Sunday, August 17, 2014

History repeating?

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In the early 20th century, a silly looking man leading a group of fanatical and ruthless thugs was not considered a real threat and was allowed to grow in strength and influence, despite his public calls for war, his known barbaric ideology and his megalomaniac ambitions. 

Back then, many advocated much more pressing fights against much more pressing enemies, while others secretly wished him success because he was challenging communist influence in Germany.

Few years later, this silly looking man and his group of fanatical and ruthless thugs plunged the world into a devastating war that killed over 60 million people. His name was Adolf Hitler.

In the early 21st century, another silly looking man leading another group of fanatical and ruthless thugs was not considered a real threat and, again, was allowed to grow in strength and influence, despite his public calls for war, his known barbaric ideology and his megalomaniac ambitions. Again, many advocated much more pressing fights against much more pressing enemies, while others secretly wished him success because he was challenging Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq.

Today, this man and his group are ruling an oil rich State spreading over Syrian and Iraqi territories. They have established bases in neighboring Lebanon and Jordan, and were sworn allegiance by dozens of extremist and terrorist organizations around the world.

Their name is Daesh.

Is the resemblance between the rise of Hitler and the rise of Daesh coincidental? Or do the same issues give birth to the same phenomenons?


Yesterday’s Europe is in many ways similar to today’s Middle East. It was a politically instable continent, swept by two opposing totalitarian ideologies: fascism and communism, with a country at civil war: Spain, and another one ruined and divided: Germany. From this ruined and divided country, rose the most hideous form of totalitarian ideology: Nazism.

The Middle East is a politically instable region, swept by two opposing totalitarian ideologies: Wahhabism and Khomeinism, with one country at civil war: Syria, and another one ruined and divided: Iraq. From this ruined and divided country, rose a new hideous form of totalitarian ideology: Daesh.

If History is in fact repeating itself, with different costumes, locations and cast, then the same fundamental problems need to same radical solutions.

To defeat Hitler, the world’s two biggest enemies, with opposite irreconcilable ideologies, the United States and the Soviet Union, were forced to become allies.

To defeat Daesh before it becomes the widespread Nazi plague of the 21st century, the same remedy must apply. International, regional and local adversaries and enemies: the United States, Europe and Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Syrian regime and opposition, Iraqi Sunnis, Shias and Kurds, Lebanon’s March 8 and 14 have to set aside their differences, ambitions and conflicts, and unite.

Will they -will we all, rise to the historic occasion and work together to spare the world a new devastating war or, once gain, quibble and haggle and argue until it’s too late? 


© Claude El Khal, 2014

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