World War II was Not About Oil
As a result, the Arabs had to screw up the region themselves. They did a serviceable job, but to be honest, their social pathology lacked the sophistication of Anglo-American efforts.
If you pick any period in the history of the Middle East, there are two observations that remain remarkably constant. The first is that there seems to be no upper limit as to how hard a name can be to pronounce. The second is that the exclusive Middle Eastern licensing rights to Being a Complete Asshole, would be worth a fortune.
In 1940, many of the people who lived on the Arabian Peninsula — realizing that they'd never get really good porn, like the Dutch — began devoting their spare time to Being a Complete Asshole.
And when I say "many of the people," of course I mean "pretty much anyone who did anything of historical note."
British: Polite yet Brutal
The British, who had been a global supplier of Complete Assholes for centuries, still had a few areas of their Arabian Mandate that remained undesignated and, therefore, occupied. Having created several really screwed up countries already, it was becoming harder to meet or exceed expectations for disastrous nation-building.
In Palestine, the Jews and Arabs were still under occupation and were steadily becoming more obnoxious about it. When not bickering among themselves, the two groups had taken to committing random acts of violence so inhumanly senseless, it was hoped that the British would see the area as "maximally fucked up" and respond by leaving immediately. Arabs and Jews worked together to perfect this new art of "using violence to demoralize" — or as some called it: Terrorism.
Nearby, Iraq was closing the blood-soaked book on its first decade of sovereignty.
Despite the prompt dispatch of the original Hashemite king, Iraq had remained a monarchy. It was an open secret that the Iraqi monarchy was a puppet state of the British, put in place to support English hegemony over Iraqi oil resources. This didn't sit well with some quarters in the Iraqi elite.
Of course, there was also plenty of resentment remaining from the British occupation and new ill-will being stirred up by the brutal British treatment of those still under its rule, particularly the Arabs and Jews in Palestine. The deadly summer of 1920 was still in living memory, and the Arabs generally expected that the effects of ongoing British presence would get worse if not stopped.
With British influence obscured by neo-colonial contrivances such as the Iraqi puppet monarchy, anti-British sentiment became similarly latent. This left an opening for "people to openly hate and deride."
Who Can the Arabs Picks On?
The reasons for growing anti-Jewish feeling in the Arab world are multi-faceted and way too complicated to detail here, but I'll try to summarize the main points.
It was either going to be the Amish or the Jews. The Jews were picked by a coin toss.
Part of it was a groundswell of Arab nationalism. Typically, periods of colonialism or occupation are followed by anger-fueled nationalism, and the the Arab world was no exception to this pattern. That nationalism was reinforced by the intolerant Islamic attitudes made commonplace by nearly two hundred years of unrelenting Wahhabist aggression.
Simple politics was also a factor. A prominent faction of Zionists — Jews who believed in the creation of a Jewish state — made it clear that they intended to displace, or even exterminate the indigenous population of their new state. This action plan is described repeatedly in Biblical passages regarding The Promised Land.
Moses,Deuteronomy 20.16-18, The Bible
Despite the endorsement from Moses, there was a lot of resistance to the "kill people and take their land" plan — certainly on the part of many Jews, but particularly amongst Arabs who saw the Palestinians as brothers. World opinion, as well, had tilted against this kind of behavior. Once the United States had no further need to justify this kind of genocide — having completed their own version in the 19th century — it had fallen out of favor.
Of course, the Jews — and by extension, the Christians — certainly have no monopoly on religious texts that support psychotic violence. Here's a quote from the Q'ran that begs… unfortunate literal interpretation.
The Prophet Mohamed, The Q'ran, circa 600CE
Suffice to say that there is long history in the region showing that from time to time, various groups commit acts that express a cultural message of, "I desperately need anger management training. But first, taste my bloody vengeance."
Increasingly, the Jews seemed to become the favorite people to whom this message was delivered.
Enough Background. Back to the Events…
In 1940, there were an estimated 250,000-350,000 Jews in Iraq. A lot of people find this surprising, but the Jews are from Iraq. Before Abraham gathered the tribe together and went on an extended road trip, they lived in what is now Southern Iraq. According to the historical record, Jews had lived in the greater Baghdad metropolitan area for at least 2,700 years.
Of course, like any of the other Semitic tribes of the Middle East, they had long established their niche in the culture. The Iraqi Jews were friends and neighbors with the Kurds, Shi'ite and Sunni Arabs, and the Chaldean Catholics. The Jewish community was one of the wealthiest communities in the region, and was a fixture in the wealthy merchant class of Iraq. They lived mainly in and around Baghdad, so many of them held government jobs, some quite high up. The Sunni Muslim minority, which traditionally held the political power, actually preferred the wealthy Jews as peers in the government over the Shi'ite Muslims, who were largely from rural areas in the South — basically uncool hicks.
Sounds like the Iraqi Jews had it pretty nice for quite some time.
And maybe it was.
Then the Reality Monster™ woke up and got back to its full-time schedule of sucking as much joy as it could suck from as many lives as it could suck joy from. Suffice to say that the Reality Monster's Capacity for suckage is not going to max out any time soon. The Monster took out his 20-sided die, rolled a number and checked the table: Be Merciless. Okie-dokie.
Actually, The Reality Monster frequently wonders why he even bothers rolling that die. This is the table:
Nazis: Ruining it For Everyone Since 1933
In 1940, the Iraqi government was friendly to the British — mainly because that was its job — but Pan-Arabism was growing and British occupation was considered the ultimate Bad Thing™.
The anti-British factions within the Iraqi power elite decided, in a moment of historical stupidity, that allying with the Nazis would be a great way to get rid if the British.
I'm not kidding.
The pro-Nazi faction did — correctly — think that Nazi Germany would provide ample support for their efforts to keep Asia-Minor Brit-free. They did not consider that Nazi Germany would also occupy Iraq and then, if all went well, methodically exterminate its indigenous inhabitants. But how could anyone have known that? Aside from the fact that a transcript of any Hitler speech of the past decade would have made it — I dunno — fucking obvious?!
The plan was relayed to the German ambassador, who saw to it that his embassy provided these ironically anti-Semitic Semites with informative books and pamphlets about how awful the Jews were. And cash; the Nazis pumped in plenty cash.
The pro-Nazi Iraqis were awestruck by the density of the anti-Semitic propaganda. The Jews were not merely depicted as the enemy, but relentlessly demonized with copious supporting details convincingly portrayed as rigorously studied scientific fact.
With further support, including financial, provided by the Germans, The "Golden Corner" coup drove the current rulers out of the country. Once again, Iraq failed to top its all-time record of four years without a military coup.
The best and worst of Iraqi youth took to the streets in exuberant protests denouncing the British, the Jews and the fact that the WTO didn't exist for them to protest. Nazi supporters were seen carrying signs comparing Hitler to himself.
Got Nazis? Call 1-800-RULE-BRITANNIA
In 1940, British troops had rushed to Iran to protect, and later co-opt, its oil resources. When they got there, the Shah of Iran was annoying them, so they deposed him. Keep these events in mind as we examine what happened in neighboring Iraq, just months later.
In early 1941, the new pro-Nazi Golden Corner government told the British that they would only be allowed provisional landing rights in Iraq (the provision being that they not be British… heh heh heh). This was not well-received by the British who had official ownership of all Iraqi airfields under the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930. I'm not a whiz in International law, but I'm having problems with a treaty that existed two years before one of the countries that's party to it… Still, the treaty did exist.
In reality, the problem was the Nazis taking control of Iraq's oil. This was particularly worrisome, as there were convenient rail lines connecting Iraq and Germany. But I said that World War II was not about oil and I'm spoiling it, aren't I?
Anyway, keeping in mind the earlier events in Iran, what's the reading on the Clue-o-Meter™ when the Golden Corner numskulls piss off the British? My Clue-o-Meter™ must be broken, 'cause that reading didn't even bump the needle. Hmmm… I wonder what happens next.
De plane! De plane!
Of course! The British land a military force in Basra and claim the authority to re-occupy Iraq because Iraq has violated the aforementioned 1930 treaty.
In a misrepresentation worthy of today's anti-invasion protesters, the Anti-Brit Iraqis interpreted the British arrival as an attempt to restore long-term British rule. It was nothing of the sort. It was an attempt to restore short-term British rule, followed by a return to a puppet dictatorship. Just add Americans, and you have almost exactly the same scenario that we have today.
Both incursions started with a British offensive in Basra, and both took only a month to complete. Also, despite the naked imperialism and obvious oil interests that spurred both invasions, both served to dislodge a murderous, anti-Semitic, fascist dictatorship widely considered evil.
The post-invasion situation was quite different. In 1941, the British troops restored peace and security before installing a bogus puppet government that ultimately imploded. Today, the Americans seem to think that letting Iraq implode first will somehow inoculate the puppet government or something. Honestly, I can't make any sense out of what the Americans are doing right now, so let's get back to 1941.
Iraqi troops surrounded a British airbase west of Baghdad which, being an official British concern, had British forces. These British forces, without warning, opened fire on the Iraqi troops. The Iraqis fell back to Baghdad, and the troops from the base — which could so totally take the Iraqis just by themselves — marched toward Baghdad. In keeping with a policy that remains intact to this day, a gratuitous military force was assembled, as more British troops popped in from nearby Palestine.
Of course, before opening fire, the British voted on whether or not to respond by imposing sanctions. That got a big laugh.
The month required for British troops to kill all of the Iraqis resistance fighters was recorded as a "War", which I think is silly considering that World War II was also occurring. I guess it does allow me to say that, once again, the war in Iraq was about oil, without applying that rationale to World War II. My chapter title is saved!
In any case, the old Anglophile government was restored on May 30th and the regent — who had fled during the coup — was recalled from his undisclosed location.
Ha! George W. Bush appointed himself President in one of our southern provinces! So there!
Meanwhile, Yunis Al Sabawi — official Nazi lapdog (and we're talking about one of those fluffy ones that's always got its tongue hanging out so it slobbers on you) — had appointed himself governor of Iraq's southern provinces.
Al Sabawi issued a decree to the provincial Jewry ordering them to stay indoors from Saturday, May 31st until Monday, June 2nd. During this time he was going to use his Iraqi Hitler Youth…
Yes, I wrote "Iraqi Hitler Youth."
Al Sabawi was going to use his Hitler Youth as a Pee Wee Death Squad to kill all the Jews as they sat around their houses instead of conquering Europe like certain superior races — and I think we know who I'm taking about here. So, what's the likelihood that any plan ever goes correctly in this cursed region of the world?
None! Like clockwork, the Mysterious Iraqi Clever Plan Fuckup Field™ kicked in, but this time it actually resulted in a favorable outcome for a change. Yunis was deported on May 31st, the day before the violence was to take place.
Unfortunately, his little Aryan Brotherhood was still around.
On June 1st, many citizens went to the airport to welcome the returning Regent, including a Jewish delegation. On the way home, they were attacked by Al Sabawi's EvilScouts and one of the Jews was killed. Mayhem reigned until 10PM that night, when all the Hitler Youth were required to attend that night's educational film: Jews? Damn Straight They Eat Babies!.
Violence continued the next day, June 2nd, until government forces imposed order by shooting anyone on the street after 5PM.
Apparently, the American forces now occupying Iraq lack the training and equipment to impose order — this despite the fact that they've shown plenty of talent in the "shoot people in the street" skillset.
The two-day Hitler Youth Jamboree netted 187 confirmed Jews dead, which wasn't enough to advance the Iraqi Nazis to the semi-finals. Still, they learned some valuable lessons about murdering innocent and peaceful citizens of their own country, which would come in handy later. The death toll would probably have been worse on the 2nd, but a large percentage of the Jews were taken into the homes of Muslim and Catholic neighbors for protection. How cool was that?
Hopefully, cool enough, because it was the last conspicuous kindness the Iraqi Jews ever got from their countrymen.
After WWII ended, the British restored the compliant Hashemite monarchy, then packed up their troops and left. Did life get back to normal?
Well, sort of.
The majority of Arabs said, "Taste my bloody vengeance!" and anti-Jewish rioting became the highlight of Iraqi life in 1946 and 1947.
This hadn't been normal before, but it became normal from that point on.
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