Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Macedonia

Part 2. Mehemet Ali (1770-1849): The last modern Pharaoh?

Mehemet Ali (Turkish pronunciation) or Mohammad Ali was born around 1770 in the poor port town of Kavala in Macedonia. Macedonia was called Roumelia by the Ottoman Empire, and Kavala faced the close-by island of Thasos.  Mehemet Ali’s father married Zeinab, a daughter of Hussein agha, and he had the job of securing the district routes, in addition of trading in tobacco.

At the age of 19, Mehemet Ali married Amina Hanem, the widowed daughter of the governor of Kavala. His first son Ibrahim was born in the nearby village of Drama, where the family fled from the cholera infesting the small port.  Amina was the favorite wife of Mehemet Ali, although he had 30 kids from his harem.  Only 10 lived to adulthood, 7 boys and 3 girls.

The second son of Mehemet Ali, the most beloved Toussoun, also died at 23 of age after an all-night of pleasure and bingeing… Toussoun had led an army in 1811 into the Arabic peninsula and defeated the extremist religious Wahhabi uprising and entered Mecca. The elder son Ibrahim would resume the war and the conquest and in 1818 eradicate Deryeh, the main city of the Wahhabi who received arms and  finances from England.

Mehemet Ali was totally illiterate till the age of 45, and spoke only Turkish, although he learned to understand local Arabic. Most of his children received the best education of the time and spoke several languages such as Farisi and Greek.

In 1800, Mehemet Ali reluctantly had to join the 300-contingent of Macedonians dispatched to support the British in the attempt of dislodging the remnant of 20,000 French soldiers in Egypt, lead by General Menou. Within less than a year, the French soldiers were evacuated from Egypt and Mehemet Ali advancing twice in military ranks.

The Ottoman Empire and the Mamluke in Egypt wanted to revert to the previous state of affairs, and Mehemet Ali played both powers, one against the other for four years, until he was appointed governor of Cairo in June 1805.

For another 5 years, Mehemet Ali relentlessly confronted the internal forces resisting his supreme rule and even managed to defeat another smaller British expeditionary force. In March 1811, Mehemet Ali massacred over 250 high-ranking Mamelukes in his palace.  The Mamelukes had to flee to Sudan.

When Mehemet Ali’s son Ismail led the troops to conquer Sudan in 1820, the Mamelukes had to retreat even further to actual Darfur.  Ismail was burned alive in his tent in 1822 in Chendy (Sudan) after angering a local tribe.

Mehemet Ali became the sole ruler or Vice-King of Egypt, Sudan, and current Saudi Arabia and Yemen:  He behaved as the biggest capitalist of his time since all the lands were His, and he bought all the agricultural products and resold them at monopolistic prices to the people and at premium prices to England, France, and Turkey…

Mehemet Ali transformed Egypt from scratch:  He created a modern army, a modern navy, public schools, public hospitals, hundred of miles of irrigation canals…most of them using forced labor by the hundred of thousands of Egyptian peasants.

Ibrahim started the Syrian campaign in 1831 and defeated the Ottoman armies in several battles. He could have entered the Capital Istanbul, but Mehemet Ali refused that Ibrahim army move forward.  Consequently, Ibrahim became the governor of Syria (from the southern Anatolia plateau to Gaza) and was a born administrator and Syria experienced its most prosperous period.

In 1839, Ibrahim defeated again the Ottoman army in the battle of Nezib, which lasted only two hours, and Istanbul was again ripe to fall, but for the western European coalition and Russia to refuse Ibrahim his military victory.  Ibrahim could annihilate the small British contingent that landed in Beirut in 1839, but it was a political decision to withdraw to Egypt and to relinquish Syria to the Ottoman Empire in Nov. 1840.

In 1841, Sultan Abdel Hamid II signed the “firman” extending the hereditary right of Mehemet Ali in Egypt.  Mehemet Ali refused the French investment to open the Suez Canal and also refused British investment for a railroad linking Alexandria with the Red Sea: Mehemet Ali foresaw the consequences of these foreign investment in Egypt and said: “Once the Suez canal is opened to navigation then the British will take it and Egypt will become under British mandated power…”

Mehmet Ali managed the British all the time because he knew that only the most powerful maritime Empire of the period could impose its conditions.  For example, it was the Egyptian wheat and cereal sale to England (1810-13) that maintained the British troops in Spain.

Ibrahim died one year before his father in Nov. 1848.  The eldest male in the family.  Abbas I (son of Toussoun) became Vice-King and ruined all the achievement of Mehemet Ali and Ibrahim within a few years of his reign.

The Suez Canal will be opened by the French in the 1860’s and a railroad will crisscross the country

A decade later, the British government purchased the Egyptian share in the Canal.  In Aug. 1882, a British contingent occupied Suez Canal and the last soldier left in June 1956 after Eisenhower ordered the retreat of the British and French troops.

In 1885, the British occupied Sudan and left in 1956.

Note: A review of the French book “The last Pharaoh” by Gilbert Sinoue

Bi-Weekly Report (#24) on the Middle East and Lebanon (May 28, 2009)

 

            The weekly “Courrier International” failed to do its job on analyzing Syria’s policies.  Instead of investigating and doing leg works it opted to rely on the Washington Post and Now Lebanon, totally biased against anything related to Syria, for spreading its nonsense.  This weekly publishing is repeating the old story of what the successive US Administrations want from Syria with respect to facilitating the job of US military presence in Iraq. As usual, the catchy “Damascus does not get it” and “Could we have confidence in Bashar Assad ” summarizes the topic. As if the job and responsibilities of President Assad is to cajole and obey the US dicta for nothing in return, such as the Golan Heights that was captured by Israel since 1973.

The Washington Post and supposed “reporter” Karen De Young would like us to believe that the increase of “terrorist activities” in Iraq and in Mossoul last month can be linked to the laxity of Syria’s border patrols.  It seems that Al Qaeda has been active shipping “martyr terrorists” from northern African Arab States to blow up Iraqi Shiaa. What about the other sects, such as the minority Christian sects? The report stated that the Iraqi border patrols cannot do effectively their jobs because of lack of carburant. The Iraqi government has a depleted budget because of low oil prices on the international market and thus the border patrols drive along the vast borders with Syria 15 days out of 30; thus, Syria is to be blamed for the US insufficient funding for borders control.

 

The monthly “Le Monde Diplomatique” did its job concerning Albania and Kosovo. The US Administration is pushing to finish quickly the fast highway linking Pristina (the Capital of Kosovo) to the Adriatic Sea at the Albanian seaport of Durres. Apparently, the OTAN needs this strategic highway so that the 5th fleet could discharge military hardware and soldiers.  Close to the highway in Kosovo there is the largest US Camp Bondsteel military base by the town of Urosevac.  Close to the highway in the town of Kukes in Albania the US has finished a functional airport used by military cargo and denied access to civilian use and at the expense of the Albanian tax payers.  The story boils down to a Greek bank Alpha lent the Albanian government 300 millions Euros (guaranteed by the US) to build the super highway; the trick is that 65% of the Albanian budget is reserved for the infrastructure ministry and 75% of the budget of this ministry is allocated to this super highway.  The bombshell is that the US  Bechtel multinational will reap 44% profit on the cost of this super highway. The newly “independent” States of Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia are quickly becoming the dumping ground for the NATO and the European Union economic, military, and environmental policies.

 

I watched the highly informative interview of retired General Jameel Al Sayyed with Maggie Farah on the OTV channel.  Jameel Al Sayyed was released recently from 4 years of detention with no formal court cases after the International Tribunal judged his imprisonment illegal and ordered him out along with 3 other officers. General Al Sayyed returned two day ago from France after resuming his depositions on Millis (former investigator to the assassination of Rafic Hariri) and Johnny Abdou (former retired Lebanon military intelligence chief) who fabricated the climate for Al Sayyed unjustified detention.   Al Sayyed will also work out the courts in Germany with respect to Millis.  Al Sayyed is a highly interesting character and a well spoken intelligent and honest personality. Al Sayyed said that it was the Lebanese officials who drew the Syrian counterparts into suspect transactions and corruptions.  Although every political leader in Lebanon has dealing with foreign States, Al Sayyed lambasted Saad Hariri and Samir Geaja for their incapacity in using proper “valves” that can shut down foreign interests to destabilizing Lebanon.

 

 The German daily Der Spiegel reported excerpts from internet blogs posted by Syrian dissidents six months ago claiming that a special team of Hezbollah masterminded the assassination of late Lebanon Rafic Hariri PM.  The timing of that report, which the International Tribunal denied any knowledge, was evidence that the real perpetrators were scared shit of the victory of the opposition in Lebanon at the next Parliamentary election on June 7.  It meant that the opposition is not about to let the assassination case linger any longer and will pursue its own investigation or force the International Tribunal to move swiftly and close the doors to further political manipulations of that case. What exacerbated the political climate is that Lebanon has started dismantling systematically Israel’s spy webs and dangerous intelligence are accumulating relative to Israel involvement in many of the string of assassination cases in Lebanon since the murder of Rafic Hariri.in 2005. 

The US Vice President Biden visited Lebanon for 6 hours before the publishing of the report and met with the leaders of the government alliances.  Lebanon has to expect the worst every time a US official pay us visit to give orders that Lebanon cannot satisfy.

Thanks to Walid Jumblat, one of the principal allies to the government, he quickly and adamantly lambasted this chimerical and fabricated report and proclaimed that the report was intended to draw Lebanon into another civil war between the Shiaa and the Sunni Moslem sects.  Saad Hariri (leader of the Future movement) and Seniora PM were forced into suspect silence; proof that they were aware of the plan that backfired on them, a plan that is backed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, and the USA.

Persia/Iran civilizations: Achemenide Dynasty (Part 2, February 26, 2009)

            There are no Persian historical accounts of antiquity Achemenide Persia Empire.  Most of the stories are excerpts of biased Greek accounts, mainly of the Greek historian Herodotus, and some chapters in the Old Testament.  Archeology would like to say that tribes in Afghanistan and Central Asia moved to south east Iran around 1000 BC of what is called Fars. The Babylon and Assyrian Empires mentioned the Kingdom of Elam with Capital Suse (Khuzestan by Iraq) that bordered Fars.  Cyrus established his Kingdom “Anshan” in 557 BC that spoke the Elam language and in cuneiform writing.

            Cyrus conquers the Kingdom of Medes (North of the Zagros mountain chains) in 550 and the Kingdom of Croesus in Turkey in 546.  Babylon and the Near East Kingdoms are vanquished in 539 and pursue his military advances toward Bactrian (current Afghanistan and part of Central Asia).  Cyrus allowed the Jews in “captivity” in Babylon to return to Judea; the poorer Jews returned and Cyrus funded the reconstruction of their temple. It was during that period that the Jewish Old Testament was initiated in writing and then completed many centuries later after Christ. Cyrus’ son Cambyse conquers Egypt and Darius I expands toward the Indus River regions.  The north of Greece in Thrace and beyond the Danube River is part of the Achemenide Empire.

            The administration of this huge Empire was very structured and divided into Satraps (about 20 of them) of local elites and Kings.  The governor of Satrap (protector of the power) was administered by the central powers in Suse, Ctesiphone, Ecbatane, and later Persepolis in matter of Imperial Army, finance and taxes. The Imperial decrees were translated into the Aramaic language, the most widely local language outside Persia.  The Persian Emperor moved from one capital to another to satisfy the yearly calendar of rituals of the Ahura Mazda religion.  The Satraps were to meet the Emperor visiting their lands and the population offered what they produced such as milk, cheese, dates, and fruits of the season for sumptuous banquets that lasted 7 days and nights; about 15,000 were invited to share in the banquets.  Every year, during the anniversary of the coronation of the monarch a special banquet is thrown and the monarch offered gifts and perfumed his head.  The custom would not permit any demand or request to be denied.  This custom was adopted by the Satraps and it became a tradition in all courts; Herode could not deny Salome her request for the head of Jean the Baptist.

            When Alexander occupied Damascus after the battle of Issos they inventoried the residence of the Imperial Persian Artaxerxes III; there were 46 braiders of crowns, 14 manufacturers of perfumes, 329 female musicians or royal concubines (pallakai).  The monarchs were to create, design, and plant royal gardens called “paradeis” 

The route of the Imperial caravan was well defined from start to finish and horses were ready at every station.  The Imperial army needed 30 days to cross from Suse to Persepolis and it was a true migration of thousands of people.  When the monarch dies all the fires in Ahura Mazda temples were put out.  The new monarch was enthroned in the town of Pasargades and in the shrine of Goddess Anahista, 60 kilometers off Persepolis.  Meticulous and detailed ceremonials of all sorts are obligated on the monarch.

Alexander of Macedonia subjugated Persia in 331 but he did not change anything in the political structure of this well organized and administrated Empire; he even adopted the luxury and ceremonials of the Persian monarchs which angered the Macedonians soldiers greatly.  Seleucus, one of Alexander officers, finally inherited the Persian Kingdom after many decades of infightings but short of Greece and Egypt.  Pretty soon, the Satraps recovered their autonomies.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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