Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Mid East Conflict Part VI: Al Hussayni and The Arab Revolt

When we last left off our review, the Zionist Yishuv (jewish community) and the Arab community had come to blows. The general friction of a changing economy, the reduction of available land through purchasing by the incoming immigrants and the sudden change in culture brought by the new immigrants, was causing serious friction in Palestine. TransJordan, still a part of the Palestine Mandate, was being governed by Abdullah, son of Hussein and brother of Feisel who helped the British defeat the Turks in World War I. Palestine itself was still being governed by the British.

In 1922, British Foreign Officer Samuels, a noted Zionist and supporter of the Balfour Declaration, did something very extraordinary and probably led to the riots of 1936: he appointed Hajj Amin al Hussayni to be the Grand Mufti (supreme Muslim Jurist) of Jerusalem. Al Hussayni was an ardent anti-Zionist, but, in the absence of any realy organization of the Arab community in Palestine, he had, what could only be construed as the most support in the community. He and his group developed the Supreme Muslim Council (SMC) that had these basic tenets:

  • Stop Jewish immigration to Palestine

  • End all further land sales to immigrants

  • Establishment of an Arab national government

Add to this a growing rivalry between the Hussaynis and the Nabashidi tribe; the growing threat of Nazi Germany; British dependency on middle east oil and growing immigration from Europe over the threat of war and the Nazi policy and the makings of the next conflict were in place.

On to the inner sanctum for the Arab revolt.

By 1936, the Yishuv had grown to almost 400k over the 175k that was reported in 1929. It was an explosion of immigration that this small part of the world could not seem to handle, but the Yishuv did. As it's population grew, it absorbed the immigrants and increased their economic and demographic power without seeing any marked decrease in the condition or ability of the community. By contrast, the Arab population seemed to be growing more and more poverty stricken. As urban areas increased, the rural, tribal culture of the population became even more stressed as Arabs were forced by economy to work as cheap labor for the Jewish community or to rely on the community for assistance. An increasingly separated community.

During this time, the Foreign Office power houses were gone and absolute support for the Balfour declaration was gone. The British were faced with an ever increasing problem of trying to manage a shizophrenic country. Each time the British tried to negotiate some sort of peaceful outcome, one or the other group would dig in their hills. The particular issues included Arab insistance of the Arab state of Palestine WITHOUT guaranteein either the citizenship of the already present immigrants nor guaranteeing the safety of the Yishuva community. For their part, the Zionists, under continuous threat from the Arab community, were insisting on a separately governed homeland, complete with their own security.

Sound familiar?

In 1936, "an Arab attack on a Jewish bus led to a series of incidents that escalated into a major Palestinian rebellion":

In 1937 the British, working with their regional Arab allies, Amir Abdullah of Transjordan, King Ghazi of Iraq, and King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia, mediated an end to the revolt with the AHC. A Royal Commission on Palestine (known as the Peel Commission) was immediately dispatched to Palestine. Its report, issued in July 1937, described the Arab and Zionist positions and the British obligation to each as irreconcilable and the existing Mandate as unworkable. It recommended partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with a retained British Mandate over Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem and a corridor from Jerusalem to the coast

Once again, all parties rejected the option of two states. The Zionist Congress because it limited the space in which they could grow and because part of the plan (similar to today's plan) divided their land and would be difficult to protect. The Arab Higher Committee (AHC) rejected it because they would never agree to a two state plan. Palestine was an Arab country they insisted. A second round of fighting broke out only to be put down sharply by the British. Many high ranking leaders of the Arab revolt were deported. The British undertook a new commission which reversed the Peel commission and indicated that a two state solution was impracticable.

At the same time, a new political awareness had begun. The Arab states were now pressuring Britain in support of the Palestinian Arabs and London was wont to listen as the advent of war and the necessity of resources, like oil, became important. However, with the removal of certain Arab leaders, the Arab community again fell behind and the Zionists ability with organization and economy again came to the forefront. The Arab states had placed an agricultural embargo on Palestine in protest of the Zionist movement and disenfranchising of the Palstinian Arabs. The Yishuv, or Zionist community, forced to rely on it's self and highly organized, brushed this off with little impact. Again, it was the local Arab community that suffered.

The second revolt had served another purpose. The Yishuv was now more and more certain that they were being abandoned by the British in favor of the Arabs and that they needed to be able to defend themselves.

Al Hussayni and Nazis.

According to multiple sources, and surprising to no one I should think, is that Al Hussayni, with this intense hatred of the Zionists, became a rather ardent believer in the Nazi doctrine. In 1937, just prior to his exile from Palestine and World War II, Al Hussayni was sought out by Adolf Eichman, a notorious figure in Nazi Germany. According to multiple sources, Eichman influenced Al Hussayni to create a similar national socialist party for Arabs. Financial assistance from Nazi Germany began to filter in. As an ardent anti-Zionist, al Hussayni adopted the stance of the Nazis and began formulating his own plan for the "final solution" of the Jews in Palestine. Probably a distinct reason why his group refused to guarantee the safety of the Yishuva in Palestine if an Arab state was established.

The Mufti al Hussayni was exiled and travelled to Iraq with the assistance of the growing Arab Nazi parties. There he participated in the attempted coup against King Feisel (brother of Abdullah, Amir of TransJordan) who had been installed by the British in 1922 to quail a revolt of the Iraqi citizenship. The 1941 coup was attempted by four pro-Nazi officers of the military with monetary and material assistance from the German Nazis via al Hussayni in an attempt put pressure on the British by the loss of an ally and resources in the area.

A member of this coup attempt was none other than Kharaillah Tulfah, Saddam Hussein's uncle, mentor and who essentially raised Saddam from a young age. But that was for later. Saddam was 2 at the outbreak of WWII and did not go to live with his uncle until he was 10. In the meantime, after the coup failed, several of the officers fled to Egypt and the Grand Mufti Hussayni went to Germany to stay in Berlin as the guest of the Nazi government. Who gave him money, power and prestige. They assisted him in setting up an Islamic School for Muslim officers in Berlin and he was tasked with helping to create several Nazi Muslim corps of military for the Third Reich.

They also funded his program of anti-Zionist propaganda in the Middle East with the most ironic support of all: confiscated Jewish money.

TransJordan Is Separated From Palestine.

With the advent of war, the necessity to create some sort of Arab state from the mandate and to free up men and materials for the war, Britain decided to try the two state option and quickly broke of TransJordan (Palestine Mandate area, east of Jordan with some land mass on the west bank of Jordan) and handed it to Amir Abdullah in exchange for the Arab support against Germany in the ME. The British felt that this would only leave them with the Jewish contingent in Palesine and perform their duties per their agreement with the League of Nation to create self sustaing and self governing states.

Once again, nobody agreed.


Library of Congress: Israel
Library of Congress: Jordan
Frontpage Magazine: Middle East and Nazis
Saddam Hussein: nazis
Nazi Roots of Radical Islam


Mike H. said...

It's good, keep it up.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

I don't always have anything to add, but I'm always readin'. Keep them coming! Fascinating stuff.