAQ - 1995 THE AFTERMATH OF THE GULF WAR AND EMBARGO. ... They all piled up on top of me. My eldest son Mohammed was taken with {Iraq's} Popular Army to Kuwait. ...


... As well as of the reason that Iran hosts the second most important religious school of the Shiaa in Qom with the second being the Al-Najaf school in Iraq. ...


... Tonight in Iraq, Saddam walks amidst ruin. His war machine is crushed. ... And, yes, we grieve for the people of Iraq, a people who have never been our enemy. ...


... Conflicts in Israel and Iraq were being used as distractions to the real threat in Bosnia."


... Two months ago, James Twyman, author of the bestselling book, "Emissary of Light," was invited by the government of Iraq to perform his "Peace concert" ...


... in several parts of Turkey, including at the air base in Incirlik in the east of the country used by planes enforcing a no-fly zone over northern Iraq. ...


... two days ago which showed a time shift, which means we don't know the time it is going to happen, but the psychic saw a nuclear blast go off in Iraq,


... On July 25, 1990, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, told Hussein that the Iraq/Kuwait dispute was an Arab matter,


... North Korea's surprise revelation, which confronts the Bush administration with a nuclear crisis in Asia even as it threatens war with Iraq, came 12 days ago ...

Constellation Eridanus -Is it connected to Eridu - the first city ...

... Kassites (c. 1250 BC) and in the period when the Assyrians, from northern Iraq, dominated Babylonia ...


... my dreams. In the dream, I saw a crop formation that had appeared the same week that Iraq (ancient Babylon) invaded Kuwait. It looked ...


... But he all ready has the authority to go after Iraq again so there's no need in killing any more American's to get the war under way. ...


... NEWS. 6-9-2002. Where Jordan stands on the impending blitz on Iraq. ... Nor is there anything wrong with us having economic interests in Iraq. ...


. The traditional site of the Garden of Eden in southern Iraq is about as far from idyllic as could be imagined. Genesis ...


... other. Iraq is working towards nuclear capability and other weapons of mass destruction that are biological and chemical.






... Dream. 11-14-97 WAR WITH IRAQ. I was in my car driving, but had my feet on the ground. ... At this point, I knew I was in Iraq and that we were at war. by Dee Finney. ...


... A. It was made by India for use in World War III. Q. Will the Chinese get involved on Iraq's side? A. They are already involved. ...


... at 5:07, I was snoozing and listening to the news. Iraq forces have moved  across Kuwait and into the neutral zone between Saudi Arabia. ...


. 10-17-90 - MEDITATION - Q. Will the Pope offer himself as a hostage to Iraq for other hostages for peace? ...


... . 1-11-91 - Meditation: Q. Will there be warfare in Iraq in the next 30 days? ... Q. Will there be nuclear bombs in Iraq in the next 30 days? ...


... NOTE: This was just prior to the US declaring war on Iraq and liberating Kuwait, which occurred on the 15th of January. Iran and ...


... (This might have something to do with the UN agreements that the US is working on about Iraq.

Eclipses of Historical Interest