The first Barbary war, starting 1801, was fought between the Ottoman Empire against Sweden under Gustav IV Adolf and America under President Thomas Jefferson. One of the American heroes of the Barbary wars was Joseph Israel and in Sweden Rudolf Cederström. Sweden had already been at war with Tripoli before hence. The Barbary States rulers’ specialty was hijacking European ships since the 1600s taking hostages for ransom demanding heavy fees. Over a hundred hostages were set free after a declaration of war, by then the Swedish authorities had already paid what can be estimated up to several hundred million crowns in commodities and currency.When Thomas Jefferson went to negotiate with Tripoli’s envoy ”concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury”, Tripoli’s envoy, ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman replied: “It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave.”
Since then the world has become a smaller place and economic considerations and engagements in the Middle East have taken different shapes. It has been a constant roller coaster of stabilization and destabilization. As of today we see a grave destabilization of the USA and the West. Economic and “humanist” arguments have constantly been exchanging each other at the political tables in regards of the Islamic Middle East. West and the Islamic Middle East’s relationship has been a co-dependency in turbulence, instability and hostility throughout the ages without ever quite reaching a functioning non-enemy relationship.
It has been like trying to solve a political Rubik’s Cube missing color boxes. Economic and political engagement with such a partner that does not have a basic non-enemy perception toward other nations peoples will make a relation entangled in suspicion and will be an unstable ally quick to leave previous agreements and establish conflict. The words from Tripoli’s envoy, ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman from the days of Thomas Jefferson and Gustav IV Adolf are still coming back like tidal waves at nations, governments and peoples who have done them no injury.
“ISTANBUL — The Turkish government has seized the historic Armenian Surp Giragos Church, a number of other churches and large swaths of property in the heavily damaged Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, saying it wants to restore the area but alarming residents who fear the government is secretly aiming to drive them out.” –Source The New York Times 2016.
Coptic Christians in Egypt have been massacred, Kurds and Yazidis had to take to military measures to save themselves from a fate worse than death, Christan Arameans and Aramaic people are threatened and persecuted. Westerners argue that they live in a globalized new and smaller world today but still they are failing to understand the meaning of this and the threat against Judeo-Christian heritage.
According to a report made by CBN news, 2015: “The word is out: If you are a Muslim and you’re from Syria, you are welcome in Sweden — there’s an open border”. Considering the most persecuted religious group today in the Middle East is Christian they represent only a small part of asylum seekers accepted to stay in the country, Kurds and Yazidis are underrepresented as well. This goes against all of the Swedish government’s claims of equality and anti-discrimination. Many Jews, Kurds and Christians in Sweden have come to the conclusion that they once fled from something they have to face again while Islamist agitation and groups are growing stronger and Swedish police is losing more control over the situation.
Is there however a legitimate non-enemy connection for the USA and West in the Middle East? Warren Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. about Israel: “If you are going to the Middle East looking for oil you don’t need to stop in Israel but if you are looking for brains, for energy, for integrity it is the only stop you need to make in the Middle East.“
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft: “Israel is by many measures the country, relative to its population, that’s done the most to contribute to the technology revolution. “
Is there a way to reach more legitimate non-enemy connections in the Middle East for USA and the West? Lebanon could easily have been a non-enemy state from where the words of Sidi Haji Abdrahaman would not come back to haunt USA and the West. Bordering with Israel the country was called the Paris of the Middle East whose contemporary intellectuals have been praised and appreciated globally. With Judeo-Christian cultural solidarity intact it could have been a legitimate non-enemy state of Israel, USA and the West. Possibly a state Warren Buffet and Bill Gates would revere in similar terms as they did revere Israel.
Technology is advancing at a rapid pace like no other time in history and is expected to accelerate further more in the near future. Hence it is not farfetched to expect discoveries of new sources of energy, ways to use them, scientific advancement in the field and different trade opportunities. This means an opening for more legitimate non-enemy alliances, perhaps a crucial demand for these and less tolerance for views as those of Sidi Haji Abdrahaman’s.
For Sweden a start would be stopping the financing and supporting of Islamic terrorist groups through SIDA and the Swedish church and instead cultivate better relations with Israel, a free Kurdistan and the Aramean Movement (AraM) seeking to establish an Aramean state in parts of what is now Lebanon and Syria. It is an indigenous people striving for freedom, security, self-determination and representative government, free from the tyranny of views such as those of Sidi Haji Abdrahaman.
Zeynab. B.H (pseudonym)
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