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Thread: The Prisoners of Silence - NSDAP 1936-1991 (History and background)

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    Overview of the Middle-Eastern War, Part VIII: Iraq


    In 1953 Prime Minister Nuri al-Said was a man with nothing to lose. His ironfisted methods of keeping the Iraqi population in control had earned him many vengeful enemies. As the situation in Iraq was slowly sliding out of control, al-Said was becoming increasingly vengeful and paranoid towards his subjects.

    During his various terms in office, Nuri al-Said was involved in some of the key policy decisions that shaped the modern Iraqi state. In 1930, during his first term, he signed the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty. This unpopular document allowed the British to keep control of the internal situation of Iraq, and it was also used as a justification of the British military intervention that toppled the pro-Axis government of Rashid 'Ali al-Gaylani. For the rest of WWII, Iraq was occupied by British troops. Nuri al-Said was once again put back in power with the king's regent, and the Foreign Office supported the two leaders' attempts to consolidate power and marginalize their political enemies during and after the war.

    After the war Britain also sought to legalize a permanent military presence in Iraq even beyond the terms of the 1930 treaty, although it no longer technically had World War II to justify its continued presence there. Luckily Nuri al-Said and the regent increasingly saw their unpopular links with Great Britain as the best guarantee of their own position, and were thus extremely willing to cooperate in the creation of a new Anglo-Iraqi Treaty. In early January 1948 PM al-Said himself joined the negotiating delegation in England, and on January 15th the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed.

    It provided for a new alliance between Iraq and Britain on the basis of equality and complete independence and stated that "each of the high contracting parties undertake not to adopt in foreign countries an attitude which is inconsistent with the alliance or which might create difficulties for the other party."

    An improvement of the 1930 treaty, this treaty sought an alliance on the basis of mutual interests. The two air bases, which were often the subject of criticism, were returned to Iraq. British forces were to be evacuated, and Iraq would be supplied with arms and military training. The annex to the treaty stressed the importance of the air bases as "an essential element in the defense of Iraq." Britain's use of the bases in the event of war, or threat of war, would be dependent on Iraq's invitation. The treaty also provided for the establishment of a joint defense board for common defense and consultation. Both parties agreed to grant each other necessary facilities for defense purposes.

    The response to the treaty on the streets of Baghdad was immediate and furious. After six years of British occupation, no single act could have been less popular than giving the British an even larger legal role in Iraq's affairs. Demonstrations broke out the following day, with students playing a prominent part and the Iraqi Communist Party acting as the main organizing force. The protests intensified over the following days, until the police fired on a mass demonstration, leaving many casualties. Iraq´s government implemented extremely harsh policy of repression against the protesters. At mass demonstration the next day, police fired again at the protesters, and casualties were heavy. In his struggle to implement the treaty, PM al-Said had become a hated figure who had effectively destroyed his credibility in the eyes of the common people. From now on he and king were simply British-sponsored tyrants. The internal situation in Iraq was highly volatile in other ways as well. The emerging oil industry was causing rapid price inflation, while privitization of agriculture was dividing the rich and poor by increasing margins. The pro-British Iraqi politicians kept a tight reign on the political process, and the frustrated voices of the populace were thus never heard.

    World War II had only exacerbated Iraq's social and economic problems. The spiraling prices and shortages brought on by the war made the life of poorer Iraqis extremely difficult. While wealthy landowners were enriching themselves through corruption, the salaried middle class, including teachers, civil servants, and army officers, saw their incomes depreciate daily. Even worse off were the peasants, who lived under the heavy burden of the 1932 land reform that had permitted their shaykhs to make huge profits selling cash crops to the British occupying force. The worsening economic situation of the majority of Iraqis became the main source of support for opposition parties. It was in this political environment, seething with discontent and lacking peaceful means to express it, late in 1947, that the British announced that they would continue the occupation of Iraq in a limited scale. This controversial decision was most likely a reaction to the continued Soviet presence in northern Iran - while the Red Army sure was a useful buffer between the occupied Caucasus and the oilfields of the Gulf region, British military planners wanted to maintain permanent military presence in this strategically important region as well.

    Al-Said’s political position was severely weakened by the British decision to stay, while the opposition now began to coordinate its activities against the status quo. Initially the Communists led the way. Iraqi Communist Party had been established in the 1930´s, and it had originally supported the British occupation of the country after Operation Barbarossa had caused Moscow to dictate that all Communist parties should begin to support the Allied cause. Thus the ICP was paradoxically strongly supporting the main allies of the monarchy and the landlords who ruled the country during the war years. The ICP changed its policy and began to criticize the British Army and the monarchy after the Treaty of Kirovograd, reflecting the pressure that came from the growing radicalization among the masses and the cool-down of Allied-Soviet relations. This sudden 180 degree turn hurt the Communist propaganda effort surprisingly little, and the ICP was able to mobilize relatively strong support among the angry and frustrated masses of Iraq.


    Al-Said was a ruthless powermonger who knew well that unless the common people would fear the Army and police too much to openly oppose the government, the fate of Iraq´s monarchy would be sealed.

    In January 1948 the Iraqi monarchy faced a series of mass demonstrations known as al-Wathbah. This movement was sparked off by the students and it later spread to the workers and to the peasants that occupied the land in many parts of the country. Several huge demonstrations took place with tens of thousands on the streets, and the ICP was actively organizing these gatherings. PM al-Said was forced to temporarily flee to Britain and a new government was formed. PM al-Said came back into power with support of the Army and months-long martial law soon afterwards, but the the Treaty of Portsmouth was repudiated and the original Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 was reinstated.

    However, on February 14, 1951, things began to change when the Iraqi government renegotiated the Iraqi Petroleum Company's license. Prime Minister al-Said used the tense Anglo-Iranian relations and the situation of Egypt to his full advantage, and secured a profitable agreement that was quite similar to the one rejected by Iranian government. Iraq was now getting 50% of the companies profits, while minimum production levels were set and Iraqis gained more influence within the company. Despite the fact that the treaty was quite beneficial for Iraq, only a few months later the country was once again in turmoil.

    Inspired by the Egyptian Revolution and led by opposition leaders shut out of the political process there were once again mass demonstrations in Baghdad, and demands of nationalization of Iraqi oil industry were raised. The main cause of these huge riots was the government's decision to cancel elections combined with the poor status of the economy. Al-Said´s government responded to these protests by banning all political parties, suspending a number of newspapers, and imposing a curfew, as well as declaring martial law.

    Once Operation Damask began, the situation in Iraq started to get out of hand. The opposition used the wide unrest to mobilize massive demonstrantions, demanding that civil liberties had to be guaranteed in Iraq, that a political system of free, direct elections should be established as soon as possible and that the regime's treaty with the UK government should be abolished before Iraq would be dragged into war against fellow Arabs. Soon the ICP battle cry "Anglo-American Imperialists, Leave Our Country!" echoed through the streets of Iraqi cities. The monarchy's police once again used firearms against the demonstrators, and finally the Iraqi Army was called into Baghdad to suppress the protests. Martial law was declared once again, and all dissident Iraqi political leaders were locked up.

    Despite the arrest of their leaders, Iraqi communist activists were still able to organize another mass protest on November 1951, condemning the "dictatorship". The regime's Iraqi soldiers, similar to the Iraqi police on the previous days once again opened fire on the demonstrators. A new wave of political repression followed in Iraq. By the end of December 1951, thousands of Iraqis were temporarily detained or jailed as political prisoners. Another two Iraqi political activists were sentenced to death.


    Streets of Iraqi cities were violent and restless in early 1950´s, and common Iraqis were desperately waiting for any kind of change to their lives.

    While al-Said's government cracked down on Iraq's communist movement, he was never actually able to totally crush it. The crackdown did little more than radicalize the movement while forcing it to go underground. There were other outcomes from the heavy-handed response to the uprising as well. The recently formed Iraqi Ba'ath Party took advantage from the temporarily paralysis of the ICP and sought to increase it´s own influence among the Iraqi middle class, while first Free Officers cells were formed within the Iraqi Army.

    But on the surface peace was restored for now. The flow of new oil revenues were channeled to the use of the special Development Board led by the PM himself, and as the Middle-Eastern War continued, Iraq remained officially neutral. Yet in 1953 everyone knew that the situation could change at any moment. The popular Iraqi Communist Party was currently illegal and the recent arrests had left it without an credible leadership. Thus this potentially powerful movement was temporarily out from the effective control of Malenkov´s new government in USSR. Iraqi Ba'ath Party was still too weak to pose a credible challenge to ICP, and the Free Officers were still gathering strength and waiting for right moment to act. And all the while Germans made their own preparations together with Rashid Ali al-Gaylani and his closest aides, who had left to Berlin in 1941...
    Last edited by Karelian; 25-09-2008 at 13:15.
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  2. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian
    And all the while Germans made their own preparations together with Rashid Ali al-Gaylani and his closest aides, who had left to Berlin in 1941...
    That is going to be interesting, unless he's become a forgotten or hated figure with a nation now so largely pro-Communist. Nevertheless to many he should be seen as a resistor of this "Anglo-American imperialism." I imagine he'll be casting his lot in with the Ba'ath? It would be neat to have someone other than Saddam heading the movement in Iraq.

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    Well with Arab-nationalism and Pan-arabian Nazi-support of the Baath party, the success of Rashid Ali al-Gaylani could as well happen! I think having first fought British Rule could be a decisive adsets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zauberfloete
    Well with Arab-nationalism and Pan-arabian Nazi-support of the Baath party, the success of Rashid Ali al-Gaylani could as well happen! I think having first fought British Rule could be a decisive adsets.
    Ali himself must have thought so aswell: in OTL his last political action in Iraq was the participation to a failed plot against the regime of Abdul Karim Kassem in late 1950´s.

    Quote Originally Posted by HKslan
    That is going to be interesting, unless he's become a forgotten or hated figure with a nation now so largely pro-Communist. Nevertheless to many he should be seen as a resistor of this "Anglo-American imperialism." I imagine he'll be casting his lot in with the Ba'ath? It would be neat to have someone other than Saddam heading the movement in Iraq.
    He is neither forgotten nor hated. For common Iraqis his government was the force that was actively resisting British involvement to Iraqi affairs in a time when the ICP was supporting the monarchy and landlords. And unlike in Iran, where the population generally blames exiled Reza Shah´s pro-German foreign policy for their current troubles, most Iraqis still view Rashid Ali al-Gaylani as a patriotic figure.

    And as for Iraq being largely pro-Communist...It´s a bit more complicated than that. The main supporters of ICP come from the oppressed agrarian population, while it´s ability to gather massive groups to demonstrations is mostly a result from the general hatred towards the pro-British monarchy. While the situation thus seems to be quite beneficial for ICP, the Party has several major problems. First and foremost is the legacy of WWII. During the war ICP supported the government because of orders from Moscow. Afterwards Stalin´s bitterness towards the Western Allies and his ambitions towards Iran and Iraq made the ICP the leading force of the anti-Western opposition movement.

    But now Stalin is dead, and the new leadership of USSR has ordered their Iraqi comrades to pipe down their anti-British agitation and instead focus their efforts against the "rising tide of Fascism in the Arab world." It goes without saying that kind of flip-flopping is naturally eating away the credilibity of ICP as an independent political force in the eyes of the common Iraqis.

    Yet this still doesn´t change the fact that ICP remains the strongest opposition force in Iraq. And that despite it´s growing numbers the Iraqi Ba´ath remains a marginal political force that´s forced to operate in secrecy just like the rest of the opposition groups.

    Oh, and thanks for the feedback once again.
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  5. #145
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    I'm really interrested to see what would a Communist Irak be like!

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    IMO, Communist Iraq isn't in the cards. The Russians are too far away, and the British and Americans have troops nearby. A *Fascist (Baathist) Iraq, however...

    Excellent, as always.
    I am therefore officially rooting for a Franco-German strike on Russia, prompting the Soviets to strike back with their hitherto secret nukes. This will serve as a salutary lesson to all involved and leave everyone suitably chastened.-El Pip

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    You may have mentioned it already, Karelian, but what exists in place of OTL Israel?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Madien
    You may have mentioned it already, Karelian, but what exists in place of OTL Israel?
    Palestine, but it´s a long and complex story. I will make an additional update about it eventually.
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    Overview of the Middle-Eastern War, Part IX: Palestine

    As the chairman of the executive committee of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, David Ben-Gurion worked as the highest political leader of the Yishuv community in Palestine. His leadership skills were truly put to the test during the postwar years of bitter Civil War in the area.

    March 1939 was a critical month in the history of Palestine. The recent years in the British Mandate had been filled with chaos and violence since the Arab population of the Mandate had rebelled against the British authorities. While there had been several reasons to this uprising, the local authorities easily recognized the issues of land ownership and the frustration to the rising number of Jewish immigration to Palestine as the main reasons for the conflict that had lasted for almost three years.

    While few realized it back then, one of the most important outcomes of these hostilities was the disengagement of the Jewish and Arab economies in Palestine. For example, whereas the Jewish city of Tel Aviv had previously relied on the nearby Arab seaport of Jaffa, hostilities dictated the construction of a separate Jewish-run seaport for Tel-Aviv. As the surrounding Arab population became increasingly hostile, the Jewish population in Palestine responded by increasing it´s economic independence and self-sustenancy.

    But while the significance of the economic changes wasn´t so obvious at the time, everyone understood the importance of the successful crackdown of the uprising. During the last three years the British authorities had confiscated a significant numbers of weapons from the Arab population. Together with the forced exile of the leadership of the revolt these actions effectively pacified the situation and left the Palestinian Arabs increasingly bitter, but powerless to pose a credible threat in the near future. Meanwhile the security of Jewish settlements in Palestine was now in new hands. At the beginning of the revolt the first attacks against the Jewish kibbutzim and urban settlements had deeply shocked the Jewish community and had made them eager to enlist to the service of British authorities in order to be able to defend themselves.

    And since the revolt had initially more or less forced the hard-pressed British authorities to accept help from the Jewish community, the results of this uneasy cooperation had been rather impressing. It´s strongest legacy was the establishment of the 10.000-strong Notrim (Guards) organization. This new police force had two active branches, the Jewish Settlement Police and the Jewish Supernumerary Police, and it was now tasked to provide security and maintain order in the Jewish parts of Palestine. These British-trained and funded organizations soon turned into unofficial training centers of Haganah and other Jewish paramilitary organizations.


    Notrim units continued the tradition of the Jewish Legion, and gave Palestinian Jews important way to gain trained reserves.

    And then war returned to Middle-East. Faced with Rommel's advance towards Alexandria, the British government decided on 15 April, 1941 that the 10,000 Jews dispersed in the single defense companies of Notrim should be prepared for war service at the battalion level and that another 10,000 should also be mobilized along with 6,000 Supernumerary Police and 40,000 to 50,000 home guards. Meanwhile the Special Operations Executive in Cairo begun to train personel and make preparations for guerrilla activities in northern Palestine, and as a part of this operation MI6 enlisted a network of small, independent spy cells that would stay behind and provide information in the event of a possible German invasion. While these preparations proved to be unnecessary after Rommel had been stopped at El Alamein, they still further improved the military and intelligence capabilities of the Jewish community.

    Encouraged by the success of their earlier cooperation with the Zionist paramilitaries, the British authorities also asked Haganah for cooperation again. In 1943, after a long series of delays and difficult negotiations this cooperation once again bore fruit when the British Army announced the creation of the Jewish Brigade Group. While Palestinian Jews had been permitted to enlist in the British army since 1940, this was the first time an exclusively Jewish military unit served in the war under a Jewish flag. While initially mocked by the German propaganda, the 5,000 soldiers of this unit soon proved themselves to be top-rate soldiers when the Brigade Group took part to the Italian Campaign from September 1944 up to the armistice which preceded the signature of the Zürich Accord in April 1946. During these years more than 40.000 Palestinian Jews took part to the war on Allied side, and upon returning home these veterans further improved the capabilities of Jewish paramilitary units.

    The siege is lifted - end of White Paper immigration quotas

    But whereas the beginning of WWII had actually seemed to improve the status and influence of the Palestinian Jews, the postwar years seemed extremely grim. Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the notoriously anti-Semitic Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who had fled abroad after the failure of Arab Revolt of 1936 had established close contacts to SS during his exile years. Now he continued to spread his message of hate to Arab world with funding from the Reich. But worse was to come. While Britain had managed to avoid the fate of France and survived the war undefeated and with her colonial empire largely intact, the rising tide of nationalism in the Arab world begun just when Britain was struggling with severe postwar economic problems. Middle-Eastern oil became increasingly critical for the recovering British economy, and therefore the control of Suez Channel and the new oil pipelines in the region became a matter of utmost importance for Britain. This together with the radicalization of Arab populations in Palestine and neighbouring countries clearly meant that despite their goodwill towards the Jewish cause the British government initially preferred to maintain status quo in Mandate of Palestine and was definitively not going to support any Jewish proposals to change it.

    After the end of WWII the Jewish Agency for Palestine was forced to make extremely difficult choices about their future. Would it still be best to continue the current policy of cooperation with British and restraint towards the rising Arab hostility? Ultimately the Agency decided that a major change in the British policy towards Jewish immigration to Palestine would be a pretext for upholding the status quo from their part. The recently established United Nations offered a new international forum to promote this agenda, and the relentless Jewish lobby utilized it well. When Labour won the British elections of 1945, Prime Minister Atlee was already well aware of the question of Palestine, and it concerned him enormously. Basically Britain had no good options in the current situation. The continuation of White Paper-policy would have been a political suicide (especially since Labour had reputation of being more sympathetic towards the Zionist cause) and would also have caused a major crisis to the increasingly important relations with the United States.

    But revoking the White Paper would surely antagonize the Arab world and could also jeopardize the British oil imports from the region. Finally, after securing agreements of massive amounts of Marshall Aid, PM Atlee´s government made the historical decision to gradually and quickly remove the Royal Navy blockade and the strict immigration quotas to Palestine in November 1947. While the total number of this last wave of refugees from Europe was minimal compared to the earlier volume of Jewish immigration, the Arab reaction to this change of policy would still seal the fate of the Mandate.

    Fighting an undeclared war - Palestine before Operation Damask


    Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni meeting Caucasian Muslim volunteers of the SS-Freiwilligen-Arab Legion after the successful coup in Syria during the early stages of Fall Zedernholtz. His position as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem made him a central part of the German propaganda efforts in Middle-East.

    The controversial British decision to rely more and more on local Jewish and Arab auxiliary troops in the garrison and police duties within the Mandate was actually quite understandable in the international situation of 1947. There were troubles brewing everywhere within the remaining Empire, and Palestine seemed like a place where the local garrisons would be able to handle the situation without strong support from the Army. In addition PM Atlee was extremely reluctant to get British forces involved into a new conflict that could easily lead into a wider backslash against British influence everywhere in the Arab world.

    No matter what the British intentions originally where, their decision not to actively interfere to the local situation was like pouring oil to the waves. The gradual withdrawal of British military troops created a power vacuum, and pretty soon sporadic clashes between more militant Jewish paramilitaries and various Arab groups begun to escalate. By January 1948 the militias of Jaysh al-Jihad al-Muqaddas (Army of the Holy War) of Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, a cousin of the Grand Mufti, had practically laid siege to the Jewish part of Jerusalem, and gunfights and murders were becoming daily events in the regions where the Jewish and Arab settlements coexisted. Even more troublesome was the return of Fawzi al-Qawuqji, another radical Arab who had went to exile in Germany after the Revolt and had now moved back to Syria to recruit and lead his own paramilitary Arab forces in his private war against Palestinian Jews. The semi-independent regiments of al-Qawuqji's Jaysh al-Inqadh al-Arabi (Arab Liberation Army) soon added a new Syrian front to the civil war. But while the Arab militias initially fought rather ineffectively and without mutual coordination of their efforts, the Jewish Agency was shocked to notice how reluctantly Atlee´s government was reacting to the current situation, preferring to claim that situation was under control and focusing it´s efforts to Kenya and Malaya.

    The Agency had no illusions about their options: Palestinian Jews could secure their future and their very survival only by their own actions. While they still waited for the international community (and especially the US) to come up with some kind of a solution to the crisis, Ben-Gurion and the rest of the Agency leadership prepared their community for war. Haganah conscription was made obligatory, and to show their determination the Agency proclaimed that every Jewish man and woman in the country had to receive military training. Foreign support, especially the funds gathered from the United States gave Agency the resources to start buying weapons when the future organization and structure of their armed forces was also quickly taking shape. And since the war had ended just recently, Agency contractors were able to secure deals from the international weapon markets despite the fact that they were trying to aquire weapons for an army without a state. While this naturally caused trouble, the Agency ultimately managed to find it´s main weapon suppliers.

    After signing the separate armistice with the Reich, the relations between the Soviet Union and Western Allies had been icy at best. Meanwhile Stalin was trying to spread the Soviet presence to the Middle-East. Soon the old Generalissimus realized that supplying the Jewish Agency with weapons would be a good way to increase the Soviet influence within the British sphere of interest without antagonizing the United States. Such deal would also simultaneously counterbalance the rising tide of pro-fascist Arab nationalism in the region as well.

    The Soviet motives to help Agency were thus completely practical, but for the Haganah it mattered little whether the Soviet officials were showing their goodwill or whether they were just trying to make extremely profitable deal and sell off small parts of their large stockpiles of obsolete Lend-Lease weaponry and equipment in exchange of hefty sums of Western currency. In reality it still meant that modest, but critically important shipments of Western-made ammunition, small arms, artillery pieces, trucks and even few heavier weapons such as tanks and airplanes made their way into Palestine from Arkhangelsk during the following years.

    The rest of the weapons and gear was bought from much closer. Despite the fact that the exiled regime of De Gaulle was governing mainly Muslim populations, the representatives of the Agency were able strike a bargain with the Free French. The French decision to sell is less surprising when one considers the fact that De Gaulle´s government was also in a difficult international situation, struggling to maintain it´s economy while demobilizing the large colonial army that had fought in Italy.



    When David Ben-Gurion took contact to Mickey Marcus and requested him to find an experienced former Allied officer to lead Haganah in the upcoming conflict, United States War Department quickly understood the benefits of sending Marcus to Palestine. He and his colleagues successfully re-organized the motivated paramilitaries into a regular army, thus giving the United States significant indirect influence to Haganah operational planning. And while the Western powers remained publicly neutral during the first years of the Palestinian Civil War, several teams of volunteer military advisors were soon organized and sent to Palestine to fight in the Jewish side as "Mahalniks."

    The leadership of Agency was initially bitterly divided about it, but was ultimately wise enough to give strict orders to maintain purely defensive posture during the first years of this undeclared conflict in Mandate territory. With their numerical disadvantage the Yishuv community would simply not be able to withstand a full-scale intervention from neighbouring Arab countries, and conquest of much of the Arab-dominated parts of Palestine would surely bring such disaster about. Thus the fighting in Palestine initially took the form of low-scale trench warfare and occasional ambushes or guerrilla raids. Soon the new front lines became rather stable, and the "troubles in Palestine" gained wide international attention, especially in the United States and Britain. For the Agency the growing hopes of an Allied intervention to the region seemed like a last chance to avert a catastrophe. The intelligence service of Haganah, SHAI, kept the Agency leadership well informed about the turbulent domestic situation of Egypt, Syria and Lebanon. The threat of the rise of pro-German political forces was growing by the day, and there was nothing the Agency could do about it.


    The 490.000 strong Jewish community formed roughly one-fourth (26,5% to be more precise) of the total population of 1 845 000 people, but the war experience and better weaponry and motivation of their forming military enabled them to defend their areas against numerically superiour Arab forces during the critical period between November 1947 and October 1951.

    It is therefore no wonder that the rise of the Free Officers and Nasser caused panic among the Agency leadership. Egypt had a huge population base, and openly pro-German Nasser made no attempts to remove the Egypt-funded "volunteer forces" that had established their presence to southern parts of Palestine a few years earlier. Instead his anti-Western, anti-Semitic speeches threatened to expand Egyptian influence to whole Palestine. This was the darkest hour of the Agency. The troops of Fawzi al-Qawuqji harassed them by launching raids from Syrian territory while Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni controlled central Palestine and Egyptian-controlled militias had seized control of Gaza and southern Palestine.

    Luckily for the Yishuv this was something the public opinion in Britain could simply not accept. Labour´s defeat in the general elections in 1950 and the rise of Conservative government of PM Anthony Eden marked a dramatic change in British attitude towards the violence and paramilitary activity within Mandate borders. Nasser´s decision to nationalize Suez seemed only to validate the Conservative claims that the last government had lulled the Arab leaders into false sense of pride by acting too passively in Palestine. Yet even PM Eden was forced to admit that Britain would need US assistance to restore her control of Palestine and Suez - the option to send strong British forces back to Palestine with guns blazing could all too well turn into escalating conflict and a humanitarian disaster.

    For Agency these changes in British and US additudes came at the last possible moment. After Fall Zedernholtz had succesfully installed two new Baathist regimes to the northern border of Palestine by plunging Lebanon and Syria into chaos, the demoralized Free French forces withdrew to their bridgeheads at the Lebanese coast. With this buffer zone between them gone, the violent clash between the SS-Arab-Legion and Haganah defenders of Northern Palestine was simply unavoidable. No quarter was asked or given, but the tenacious Jewish defense managed to stop this invasion on their own just after the attackers had managed to seize Safed, one of the Four Holy Cities of Judaism. Despite this temporary victory the worst fears of Agency seemed to have materialized. Arab SS-troops were already fighting in Palestinian soil, and German support was flowing to Syrian and Lebanese ports unhindered. Nasser was also threatening to march regular Egyptian army into Palestine. But luckily this was the point where the calls for an intervention in the United States and Britain finally begun to have effect. PM Eden was determined to regain the control of Suez Channel and restore the British prestige in the region at the same time, while President Truman was not going to let Germans overrun Middle-East without lifting a finger.

    Agency leadership received information and unofficial contacts from US and British governments prior to Damask quite early on, and these top-secret negotiations became extremely difficult. Ultimately the majority of Agency leadership agreed to accept the Allied terms. The future of the Mandate would be determined by the United Nations, Jewish parts of Palestine would grant basing rights for US forces in exchange for security guarantees and promises of future shipments of Marshall Aid. Once this part of behind-the-scenes diplomacy was over, the United Nations Security Council soon issued UNSC Resolution 42 on 5th of August 1951. The Resolution urged the member states to "restore order in British Mandate of Palestine, end the violence and restore peace to the area." Now Operation Damask had acceptable casus belli, and 6th of October 1951 British and American troops invaded Suez, southern Lebanon - and Palestine.


    When the US troops finally arrived to the region, they were greeted as liberators by cheering crowds of Palestinian Jews. Soon whole Palestine south from the Safad Line was under American occupation. The various Arab militias had been dispersed or driven underground, and refugees from both sides begun to return to their previous areas. But while Truman and Eden had hoped that this victorious show of force would bring Nasser to the table and end the war into UN victory, the conflict continued. The current situation in Palestine was a perfect rallying cry for German propaganda, and the fiery radio speeches of Mohammad Amin al-Husayni soon called for "holy war against the Western crusaders and their Zionist henchmen." Middle-Eastern War dragged on, and it was becoming increasingly clear that a solution to the Palestinian question would be a pretext for any kind of lasting peace in the region.
    Last edited by Karelian; 11-01-2009 at 17:30.
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    Hrmm; were there Palestinian Jews in Italy historically, or did desperate times call for desperate measures?
    I am therefore officially rooting for a Franco-German strike on Russia, prompting the Soviets to strike back with their hitherto secret nukes. This will serve as a salutary lesson to all involved and leave everyone suitably chastened.-El Pip

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin
    Hrmm; were there Palestinian Jews in Italy historically, or did desperate times call for desperate measures?
    They were, but only during the last months of the war from March 1945 to May 1945. In ATL where there´s no active Ostfront after summer 1943 and the war lasts longer I think it´s more than justified to use them in frontline duty.
    Last edited by Karelian; 07-07-2008 at 23:12.
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  12. #152
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    Now that is a very dark chapter! I do hope the Haganah will push the radical muslims out of their territory and gain some sort of homeland!! Maybe some jewish volunteers from the Americas or North Africa? Now this will be time for all children of the lost tribes unite and fight!!

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    Great stuff as always. Very interesting to see both the Soviets and the US/UK backing the Zionists. What becomes of the Jewish paramilitaries following the direct Western intervention? Or will that be covered in a later update?

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    What happened to the Finnish website? Even google still links to it <snip> but the only thing I see is some commercial.
    Last edited by Winner; 31-07-2009 at 10:23.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Winner
    What happened to the Finnish website? Even google still links to it but the only thing I see is some commercial.
    Please remove the direct link, since it contains material not approved by the forum rules. The site seems to be currently down, but this has happened before and it will most likely make a comeback in the future once the admin has time to upgrade it.
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  16. #156
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    Overview of the Middle-Eastern War, Part X:
    Conflicts of Interest



    Syrian Air Force Ta-183A´s strafing an US supply convoy in northern Palestine in October 1953.

    Caesar and his advisors

    As the Middle-Eastern War entered its third year, American policy had made a full turn. When Nasser had nationalized the Suez Channel, the U.S. objective had been to contain the enemy advance and to restore the status quo. After the Baathist coups in Lebanon and Syria and the chaotic fighting in Palestine, this modest goal had been expanded to the "solving the question of Palestine in a satisfactory manner" and for returning pro-Western regimes to power in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon.

    The determination of the ways and means to attain a satisfactory decision in the region rested ultimately with the President, of course. As Commander in Chief of the military forces of the United States, Mr. MacArthur required all but the most routine directives on the Middle-Eastern War to pass through his office for his approval or rejection. Since the United States had demanded full power to form a unified command from the British government as a condition to their participation to Operation Damask, MacArthur had no responsibility to clear his strategic decisions with other U.N governments. His close and complete control of important decisions and plans relating to the war must be kept continually in mind, for even though his role in many cases consisted mainly of approval or disapproval, his was the final decision.

    The President's chief advisory group was the National Security Council (NSC), composed of the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the National Security Resources Board. This council had been created by President Truman, and when MacArthur took office he soon expanded it with other members of the executive branch, namely the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The principal duties of the NSC were to assess and appraise the objectives, commitments, and risks of the United States in relation to national security and then to advise the President on the most suitable course of action to be followed. In September 1953 MacArthur Administration was still aiming to achieve a decisive military victory to solve the prolonged conflict. MacArthur held true to his earlier conclusion that this conflict would define the future of whole Middle-East. According to his view, Lebanon and Syria would have to be dealt with first in order to provide support to Turkey´s neutral position, and by then Egypt would be alone and willing to cave in. And as the enemy front crumbled in northern Palestine in September and US and Haganah troops entered to Syrian and Lebanese soil Damascus, the end of Baathist reign in Syria seemed to be at hand.


    A Beast With Ten Horns

    After the successful Operation Reaper Lebanese and Syrian forces were withdrawing from northern Palestine in disarray, and it was clear that the Baathist regimes of Lebanon and Syria were in serious trouble. Their pleas for increased German support initiated a wide depate among the top leadership of Wehrmacht, SS and Abwehr and between their representatives and Speer, Goebbels and Lammers. And while everyone agreed that something had to be done and quickly, the various organizations and factions in the German leadership offered drastically different solutions to the current crisis.

    Just like during the partisan revolt in occupied Russia during the last year, it took much precious time to solve the internal problems of the administration in order to find some kind of compromise solution to the matter at hand. Ultimately the decision lay within the hands of the Speer, Goebbels and Lammers, but each of them had to consider the opinions of their major supporters. Such was the new situation of the regime that publicly portrayed itself as being firmly united under the leadership of Hess strictly according to the "Führer princip." But while the new Führer dutifully continued his job by touring across New Europe, giving speeches and attending to various ceremonies, the true leaders of the Reich came up with their proposals:



    Reichskanzler Speer, one of the most influential persons in the matters of industry
    and reconstruction efforts in the post-Hitler administration of the Third Reich.

    Speer and his supporters from the largest military-industrial corporations of the Reich were strongly opposed to direct intervention and remained doubtful of the survival chances of current regimes in Beirut and Damascus. From their viewpoint the Abwehr and Operation Zedernholtz had drawn the Reich into costly and inconclusive war that was dangerously close of escalating into a full-scale conflict with the United States. Therefore Speer suggested that while Middle-Eastern War could and should be used as a testing ground for new weapon systems, it should absolutely retain it´s nature as a proxy conflict so that the Reich could avoid the risks of unnecessary military confrontation with the US. The SS recruitment campaign for Muslim volunteers from Balkans and Caucasus could continue, but only these volunteer units could be sent to the front while "a new Condor Legion is totally out of the question", as Speer summarized his viewpoint.


    Reichspräsident Lammers had steadily risen through the ranks, and now led the burgeoning bureaucracy institutions of the Third Reich
    as the third member of the triumvirate between him, Speer and Goebbels. In 1953 he held much influence in domestic affairs and Party circles.


    Lammers had many friends among the top party circles and in addition to this he had established an extensive network of contacts to all levels of the administration. He and his allies supported the cautious approach promoted by Speer and opposed the proponents of more hawkish Middle-East policy. Lammers argued that by increasing it´s involvement to the fighting in Levant the Reich would only end up overextending itself at the time when the postwar economy was struggling with massive reconstruction effort and the Soviet Union was quickly recovering from it´s earlier defeat. Yet he stated that Germany should not "back down now and betray our allies, but instead be prepared to meet our foes in the field of battle."

    He demanded that the OKW should increase the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe presence in Eastern Mediterranean as a response to the naval blockade of Egyptian, Lebanese and Syrian ports. "If we want to find a way out from this situation, we should all keep in mind that the last time we had to force the Americans to the negotiation table by direct threats."



    Reichsführer-SS Karl Hanke was a solid supporter of more aggressive stance towards the US invasion of Syria.

    As a fanatically loyal National Socialist, close friend of Speer and former personal aide of Goebbels, Karl Hanke had risen to lead the Schutzstaffel during difficult times. The removal of Himmler and the subsequent murder of Reinhard Heydrich had paralyzed the organization two years ago, and the following wave of purges had seen many old, prominent figures within the organization simply disappear from public life. These times had quickly raised many young, previously rather unknown and ambitious members through the ranks into prominent positions with the approval of the armed forces and Party. Hanke was among them. From the very start he had viewed the Middle-Eastern War as a much-needed chance to recover some of the lost prestige and influence of SS. Despite the initial resistance within the organization he had approved the Abwehr proposal to create the training and recruitment programs for the first postwar SS auxiliary military unit, the Arabische Freiwilligen Legion der Waffen-SS. Since the early success of Operation Zedernholtz was now in jeopardy, the new Reichsführer-SS had already taken the initiative to expand the recruitment program of new Muslim volunteer units. He was furious about the failure of invasion of Palestine and vigorously promoted increased support for Lebanese and Syrian forces. And he agreed with Speer in one important issue: Wehrmacht should be kept out from the Middle-Eastern War, and Waffen-SS should remain the only organization providing military assistance and new volunteer units to the Baathist side.


    Parteikanzler Goebbels had skillfully achieved the position where he
    "supervized all political matters." Speer and Lammers soon found out
    that for Goebbels the term "political" term meant practically everything
    that took place within the German administration and Party circles.


    The divided opinions among the inner circles of the German leadership left Goebbels in very influencial role. His earlier ambivalent comments regarding the forming conflict in the Middle-East had made both hawks and doves of the administration to court him and seek his support in this matter just as he had predicted. In the discussions and secret meetings held during September 1953 he once again proved true to his reputation as a backroom backstabber by playing the two sides against one another for days in order to gain more influence and prestige to himself. Then he came up with a carefully planned compromise solution.

    President MacArthur´s aggressive foreign policy should be dealt with by a mixture of military action and diplomatic manoeuvres. While SS should increase it´s efforts of recruiting and training Muslim volunteers to Baathist side from the Arab world, German material aid to Syria and Lebanon should be increased in order to keep the Baathist regimes fighting. Meanwhile Abwehr and Propagandaministerium should continue their efforts of spreading anti-Western propaganda and instigating revolt mentality elsewhere in Middle-East, including Iran.

    And finally Goebbels represented his plans for Turkey. While the negotiations continued for the rest of the day, it was immediately clear that Goebbels´s proposal would serve as the basis of German future efforts in the war.



    Officers of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht were ultimately pleased about the fact that the threat of direct German intervention to the conflict had been avoided for now, and quickly began to organize the planned response to the US offensive.

    When German military thinkers studied the logistics of this new conflict, they soon reached into conclusion: something had to be done and quickly. Transporting weapons, ammunition, volunteers and most importantly fuel to Dodecanese airports, from there to airfields in northwestern coast of Syria and from there towards south and the front lines was a logistical nightmare, and the airlift that kept the Baathists of Lebanon and Syria still fighting was clearly an improvised and temporarily solution at best. Practically all available military transport aircraft of Luftwaffe were currently tied down to this mission, and for the final part of their journey the German transport planes had to fly straight over the carrier groups of the US Sixth Fleet. The continuous air supply effort also put the crews and planes under tremendous stress, and in addition Lufthansa officials and German businessmen were already complaining about the fact that German long-distance flight traffic had been almost totally paralyzed since many planes and pilots of the state-owned company were now mostly used for flying supplies and personnel to Syria. For the time being OKL could simply state that the lift would continue "until other supply routes would become available" and wait for their political leadership to come up with some kind of a solution.

    Spear and Shield - new weapons in the Middle-Eastern War


    During the Syrian Airlift the Ar 632 Hundertfüßer soon gained a trustworthy reputation as the new Cold War-era workhorse of Luftwaffe´s air transport fleet. It combined Ar 232´s excellent features, such as the structure designed to operate from rough fields with more powerful engines, larger size, extended range and increased takeoff weight.

    Many older Luftwaffe veterans also remembered the setbacks and heavy casualties suffered ten years ago, during summer 1943 airlifts to Tunis Bridgehead. Yet they took pride from the knowledge that among the air forces of the world, Luftwaffe had maybe the most experience from such successful airlifts. From Spanish Civil War to the Demyansk Pocket, Luftwaffe had never failed the political leadership of the Reich. And like in Spain, the pilots of the German air force were once again fighting in a foreign war as volunteers.


    Arado Ar 234D-2 "Blitz" in Khalkhalah Air Base in October 1953.

    The arrival of the first "volunteer" unit equipped with these combat-proven jet bombers finally gave the HQs of the Baathist armies chances to receive reliable air reconnaissance reports about enemy movements. Arados also begun to perform sudden air attacks against enemy troop concentrations and supply depots near the front line, thus luring the US planes into dogfights with the SAF Ta-183´s flown by German aces. And while the WWII-era technical superiority of the German jets was largely countered by the introduction of new Western jet plane designs in early 1950´s, before the introduction of adequate number of F-86 Sabre squadrons the Ta-183 still ruled the skies of the Middle-Eastern War. As a response to the increased activity of the USAF, the SAF´s ultimately received more than 400 Ta-183´s, most flown to country by experienced volunteer pilots. Luftwaffe activity in Middle-East wasn´t limited to mere fighters.


    Falkenauge Ferngelenkte Flakrakete was a high-altitude, command guided surface-to-air missile system
    and a replacement of the highly successful Wasserfall SAM.


    The air war in the skies of Middle-East had witnessed the introduction of a new revolutionary weapon system, the Ta-183 being closely followed by appearance of a suitable counter-weapon, the F-86 Sabre. In the night of 21st of October 1953, a similar incident occurred. During the last few months the USAF had been using it´s brand-new B-47E Stratojet jet bomber to conduct high-level reconnaissance above Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. This fast and modern plane type had so far been able to avoid all enemy interception attempts with ease, and thus the crew of the unlucky B-47E 51-7071 "City of Angels" had little to fear when they piloted their recon flight towards the northern Syrian airspace and approached from Eastern Mediterranean slightly after midnight.

    Little did they know about the panic that had struck to the Luftwaffe leadership when they had received the first reports about the predicted capabilities of the B-47. They were also unaware that these reports had allowed the rocket scientists and engineers of Peenemünde to ultimately develop a new, improved missile system which could bring down a large, non-maneuvering, high-altitude aircraft. It was still in experimental phase, and just like the Americans, the Germans had decided to test their latest weapons at actual war zone. And just like the fateful mission of B-29 "Carolina Moon", the fate of "City of Angels" was kept as a secret by the US government. Soon a loose network of well-protected batteries of F3´s guarded the north Syrian airfields, and the American air reconnaissance focused it´s efforts closer to actual frontlines.



    With a crew of one and seats to twelve, FA-223 Drache was another WWII-era design that gained
    it´s fame mainly during the Middle-Eastern War. In the difficult terrain of Lebanon and Syria, helicopter soon
    proved to be ideal transportation method for wounded personnel and smaller infantry units used as local reserves.


    Helicopter warfare was still in experimental state during the Middle-Eastern War. While Germans had been the first to test and field large number of military helicopters, the number of Draches operating in Middle-East remained too small to have really serious tactical impact. Meanwhile the British and American troops used a growing fleet of Sikorsky H-19´s (produced in Britain under license as Westland Whirlwind) for medical evacuation, tactical control and front-line cargo support. But while the air forces on both sides tested their new systems and doctrines in autumn 1953, the Syrian Baathist regime was pleased to hear that a project postponed by the outbreak of war and the following US bombing raids had finally overcome the lack of necessary machinery and trained personnel. The Syrians had been finally able to assemble a modern AFV from parts that had been imported to the country before the Allied naval blockade. Although there was no way the Syrians could produce them by themselves for many years to come, they still finally had small number of modern German panzers at their disposal.


    The first Syrian-produced Pz VII.*

    Panzerkampfwagen VII Löwe was the German response to the shock caused by the arrival of British Centurions in the Italian Front in 1945. This new tank was used to replace the war-era Panzerkampfwagen V Panthers and Panther II´s and Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf. B Königstigers. It was more mobile than the previous heavy tanks while being easier to maintain and better armored. It´s main armament, the new 8.8 cm KwK 46 was specifically designed to counter modern Western and Soviet tank designs. Löwe was also the first German AFV equipped with new infrared night vision systems. After the German engineers who had supervised the assembly efforts had contacted their superiors and reported their success, spare parts, main gun ammunition, radios, optics and various other material accompanied with a team of German trainers arrived by the next supply flight. By winter 1953 the surviving Syrian tank crews would no longer have to ride to battle in obsolete Pz IVs.

    *Can anyone guess the real model of this tank?
    Last edited by Karelian; 25-09-2008 at 13:06.
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  17. #157
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    Uh, T54?

    Anyway, you have created a fantastic world here.

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    Wooaa! The Levant-War is developing to a sort of weapon-testing ground! And I especially like your pun with the "Syrian Airlift"!!!!!!

    Goebbels is really a little poison dwarf!! Backstabbing all parties! The Industrialist faction around Speer is the most "reasonable" side of a Nazi-dominated Europe!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HKslan
    What becomes of the Jewish paramilitaries following the direct Western intervention? Or will that be covered in a later update?
    Well, for the time being they will stick around as garrison force in their own territories and will also contribute combat troops, but that´s the subject of the next update.

    Quote Originally Posted by Undead-Hippie
    Uh, T54?

    Anyway, you have created a fantastic world here.
    No, it´s not T-54. And thanks for the comments. However, I must once again remind you that my work is based to the alt.history website created by Sampsa Rydman.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zauberfloete
    Wooaa! The Levant-War is developing to a sort of weapon-testing ground! And I especially like your pun with the "Syrian Airlift"!!!!!!

    Goebbels is really a little poison dwarf!! Backstabbing all parties! The Industrialist faction around Speer is the most "reasonable" side of a Nazi-dominated Europe!
    Well, since trying to secure their own personal gain before the "benefit of the German Volk" was a standard procedure among Hitler´s henchmen during WWII - why would the postwar Nazis be any better? I agree with you on the "reasonability" of the practical technocrats who support Speer - but they and their conservative supporters among Wehrmacht leadership are still bound to face determined opposition from more radical Party and SS circles in all important matters.
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    My, my. I have a hunch the tank is a postwar French design, but no real evidence for it. Hrmm.

    Is America ahead in anything again? The Luftwaffe has better fighters, the Wermacht has better tanks...

    Anyway, it strikes me as sad that the best hope for Europe are a bunch of technocrats led by a former architect.
    Last edited by Faeelin; 08-08-2008 at 23:14.
    I am therefore officially rooting for a Franco-German strike on Russia, prompting the Soviets to strike back with their hitherto secret nukes. This will serve as a salutary lesson to all involved and leave everyone suitably chastened.-El Pip

    Great War: The American Front: Can the United States defeat Britain and its Confederate Lackeys? Or will the CSA defend its freedom against the Yankee Menace?

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