October 19, 2006 at 9:17 pm | Posted in Economics, Globalization, History, Latin America | Leave a comment





Latin American History

The Triumph of Neo-Colonialism?


Beginning around 1870 the expansion of the Industrial Revolution stimulated a more
rapid pace of change in Latin American economy and politics.

As Industry in Europe gathered steam and began to produce more and more goods there was
a mounting demand for raw materials and foodstuffs and Latin America responded by
producing the goods that were in demand.

Starting in the 1870’s European capital flowed into Latin America creating
railroads, docks, processing plants and other facilities that were need to expand and
modernize production and trade.

It was at this point in the late 19th century that Latin America became
integrated into the world economy in which it exchanged raw materials and foodstuffs for
the manufactured goods of Europe and North America.

As more Latin American countries adopted free-trade policies they also abandoned
efforts to create their own industries, since they could buy manufactured goods from the
core countries.

The new emerging world system and Latin America’s place in it as a producer of
only raw materials, put Latin America into a position of dependency on Britain and then
later the US.

This was the period of neo-colonialism in Latin America, and this worked well until
1914 and the advent of WWI when the war disrupted the market for Latin American goods.

The period of 1870 to 1914 saw an overall growth in the economy of Latin America, but
this growth was very uneven.

An important feature of the neocolonial order was its one-sidedness or dependence by
one country on the single export of a raw material. This made the economies of these
countries extremely vulnerable to fluctuations in prices on the world market.

In each country the modern export sector became an enclave that became isolated from
the rest of the economy, and eventually this enclave accentuated the backwardness of the
other sectors of the country by draining off their labor and capital.

Railroads were laid out to extract and not to integrate economic regions within

The neocolonial order evolved within the framework of the old hacienda system and it
led to a great expansion of the hacienda system.

Because of the expansion of the hacienda Indian lands were again under attack and in
Mexico this problem would reach its climax under the regime of Porfirio Diaz.

As land became more and more concentrated in fewer and fewer hands the plots of
individual families became smaller and smaller.

Also when the great landowners would seize Indian land this would give the haciendas a
new labor force, that of the dispossessed Indians.

Dispossessed Indians rarely became true wage earners, and were caught in a system of
debt peonage.

Slavery continued to survive in some places well-beyond mid-century for example in Peru
until 1855, Cuba until 1886 and in Brazil until 1888. Similar to slavery was the system of
bondage or using Chinese coolie labor. Some 90,000 Chinese coolies were brought to Peru to
work on the Guano Islands and to build railroads in the Andes.

In Mexico, Yaquis Indians in the north were hunted down and turned into slaves to labor
on the henequen, coffee and tobacco plantations of Yucatan.

More modern systems of labor developed in Argentina were an acute labor shortage led to
the state providing incentives to the millions of European immigrants that poured into
Argentina between 1870 and 1910.

Labor conditions were little better in the mining industry and in the factories that
arose in some countries after 1890.

The rise of the neocolonial order was accompanied by a steady growth of foreign
corporate control over the natural and man-made resources of the continent.

The process of foreign control went through stages: In 1870 foreign ownership was
largely concentrated in trade, shipping, railroads, public utilities, and government
loans. The British were by far the most important investing nation in Latin America during
this period.

By 1914 foreign corporate ownership had expanded to include most of the mining
industry, real estate, ranching, agriculture and manufacturing. New countries were also
owning assets in Latin America and one of the greatest rival of the British was the US.

US investments in Latin America had risen from almost nothing in 1870 to over 1.5
Billion$ by the end of 1914, but Britain had nearly 5 billion $ invested in Latin America.

Foreign economic penetration went hand in hand with a growth of political influence and
even armed intervention in Latin America especially by the US.

In the years after 1898, “dollar diplomacy” and outright armed intervention
transformed the Caribbean into an American lake and reduced Cuba, the DR, Panama, El
Salvador and Nicaragua to the status of dependencies and protectorates of the US.

The new economy demanded new politics. The slogan of the day was “order and
progress” and social Darwinist ideas became increasingly popular. Latin American
elites increasingly saw the Indian races as the main impediment to their economic
development and political and social modernization.

The growing domination of national economies by the export sector and the development
of a consensus between the old landed aristocracy and the more capitalist-minded groups
reduced political conflict.

A new type of progressive Caudillo emerged such as Porfirio Diaz in Mexico, Rafael
Nunez in Colombia and Agusto Leguia in Peru all of whom sought to attract foreign
investment and stimulate the economy.

But as the century drew to a close dissatisfied urban middle-class, immigrant and
entrepreneurial groups in some countries combined to form parties, called Radical or
Democratic that challenged the traditional domination of politics by the landed

They demanded political, social and economic and educational reforms that would give
more weight to the newly emerging middle sector of Latin America.

Also small socialist and anarchist-syndicalist groups emerged in some countries by the
1890’s that would challenge both capitalism and neo-colonialism.

In Mexico, General Porfirio Diaz seized power in 1876 from President Lerdo de Tejada
with the support of regional caudillos, military personnel and liberal, as well as Indian
and mestizo small landholders who believed that Diaz would put an end to the dispossession
of the Indian.

Diaz installs himself in the Presidency, but in 1880 allows his best friend to become
President until 1884 when Diaz resumes being president of Mexico and stays in the office
until he flees the Mexican Revolution of 1911.
Diaz became one of the longest personal dictators in Latin American

In terms of economic policy Diaz favored the great landwoners, the financiers and the
foreign capitalists whose assistance would insure his political survival.

Diaz sent the army out to crush peasant revolts when haciendas would seize their lands.

Diaz granted all sorts of lavish concessions to British and American investors in order
for them to build railroads in Mexico.

As far as Diaz was concerned everything hinged on economic development, no matter what
the costs or who owned the investments.

But in order to attract foreign investment, Diaz needed to created political and social
stability in Mexico.
To do this Diaz
adopted a policy of political cooptation or conciliation, for as Diaz put it “a dog
with a bone in its mouth neither steals or kills.”

Therefore any political opponent of Diaz that had some degree of power would be bought out
and brought into the Diaz camp.

Diaz also created an efficient police force called the rurales or mounted police who
would suppress peasant resistance and break strikes.

The other side of Diaz’s policy was pan o palo bread or the club. Opponent who
refused Diaz bribes would be beaten, arrested sent to prison or made to disappear.

Through such political means Diaz was able to eliminate most political opposition to
him by 1888. Diaz had no respect for congress who he referred to as his stable of horses.
The state governors of Mexico were usually generals who were friends of Diaz.

One problem though that Diaz faced was the incredible growth of Mexican bureaucracy due
to his administration and empleomania. Also the army which was indispensable to the
dictatorship of Diaz enjoyed many special favors and good pay in order to ensure their
loyalty. But there were too many officers, in fact there was one officer for every 10
soldiers and one general for every 300 troops.

The church became another pillar of the dictatorship, as long as Diaz allowed the
church to ignore earlier reforms. Land and wealth again accumulated in Church coffers.
Often priests had wives, mistresses, dozens of illegitimate children and owned businesses
on the side.

Diaz also had the support of some of the Mexican intellectual community in the form of
the cientificos, who also believed in Social Darwinism and that the Indian had to be
eliminated and replaced by another race in order for Mexico to prosper.

Mexican education did make some advances under the guidance of men like Justo Sierra
who secured the adoption of obligatory primary education.

Landownership was extremely concentrated in Mexico. At the beginning of the 20th
century, Mexico was an agrarian country with 77% of its population living in the

Between 1883 and 1894 various laws opened the way for vast territorial acquisitions by
private individuals, land companies and foreigners. One individual owned 12 million acres
in Baja California.

But the land companies were still not satisfied with the acquisition of vacant lands,
and wanted to dispossess the Indians of their lands as well.

By 1910 more than 90% of the Indian villages of the central plateau, which was the most
densely populated region of the country had lost their communal lands. And landless peons
and their families made up 9.5 million of a rural population of 12 million. Much of this
land was sold to North American speculators.

The problem with hacienda agriculture was that it was labor intensive and had a very
low technological level of production. In the early 1900’s the production of
foodstuffs stagnated, barely keeping pace with the growth of population and per capita
production also declined.

This decline culminated in three years of bad harvests between 1907 and 1910 due to
drought and a lack of modern irrigation in Mexican agriculture.

As a result Mexico began to buy food from the US.

The only food products that experienced an increase in production was alcoholic
beverages. Life was so miserable for the average Mexican at the beginning of the 20th
century, that the death rate from alcoholism was six times that of France.

At the same time, inflation increased the price of what food was available to the
Mexican peoples, and there was no corresponding increase in wages for the Mexican worker
to offset the price inflation.

While food production for the domestic markets declined the production of food and
industrial raw materials for the foreign market expereinced vigorous growth.

By 1910 Mexico had become the largest producer of henequen and Mexican export
production became increasingly geared towards the needs of the US market which was the
pricipal market for sugar, bananas, rubber and tobacco produced on plantations which were
owned not by Mexicans, but foreigners who had inversted in Mexico.

American companies dominated the Mexican mining industry and the output of copper,
lead, silver, gold and tin increased sharply after 1890.

By 1911 Mexico was the third largest producer of oil in the world, but the fields were
all owned by US and British corporations that paid no taxes to the Mexican government.

French and Spanish capitalists monopolized the Mexican textile industry after 1890.

Because of the foreign control of the key sectors of the Mexican economy a popular
saying at the time was”Mexico, mother of foreigners and step-mother of the
mexicans.” Another was pobre mexico, tan lejos de dios y tan cerca Los Estados

The cientificos justified the foreign ownership of most of Mexico’s economy as it
stimulated rapid economic growth and development.

Clearly there were some benefits to the influx of foreign capital for it created a
modern banking system and a fairly good railway system, but this came at a heavy cost to
the Mexican people. The costs were a brutal dictatorship, the severe poverty of the vast
majority of Mexicans and the survival of feudal forms of labor such as debt

Mexicans suffered terribly in terms of labor relations between workers and managers. In
1910 forced labor and outright slavery, as well as older forms of debt peonage still
existed in southern Mexico.

In central Mexico, by 1910 a massive expropriation of Indian villages had created a
large landless Indian work force.

In the mining sector in the northern state of Sonora a labor strike broke out at the
American owned copper mine at Cananea over exploitative labor conditions in 1906 which was
ruthlessley repressed by both Mexican and American troops called in by the American owners
to suppress the strike in Mexico. Many historians of the Mexican Revolution regard this
repression as the beginnning of the Mexican Revolution.

For despite such repression the Mexican trade movement continued to grow.

The grwoing wave of strikes and agrarain unrest in the last phase of the Diaz
dictatorship indicated an increasingly rebellious mood among ever broaders sections of the
Mexican people.

Alienation spread among white collar employees towards the Diaz regime for their life
opportunities had been sharply limited by Diaz selling off Mexico to the gringos.

Need to define just what a revolution is in the 20th century.

I’d like to discuss various theories of the Mexican Revolution. Ruiz Thesis of the
The Great Rebellion, Alan Knight, that it was a Great Political Revolution.

Even members of the ruling class began to join the criticisms of Diaz. There were many
upper class Mexican entrepreneurs who resented the advantages that foreign and especially
North American investors were granted by the Diaz regime.

They also feared that unless Diaz carried out reforms, that anarchist and socialist
elements could overthrow the capitalist system itself. Fearing a communist revolution the
upper class elements urged Diaz to end his personal rule, to broaden the base of Mexican
government to incorporate the lower class and for the political system to be responsive to
the plight of the middle class.

Diaz refused to listen and many of the middle class reformers reluctantly began
planning a revolution.

Typical of these men was the wealthy businessman and hacendado Fransico Madero who
would become the apostle of the Mexican Revolution.

The economic situation in Mexico worsened between 1906-1907, and a depression that
started in the US spread throughot Mexico by 1907.

The depression caused a wave of bankruptcies, layoffs and wage cuts. By 1910 things had
become explosive in Mexico as there were workers strikes, agrarian unrest and general
hatred of the Diaz regime. discuss the revolution of unment rising expectations, resource
mobilization and theories of relative deprivation.

The social base of the Diaz dictatorship was disintegrating.

In Bolivia many of the same themes that occurred in Mexican History were occurring at
about the same time as the Indians of the altiplano were being dispossed of their lands by
the expansion of the hacienda by the 1880’s.

This expansion at the expense of the Indian communities of Bolivia provoked many
serious Indian rebellions throughout the 1880’s, which were crushed by the Bolivian

Liberalism had come to Bolivia and it was thought at the time that for Bolivia to truly
become an advanced nation Indian lands which were communally owned, but were not private
property would have to be privatized.

The laws that allowed for this were
often abused by mestizos who sought to take Indian lands for their haciendas. Previously
the Bolivian government left the Indians to their lands for they comprised an important
tax base for the Bolivian government.

But by the 1880’s there was a
new boom in mining in Bolivia first in silver and then in zinc and tin. Consequently, the
Bolivian state no longer needed the tax revenues from the Indian communities since they
could tax the mining industry.

Also, as the mining industry took
off there was a greater demand for foodstuffs in the urban areas of Bolivia, especially in
the mining areas. It was thought that the haciendas produced food more efficiently than
Indian communities and for this reason haicendas expand at the expense of Indian
communities from 1880 to about the 1920’s.

Langer, Erick D. “Liberalism
and the Abolition of Indian Communities in Nineteenth-Century Bolivia,” Historia y
Cultura, forthcoming (April, 1989)

The abolition of Indian communities and their sale to non-Indians and the resulting
expansion of haciendas during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represents
one of the most important transformation in Bolivian rural history. Liberalism provided
the justification for the destruction of communal units of production as it did elsewhere
in Latin America. During this process there were many concerns such as fiscal constraints,
Indian resistance and the state’s varying power to repress any political mobilization
that the Indians attempted. Governmental authorities also interpreted and implemented
regulations in line with regional interests and their own ideological priorities.

The leaders of the triumphant Bolivarian army were virtually all imbued with classic
liberal ideas. It was Simon Bolivar who set the tone for the
reform of Indian communities in a classic liberal fashion. Bolivar was appalled that the
Indians should be treated as legal minors and was eager to integrate them into the
emergent political culture as full-citizens. As early as 1824 Bolivar decreed that the
Indians should be declared private owners of the land that they tilled and Bolivar in
doing so tacitly implied the legal denial of corporately owned Indian property and
community lands. In fact all community land not claimed by an individual owner was to
become the property of the state and sold at auction.

The law promulgated in Cuzco legally abolished the Indian
communities by partitioning their lands into equal portions among the community members,
giving one topo of fertile or two topos of poor agricultural land to each Indian. There
has been a wide divergence of interpretations of this decree among historian. Some hail
this legislation as progressive while others have attacked the decree and law as
anti-Indian because they, in hind sight appeared to have justified the expansion of
haciendas at the expense of corporate Indian land holdings. As Langer suggests the reality
probably lies somewhere in between, but it seems clear that the Liberator really
didn’t understand the Andean peasant economy in the early 19th century. It
also appears that Bolivar was more concerned with integrating the Indians in the political
system by obliterating old colonial ethnic distinctions and create out of the old
corporate structures a new class of small holders which according to Liberal thought of
the period would form the

Langer p.2

backbone of a national political culture. However, these reform measures were never
carried out. The Bolivian government heavily relied on community tribute for revenue and
by 1827 Sucre was forced to restrict these measures.

The most important piece of legislation regarding the communities passed during Santa
Cruz’s administration was the law of 1831 which declared that community Indians
become owners of all the land they possessed. The 1831 law also provided Indians
assurances that they would remain in possession of their lands and the president never
abolished the Indian head tax. This law among others also facilitated the collection of
Indian tribute which was important to finance the expansionist foreign policy of Santa
Cruz. Santa Cruz defined what the Indians saw as an explicit pact between the Indian
communities and the government. The communities would pay their tax than the government
would defend Indian lands. The fiscal interests of the state prohibited a dramatic change
from policies fo the colonial past during the first half of the 19th century. I

In the 1840’s President Jose Ballivan in 1842 contradicted earlier legislation
which gave lands to the Indian in the form of corporate or private property. Ballivan
decreed that the state held legal title to Indian lands and that the Indian only had the
usufruct rights. Yet it should be noted that this decree didn’t change the basic
relationship between the community and the state. Ballivan’s apparent intention was
to facilitate the efficient collection of tribute and the state still remained the
guarantor of the integrity of Indian lands. Langer and others argue that emphyteusis plan
was the easiest legal means to strengthen the hands of the provincial governor against the
usurpation by outsiders and may have actually strengthened the bond between the state and
the communities.

Liberalism returned to the ideological discussion in the 1860’s and with its
remergence there was again concern over the problem of Indian lands. In the 1860’s a
new breed of silver miners were gaining ascendancy in demanding neo-classic liberalism in
regards to the silver trade. Some people of the time such as Mallo advocated the abolition
of tithes and the substitution of these taxes and tribute payments with a property tax on
the land the comuneros actually farmed. The rest of the community land was to be rented by
the state and to make up for the revenue shortfall due to the loss of tithes a catastro or
property tax would be imposed on forms of real property whether improved or unimproved in
the country.

Langer p.3

By the 1860’s the Indian was seen as being unable to participate fully in the
political culture of the nation or even in its economic life due to the corporate barriers
that community property created for the Indian’s integration. After 1860 there was
never any question of whether the Indian communities should be abolished, but debate
changed over the processes that should be used to abolish Indian community property.

Essentially Langer argues that it was the rise of silver mining revenues which replaced
the importance of community tribute payments in funding the government of Bolivia that
allowed the government and elite elements of Bolivia to attack the corporate property
structure of the Indian communities. Langer is concerned with the time period of 1820 to
1870 and presents a highly detailed argument with a good bibliography of primary and
secondary source materials to prove his thesis. The article will be essential in providing
a base for a chapter on Indian legislation the reaction of Indian to this legislation from
1824 to 1870.


October 19, 2006 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Globalization, History, Islam, Israel, Middle East, Zionism | Leave a comment





Mandate of Palestine saying he looked forward to spreading their ideology in the<br /> Middle East [citation needed], especially in Palestine and offered his services

Mohammad Amin al-Husayni

1895July 4, 1974

The Mufti of

Mohammad Amin al-Husayni (ca. 1895July 4, 1974, alternatively spelt
al-Husseini), the Mufti of Jerusalem,
was a Palestinian Arab
and a Muslim religious leader. Known for his anti-Zionism, al-Husayni fought against the establishment of
a Jewish state in the territory of the British
Mandate of Palestine
. To this end, Husayni collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War
and helped recruit Muslims for the Waffen-SS.

Early life

Amin al-Husayni was born in Jerusalem in 1895 (some
sources say 1893). He attended Al-Azhar University
in Cairo (where he founded an anti-Zionist
society) and studied Islamic Law for about one year. In
1913 at the age of 18, al-Husayni made the pilgrimage to Mecca
and received the honorific of Hajj.
Prior to World War I, al-Husayni studied at the School of
Administration in Istanbul.

With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, al-Husayni
joined the Ottoman Turkish
army, received a commission as an artillery officer and was
assigned to the Forty-Seventh Brigade stationed in and around the predominantly Greek Christian city of Smyrna. In November 1916, al-Husayni left the Ottoman army on a
three month disability leave and returned to Jerusalem where he remained for the duration
of the war. After the British conquered Palestine and Syria in 1918, he was employed in
various positions by the British military administration in Jerusalem and Damascus,
including one where he recruited soldiers for Faisal‘s

In 1919, al-Husayni attended the Pan-Syrian Congress held
in Damascus where he supported Emir Faisal for King of Syria. That year, al-Husayni joined (perhaps founded) the Arab secret society El-Nadi al-Arabi (The Arab
Club) in Jerusalem and wrote articles for the first new newspaper to be established in
Palestine, Suriyya
(Southern Syria). The
paper was published in Jerusalem beginning in September 1919 by the lawyer Muhammad Hasan
, and edited by ‘Arif al-‘Arif, both were
prominent members of al-Nadi

Until late 1921, al-Husayni focused his efforts on Pan-Arabism
and Greater Syria in particular with Palestine being a
southern province of an Arab state with its capital in Damascus. Greater Syria was to
include territory now occupied by Syria, Lebanon,
Jordan and Israel. The struggle for
Greater Syria collapsed after Britain ceded control over present day Syria and Lebanon to France in July 1920 in accord with the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The French army entered
Damascus at that time, overthrew King Faisal and dissolved Greater Syria.

After this, al-Husayni turned from a Damascus-oriented Pan-Arabism to a specifically
Palestinian ideology centered on Jerusalem and expelling the Jews and foreigners from Palestine, thus restoring it to Dar

Palestinian nationalism prior to WW II

During the annual Nabi Musa
procession in Jerusalem in April 1920, several speakers denounced the Balfour Declaration as a betrayal of the Arabs by the
British. They included al-Husayni, who called for unity of Palestine with Syria as he had
not yet adopted the Palestinian nationalism for which he would become known a few years
later. The procession turned into a violent demonstration, and in the ensuing riots 5 Jews and 4 Arabs were killed.
Several Jews and Arabs were sentenced to prison terms for their parts in the riots, with
al-Husayni being sentenced to ten years imprisonment in absentia, since he had already fled to Damascus by way of Trans-Jordan.

In 1921, the British military administration of Palestine was replaced by a civilian
one, as a mandate under the League
of Nations
. Following the death of his brother Kamil, the former Mufti,
the British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel decided to pardon
Amin al-Husayni and appoint him Mufti of Jerusalem, a position
that had been held by the al-Husayni clan for more than a century.[1]
(Al-Husayni and another Arab had been excluded from an earlier general amnesty because
they had fled before their convictions).

In 1922, al-Husayni was elected President of the newly formed Supreme Muslim Council, which controlled the Waqf funds worth annually tens of thousands of pounds, the orphan
funds, worth annually about 50,000 pounds, besides controlling the Islamic (Shariah) courts in Palestine. These courts, among other duties,
appointed teachers and preachers.

Al-Husayni launched an international Muslim campaign to improve and restore the mosque
known as the Dome of the Rock. Indeed, the current
landscape of the Temple Mount was directly affected by
al-Husseini’s fundraising activities.

Al-Husayni’s role in the 1929 Hebron massacre
was hotly disputed at the time. The Jewish Agency
charged him with responsibility for inciting the violence, but the Shaw commission of enquiry
concluded that "no connection has been established between the Mufti and the work of
those who either are known or are thought to have engaged in agitation or incitement. …
After the disturbances had broken out the Mufti co-operated with the Government in their
efforts both to restore peace and to prevent the extension of disorder". Al-Husayni
also served as president of the World Islamic
, which he founded in 1931.

The British initially balanced appointments to the Supreme Muslim Council between the Husaynis and their supporters
(known as the majlisiya, or council supporters) and their rivals, the Nashashibis and their allied
clans (known as the mu’arada, the opposition) (Robinson, 1997, p. 6), for example
by replacing Musa al-Husayni as mayor of Jerusalem
with Ragheb al-Nashashibi. During most of the
period of the British mandate, bickering
between these two families seriously undermined any Palestinian unity. In 1936, however,
they achieved a measure of unity when all the Palestinian groups joined to create a
permanent executive organ known as the Arab Higher
under al-Husayni’s chairmanship.

On 19 April 1936, an Arab rebellion broke out in Palestine. Soon the rebellion
had spread across the country, openly and officially led by the Mufti and his Arab Higher
Committee, founded a week after the rebellion had started. The Committee, with the Mufti
presiding, proclaimed an Arab general strike and called
for nonpayment of taxes and shutting down municipal governments. In addition, the
Committee demanded an end to Jewish immigration, a ban on land
sales to Jews, and national independence. Jewish colonies, kibbutzim
and quarters in towns, became the targets for Arab sniping, bombing, and other terrorist

In July 1937, British police were sent to arrest al-Husayni for his part in the Arab
rebellion, but he was tipped off and escaped to the Haram where
the British thought it inadvisable to touch him. In September, he was removed from the
presidency of the Muslim Supreme Council and the Arab Higher Committee was declared
illegal. In October, he fled to Lebanon, where he
reconstituted the committee under his domination. Al-Husayni retained the support of most
Palestinian Arabs and used his power to punish the Nashashabis. He remained in Lebanon for
two years, but his deteriorating relationship with the French and Syrian authorities led
him to Iraq in October 1939.

The rebellion lasted until 1939, when it was quelled by the British troops. It forced
Britain to make substantial concessions to Arab demands. The British abandoned the idea of
establishing Palestine as a Jewish state and, while
Jewish immigration was to continue for another five years (allowing a total of 75,000 Jews
to immigrate), the immigration was thereafter to depend on Arab consent. Al-Husayni,
however, felt that the concessions did not go far enough, and he repudiated the new
policy. See also Peel Commission, White Paper of 1939.

Nazi ties and activities during World War II


2, 1943 Himmler’s telegram to Mufti: ""To the Grand Mufti: The National
Socialist movement of Greater Germany has, since its inception, inscribed upon its flag
the fight against the world Jewry. It has therefore followed with particular sympathy the
struggle of freedom-loving Arabs, especially in Palestine, against Jewish interlopers. In
the recognition of this enemy and of the common struggle against it lies the firm
foundation of the natural alliance that exists between the National Socialist Greater
Germany and the freedom-loving Muslims of the whole world. In this spirit I am sending you
on the anniversary of the infamous Balfour declaration my hearty greetings and wishes for
the successful pursuit of your struggle until the final victory. Reichsfuehrer S.S.
Heinrich Himmler

In 1933, within weeks of Hitler‘s rise to power in Germany, al-Husayni sent a telegram to Berlin
addressed to the German Consul-General in the British

In the Middle East

In April 1941 the "Golden
" pro-Nazi Iraqi army officers[1], led by General Rashid Ali, forced the Iraqi Prime
, the pro-British Nuri Said Pasha, to
resign. In May he declared jihad against Britain. Forty days
later, British troops occupied the country and the Mufti went to Germany, via Iran, Turkey and Mussolini‘s office in Rome. See Farhud for more details of the events in Iraq.

Husayni aided the Axis cause in the Middle East by issuing a fatwa for a holy war
against Britain in May 1941. The Mufti’s widely heralded proclamation against Britain was
declared in Iraq, where he was instrumental in "the pro-Nazi" Iraqi revolt of
1941. [2]

In Nazi-occupied Europe

Upon al-Husayni’s arrival in Europe, he met the German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop on November 20, 1941 and was officially
received by Adolf Hitler on November
, 1941 in Berlin. He asked Hitler for a public declaration
that "recognized and sympathized with the Arab struggles for independence and
liberation, and that it would support the elimination of a national Jewish homeland".
Earlier, al-Hussayni submitted to the German government a draft of such a declaration,
containing a clause:

Germany and Italy recognize the right of the Arab countries to solve the question of
the Jewish elements, which exist in Palestine and in the other Arab countries, as required
by the national and ethnic (völkisch) interests of the Arabs, and as the Jewish
question was solved in Germany and Italy.[3]

Hitler refused to make such a public announcement, but "made the following
declaration, requesting the Mufti to lock it deep in his heart:

  1. He (the Führer) would carry on the fight until the last traces of the Jewish-Communist
    European hegemony had been obliterated.
  2. In the course of this fight, the German army would – at a time that could not yet be
    specified, but in any case in the clearly foreseeable future – gain the southern exit of
  3. As soon as this breakthrough was made, the Führer would offer the Arab world his
    personal assurance that the hour of liberation had struck. Thereafter, Germany’s only
    remaining objective in the region would be limited to the Vernichtung des…Judentums
    [‘destruction of the Jewish element’, sometimes taken to be a euphemism for ‘annihilation
    of the Jews’] living under British protection in Arab lands.." [4]

The Mufti established close contacts with Bosnian and Albanian Muslim leaders and spent
the remainder of the war conducting the following activities:

  • Radio propaganda
    on behalf of Nazi Germany
  • Espionage and the fifth column activities in Muslim regions of Europe and the
    Middle East
  • Assisting with the formation of Muslim Waffen SS units in
    the Balkans
  • The formation of schools and training centers for Muslim imams
    and mullahs who would accompany the Muslim SS and Wehrmacht


Beginning in 1943, al-Husayni was involved in the organization and recruitment of Bosnian Muslims into
several divisions of the Waffen SS and other units. The largest was the 13th
"Handschar" division
of 21,065 men (sometimes spelled Hanjar: the
word Scimitar in Turkish, Arabic Khanjar), which conducted operations against Communist partisans in the Balkans from February 1944.

Al-Husayni insisted that "The most important task of this division must be to
protect the homeland and families (of the Bosnian volunteers); the division must not be
permitted to leave Bosnia.", but this request was ignored by the Germans (German
archives cited in Lepre, p34).

The Holocaust

The Mufti’s knowledge about the holocaust while living in Nazi Germany has been debated
with the Mufti himself denying any such knowledge after the war. Testimony presented at
the Nuremberg trials, however, accused the Mufti of not only having knowledge about the
holocaust but of also actively encouraging the initiation of extermination programs
against European Jews. Adolf Eichmann’s deputy Dieter Wisliceny testified during his war
crimes trial in 1946 that … "The Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic
extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and
Himmler in the execution of this plan… He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and
had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard him say,
accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited incognito the gas chambers of Auschwitz."

When the Red Cross offered to mediate with Adolf Eichmann in a trade prisoner-of-war
exchange involving the freeing of German citizens in exchange for 5,000 Jewish children
being sent from Poland to the Theresienstadt concentration camp,
Husseini directly intervened with Himmler and the exchange was
cancelled, although there is no evidence that his intervention prevented their rescue.

Among the sabotage al-Husayni organized was an attempted chemical warfare assault on the second largest and
predominantly Jewish city in Palestine, Tel Aviv. Five parachutists were sent with a toxin
to dump into the water system. The police caught the infiltrators in a cave near Jericho, and according to Jericho district police commander Fayiz Bey Idrissi,
"The laboratory report stated that each container held enough poison to kill 25,000
people, and there were at least ten containers."[3]

Recent Nazi documents uncovered in the German Minstry of Foreign Affairs and the
Military Archive Service in Freiburg [4] by two researchers, Klaus
Michael Mallmann from Stuttgart University and Martin Cüppers from the University of
Ludwigsburg, indicated that in the event of the British being defeated in Egypt by Field
Marshal Erwin Rommel‘s Afrika
the Nazis had planned to deploy a special unit called Einsatzkommando Ägypten
to exterminate Palestinian Jews and that they wanted Arab support to prevent the emergence
of a Jewish state. In their book the researchers concluded that, "the most important
collaborator with the Nazis and an absolute Arab anti-Semite was Haj Amin al-Husseini, the
mufti of Jerusalem".[5]
According to the German researchers Husayni was a prime example of how Arabs and Nazis
became friends out of a hatred of Jews. Al-Husseini had met several times with Adolf
Eichmann[6], Adolf
Hitler’s chief architect of the Holocaust [5] [7],[8],[9],[10],[11].

Post-war activities

After the war, al-Husayni fled to Switzerland, was
detained and put under house arrest in France, but escaped and was given asylum in Egypt.
Zionist groups petitioned the British to have him indicted as a war criminal. The British
declined, partly because they considered the evidence inconclusive but also because such a
move would have added to their growing problems in Egypt and Palestine, where al-Husayni
was still popular. Yugoslavia
unsuccessfully sought his extradition.

From Egypt al-Husayni was among the sponsors of the 1948 war against the new State of Israel. The Jordanian monarch, King Abdullah, gave the position of Grand Mufti of the
Jordanian part of divided Jerusalem to someone else, and Haj Amin al-Husayni was in
contact with the Arab conspirators of King Abdullah’s assassination in 1951, while still
living in exile in Egypt. King Talal followed Abdullah
as king of Jordan, and he refused to give permission to Amin al-Husayni to enter
Jerusalem. After one year, King Talal was declared incompetent; the new King Hussein also refused to give al-Husayni permission to
enter the City.

Although the mufti was involved in some of the high level negotiations between
Arab leaders before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli
at a meeting held in Damascus in February 1948 to
organize Palestinian Field Commands, the commanders of his Holy
War Army
, Hasan Salama and Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, were allocated only the Lydda district and Jerusalem
respectively. This decision paved the way for an undermining of the Mufti’s position among
the Arab States. On 9 February, only four days after the
Damascus meeting, a severe blow was suffered by the Mufti at the Arab League session in Cairo [where
his demands for] the appointment of a Palestinian to the General Staff of the League, the
formation of a Palestinian Provisional Government, the transfer of authority to local
National Committees in areas evacuated by the British, a loan for administration in
Palestine and appropriation of large sums to the Arab Higher Executive for Palestinians
entitled to war damages [were all rejected].[6]

The Arab League blocked recruitment to the mufti’s forces,[7] which collapsed following the death of his most charismatic
commander, Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni, on 8 April.

Following rumors that King Abdullah of Transjordan was re-opening the bi-lateral negotiations with
Israel that he had previously conducted in secret with the Jewish
, the Arab League, led by Egypt, decided to set up the All-Palestine Government in Gaza
on 8 September under the nominal leadership of the mufti.
Avi Shlaim writes:

The decision to form the Government of All-Palestine in Gaza, and the feeble attempt to
create armed forces under its control, furnished the members of the Arab League with the
means of divesting themselves of direct responsibility for the prosecution of the war and
of withdrawing their armies from Palestine with some protection against popular outcry.
Whatever the long-term future of the Arab government of Palestine, its immediate purpose,
as conceived by its Egyptian sponsors, was to provide a focal point of opposition to
Abdullah and serve as an instrument for frustrating his ambition to federate the Arab
regions with Transjordan.[8]

Abdullah regarded the attempt to revive the mufti’s Holy War Army as a challenge
to his authority and on 3 October his minister of defence
ordered all armed bodies operating in the areas controlled by the Arab Legion to be disbanded. Glubb
carried out the order ruthlessly and efficiently.[9]

During the 1948 War, the Mufti is also alleged to have
said "I declare a holy war, my Moslem brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them
all!" (Leonard J. Davis and M. Decter, Eds., Myths and facts: A Concise Record of the
Arab-Israeli Conflict, Washington DC: Near East Report, 1982, p. 199).

Al-Husayni died in Beirut, Lebanon
in 1974. He wished to be buried in Jerusalem, but the Israeli
government refused this request.

Mufti’s influence

Interviewer: I have heard voices from within the Palestinian
Authority in the past few weeks, saying that the reforms are coordinated according to
American whims…

Arafat: We are not Afghanistan. We are the mighty people. Were they able to replace
our hero Hajj Amin al-Husseini?… There were a number of attempts to get rid of Hajj
Amin, whom they considered an ally of the Nazis. But even so, he lived in Cairo, and
participated in the 1948 war, and I was one of his troops."

  • According to John Marlowe,
    "The dominant figure in Palestine during the Mandate years was neither an Englishman
    nor a Jew, but an Arab — Haj Amin Muhammed Effendi al Husaini… Able, ambitious,
    ruthless, humourless, and incorruptible, he was of the authentic stuff of which dictators
    are made."


  1. This method of appointment was actually in consonance with tradition (some have said
    Al-Husayni seized power). For years under Ottoman rule, Muslim clerics
    would nominate three clerics and the secular temporal leader, the Caliph,
    would choose among the three who would become the Mufti. After the British took over
    Palestine, the secular temporal leader was the High
    . This led to the extraordinary situation of a Jew, Herbert Samuel, choosing who would actually become Mufti.
    The only difference was that in this instance five candidates were nominated instead of
  2. Mattar, 1984.
  3. Lewis (1984), p.190.
  4. official transcript, trans. Fleming
  5. *"Germans, Jews, Genocide — The Holocaust as History and Present" by
    Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cueppers. Stuttgart University.
  6. Levenberg, 1993, p. 198.
  7. Sayigh, 2000, p. 14.
  8. Shlaim, 2001, p. 97.
  9. Shlaim, 2001, p. 99.


See also

External links



October 19, 2006 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Globalization, History, Middle East, Oil & Gas | Leave a comment





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Albert Bacon Fall (November 26, 1861–November 30, 1944) was a Senator from New<br /> Mexico and the Secretary of the Interior under President Warren G

Albert B. Fall

Albert Bacon Fall (November 26, 1861November
, 1944) was a Senator from New Mexico and the Secretary of the
under President Warren G. Harding, notorious for his involvement in the Teapot Dome scandal. It is often joked among historians that Fall was "so
crooked they had to screw him into the ground" upon his death.

Early life and family

Fall was born in Frankfort, Kentucky in 1861 to William R. and Edmonia Taylor Fall. Fall attended schools as
a child in Nashville, Tennessee, but was
primarily self-educated. At age eleven Fall was employed in a cotton factory, this early
employment is most likely the cause of several respiratory health problems he suffered
throughout his life. Due to these illnesses, as a young man Fall headed west looking for
better climate. He lived in Oklahoma and in Texas, but eventually settled in Las Cruces in the New Mexico Territory where he practiced law. One of
his more famous cases was successfully defending the man who claimed to have shot Pat Garrett.

On May 7, 1883, Fall married Emma
Garland Morgan in Clarksville, Texas. The couple
had four children: a son, John (Jack) Morgan Fall; and three daughters: Alexina Chase,
Caroline Everhart, and Jouett Elliott. Both Jack and his sister Caroline died within a
week of each other in 1918 from an influenza
epidemic that was sweeping the nation. The family home was the Three Rivers Ranch in the Tularosa Basin of New Mexico. The Falls also maintained a
home in El Paso, Texas.

During the Spanish-American War, Fall served
as a captain of an infantry troop.

Albert Jennings Fountain murder case, and his involvement

Oliver M. Lee, a noted New Mexico gunman, rancher, cattle rustler, outlaw, and
part-time Deputy US Marshal, as well as his employee’s Jim
Gilliland and William "Billy" McNew were suspected of the 1896
disappearance and presumed murder of Colonel Albert
Jennings Fountain
and his young son Henry, dubbed the Albert Jennings Fountain
disappearence case. They were pursued in relation to that case by lawman Pat Garrett and a posse, and
engaged Garrett and his men in a gun battle near Alamogordo, resulting in the killing of
Deputy Sheriff Kurt Kearney. Garrett and his men retreated, and Lee was later captured by
other lawmen. He and his friends were defended by Albert Fall, and were acquitted of murder in the Albert Jennings Fountain case. [1]

At face value, it would seem that Fall was simply good at defending his clients.
However, Lee’s involvement in the murder case, as well as Fall’s, did go much deeper than
the acquittal would reflect. Due to his land ownings, Fountain was a powerful rival to
land owners Lee and Albert Fall. In their employ were smalltime gunmen Billy McNew and Jim
Gililland. Fall was well known to have hated Fountain. Fall’s association with Oliver Lee
began when Fall assisted Lee during a criminal case. In exchange for Fall’s continued
illegal assistance in legal matters, Lee and his gunmen terrorized local residents on
Fall’s behalf, both to obtain land, and to intimidate voters into voting for Fall when
need-be. By the late 1890s, Lee was rustling cattle from other
cattlemen in the area, and then altering the brands to resemble
his own. If law enforcement officials closed in, Fall
dealt with the legal issues. [2]

Fountain, however, showed little fear of the Fall/Lee faction, and challenged them
openly in the courts as well as in the political arena. Many factors indicated that Lee
was involved in the disappearance and murder of Fountain, but investigators had to battle
the corrupt local court system led by Fall, and the local law enforcement, all of which
were controlled to some extent by Fall. The bodies of Fountain and his young son were
never found, which hampered prosecution. Albert Fall defended all three of the men who
were eventually charged with the crime. They were Oliver Lee, Jim Gililland, and Billy
McNew, the only suspects in the case, as investigators never saw another direction the
case could have gone. Charges against McNew were dismissed, while Lee and Gililland were
acquitted. The end result of their prosecution, more than anything else, hinged on there
being no bodies. Following this case, Fall and Lee resumed their land grabbing schemes,
without much further interference from law enforcement. [3]


Between the years of 18791881, he
was employed as an educator while he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1891 and started practice immediately. He was appointed judge of the
third judicial district in 1893.

In 1908 he defended the accused killer of former Sherriff Pat
. Garrett was the same lawman who pursued those suspected in the Albert
Jennings Fountain killings.

As a member of the Republican Party,
Fall was elected as one of the first U.S. Senators
from New Mexico in the year 1912.
It was widely known that he made a political alliance with Thomas B. Catron, the man who served alongside him, to
ensure his own election. This controversy made Fall a target of the local Republican
Party, as they believed Fall had not contributed to their efforts to secure New Mexico’s
statehood, and was not worthy of their nomination. Fall was also severely disliked by
Democrats. In 1913, the Governor of New Mexico purposefully forgot to sign the credential
papers in an attempt to oust Fall by having a special election, which Fall subsequently
won. Despite facing a bitter primary challenge in the election of 1918,
Fall came out victorious. He served as chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the
Department of Commerce and Labor, was noted for his support of the suffrage movement and his extreme isolationist
tendencies when America entered the First World War.
After Catron was beaten in a primary election of 1916, Fall lost
his only local political ally. However, since he had been elected, he had become close
friends with the people who would later make up the infamous Ohio
, which inevitably secured him a cabinet position in March of 1921.
While local politicians may have opposed him, his popularity with the residents of New
Mexico was reportedly very high.

Teapot Dome scandal

Fall was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Interior by Warren Harding in
1921. Soon after his appointment, Harding convinced Edwin C. Denby, the Secretary
of the Navy
, that Fall should take over responsibility for the Naval Reserves at Elk
Hills, California, Buena Vista, California and
Dome, Wyoming
. This last setting was used for the namesake of the

Later that year, Fall decided that two of his friends, Harry F. Sinclair (Mammoth Oil Corporation) and Edward L. Doheny (Pan-American
Petroleum and Transport Company), should be allowed to lease part of these Naval Reserves.

His failure to have competitive bidding for the reserves resulted in the Teapot Dome scandal. The investigation found Fall guilty of
conspiracy and bribery of $100,000 paid to him by
L. Doheny
. Fall was jailed for one year as a result – the first
former cabinet officer sentenced to prison as a result of
misconduct in office.

Mr. Doheny was not only acquitted on the charge of bribing Fall, but Doheny’s
corporation foreclosed on Fall’s home in Tularosa Basin, New Mexico, because of
"unpaid loans" which turned out to be that same $100,000 bribe.

He died, November 30, 1944
after a long illness, in El Paso, Texas.

Further reading on the Fountain murder case

Preceded by:
United States Senator from New

Succeeded by:
Holm O. Bursom
Preceded by:
John B. Payne
United States Secretary of the

Succeeded by:
Hubert Work

Comment: Albert Fall and his role in US-Mexican oil
politics and related Pancho Villa attacks are mentioned in the 2003 Antonio Banderas
movie, "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself."


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