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Join Gab (@StFerdinandIII) Western Civilisation was and is superior to anything Islam has developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Raising the alarm about the fascism called Submission since 2000.  

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Friday, February 20, 2009

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Book Review: 'The Great Arab Conquests', by Hugh Kennedy.

The largest imperialist project in history. Never discussed.

by Ferdinand III




The Arabs built the greatest land empire in history in just 150 years, from 632 to 750 A.D. It is an empire which still exists today. This is the legacy of the Arab imperialist project, based around the Koran. It is a history of war, jihad, conversions, taxation, cultural annihilation, and cultural diffusion as well as trade, commerce. It is without question the largest and most permanent imperialist project in history – greater even than that of Christianity. Very little positive or accomplished has come from this Arabian expansion. The Arabs and their Turkish and African Islamic progeny have created history's largest ever imperialist domain premised on an Arabian moon cult now encompassing 60 odd countries and 1.2 billion people. These are amongst the poorest, most illiterate and savage domains on the planet. The Islamic project has killed at least 300 million innocents through war and jihad. It still carries on violence in the name of ali-ilah [Allah] or the Meccan moon deity, today. Forests are cut to explain the evil nature of white cultural imperialism – but nary a tale is told about the vitality of the Arab moon cult project. Good for Kennedy to tackle this topic. Kennedy relates the Arab expansion from an uncivilised backward set of moon worshipping cults, to world power, in rather crisp fashion. No blood, gore, body counts, or exagerrated personal opinions color this 400 page narrative. Kennedy is fascinated, as should anyone be who is interested in history and geopolitical affairs, by the establishment of a world-wide cult and empire, by a fractionally and factionally small group of backwards Arabs. It is a remarkable tale indeed. As Kennedy states, “What makes the Arab Muslim conquests so remarkable is the permanence of the effect they had on the language and the religion of the conquered lands.” These lands now stretch from Morocco to Indonesia and included Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, southern Russia, and the Balkans. What we now think of as being natural Arabicised land – Egypt, Syria, North Africa, 'Palestine', Afghanistan etc. was of course non-Arabic until the Mohemmadans broke out of Arabia in 632 A.D. In the 7th century the Mediterranean basin was largely Greek, Jewish, Roman, Christian and animist. Persian Sassanids controlled a wide empire stretching from Iraq to the Chinese border. Even Arab speaking tribes – semitic and related to the Jews – who lived on the desert margins in Syria and the Levant, were largely Christianised long before the start of the 7th century A.D. Arab tribes were the frontier guardians along these desert lands for both the Roman and Greek-Byzantine empires. So how did a group of tribal pagans from in and around the Mecca-Medina corridor, in a poor peninsula bypassed by new trade routes, go on to conquer vast swathes of the world and imprint a Meccan moon-cult into the spiritual minds of 1.2 billion current believers ? Without recouting all of Kennedy's story the pertinent highlights can be given as he relates the historical evolution of the Islamic cult and its ferocious explosion into the world at large: -monotheistic Islam was premised largely on Judeo-Christian ideas and even scripture -this monotheism was tied to a well known tribal moon cult in Mecca -Mohammed was a political leader who used the unifying power of this new monotheistic faith to unite the disparate Arab tribes -the elite who ran this new ideology were urban Arabs from Mecca and in particular from Mohammed's tribe, the fighters and calvary were poor Bedouin organised and controlled by this urban-tribal elite -an external program to obtain riches and power was necessary to solidify the cult and redirect its energies and that of the tribes who expected something from giving their loyalty to the Meccan cult -external enemies were built up revealed in later Koranic versions as shrill, savage and bloody invocations against Jews, Christians or anyone who did not submit to the new Arab cult -the Arabs were fortunate to attack empires and states decidedly weakened from war, civil conflict, economic stagnation and a declining demography due to plague, disease and social dislocation The amazing aspect of the Arab advance from 632 A.D. onwards is of course its speed and totality. As Kennedy states, “The forces that conquered Iraq [in the decade 632 – 640] seem to have been significantly smaller, and the Arabic sources quote between 6.000 and 12.000 men. The numbers in Egypt were smaller still: Amr's initial force was between 3.500 and 4.000 men, though they were soon joined by 12.000 reinforcements.” Even by ancient standards these are token forces. Alexander crushed the Persians at Gaugamela with 40.000 men who slaughtered and defeated a force 5 times that size. The Arabs defeated the weakened Byzantines at the Yarmuk river in Syria in 636 A.D. with perhaps ¼ of Alexander's forces destroying a disorganised Greek-Roman army twice its size. The Arabs were military conquerors not missionaries of love and compassion. Mohammed himself led 80 odd booty raiding expeditions and killed Jews and non-Muslims with his own hands. His last words called on the Arabs to conquer the world in the name of the Meccan moon cult. Gold, money, slaves and urban refinement were the incitements for the Arab advance. The Byzantines and Persians still had empires of opulence but in their weakened 7th century state, made an easy target for Arab predations. Both the Greek and Persian empires had spend 30 years engaged in a long and bloody war which decimated their treasuries, border lands, and their urban centers. A 5th century plague, much like the Black Death of the medieval period, had wiped out perhaps ¼ or more of the population centers of both empires. Both economies had suffered immense damage due to social and military privations and both had imposed unreasonably high levels of taxation and state appropriation of wealth further distancing the population from the ruling class. Thus war, disease and demography made both the Byzantines and the Persians a set of reasonably easy prey to poach. In fact in many of the lands the Arabs passed through there was no military resistance. Many locals in both the Byzantine and Persian empires viewed the Arabs as liberators. The Copts in Egypt, the Jews in Israel, the Christians in Persia, and various tribes and nascent states aided, or at least did not hinder the Arab advance. Much of the Arab advance was also due to military incompetence of its enemies, as well as the sheer speed, mobility, zeal and fanaticism of the Arabs themselves. The Arabs did not keep supply trains, their small forces fed off the land. They were superb horsemen and fanatical in combat. They were fearless, tough, and under smart leadership. The Muslim's enemies were lax, poorly trained, and badly led. The Byzantines and Persians did almost nothing right in the face of the Arab advance and almost everything wrong. In Egypt and North Africa the story was the same, “Part of the explanation for the speed of the conquest lies in the political structure of Egypt. From pharoanic times the administration of the country was highly centralised. In late antiquity, defence was in the hands of the governor and his army. Most of the population had neither arms nor military training.” This was the same everywhere the Arabs appeared. Once you defeated the central army, the land was yours. The Arabs were also smart administrators. Like the Romans, they set up a somewhat lenient system where the Qurayesh Arabs or the urban Arab elite would rule as a minority in the far richer conquered society. The conquered populations would either have to convert or suffer dhimmi or second class status including extraordinary taxation, and severe restrictions on social-political mobility and freedom. If the dhimmis complied than well enough was left alone. As Kennedy says, “conquest was the prelude to conversion.....By the year 1000 it is likely that the majority of the population in all the different areas that had been conquered by the 750 were Muslim.” Indeed. This of course does not mitigate the gross expressions of Arab imperialism – the slave trading, the destruction of whole cities and regions in war or reprisal, and the deaths of literally millions of people in the course of the conquests. Kennedy does not relate this 'darker' side of Arab pagan imperialism. It is the only weak point therefore of his work. Kennedy does a great job of providing an overview of the Arab imperial project. What is missing are the human, cultural and civilisational costs. Maybe someone will add this as a volume two – the detail both good and bad of the Arabian imperialist venture. It is a story that needs to be told.


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