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Monday, March 26, 2007

NOV. 17 2006- DARFUR: SUDAN AGREES TO AU PEACEKEEPERS

THE ORIGINS OF DARFUR AND THE DARFUR CRISIS:

NEWSLINE: Nov. 17, 2006: Sudan agrees to allow AU and UN peacekeepers into Darfur as violence continues between herding peoples of the north and the people of Darfur.

IN A NUTSHELL: In Africa, an ancient history of tensions between desert north and farming south continues today. The site of the most recent conflict is Darfur where drought, due to climate change, is putting herding people in conflict with farmers.

THEN AND NOW: Darfur, a distinct, mountainous, farming region in the west of Sudan, has had a separate cultural, historical and political identity, usually as a kingdom with dynasties, for almost two thousand years. No matter who invades, it keeps on being Darfur. Only recently, dry conditions, perhaps set off by climate change, have upset the balance between Darfur and the herding regions of northern Sudan. The herders are jealous of Darfur’s better watered land and their incursions are threatening Darfur’s existence. What was once a proud kingdom has become an ecological and genocidal disaster.

PROXIMATE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS.
1960-1980- severe droughts and famine forced herders from dry, northwestern Sudan to encroach on the better watered and more fertile mountain region of Darfur in central western Sudan. Disputes over land between northern herders and Darfur farmers became violent

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS.
1875- Darfur lost its independence to Britain which then colonized it as part of Darfur’s former rival, Sudan.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS.
1600-1800- in those days, the tables were turned: expansionist Darfur subjugated local tribes, including the northern herders of the desert as well as encroaching on Khartoum.


CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY:

Darfur is near the intersection of the two great axes of Africa: the historically prosperous East-West Sahel, below the Sahara and the North-South trade routes from the Egyptian Nile down through the great lakes. The shadow of an ancient kingdom, Darfur also persists at the crux of three, thousand-year-old forces: pressures from the west (Chad) pressure on its farmers from northern herders (the Libyan desert) and the political pressures from Sudan and Egypt to the east. Despite all this, there is still a ‘Fur” people and a Darfur identity. Darfur will never go away.

An ancient kingdom, one of many formed along the prosperous Sahel (from Sierra Leone to Ethiopia) where desert herding meets southern agriculture, Darfur has prospered and struggled. In western Sudan, in a mountainous region surrounded by desert, Darfur has had a distinct people and a distinct history since the first centuries BCE.. That’s when the Daju people expanded from the central Jebel Marrah mountains to control the region. From early times they were known as the Fur people. “Dar Fur” means “home of the Fur”. In a very real sense, they still “own” that fertile mountainous area.

The Kanem people from the Chad area, in the west, took Darfur around 1250 and converted it to Islam. They only ruled the area for about 300 years before Darfur was resurgent with its own Keria Dynasty. The rule of the Muslim Keira sultans , lasting almost from 1600 to 1875, represents the apogee of Darfur.

Historically, it was the perennial pressure of herding and trade from the north that brought Islam to the region. The people embroiled in the present conflict are mostly black, and the religion of both sides, farmers and herders, is Islam.

PRESENT SITUATION: As the Janjaweed militia continues to support the northern herders, with attacks on Darfur, and as conflict speads between herders who have settled there and inidgenous farmers, thousands are dying. Sudan has been blocking UN peacekeeping initiatives, the African Union is too poorly manned and equipped to be effective and the UN has failed to get a consensus on international, armed intervention. In the meantime, over 200,000, people in the Darfur region have perished at the hands of the Janjaweed and Sudan.


PLUS CA CHANGE:

1800: Abd al Rahman, Sultan of Darfur, while subjugating local Arab tribes, massacred the Rizaigat herders of the Libyan desert, to the north.

1988: It was the Rizaigat who gave refuge to part of Muammar Ghaddafi’s Libyan army after it had been defeated in an attempt to invade Chad. The remnants of the Libyan army gave arms and training to its desert brothers, the local Rizaigat, forming the Janjaweed militia.

2006: The Janjaweed militia, from the Libyan desert of northwest Sudan, continues attacks on Darfur.


MOST RECENT BACKGROUND.

2003: After years of conflict over land between herders and farmers in Darfur, two Darfur rebel groups, the SLA (Sudanese Liberation Army) and the JEM, step up their insurgency. Their goal for Darfur is autonomy, equality and power-sharing with Sudan. The SLA and the JEM are black African Muslims groups.

2003- February: Alarmed by the SLA and the JEM, the Islamic
government of Sudan unleashes the Janjaweed, an Islamist Muslim militia (also black African) representing the interests of the herding peoples north of Darfur.

2004- after aerial aussaults by Sudan and attacks by the Janjaweed, 50,000 Darfur
farming people flee to refugee camps.

2005- 2006- Over 200,000 have died in Darfur as a result of fighting amid faltering
peace talks and the helplessness of the UN as the international community looks on. Most of the dead are refugees.

2006- spring. As thousands of displaced Darfur farming people continue to die -peace
talks fail over power-sharing between Sudan and the two rebel groups.

-November- the fighting in Darfur threatens to spill westward, over into Chad which is fighting its own insurgency in the same border region. Both Darfur and Sudan accuse one another of helping the other's insugencies, in the Darfur border region, where western Sudan meets eastern Chad.

-December 24- Sudan, once again, has given hints that it might relent in the Darfur crisis- followed by the usual cavils and backtracking. It made pisitive noises about allowing a real UN peacekeeping force into the region then told Kofi Annan that it meant only UN technical personnel and that those would be under the command of the African Union peacekeeping force. Moeover, the number of UN peacekeepers would have to be negotiated. Meanwhile, the Janjaweed, it appears, have gone ahead and killed seven people in a village in north Darfur. Presumably, Sudan is playing for time until it can see the crisis resolved by force. Indeed, this may be just the lastest move in Khartoum's history of westward exansionism and a centuries old east-west struggle between Arab and black Africans.


THE REMOTE BACKGROUND: DAR FUR HAS A MEMORY OF INDEPENDENCE:

CURIOSITY: In 1799, Darfur’s sultan, Abd Al Rahman wrote to congratulate Napolen for defeating the Mamelukes in Egypt. Napoleon responded by asking Rahman for 2,000 black slaves. It isn’t known whether the sultan obliged.


CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF DARFUR.

200- the Daju kings rule Darfur.

1250- the kingdom of Kanem (modern Chad) invades from the west and takes Darfur. Darfur is converted to Islam.

1400- the Fur themselves re-emerge as an indigenous royal dynasty.

1500- the Fur expel their Kanem rulers.

1600- the Fur found their own Keira dynasty.

1700- the rule of the Keira extends east of the Nile, forming an empire.

1800- the rule of Darfur reaches its greatest extent.

1820s- Egypt and Khartoum encroach on Darfur’s eastern possessions.

1874- Darfur falls to Egypt. The Keira dynasty, which had ruled the Fur people from around 1600 (for amost three centuries) is defeated by Egypt.’s Rahma al Zubayr. Darfur’s Sultan Ibrahim is killed and the once independent country is laid waste.

-Under British colonization, Egypt’s native administrators turned a blind eye to abuses such as the slave trade on the Upper Nile.

1877- General Gordon is made governor of the Sudan, Darfur and Somali regions south of Egypt. In 1878, he breaks up slave-hunting operations in Darfur. By the time Gordon haddleft the Sudan, slaving has begun to return. Sudanese cattle-owning slave-traders, resume their operations.

1880-1882- attempts by the Egyptians to re-impose British reforms and administration are blocked by the rise of the charismatic Sudanese leader. Mohammed Ahmad (1848-1885)identifies himself with the Islamic saviour of Shia Islam and so is known as “The Mahdi”. In Sudan, the Baggara slave traders appeal to the Mahdi’s Messianic promise, a Baggara becomes his right-hand man and the Baggara tribes become his followers and his army in a campaign to throw off rule by Egypt and its British sponsors.

1881- With Egypt a protectorate of Great Britain, Darfur is governed by Sir Karl Slatin.

1881-1884 -the Mahdi wins a string of victories in Sudan and Darfur against Egyptian and British forces. Gordon returns to the Sudan, arriving at Khartoum to surrender the Sudan to the Mahdi, evacuate Egyptian soldiers and civilians and draw the line at Khartoum itself. Nevertheless, the victorious Mahdists advance on the city. Due to administrative bungling by the British, a relief force arrives too late, Khartoum falls to the Mahdi and Gordon is killed. Soon, however, the people of Sudan begin to find the Mahdi’s rule even more oppressive than that of the Egyptians.

1883- the ‘Mahdists’ led by Mahdi Mohammed Ahmad, Sultan of Sudan invade and take Darfur. Over the ensuing years, both Sudan and Britian find Darfur impossible to rule.

1885- the mahdi dies of illness. After his death in 1885, his Mahdist successors perpetuate his abuses.

1916- After Darfur rebels against the British, the last Keira Sultan of Darfur is killed and Britain makes Darfur a part of Sudan.

1956- Sudan gains independence from Britain and Darfur remains part of Sudan.



NOV. 20, 2006- NORTH KOREA: SOUTH KOREA CUTS OFF AID.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG: North Korea inherits isolationism from Korea's medieval past and uses rhetoric to reassert its historical dominance of South Korea.

TODAY IN THE NEWS: Nov. 20, 2006. The threat of a North Korean refugee crisis looms after South Korea cuts off aid to North Korea in the wake of North Korea’s objection to Seoul’s support of a UN draft resolution censuring North Korea for its record on human rights.

IN A NUTSHELL: North Korea has never lost sight of its mission to reunite the two Koreas since, historically, the Korean peninsula was usually conquered and united from north to south. In early centuries, the historical capital remained Pyongyang, in the north, as Korea waged an epochal struggle for survival in the face of China and Japan. By the 17th century this defensiveness had turned into a cult of diplomatic isolation and historical exceptionalism, gaining Korea the epithet “the Hermit Kingdom” So, in the wake of the formal division of north and south in 1945, North Korea’s sense of being under siege remains nothing new.

THEN AND NOW: Korea’s ancient, ‘Dangun’ founding myth (a bit like the people of Israel being the chosen of Yaweh) has been determined historical in North Korea, where it is still celebrated. Moreover, the great Joseon dynasty, which began in the 15th century, continues to have a large impact on North Korea. The Joseon were largely responsible for the Korean alphabet, ‘Hangul’, a phonetic adaptation of Chinese. The Joseon also developed the Yangban ruling class, whose form has endured in Kim Jong Il’s ruling elite. The Joseon inculcated the Confucian principles, which remain part of North Korea’s ‘Yangban’ principles of rule. Most important , perhaps, is ‘Chiche’, North Korea’s national ideology. Though wedded to Marxism, it incorporates a 17th century ideology of isolationist self-sufficiency with Yangban and Confucian principles of administration.

PROXIMATE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS.

Having begun to reinforce its regional status and ‘self-sufficiency’ by developing a nuclear weapon in the early nineties, North Korea was further provoked by US president Bush’s 2001 designation of the historically defensive nation as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’. When evidence of a nuclear weapons program was discovered in 2002, North Korea expelled UN weapons inspectors.

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS.

After the division of Korea in 1945, the north adopted Soviet Communism and formally became the state of North Korea in 1948. Its invasion of south Korea, in 1950, was passively backed by Stalin but the attack was really North Korea’s own attempt to reunite and to dominate a historical Korea. The war ended in 1953, with North Korea’s failure to take the south and not long after, its great supporter, Stalin, died. With Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin’s legacy, Soviet support of North Korea receded and North Korea returned to the 17th century Korean ethic of self sufficiency. In the 1960s and 1970s a surge of internal development made it more prosperous than the south. But it was slow to engage with the outside world in obtaining technology and by the 1970s, the oil crisis was slowing down its economy. By the 1990s, its continuing isolation and historical ‘self sufficiency’ brought about a major famine and dependence on South Korea for relief.


REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS.

Around 1600, when the Joseon dynasty was at its height, Korea suffered invasions by the Tokugawa of Japan and the newly triumphant Manchu of China. That’s when the roots of modern North Korea’s isolationism were born. Though Korea ejected Japan and managed to maintain a relatively calm, tributary relationship with China, it was in the 17th century that it adopted the polices of defensive isolation that earned it the sobriquet ‘The Hidden Kingdom’ It was also during this period that China developed an adeptness at handling Korea diplomatically that lasted throughout the Communist period and continues today in China’s stern yet protective relation to Pyongyang in the nuclear crisis.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Three themes seem to dominate Korean history: dominance arising from the north, where the Korean peninsula joins Manchuria; difficulties in maintaining internal unity; and the combined threat and influence of outside powers- mainly China and Japan as well as, more recently, Russia and the United States. A Korean state ‘begins’ in the Manchurian north in the first century BCE. In the following, early centuries, CE, it is dominated by the Han Chinese. With the fall of the Han, the Japanese become the new invaders. After Japan is driven out in the 7th century, an internally divided Korea is finally united from the north in the 10th century.
By the 14th century, receding Mongol rule has left the new state intact and the Joseon dynasty rises triumphant. Over the next two hundred years of struggle with China and Japan, Korea, though a tributary of China, develops a defensive national identity, and a successful practice of playing off great powers against one another. Repeated occupation by Japan from the late 19th century up until World War Two only strengthens national identity. Japan industrializes Korea and Korea continues a tradition of adopting the best in culture and technology from both friends and enemies. It is Communist North Korea’s effective abandonment by the Soviet Union and isolation by the West, that causes it to fall back on the old, Joseon traditions of wariness, isolation and self-sufficiency.

MOST RECENT BACKGROUND.

In 2003, North Korea defiantly announced that it had enough plutonium for a bomb and withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Between 2003 and 2005, negotiations between North Korea and the international community went nowhere. By the summer of 2006, it had test-fired a ballistic missile. In October, North Korea tested its first nuclear weapon. In November, the United Nations imposed sanctions.

PRESENT SITUATION : November 20, 2006. At the meeting of APEC in Hanoi, the 21 Asia Pacific countries have urged North Korea to return to the bargaining table and resume discussions over its nuclear weapons program- in hopes of bringing peace and stability to the region. But since North Korea bridled at South Korea’s recent support of a UN resolution censuring the North for human rights violations, South Korea has cut off aid to the North, increasing fears of a growing North Korean refugee problem in South Korea and China. China, however has an agreement with Pyongyang to return refugees to North Korea where they are likely to face harsh punishment.

PLUS CA CHANGE: In the middle ages, Korea neglected the study of swordsmanship and sword making, usually to prevent military coups. But by the early 17th century, Korea was trying to learn Japanese sword making methods, having failed to take heed as Japan prepared its invasion of Korea in 1592.

At the opening of the 21st century, Korea’s quest for weapons secrets continues with the same sense of desperation and vulnerability, as Pyongyang works at obtaining and testing nuclear weapons.

CURIOSITY: In the 1990s, a mausoleum reputed to date to the ancient ” Dangun” dynasty of Korea’s founding myth, was discovered near Pyongyang,. But North Korea has so far refused to allow objective archeological testing, by an outside nation, to verify the mausoleum’s Dangun heritage.

HISTORY OF KOREA: CHRONOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

37 BC Koguryo founded in northern Korea and Manchuria. Paekche was the southwest (Seoul) and Silla the SE

-1st century- the Chinese Han occupy Korea.

-3-4th cent. Collapse of the Han- Japan moves into Korea- initiating Japanese contact with China

7th cent- Japanese-held territories driven out of Korea.

668- internal divisions open Korea to Chinese Tang suzerainty.

-900- South Korean state of Shilla is destroyed by the states of Paekche and Koguryo. The unified state of Koryo is formed. Korea faces China’s Sung dynasty as more of an equal.

1238- Koryo falls to Mongols but never successfully controlled..

1392- After the fall of the Mongols, Litan of Korea’s new and greates dynasty, the Joseon, sets up an administrative system which will last until the 20th century. He makes Confucianism and Chinese higher education universal. Korea opens relations with the Ming dynasty and will be protected by China for the next 200 years.

1400s- Korean ‘Hangul’ alphabet is formed under the Joseon

-the Joseon develop the powerful Yangban ruling class.

16th cent. during Joseon period Korea reaches her height in cultural development, science, technology and Confucianism and successful use of Chinese ideas. This period has a profound effect on modern Korea- even its cultural, social ad political attitudes.

-1592 —Japan’s Tokugawa dynasty invades and occupies Korea, looting Korean art.

1600- Japan is finally expelled from Korea. Korea will be in Japan’s zone of control until 1790. A historic hatred develops.

-1627-1636- The Manchu take Korea as they overthrow Ming China

17th cent. As a consequence of the Chinese and Japanese invasions, the Joseon dynasty forms the Hermit Kingdom, by building fortresses, limiting contacts with other nations, enforcing stricter border controls, and controls in trade. This period is one of the sources for the CHUCHE ideology.

19th cent. Europe’s use of punitive expeditions against Korea for its mistreatment of missionaries and adventurers only hardens the sense of isolation that began with the Hermit Kingdom.

-1894-5- Japan invades China, overrunning Korea. Now Japanese influence replaces Chinese while the Japanese insist on “civilizing” reforms. But Korean absolutism returns quickly.

1910- After defeating Russia at Port Arthur, Japan formally takes Korea and begins systematic industrialization.

1945- Korea gains independence from Japan

-1945- As with Berlin- Korea is divided between communist east and democratic west. The. Industrial north is occupied by Russia while the agricultural south is occupied by the US.

1950- Backed by Stalin, North Korea invades US-occupied South Korea.

1953- end of the Korean War.

1955- North Korea proclaims its Chiche ideology.

1970s- North Korea’s Communist dictator Kim Il Sung grooms his son Kim Jong Il for the succession. They live like the secluded royalty of the medieval Confucian Yangban class- even though feudalism and Confucianism have been repudiated.

1991- the two Koreas agree not to develop nuclear weapons.

-early 1990s- North Korea working on a nuclear program.

1994- death of Kim Il Sung.

1997- Succession of Kim Jong Il as supreme commander of the military and de facto head of state.

-1998- floods, crop failures, food shortages result in famine.

2001-2002- US President Bush declares North Korea part of the ‘Axis of Evil’.

2002- North Korea is discovered to be developing a weapons program and expels UN weapons inspectors.

2003- North Korea withdraws from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and reports that it has enough plutonium to build a nuclear bomb

2003-2005- meetings with the international community to retrain North Korea from developing a weapons program. No agreement is reached.

2006- after missile tests, North Korea tests a nuclear device in October. The UN imposes sanctions.

NOV. 21- LEBANON- PIERRE GEMAYEL ASSASSINATED.

HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG: Historical differences between the westward-looking multicultural Lebanese coast and inward-looking Arab Syria are irritated for a second time by assassination.

IN THE NEWS: Lebanon's finance minister, Pierre Gemayel is assassinated. Syria is strongly suspected.

IN A NUTSHELL: The assassination of Pierre Gemayel, if ordered by Syria, may point to a division in the ruling elite of Syria- a division which may reflect Syria's own historical split between the cosmopolitan west and pro-Arab, conservative east.

THEN AND NOW: In ancient times, Syria was the western, Mediterranean end of several empires that stretched eastward all the way from Iran and Mesopotamia. The tension between east and west has made modern Syria the scene of a split between westernized, coastal Lebanon and Arab interior and east. A tension that continues to this day.

PROXIMATE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. Only months before Gemayel's death, Lebanon's pro-western Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri was assassinated, allegedly for standing up against continued Syrian control of Lebanon. After massive, Lebanese nationalist demonstrations and international outcry, Syria's President Bashir Assad withdrew Syrian forces from Lebanon and achknowledged Lebanon's independence. He may even have beeen sincere, since he has just adopted a new policy of tilting to the west by helping the US bring security to neighbouring Iraq. But his regime may be split. When Gemayel was murdered, Assad's intelligence chief Asef Shawkat and his brother, Maher Assad had just been neen named as the suspected instigators in a UN investigation into the Lebanese P.M., Hariri's death. They may have arranged Gemayel's death to discourage any further investigation of the Hariri affair.There is also reason to believe that Maher Assad and Asef Shawkat want to see the return of Syrian domination of Lebanon and are trying to maintain a pro-Arab and anti-Western line against President Assad's new, more moderate stance.

There is also reason to believe that Syrian Intelligence chief Shawkat, the President's brother-in-law, is something of a maverick and strong-man; and he may at some point try to attempt a pro-Arab coup against President Bashir Assad, who is perceived as weak and leaning too far to the west.

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. In 1861, when Lebanon and Syria were still part of the Ottoman Empire, Druze Muslims in Lebanon massacred a community of Maronite Christians. As a result, the Ottoman rulers granted the Christians an autonomous, protected enclave. When the Ottoman Empire crumbled after World War I, Syria fell under French mandate and the French expanded the Christian enclave into a modern Lebanon, separate from Syria. Lebanon, under largely Christian rule, continued to lean toward the west while Syria leaned toward the Arab east. Between the wars, French misrule and atrocities further alienated Syria from the west. In Lebanon, in the 1970s, after Muslims and Christians fell into civil war over Christian minority rule, Syria intervened in the 1980s to restore order. Syrian occupation led to Syrian domination of Lebanon until the assasination of Prime Minister Rafiq Harirr in 2005.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. There is an elemental contradiction in Syria. On the one hand, it was the site of the 7th-8th century Islamic Umayyad Caliphate that stretched from Mesopotamia to Spain. On the other hand, Syria and the Lebanon coast have long beem the scene of western outposts in the Arab world. They were part of the Eastern Roman empire until Islamic conquest in the mid-7th century. In the middle Ages, they were repeatedly occupied by European Crusaders. Even after the Crusaders left, the coast saw Arab trade with the west. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was through trade that France maintained close ties to Syria. As a result, Lebanon became the most advanced, cosmopolitian and multicultural society in the Middle East.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Historicaly, the region, known as Syria, stretches eastward from the Mediterranean into Mesopotamia. Straddling Meditarreanan wast and Arab east, it was almost inevitable that Syria should split. The 19th century feud between Druze Muslims and Christians in the coastal regions provided the occasion. Mediterranean Lebanon fell away from Asian Syria when the French made them separate countries. But Syria, perhaps moved by a sense that it carries the historical mantle of the old Umayyad Caliphate and perhaps even the Ottoman Empire, has always had its eye on regaining Lebanon as part of greater Syria. The civil war in Lebanon provided an opportunity for Syria to assert the claim on the grounds of restoring order. Syrias's withdrawal from Lebanon after the Hariri assassination in 2005 did not put an end to those ambitions. Instead, Syria's rulers may, themselves, be slpit over whether to reoccupy Lebanon.

PRESENT SITUATION: As Lebanon's western-oriented Siniora government points the finger at Syria in the Gemayel assasination and demands another international investigation, the pro-Syrian Hezbollah Party holds massive demonstrations for the elections that it says would put it in power. The aim could be to deflect attention from the Gemayel case and to put pro-Syrian forces back in power.

PLUS CA CHANGE: In 1914, the British were already working out a division of the Ottoman empire, from southern Iraq to Syria, with Hussein, the Grand Sherif of Mecca. The British tried to claim Syria, west of Damascus, which would include the Lebanese coastal region. In response Hussein held out for the coastal areas of Beirut and Aleppo as well as the Iraqi regions of Baghdad and Basra. Hence, it was the coastal area that the British and the Arabs disagreeed on.

MOST RECENT BACKGROUND.

2004- Syrian President Bashir Assad, in a private meeting with Lebanon's western-oriented Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, allegedly delivers a veiled threat of death should Hariri refuse to accept an extension of Syrian-backed President Lahoud's mandate to rule Lebanon.

2005- Hariri, who has almost rebuilt Lebanon in the wake of the war, resigns rather than confirm an extension of the mandate of Syria's proconsul, President Lahoud.

2005- February 14- Hariri is assassinated. Syria is strongly suspected. A national outpouring of support for Hariri, combined with international censure, forces Syria out of Lebanon.

THE REMOTE BACKGROUND:

-18th century. The French form close trade relations with Syria.

-the coastal area around Beirut and Tyre becomes the most Europeanized part of the Muslim world. The printing press and newspapers arrive there earlier than anywhere else in Islam.

-1861- Druze Muslims massacre Maronite Christians. As a result the Maronite Christians are awarded a special enclave.

-1920- as part of the Sevres settlement between the allies and the Ottomoan empire at the end of World War I, Syria comes under French mandate.

-the Lebanese Maronite Christian enclave is expanded to form modern Lebanon, governed separately from Syria but still under French mandate. It includes coastal Muslim regions despite Muslim protest.

CURIOSITY: The printing press and newspapers arrive in Lebanon earlier than anywhere else in the Arab world.

QUOTE: on the history of Lebanon: "In this current crisis, the combination of sects and groups and countries that are allied or opposed may be new, but these configurations seem mostly another incarnation of Lebanon's centuries-old story. Ottoman Turks once guarded Sunni interests in Lebanon. while the French gave protection to Marionites, the Russians helped the Greek Orthodox, and the British had a loose partnership with the Druze; later Muslims turned to Egypt and Syria to replace the Ottomans. The Shiites have always looked to Iran or to the Shiite clerics of Iraq...In Lebanon, things change so that they can remain the same." -Charles Glass, 'The Lord of No Man's Land'- Harper's, March 2007.

HISTORY OF SYRIA; HISTORY OF LEBANON: CHRONOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

2250 BC- Syria-Lebanon is part of the Akkadian Empire.

1850 BC- the Kingdom of Egypt rules the Lebanese coastal region.

1600 BC- Lebanon-Syria occupied by the Hurrians.

1300 BC- the Amorites. Lebanon is on a trade route stretching fromm Ur in southern Iraq tp Assur in norhtern Iraq, to Aleppo in north Syria and down through Lebanon toward Egypt.

-1200 BC- Prompted by the Dorian invasions from the north of Greece and into Anatolia, the Luvians of Anatola occupy Syria-Lebanon.

-1000 -670 BC Phoenician civilization developes along the coast.

670 BC- Lebanon is ruled by the kingdom of Tyre as the Assyrian Empire dominates the region.

560 BC- Lebanon-Syria is ruled by Babylon.

480 BC- the region is part of the Persian Empire.

323 BC- Alexander the Great of Macedon takes the Lebanese coastal area on his march to Egypt.

301 BC- the region is ruled by Alexander's successor, Antigonus.

270 BC -Syria-Lebanon is rulled by the Macedonian Seleucid kings.

220 BC- the coastal region is ruled by Ptolemaic Egypt.

192 BC- Lebanon-Syria has fallen back under Seleucid rule.

74 BC- the region falls briefly under the rule of Armenia.

44 BC- the region has been taken by Rome with Syria to become a Roman province.

AD 395- -Syria-Lebanon is part of the Oriens region of the Eastern Roman Empire.

644- Syria-Lebanon is ruled by Islam.

-Late 7th century- the Islamic Umayyad Caliphate rules from Damascus.

-11th to 13th centuries- the Crusaders invade Syria.

-1187- Lebanon is held by the Crusaders, while the the Ayubids who oppose them rule from Syria.

-1258- the Mongols briefly take Damascus.

-1400 (circa) The Syrian military elite, the Mamelukes repel invasion from the east by the Samarkand conqueror, Tamerlane.

-1520-1566- the region is taken by the Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent.

-1580 (circa)- in Rome, Gregory XIII founds a seminary to train Maronite seminarians for the clergy.

-1600-1900- Lebanese tribal chiefs encourage French Catholic missionaries to develope education in the country. Rome-educated Maronite priests reutrn to Lebanon and spread western ideas.

1649- Ottoman Sultan issues a decree allowing France's Louis XIV to protect the Maronites. French clergy and French-educated maronite priests begin to influence political institutions.

-18th century. The French form close trade relations with Ottoman Syria.

-the coastal area around Beirut and Tyre becomes the most Europeanized part of the Muslim world.

-Maronite Christians, with French support and European cultural influence begin to challenge the Druzes.

-1860- in Ottoman Lebanon, Druze Muslims clash with Maronite Christians. Maronites were considered to be dhimmi, like Jews and Christians- 2nd class citizens.

-1861- Druze Muslims massacre Maronite Christians. France intervenes and forces the Ottoman sultan to appoint an Oslmanli Christian governor for a special province or 'Sanjak' of Lebanon. As a result the Maronite Christians are awarded a special enclave.

-a Majlis or administrarive council is set up on the basis of equal representation of Maronites, Greek Cathilics, Greek Orthodox, Druzes, Metawilas Muslims and other Muslim sects.

-the Vatican conducts its affairs in Lebanonthrough French diplomats.

-1878- Frenc predomionance in Lebanon is recognized by the Berlin Treaty. Lebanese eastern Christians become a means of French influence in the Levant.

1864-1914- the Ottoman province of Mount Lebanon retains semi-autonomous status. But during this period many Lebanese Christians flee Ottoman rule or internal violence. The lirnks maintained between Lebanese abroad and those still at home form an important cultural bridge between Lebanon and Europe.

-however, Muslims educated in Europe did not form the same bonds with the west and western ways. Even Lebanese Muslims educated abroad continued to identify with thieir Osmanli rulers.

1914- post-Ottomoan Turkey retains the ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon.

-1919- the US King-Crane Commission finds that Maronites want to retain cose ties with France while the Muslim majority opposes separating Lebanon from Syria. The Commission recommends the compromise of an autonomous Lebanese provinc within a larger Syrian State.

-1920- as part of the Sevres settlement between the allies and the Ottomoan empire at the end of World War I, Syria comes under French mandate.

-the Turkish ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon is enlarged by the French into ‘Greater Lebanon’.

-the Lebanese Maronite Christian enclave is expanded to form modern Lebanon, governed separately from Syria but still under French mandate. It includes coastal Muslim regions despite Muslim protest.

- Lebanon, on becoming a League of nations Mandate, increases in size, bringing its Muslim population almost to parity with the Maronite Christian establishment.

1925-26- uprising by the Druze Muslims. They are a Shia sect who still revered as an incarnation of God the 11th century Shia Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim who is said to have been taken up to heaven.

1926- Lebanon’s new Communal Constitution, modeled on that of the French Third Republic, representation in the assembly favours Maronites to Muslims, 6 to 5. This majority was to become permanent despite changes in the population. The President was to be a maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni and the Speaker a Shia Muslim.

-Lebanon is run by an agreement between Maronite and Orthodox Christians, Druzes, Shia and Sunni Muslims that required self-discipline and rejected radicalism. The Maronites and the Sunnis are the dominant groups but this ruling entente was run by the Higher Muslim Council which represented all the sects.

-the Lebanese inherit the political system of France's fifth republic which allocates parliamentary positions according to relgion: the President has to be a Christian, the prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, the speaker a Muslim; half the parliament must be Muslim.

1930-1939- the French put down several rebellions in Syria while trying to establish their mandate and alienate much of the population.

1936- Pierre Jumayyil, educated in France brings the idea of a Fascist militia to Lebanon, which he names the Phalanges Libanaises, founded to oppose Pan Arabism.

-most Lebanese Maronites are linguistically and culturally French.

1941- Britain and the Free French liberate Lebanon from Vichy France.

1943- the National Pact settles differences between Muslims and Christians.

1943- The French and the British send a joint expedition to Syria to keep it out of Nazi control.

1945- Jan 1- Lebanon becomes independent. But the Muslms tend to want to be part of Syria and the Christians regard themselves as part of Europe, having no real connection with the Arab World. They called themselves Phoenicianists, considering themselves a Mediterranean, not an Arab civilization.

1945- after World War II, the influence of the Maronites declines with the withdrawal of the French and the British.

1946- Syria attains independence from France.

-Communist Syria becomes the site of cold-war rivalry between the United States and the Societ Union.

1948- as a member of the Arab League, Lebanon declares war on Israel.

1949- Lebanon is made to receive 300,000 Palestinian refugees. 100,000 are in 15 major camps, five of which ring the capital, controlling entry and exits from Beirut.

1952 -Maronite Camille Chamoun becomes President, favouring the West against the leftist, pan-Arab Nasserite movement.

- Lebanon has a bloodless revolution.

1956- many Lebanese begin to follow Nasser. Muslims believed they had lost the prestige they had had under the Ottomans before 1920 when the Franch separated Lebanon from Syria.

-until 1958- Lebanese governments tried to steer a middle course, reaching out both to the west and the Arab world.

1958- Syria and Egypt form the United Arab Republic in order to form an Arab socialist camp independent from the Societ Union.

1958- Unrest during the Suez Crisis. Chamoun’s acceptance of US aid and his opposition to a union of Syria and Egypt causes fighting between Christians and Pan Arab Nasserites, the latter with Syrian and Egyptian support. Pierre Jumayyil’s Maronite Phalanges Libanaises supports Chamoun. The Maronites invite intervention by US Marines. The Soviet Union protests.

-Kamal Jumblatt, leader of the Jumblatt clan and the Druze Muslims, supports the Nasserites, opposes the Communal Constitution. He also founds the Progressive Socialist party.

-Chamoun resigns, forms the National Liberal party and becomes the leader of the Maronite Chrisitians, favouring pluralism against an Arabism.

-General Fouad Chebab, a Muslim becomes president. US troops are withdrawn. Chebab restores Muslim parity with Christians in the assembly. Lebanon begins to lean toward the Arab states.

1961- The United Arab Republic dissolves due to a Baathist coup in Syria.

1961- Syria’s withdrawal from a Pan Arab union with Egypt aggravates a rift between pro Arb and pro Western forces in Lebanon.

1962- Syria incites a coup to draw Lebanon into a ;Greater Syria but the plot is crushed.

-the late 60s- Palestinian Resistance units begin to infiltrate south Lebanon Kamal Jumblatt encourages their entry into Lebanon in order to weaken the Maronites.

1967- Lebanon gives lip service to the Arab cause in the Six Day War but tries to steer a middle course.

1968- Dec. 28- Israel raids Beruit Airport in reprisal for a Lebanon-based Palestinian attack on an Israeli plane in Athens.

1969- after attempting to limit the PLO’s activities, the Lebanese army engages against PLO units.

1970- Bashir and Amin Jamayyel begint to take over leadership of the Maronite Phalange from their father Pierre. Their ascendance begins the eclipse of Chamoun.

1970s- Civil war breaks out when Shia and Druze Muslims rebel against Maronite Christians and Sunni rule.

-the war complicates as the PLO, driven out by the Israelis, sets up around Beirut. The PLO sides with the Drize and Shia in the civil war.

1970-71- King Hussein of Jordan expels refugees from the 1967 war into Lebanon. These refugees join PLO cells rather than Lebanese society. The PLO forms the sole government of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, forming a state within a state.

-Amin Jemayeil, younger son of Pierre Jemayyel, becomes president upon the assassination of his elder brother, Bashir.

-Syria expels the PLO into Lebanon for spreading radicalism.

-poor Muslims in Lebanon look to the PLO rather than to Lebanon as their authority.

-Muslim militias AMAL and the Muslim Lebanese national Movement (LNM) are formed.

-Muslims become aware that, due to their increasing birth rate and the declining Maronite.birthrate (and the high rate of Maronite emigration) relative populations are no longer accurately represented by the governing accord. Moreover, the Christians still form the economic elite while the poorest elements are Muslim.

1972- fighting flares up between the Lebanese Army and Palestinian units.

1973- a brief upsurge of sectarian fighting. The Lebanese army engages Palestinian groups.

1973- Lebanon stays neutral in the Yom Kippur war.

1974- Palestianian groups launch attacks from Lebanon against Israel.

1975- Sakris becomes president.

1975- Left wing Shia and Druze Muslims supported by Syria revolt against Arab Maronite Christian (Eastern Chrisitians in communion with Rome) and Sunni control of the government. The Maronites are supported by Israel. The Druzes are led by Kamal Jumblatt, the Shia by Moussa Sadr.

-Shia leader Moussa Sadr undermines the Higher Muslim Council by calling for a Higher Shia Council.

-the war complicates as the PLO, driven out of Palestine by the Israelis and from Syria by the Syrians sets up around Beirut, using Lebanon as a new base for sorties against Israel.

1975- with Egypt having signed a peace accord with Israel, Syria’s Alawite regime decides to take over leadership of the Arab cause from Egypt by backing the PLO rebellion in Lebanon.

-the Shia form an alliance with the left of the PLO.

-The PLO sides with Druze and Shia Muslims and the LNM militia in the growing civil war. Government order dissolves into anarchy.

1976- Syria forms the Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) and invades Lebanon at the request of Suleiman Franjieh, supporting the Maronites to prevent the Palestinians from gaining control. Syrian intervention is opposed by Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt.

-Oct- a ceasefire fails to last.

1976- the PLO shifts to southern Lebanon, out of reach of Syria’s ADF, but giving Arafat more direct control over them.

-West Beirut is riven by competing militias.

-East and North Beirut is the objective of Christian militias backed by Israel.

-fighting continues despite the presence of Multinational Peace Troops.

1977- Druze leader, Kamal Jumblatt is assassinated and succeeded by his son Walid as head of the Progressive Socialist Party.

1978- March- June – seeing that there is no longer any central authority in Lebanon to deal with the PLO, Israel invades in an attempt to crush the PLO in southern Lebanon and forms a security zone north of the Israeli border.

-the UN sends in an ineffective UNIFIL force of 6,000.

1980s- Syria sends its army in to restore order and occupies Lebanon. Syria and the PLO hold separate parts of the country.

-the Soviet Union provides arms for Syria and the PLO.

-East and North Beirut is the objective of Christian militias backed by Israel.

-fighting continues despite the presence of Multinational Peace Troops.

1977- Druze leader, Kamal Jumblatt is assassinated and succeeded by his son Walid as head of the Progressive Socialist Party.

1978- March- June – seeing that there is no longer any central authority in Lebanon to deal with the PLO, Israel invades in an attempt to crush the PLO in southern Lebanon and forms a security zone north of the Israeli border.

-the UN sends in an ineffective UNIFIL force of 6,000.

1980s- Syria sends its army in to restore order and occupies Lebanon. Syria and the PLO hold separate parts of the country.

-the Soviet Union provides arms for Syria and the PLO.

1982- -Israel invades Beirut and drives out the PLO. In the process it allows a proxy force of Christian militias to assacre Palestinaian refugees in the Shabra and Shatila refugeee camps.

1982- Israel iwipes out PLO strongholds in Tyre and Sidon, attacks Beirut by land, air and sea. Israeli troops encircle and bomb East Beirut, home of the PLO HQ. Israel drives out Syria and the PLO- sending the PLO to resettle in various Arab counties under the eye of international peace keepers.

1980s- Syria sends its army in to restore orders and permanently occupies Lebanon.

Aug. Maronite Bashir Gemael is elected President.

-Sept.- When president Bashir Gemayel of Lebanon is assassinated in a bombing of the Cgristian Falangist headquarters,, Israel, fearing further instability, occupies Beirut. In the process it allows a proxy force of Christian Maronite militias to massacre Palestinian refugees in the Shabra and Shatila refugee camps- the Christians probably doing do in retaliation for the death of Gemayel.

-Bashir’s brother Amin Gemayel is elected president.

-the US pressures Israel for a settlement.

-the expulsion of the PLO from Lebanon results in the creation of Hezbollah as the new resistance to Israeli occupation, dedicated also to the annihilation of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian theocracy.

-Israeli troops occupy southern lebanon to stop sorties against Israel by the PLO and the Shia militia, Hezbollah.

1983- April- a bomb destroys the US embassy in Beruit, killing 50.

- May- in a treaty brokered by the US, President Amin Jemayyil, though a Maronite must ask Israel, as well as Syria, to withdraw, if he is to retain national support. Even if it exposes him to Druze and Muslim militias. Nevertheless he successfully negotiates Israeli withdrawal. The Syrians, however, refuse to withdraw.

-when Israel finally withdraws, the Christian militias clash with Syrian backed Druze militias.

-Multinational Peace Troops suffer bomb attacks, killing 230 US maries and 58 French partroopers.

-fighting continues despite the 1982 ceasefire.

-1984- Israeli troops are forced to withdraw to their south Lebanon security zone.

-the Christian, South Lebanese Army, with the aid of Israeli troops, occupies south Lebanon.

-mid 1980s- various militias begin taking westerners hostage.,

-Shia women begin wearing the black Chador as a gesture of traditionalist solidarity.

-in the absence of Israel, Lebanese factions turn on one another as the civil war fragments.

-President Amin Jemayyel is forced to recognize Syrian influence.

-President Jemayyel refuses to reduce the the permanent Maronite majority in the Taif Accord.assembly.

-PLO units filter back into Lebanon.

-1988- Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore order. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt reluctantly accepts Syrian intervention.

-Sept. President Amin Gamayel’s term ends. Due to the impossibility of elections, he brings in military government by Maronite Michal Aoun whose mandate is to expel Syria.

-Syran troops are attacked by the Lebanese army, led by General Michel Aoun.

-the Arab league brokers a truce between Muslims and Christians but makes no mention of Syrian occupation.

-1989 the Arab League proposes the Ta’if Accord, signed by the last members of the assembly standing before the civil war in 1975; the accord reduces the representation of Maronite Christians in the Lebanese government. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt accepts it reluctantly.

1989-1990- revolts against Syrian occupation by Gen. Michel Aoun are put down by Syria and Aoun is forced to leave the country.

1990s- Hezbollah drives Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.

1990- President Muawad assassinated. President Hrawi succeds him.

-internecine fighting among Christian groups.

- Syria quietly re-occuppies Lebanon and enforces the Ta’if Accord.

-early 1990s- the militias begin releasing western hostages.

- Nov. -rival Shia groups make peace among themselves.

-1991- a government of national unity is established. A timetable for disarmament of the militias is established.

-the Lebanese army prepares to re-take control of the south.

-Aug- peace talks with Israel, Syria and a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation continue through 1992.

1992- fighting continues between various groups; and the Syrian military and the PLO are still in Lebanon.

-a general election in Lebanon is boycotted by many Maronite Christian parties. Amal and Hezbollah gain the most seats and Rafiq Hariri becomes Prime Minister. The constitution dictates that the president must be a maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the 108 member parliament divided equally between Christians and Muslms.

-the last of the hostages are released.

1990s- Hezbollah gradually drives Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.

2000- Under pressure from its own people, Israel withdraws its troops from the security zone, hence from Lebanon altogether.

2001- Syria withdraws 25,000 troops from Beruit but leaves 20,000 in the surrounding area.

2004- Aug. Under Syrian pressure, its own man in Lebanon, President Lahoud, remains in office beyond the constitutional six year time limit.

2004- Syrian President Bashir Assad, in a private meeting with Lebanon's western-oriented Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, allegedly delivers a veiled threat of death should Hariri refuse to accept an extension of Syrian-backed President Lahoud's mandate to rule Lebanon.

2005- Hariri, who has almost rebuilt Lebanon in the wake of the war, resigns rather than confirm an extension of the mandate of Syria's proconsul, President Lahoud.

2005- February 14- Hariri is assassinated. Syria is strongly suspected. A national outpouring of support for Hariri, combined with international censure, forces Syria out of Lebanon.

-the new, pro-West, independence government of Prime Minister Sinioria is faced with heavy representation of the the Syria-supported Hezbollah Party in parliament and Cabinet.

2006- July- Hezbollah kidnaps Israel soldiers in the border area with Israel. In response, Israel invades Lebanon in order to destroy Hezbollah and cut off all support for hezbollah by Syria and Iran.

2006- November- the UN investigation of the murder of Rafiq Hariri implicates four Lebanese generals suspected of carrying out the attack on Syrian orders. Syria's president Bashir Assad's inner cicrcle is named as the instigator of the plot.

-Lebanon's finance minister, Pierre Gemayel is assassinated. Syria, once again is suspected. In light of UN disclosure of Syria's implication in the Hariri assassination, Syria is suspected of attempting to derail any further inquiries.

-Hezbollah holds masss demonstrations for the resignation of the Sinioria government and new elections that will more acurately show, in Hezbollah's view, the strength of the Shia vote.

DEC 9, 2006- LATIN AMERICA- THE BOLIVIA SUMMIT

HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

TAG: Despite common cultures and languages, Latin American nations try once again to overcome historical differences and conflicting interests.

IN THE NEWS: December 9, 2006. The Bolivia Summit concludes. Latin American leaders meet in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to discuss the formation of a Latin American community similar to the European Union. Venezuela’s Chavez and Peru’s Garcia resort to name-calling when Chavez accuses Garcia of being a puppet of Washingtron.

IN A NUTSHELL: Latin American nations, perennially set against one another by geographical barriers, territorial rivalries, relative internal isolation, global economic cycles and by rapid but irregular technological advances, are once again trying to overcome their historical disunity. The summit concludes with a commitment to set up a study group in Buenos Aires, to plan the economic union.

THEN AND NOW: In 1826, Simon Bolivar taking note of possible US ambitions cloaked in the Monroe Doctrine, held a meeting in Panama for Latin American unity. Over a century and a half later, Latin American Nations,in the shadow of the North American Free Trade Agreement, continue efforts to work out their own economic union. While Bolivar’s attempt failed, the modern initiatives are progressing slowly.

PROXIMATE BACKGROUND:. . In 1990 the Mercosur trading Bloc was founded, comprising Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Venezuela and Uruguay. In 1994, there was a meeting of all the Americas in Miami to discuss a hemispheric trading bloc but little progress was made. For a while, Mercosur’s success was spectacular. Peru and Ecuador, meanwhile, had a border conflict over Amazon territory that was partially resolved with a treaty in 1998. Ecuador adopted the US dollar as its currency in 2000.. In 2001, US gPresident George W. Bush floated the idea of a hemispheric trading zone to come into being by 2005. Despite, intetrest in access to US markets, little has materialized. In 2001-2002, Mercosur weakened with Arentina’s economic collapse.

DISTANT BACKGROUND: By 1900, Latin American nations, if undeveloped, were relatively prosperous but still looked toward the outside world rather than toward one another. After WW I , US investment increased exponentially until the Great Depression threw the region into turmoil. With diminishing returns and increasing economic conflict, nationalism increased along with resistance to foreign influence. The 1930s brought a period of internal instability as well, marked by palace coups and populist dictatorships. The Second World War, which embroiled the rest of the world, brought a demand for Latin American raw materials and the economies improved. By the end of the war, Latin America was finally undergoing an industrial revolution. At the same time, however, there developed a feeling that Latin American economies and their populations were being exploited by Europe and especially the United States. American attempts to stymie Communism in the region with aid programs collapsed due to mismanagement. With the oil recession of the 1970s, came another phase of political turmoil driven by economic downturns and polarizing the populations of many countries between a congeries of leftist parties and right-wing dictatorships.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and an improvement in the world economy eased these tensions but altogether, violent economic cycles, rapid population increase and technological advance tended to pull Latin American nations apart from one another rather then to unite them in any common purpose.

.REMOTE BACKGROUND:. In contrast to a later history of secession and disunity, the Spanish Monarchy was adept at holding together not only the regions of the Iberian Peninsula but all her American colonies under tight, centralized rule. The basis of administration was the ‘audiencia’. The audiencias corresponded to modern Latin American capitals. When the legitimacy of rule by the Bourbon monarchy came into question after Napoleon’s invasion of Spain and the deposition of the king, the colonies began to feel ‘the people’ was the natural proxy for the absent monarchy. The unification of Latin America has been a dream as old as the career of Latin America’s liberator, Simon Bolivar, who did all in his power to prevent the liberated continent from flying apart. But after 1830, in the absence of the unifying force of the monarchy, geographical separation and tough terrain encouraged the regions to break away from one another. Instead of adhering to any universal center, popular loyalty was to the local ‘audiencias’ the former administrative capitals of the empire which became the new national capitals. Bourbon reforms of the late 18th century, which had undermined the audiencia system with new administrative centers, inspired further secessions. Geographical isolation was exacerbated by lines of communication, llike road and rail, running east west instead of along the natural, north-south geographical faults. It’s not surprising that throughout the nineteenth century, the new nations tended to be orientated toward America and Europe rather than toward one another. Moreover, relations among them were strained by political and territorial disputes and occasional wars.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Under the rule of Spain, isolation in huge spaces during settlement and development led to local political self-sufficiency. After the independence wars of the early 1820s and the fragmentation of the three great Spanish audiencias into multiple national entitities, the new nations turned against one another in territorial and political disputes throughout the nineteenth century. During this period, Latin American. Nations were oriented toward Europe and America rather than to one another. The history of union and disunion was, in the 19th century, largely political and complicated by repeated wars. In the twentieth century and into the twenty-first the background to unity and disunity has been mostly economic.

PRESENT SITUATION: At the Bolivia Summit, it was resolved that a proposed Latin American economic community would be evaluated by a study group in Rio De Janeiro with a focus on poverty. Prominent are Bolivia’s Evio Morales, Peru’s Alan Garcia, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Brazil’s Lula Da Silva, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega and Venazualan President Hugo Chavez. . Bolivia’s Morales and Chile’s Michelle Bachelet improved diplomatic relations which have been strained ever since a war betwen the two nations in 1879. With Chavez working on deals whereby oil-rich Venezuela would join forces with Ecuador and gas-rich Boliva , different views emerged among many parties on how to deal with damage done by US free-trade practices.

PLUS CA CHANGE: Colonial Venezuela was originally part of the captaincy general of Colombia, In the early 19th century, the liberated, former captaincy-generals of Peru and Bolivar’s own Gran Colombia separated violently. In 2006, at the Bolivia Summit, Venezuela’s Chavez, who sees himself as an heir to Bolivar, and Peru’s Garcia exchanged angry words. Though the dispute was over US influence, national rivalry is never far below the surface.

CURIOSITY: Uruguay, with the encouragement of the British, was actually created in 1828 as a buffer between two warring neighbours, Argentrina and Brazil.

HISTORY OF LATIN AMERICA: CHRONOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

-Spain has four Viceroyalties- Mexico, Gran Colombia, Peru and La Plata. And northward- New Spain, from Texas to Costa Rica.

Monroe Doctrine- Washington declares the world of the Americas to be off bounds to Europe.

1821- due to enormous regions, Latin American Revolutions fail to achieve anything more than a local consciousness of liberty and nation.

1826- In Panama, encouraged by the Monroe Doctrine, Simon Bolivar calls a congress to discuss the unity of the newly independent Spanish American nations but no commitment is reached. Only Mexico, Central America. Colombia and Peru attend. Peruvian plan of confederation was opposed by Colombia.

-1820s- war between Arentina and Brazil until they agreed with Britian to make Uruguay a buffer between them.

-an Andean Confederation of Peru, Columbia and Bolivia never gets anywhere.

-1830s- an attempted union of Peru and Bilivia is broken up by Chile.

-Bolivar’s own Gran Colombia disintegrates as Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela separate.

1840- the Central American region of New Spain has broken up into separate nations.

-19th century- disputes between nations grow over resources, land and waterways. North-south geographical lines and east-west man-made lines of communication by road and rail have exacerbated disunity.

1840-1870- territorial disputes and Uruguayan internal instability result in wars between Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay.

-territorial dispute between Chile and Peru over territory rich in nitrates.

-1879 : Chile seizes Bolivia’s pacific coast.

-Argentina and Uruguay quarrel over the La Plata Estuary.

-1900- Latin America knows relative prosperity.

1918- After WW I US investment in Latin America increases.

1929- US investment in Latin America represents 40 per cent of all foreign investment.

1930s- Latin America is hit by world-wide depression. Nationalism increases as well as rivalry with other Latin American states and rejection of foreign influence. Industries and banks are nationalized. All countries save Mexico experience military coups.

-1932-1935 -the Chaco war between Bolivia and Paraguay over a river which would give Paraguay access to the sea.

1940-1960- Latin America undergoes an industrial revolution, with displacement of rural populations and exploitation of rural areas by industrial elites.

1948- the US founds the Economic Commission for Latin America in Santiago, Chile. However, under the guidance of Chilean economist Raul Prebisch, ECLA theorizes that that the world is divided into a manufacturing center and a periphery that provides commodities. The goal of ECLA is to bring about a strong statism in Latin American countries so that they can get structural control over the price of commodities, not leaving them to be set by the nations of the manufacturing center. Latin American governments find themselves caught between the statism of the ECLA and American pressure for a free market.

1959-60- US forms Inter-American Development Bank and plans to raise the standard of living in Latin America. Many of these programs have an eye on preventing the growth of Communism.

-21- nation Organization of American States is formed.

-with populations growing so quickly, however, it’s nearly impossible for any amount of aid to keep up with increasing poverty.

1961- recognizing that no nation in Latin America could import enough to support its population, leaders agreed that national industries would have to be set up and to do so inaugurated the Latin American Free Trade Association along the lines of the European Common market. LAFTA began by reducing tarrifs.

-American ‘good will’ is rejected everywhere. President Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress to fund development in Latin America is, in the end, futie due to mismagement.

1969- a meeting of Latin American governments where no US representative is invited. Anti-US sentiments are aired.

1970s-1980s- Deep problems are revealed within Latin American eocnomies. Some of it has to do with rapid population growth. Much has to do with the 1970s oil crisis. Mismanagement augments huge foreign debts. Dictatorsips are formed in response to revolutionary unrest.

-the effect of modern, technological change on old cultures and inequality causes increasing differences among Latin American nations.

-Mercosur, a customs union of Argentina, Brazil and Peru aims for free trade among those countries by 1994.

1994- NAFTA forms an ecnomic union of Canada, the United States and Mexico.

-1994- A Summit of the Americas in Miami discusses free trade between all North and South American nations.

1998- A second summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, reaches no conclusion on account of being blocked by internal disagreements in the US

2001- US President George W. Bush floats the idea of a hemispheric trading zone to come into being by 2005.


HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

DEC. 27- ETHIOPIA INVADES SOMALIA


Index

Darfur, Nov. 18 06

Latin American Economic Union- Dec. 9 06.

Lebanon-Syria Nov. 21 06

North Korea - Nov. 20 06.

ETHIOPIA INVADES SOMALIA.

TAG: Two historical forces in Somalia, Islam and the dream of a greater ethnic Somalia, combine with Islamist radicalism to revive a centuries old conflict with Ethiopia.

IN THE NEWS: December 27, 2006- Invading Ethiopian forces together with troops from Somalia’s Transitional Government, continue to push the forces of Somalia’s rival, Islamist government, the Union of Islamic Courts, back on Mogadishu.

IN A NUTSHELL: Somalia, a highly fissile, tribal territory and only recently a nation, has reasserted historical claims against parts of Ethiopia, claims asserted ever since a Somali Jihad in the 17th century. Then, as now, Somalia, an Islamic nation was fighting a Christian nation, Ethiopia. Ethiopia has retaliated and the quick collapse of Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts, which had recently wrested much of Somalia from its official government, has revealed once again that Somallia is ruled federally by tribes and remains resistant to strong, central government.

THEN AND NOW: The horn of Africa, where African west meets Arab East, has long been a site of large-scale geopolitical struggle. In the late 1970s, in the struggle over the Ogaden region, the USSR backed Ethiopia while the United States backed Somalia. Once again, outside powers have taken up the struggle, this time with the US supporting Ethiopia and Al Qeada lending support to Somali rebels of the Union of Islamic Courts.

PROXIMATE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS.

February, 2006- the UIC starts a struggle against local warlords for control of Somalia.

June, 2006- the UIC drives Somali warlords out of Mogadishu.

Dec. 4- US General John Abizaid visits Adis Ababba. The United States, worried about assistance being given to Somali Islamists by Al Qaeda, has, until now, backed Ethiopia only covertly.

Dec. 8 Troops of Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts engages militarily with Somalia's

Transitional Government which is backed by Ethiopia. Ethiopia fears that its former territory, Eritrea might be backing the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). Ethiopian troops approach the central Somali town of Bidoa to defend Somalia's Transitional Government.

Dec 15- Forces of the Transitional Government, angered by the Ethiopioan invasion, begin to defect to the UIC.

Dec. 20-26. The UIC loses battles against Ethiopia and Somali Trasitional Government forces at Baidoa.

Dec. 26- The UIC orders a retreat from Baidoa. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi says his troops will surround Mogaishu but not occupy it.

Dec. 27- the leaders of the UIC resign as Ethiopian jets bomb Somali airports

Fears abound that American backing of Ethiopia will only strengthen the resolve of Islamist groups in the region and create general instability. And that 9 other countries are supplying both sides in what could be a regional proxy war.

-in early January, Islamist militants continue to arrive from abroad sometimes by boat, to support the UIC as the Arab League and the EU try to broker a ceasefire.

-the Aircraft Carrier_______ and other US navy vessels wait off the Somalian coast to intercept fleeing Islamists from the UIC.

-military units of the Union of Islamic Courts retureat southward and try to make a stand in the port city of Kismayo.

-around 6,000 Somali refugess crowded at the Kenyan bborder.

Jan 8-9, 2007- -US aircraft from a US base in Djibouti strafe fleeing UIC fighters on the Kenyan border, killing civilians. 10 Al Qaeda associates were killed but two Al Qaeda operatives suspected in the Ethiopia Embassy bombings escaped.

-Ethiopian aircraft join US in air strikes.

Jan 12, -transtional government president Abdullahi Yusuf holds talks with warlords in Mogadishu in hopes of restoring enough order to bring in UN and AU peacekeepers. Meanehile his guards clash with warlords' militias.

-US airstrikes continue north of Kismayo.

-Eritrea, embroiled in a long-lived border war with Ethiopia, has expressed strong support for the Somali Islamists.

DISTANT BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. Ethiopia and neighbouring Somalia both represent anomalies in Europe's colonization of Africa. While Ethiopia was Africa's oldest and in many ways it strongest state, Somalia was among the weakest nas well as being the last to be explored by Europeans. Both nations, located on the Horn of Africa, were seen by Europeans as vital to control of the Red Sea and the trade routes that ran betweem the Middle East and Africa, the Mideiteranean and the Indian Ocean. In the second half of the 19th century, northwestern Somalia was occupied by the French. north and eastern Somalia by the British and southern Somalia by the Italians. Territorial settlements and decolonization after World War II led to Somali independence and Europe's continuied recognition of Ethiopia's monarchy. But their strategic location on the Horn of Africa as well as a history of local territorial rivalry made them prey to conflicting superpower ambitions. Ethiopia and Somalia both experiecned alternate support by the United States and the Soviet Union in the superpowers' quest for dominance in the region.

REMOTE BACKGROUND TO THE CRISIS. While the low-lying coastal region of Somalia remained a source of trade for Ancient Egypt, 6th century Arab traders from across the Red Sea founded the mountainous, better defended and more durable state of Axum in the north of modern Ethiopia. While Ethiopia became Christian and resisted Islam, the religion of Mohammed spread from Arabia into Somallia. But in contrast to Ethiopia, the local African Somali tribes tended to absorb the Arabs and the Somali region remained broken up local tribal territories and sultanates. Meanwhile, the people of eastern Ethiopia, bordering on Somalia remained ethnic Somalis and in the 16th century, a Muslim Somali sultan waged a jihad to reclaim the Ogaden for what the Somalis have ever since claimed to the Greater Somalia.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Coninuity in Ethiopia and discontinuity in Somalia inform their respective histories. Though occupied by the Italians and then the British during World War Two, Ethiopia was still the world's oldest monarchy under King Hailie Selassie and Africa's oldest Christian State. By contrast, neighboring, coastal Somalia was a marginal region which became Islamic and was divided among Portugeuse colonies and Islamic sultanates. Divided in turn among France, Britain and Italy at the end of the 19th century, Somalia only knew a a sembalnce of unity with the gradual withdrawal of the allied colonial powers at the end of World War Two, becoming an independent nation in 1960. As a result, Communism, and, briefly, Islam remained among its few uniting forces, while a loose network of clans run by warlords a still seems to be the norm. Indeed, the Union of Islamic Courts seems, like its former status as a Soviet satellite, to be a passing phenomenon. Somalia's fragility and its historical and territorial rivalry with Ethiopia have kept it on the eastern side of the East-West divide. The pattern has continued with Somalia, allegedly infiltrated by al Qaeda and Ethiopia backed by the United States.

PRESENT SITUATION: January 23, 2007- With the Union of Islamic Courts defeated, a fragile coation of Warlords supporting the Transitionla Government, and the African Union slated to send in a peace-keeping foece, the Ethiopian Army has begun to show signs of withdrawing back into Ethiopia. There are, however, persistant fears of a longer-term Ethiopian occupation.

PLUS CA CHANGE: In late 2006, Somalia's Union of Isamic Courts threatened an incursion into Ethiopia's Ogaden region, reviving Somalia's long-standing claims on the ethnic Somali region. In 1948, Somalia protested the postwar settlement in which the Ogaden was granted to Ethiopia. And, as early as the 16th century, the Somali sultan Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al Ghazi led a Jihad against Ethiopia.

MOST RECENT BACKGROUND. With the fall of the Societ Union in 1990, Societ support for Ethiopia collapses along with the old communist Mengitsu governemnt. Likewise, the soviet-backed Said Barre government falls in Somalia. The west-leaning Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is formed. At the same time, radical Islamic influence increases in Somalia in the form of the Union of islamic Courts. In Somalia, in the early 90s, there is hardly any government as warlords fight one another for mastery. In Ethiopia, al Qaeda Islamists are suspected in the bombing of the US embassy. By the year 2000, the Union of Islamic courts has started to gain power in Somalia and by 2006, they're in control.

CURIOSITY: In 1899, both the British and the Italians attempt, without success, to conquer Sultan Muhammed Abdullah of Somalia's northwest interior region of Harrar. The Americans would experience similar difficulties, not in colonization, but in trying to end a famine by capturing the Somali warlord Mohamed Aideed in 1994. In both cases the locals were generally hostie.

HISTORY OF SUDAN; HISTORY OF SOMALIA: CHRONOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

1500 BC- Egypt trades via the red sea with ancient Somalia, then called Punt.

550 BC (circa) Sabean Arab traders migrate to the western shore of the Red Sea (modern Eritrea and Ethiopia). They found the kingdom of Axum and conquered the other side of the straits (west Yemen) to control access to the Red Sea.

300-400 AD- The Kingdom of Abyssinia (later Ethiopia) conquers the Kingdom of Kush in the Sudan.

350- Ezana, the king of Axum (northern Ethiopia), converts to Christianity.

500 - Ethiopia’s agriculture is the most advanced in Africa, due to early use of iron implements, the plough and disease-resistant draft animals.

-Ethiopia (Axum) becomes Christian.

525- Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I asks King Caleb of Axum to avenge the persecution of Christians in Yemen. Caleb crosses to Yemen with an army and defeats the local Hmeratites, making Yemen into a possession of Axum for 50n years. Through trade and faith, Axum kept close contact with Byzantium.

-550- Christian Axum attempts to conquer Mecca. Its failure will pave the way for the coming of Islam.

-before the arrival of Islam, a monumental and relatively highly developed culture is believed to have thrived in Somalia.

-after the rise of Islam, an Arab immigration to Somalia is believed to have been absorbed by the native, East African population.

600-1000- Somalia is converted to Islam but remains a congeries of tribal domains and sultanates.

-with the spread of Islam after the 7th century, Axum begins to decline.

-coastal Somalia is alternately occupied by the Sultan of Zanzibar and the Portugeuse.

-950- Axum, the eponymous capital, is sacked by the woman warrior Gudit of the Falasha clan (converts to Judaism).

-Islamic warlords encroach from the Red Sea coast.

-1117- Christian people of Axum withdraw into Ethiopian highlands with a new capital at Lalibela. Abyssinia is formed. Feudalization and militarization of Abyssinia in order to resist encroachment by Islamic sultantes of Ifat and Adal in modern Ethiopia and Somalia.

1314-1468- the high culture of Ethiopia- an apogee of African civilization. Ethiopia has a literary tradition embracing religion and chronicles. The Ethiopian Bible includes the book of Enoch.

1314-1344- the Ethiopian warrior king Amda Seyon.

1434-1468- Ethiopian warrior king Zara Yaqob.

1535- Somali islamic warrior Sultan Gran attacks Abyssinia from the south east, forcing the emperor to appeal to the Portigeuse,

1550- (circa)-Ethiopia survives as a Christian state, bolstered by Portugal.

-16th century- Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al Ghazi leads a Somali Jihad against Ethiopia.

-in the mid 19th century, Somalia is the last region to be explored by Europeans.

-in the second half of the 19th century, northwestern Somalia is occupied by the French; north and eastern Somalia by the British and southern Somalia by the Italians.

-British colonial rule in the north is based on the clan system. Italian rule in the south ignores the clan system in favour of the European idea of a centralized state.

-1875- the Afar people of Northeastern Abyssinia repel an attempt at invasion by Egypt. (They are also called the Danakil because they inhabit the Danakil Desert which overlaps Tigre, Eritirea and Djibouti) The Afar, formerly pirates, have pastoral herding as well as coastal fishermen. They profess Islam and are ruled by a hereditary sultan. The 11th edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica describes them as "desperate ighters" who believe that "guns are only to frighten cowards"

-1883- the chief sultan of the Afars agrees to treaties placing the Afars under Italian prorection.

-1884- Eritrea is occupied by Italy.

1889-1913- numerous peoples of Ethiopia united under Emperor Menelik II.

1894- Tigre comes under Ethiopian control.

1896- Menelik of Ethiopia defeats an attempted invasion by Italy.

1899- the Brtish and Italians attempt, without success, to conquer Sultan Muhammed Abdullah of Somalia's northwest interior region of Harrar.

1890- Eritrea is made an Italian colony.

-1914- Ethiopia remains the only region of Africa not to be conquered by Europeans.

-1930- Haile Selassie crowned king of Ethiopia.

-1935- Italy, under Mussolini, invades and occupies Ethiopia. King Haile Selassie is sent into exile.

-1935- Tigre occupied by Italians and governed as part of Eritrea.

-1936- Eritrea becomes part of Italian East Africa.

-1941- Emperor Haile Salassie returns to Ethiopia. from exile

-1941- Eritrea is taken from Italy by the British.

-Tigre is liberated from Italian rule by the British.

-1940s- Somali nationalism begins to develop under British occuption.

-1945- the British occupy Ethiopia, expelling the Italians.

-the British return Ethiopia to independence under King Haile Salassie. He represents the world’s oldest monarchy.

1948- Somalia disputes the granting of Ogaden to Ethiopia. Ever since Somailia has wanted to expand into a Greater Somalia to include ethnic Somalis in Ethiopia.

-1950s- Somalia is a trust territory of the UN.

-British and Italian Somalia are united to form the state of Somalia.

-1952- Eritrea and Tigre are federated with Ethiopia at the request of the UN.

-1960 Somalia gains independence.

-1963- Eritrea is formally made a province of Ethiopia- provoking the formation of the Eritrean Liberation Front.

-Tigre people's Liberation Front is founded in response to Ethiopia's refusal of autonomy for Tigre.

-1963-1993- through protracted guerilla war and soradic Societ support during the regimes of Selaqssie and Mengitsu, Eritrea gained independence in 1993.

-1969 -Said Barre takes over Somalia in a Communist-backed coup.

-Ethiopia’s northern region of Eritrea opens a struggle for secession.

-1974- after trying to pacify unrest with a series of reforms, Haile Salassie is overthrown in a communist coup. .

-1974- Somalia joins the Arab League.l

-1977-78- fighting erupts between Ethiopia and Somalia over the Ogaden.

-1977- Hailie Mengistu rises to leadership of Ethiopia’s Communist-backed government. Somalia loses the Ogaden war as the Soviet Union switches its support to Ethiopia.

-1980- Somali president Said Barre bgins military cooperation with the US.

-1980s- Ethiopia is racked by famine. Separatist movements in Eritrea and Tigre defeat Ethiopian troops.

-1980s- Somalia fights Islamic fundamentalists in its north and the Patriotic Front in the south.

-1988- civil war breaks out in Somalia- between the government forces of Said Barre and several groups including the Somali National Movement.

1990- with the fall of Communism, Somali President Said Barre is overthrown and Somalia returns to rule by rival warlords in tribal anarchy.

-1991- due to economic mismanagement and reduction in aid from a crumbling Soviet Union, together with advancing rebel groups from Eritrea and Tigre, Mengistu’s Communist government collapses.

-1991- A new government, the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is set up under Tigrean president, Meles Zenawi. President Mengistu flees Ethiopia.

-in northern Somalia, Islamic courts begin to appear, enforcing Sharia and providing social services.

-in Somalia- Ali Mahdi Moahmmed succeeds Said Barre as president. Mahdi supports the idea of centralized state control, a legacy of southern, Italian Somalia which ignores the role that tribes can play in governing, the maintenance oforder and in the ecionomy.

-an independent Tigrean government is formed by Tigrean president Meles Zenawi.

1992-3- as part of Osama Bin Laden’s Sudan-based al Qaeda support for Somali Muslims, 9/11 terrorist Mohammed Atef trains Somali tribal guerillas opposed to UN intervention.

1993- Eritrea wins independence from Ethiopia. Ethiopian provinces are given the right to secede by referndum.

-Somalia: in central and northern S omalia, Major Mohammed Aideed, a member of the Hawiye clan, supports the traditional can system of government known as 'kirtarchy' in the face of Somali President Mahdi's centralized state which actually conceals the anarchy left in the wake of disempowered tribes

1993- March 30- the four tribes of northwest Somalia adopt the 'Xeer, the traditional Somali constitution favoured by Major Aideed.

-June 4, two clans from the northeast and center adoptthe Xeer. Some degree of peace is restored as the clans broker a peaceful government. As a result the intenrational community favours Aideed.

-however, the international community chanhes its mind, coming to support the status quo or President Mahdi and rejecting Aideed's alternative proposal of the clan system.

1993- in an attempt to broker peace and bring aid relief to the starving populations, the Americans, under President Clinton, attempt to arrest warlord President Mohammed Aideed in Mogadishu. In the ensuing firefight, 18 marines are killed and the Americans, as well as the entire international aid community withdraw.

1995- 15 Somali clans elect Mohammed Farrah Aideed president despite the presidency, in the north, of Ali Mahdi Mohammed.

1995- the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is established. Under President Nigasso Gidada.

1998- Ethiopia has a border dispute with Eritrea.

1998- US Embassy bombed Ethiopia. US suspects al Qaeda.

1998- four sharia courts in Somalia bond together.

-2000- the Union of Islamic Courts. Is founded in Somalia.

2000- in Somalia a transitional government is formed under Abdulkassim Salad Hassan in Mogadishu. In the south, rivals to Mogadishu from the the Reconciliation and Restoration Congress which is supported by Ethiopia.

2002- with two governing factions, Somalia is still in anarchy.

-In Mogadishu, Somalia, the warlods of Mogadishu form the (unofficially) US-backed Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPTC), in reaction to the Union of Islamic Courts. They back the Transtional Federal Government at Naidoa, north west of Mogadishu. The TFG agains support from the African Union.

June, 2006- the US is revealed to be backing the warlord ARPTC.

May-July, 2006- the Union of Islamic courts wrests Mogadishu from the warlords of the ARPCT. The UIC controls Mogadishu and the coastal areas of southern Somalia.

-July- Osama Bin Laden announces al Qaeda will oppose with force any intervention in Somalia where he backs the idea of an Islamic state.

August- border engagements between Ethiopia and UIC.

Summer-Fall, 2006- Union of Islamic Courts extends its control to airports and seaports.

Sept 5, 2006- Treaty of Khartoum: the Union of Islamc Courts and the Transtional Government agree to merge on condition that Ethiopian troops withdraw. But the agreement collapses when Ethiopia refuses to pull out.

November- Ethiopian troops fighting with UIC troops in central Somalia.

Dec. 4- US General John Abizaid visits Adis Ababba.

Dec. 8 Union of Islamic Courts is fighting with Transitional Government troops backed by Ethiopia. There is fear that Eritrea might be backing the UIC.

Ethiopian troops approach Baidoa.

Dec 15- Troops of the Transitional Government, angered by the Ethiopioan invasion, begin to defect to the UIC

Dec. 20-26. UIC loses battles against Ethiopia and Somali Trasitional Government forces at Baidoa.

Dec. 26- UIC orders a retreat from Baidoa. Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi says his troops will surrounf Mogaishu but not occupy it.

Dec. 27- the leaders of the UIC resign;.

-Ethiopian jets bomb Somali airports

-fears abound that American backing of Ethiopia will only strengthen the resolve of Islamist groups in the rgion and creat reagional instability. And that 9 other countries are supplying both sides in a regional proxy war.

-Islamist militants are arriving from abroad sometimes by boat, to support the UIC.

-the Arab League and the EU have been trying to broker a ceasefire.

2007- January-March- continued fighting between the Islamic Courts on the one hand and the Somalia Transitional Govenrment and the Ethiopian army on the other. African Union peacekeepers attempt, unsuccessfully to intervene.

-the conflict begins to reveal its triblalroots as the Hawiye tribe of Central and South Somalia speaks for the Islamic Courts most of whose members are Hawiye, accusing the Transtional; Government of being nothing but a front for the Darood Tribe in northern Somalia. The Darood, in fact is the tribe of Transtional Government President Yusuf.

-2007-Mar 28- Hawiye elders agree not to attack African Union peacekeeprs in Mogadishu

-

JANUARY 7, 2007- THE TALIBAN CONSIDER A WINTER OFFENSIVE

HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

Index

Darfur, Nov. 18 06

Latin American Economic Union- Dec. 9 06.

Lebanon-Syria Nov. 21 06

North Korea - Nov. 20 06.

Ethiopia invades Somalia,- Dec. 27 06.

TAG: January, 2007 The Taliban, drawing on their historical Pashtun nationalism have decided, in the face of NATO attacks, to dig in rather than call their usual winter retreat into the mountains of Pakistan.

IN THE NEWS: January 7, 2007: Throughout the weekend of January 5th to 7th, recalcitrant Taliban are rallying in Howz-e-Medad in the Panjwai district, west of Kandahar. Despite Canada’s attempts, in Operation Falcon’s Summit, to clear the Panjwai area of hard core or ‘level one’, Taliban attacks with small arms, roadside bombs and land mines continue.

IN A NUTSHELL: The Pashtun people, who live in an area stretching from western Pakistan, across and into southern and eastern Afghanistan, are the main recruiting ground for the Taliban religious movement. Acting in a long tradition of repelling foreign invaders from Persia, India, Central Asia, Russia and Great Britain, the Taliban make no distinction between their religious mission, the Pashtun national cause and an Afghanistan free of foreign influence. Their recent decision to stay and fight for the winter reflects a sense that their fight is not only political an religious but territorial.

THEN AND NOW: The West’s present enemy in Afghanistan is international, militant Islam. But in the 19th century, Britain’s opponent in the region was Russia and the threat it posed to British colonial possessions in India. The British tried to control Afghanistan as a buffer state against Russia- in 1838, 1875 and in 1919. All three times, Afghan resistance was successful and British attempts to control Afghan foreign policy ultimately failed. The same may be happening today.

THE REMOTE BACKGROUND. From ancient times, until the beginning of the Modern period, the Afghan region was a marginal place of rough terrain which neighbouring powers have occupied only temporarily and with difficulty. It’s bounded by the Oxus River and central Asia on the north, a mountainous area on the Indian ocean to the south, the mountain barrier to the Indus Valley to the east and the Iranian Plateau to the west. Those who have managed to hold the region and set up a state there have generally come southward from Central Asia. It was from the north , in the 7th century BC, that the Afghan region was occupied by the Sakas an Indoeuropean people. In the 6th century, the region became the Dragiana Satrapy of Persia’s Median Empire. But the local people probably already spoke some form of Pashtun, the language from which the area drew much of its identity. One of the earliest records of a ‘national movement’ is Pashtun resistance to Alexander the Great, whose armies occupied the area in 330 BC. His Seleucid successors barely held onto the region. By the 3rd century BC, the Greek colony of Bactria, in the Oxus region had seceded to form a kingdom which included northern Afghanistan. The Bactrians were succeeded, again from the north, by the Central Asian Kushans who, responding to pressures from China, pushed downward into the Afghan region and formed an empire extending southward into northern India. This southeastern movement from Central Asia, down through Afghanistan to India would be a route of invasions for centuries to come. Afghanistan's place as a link between the two regions would result in its gradual empowerment. As the Kushans declined in the fifth century AD, the Sassinid Persians managed to rule Afghanistan. The occupation of the area by Islam in the late 7th century was, perhaps, the most successful. Despite successive occupation by Mongols and by the Uzbek Tamerlane (both, again, from the north) in the middle ages, the area remained Muslim. Around 1020, Mahmoud of Ghazni, an Afghan warlord working for the Abassids of Baghdad, formed his own south-asian empire whose influence stretched from the Tigirs to the Indus. In the 16th century, Babur, again from the north in Uzbekistan set up his own empire in Afghanistan. This became the great Moghul Empire which included northern India. With the gradual disintegration if the Moghul empire, the first thing resembling an Afghan ‘nation’ rose in the 18th century with the growth of a Pashtun nationalist sensibility around Kandahar and directed against Persian rule. The result was the Afghan, Pashtun Durrani empire which extended, like that of the Moghuls, into India. It was a decaying Durrani dynasty that the British confronted in their attempts to control Afghanistan as a buffer state against Russia in the 19th century.

THE DISTANT BACKGROUND: The Taliban have emerged as a final reaction to a process of gradual modernization going back to King Amanullah. Amanullah used tribesmen of his own Pashtun people from both the Afghan and Indian sides of the Durand line (the current Afghan-Pakistan border) to fight the British to a standstill in 1919. But the same king also brought in some modernizing reforms. His successor, Nadir Shah resisted the modernizing tendency but managed to hold Afghanistan's quarrelsome tribes together in national unity. The latter effort, however, resulted in his assassination in 1933. His son, Zahir Shah, used his country’s geopolitical position to play off the United States and the Soviet Union against one another, extracting support from both and embarking on further, gradual modernization. He is responsible for bringing Afghanistan into the 20th century, the very process which divides Afghanistan today. He gave the country its first constitution in 1964 and its first elections in 1965. The move to modern, secular republicanism was accelerated with his overthrow in 1973 by one of his ministers, Mohammed Daoud who declared himself president. The tendency toward increasing secularization extended to a Marxist movement which overthrew and assassinated Daoud in 1978. The new president, Babrak Kemal, caught in a political feud with anti-Muslim Marxist radicals, asked for Soviet intervention. The Soviet Union, fearing that his opponents could cause a severe Islamic reaction, occupied Afghanistan. But instead of being placated, Afghan Muslims formed the Mujehadeen nationalist, revolutionary movement to expel the Soviet Union, which they succeed in doing in 1989. A civil war among Mujehadeen factions ended with Pakistan’s decision to impose stability by creating the Taliban Religious movement in southern Afghanistan. With backing from Pakistani intelligence, the Taliban had fought its way to power by 1996. Because of its protection of the Islamist terror group Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda’s terror attack on new York ion 9/11, the US, supported by the UN and a union of Uzbek and Tajik Afghan tribes called the Northern Alliance, invaded, expelling the Taliban in 2002..

THE PROXIMATE BACKGROUND:. After being routed from Afghanistan by the US invasion in the wake of 9/11, the Taliban began a gradual come-back in 2005. By 2006, their infiltration of southern Afghanistan from havens in Pakistan had escalated. Through a combination of fear and favours, they recruited local tribes. In August of 2006, the US operation, Enduring Freedom, which fought mostly in eastern Afghanistan, handed over command to NATO’s operation Mountain Thrust. In August and September, Canada led Operation Medusa against large concentrations of Taliban in Kandahar province, while Britain tried to clear the Taliban out of the province of Helmand, to the west. Though Canada appeared to be more successful, both operations were hampered by insufficient troop numbers, lack of funds and difficulty in gaining the trust of the local population, which is mostly Pashtun. The result, as of January, 2007, has been a stalemate.

CROSS-CENTURY SUMMARY: Poor in natural resources but vital in its geopolitical situation, any state in the Afghan region has had to survive by playing larger powers off against one another. Conversely, invading powers have used the resource-poor Afghan region primarly as a political buffer zone. In turn, the only way an Afghan state could survive and prosper was by expanding. Though the last northern invader to be based in Afghanistan was Babur, founder of the Moghuls, pressure from the north, which began with the Sakas in ancient times has continued to be exerted by Russia, in its imperial period, onward to outright occupation by the Soviet Union. From the north, Mountain passes through eastern Afghanistan have also provided a route for invasion between historically expansionist Central Asia and wealthy northern India, giving room for Mauryan and Moghul ambitions as well as those of Afghanistan’s own Durrani Empire and British India. To this day, Central Asian influence has distinguished a moderate, Tajik and Uzbek northern Afghan population from the Islamist Pashtuns of the south. The old Northwest-Southeast axis is still reflected in Afghanistan’s rivalry with its southeastern neighbour, Pakistan, and friendship based on historical links with India. The current US alliance with India and intervention in Afghanistan has increased tensions in the region by compromising and isolating Pakistan. On the east-west axis, Afghanistan was a vital trade link on the Silk Road as well as the meeting-place of Indian and Persian cultures. Afghanistan has as often as not been part of the Persian empire and their history of alternate rivalry and friendship persists in Iran’s concern for Afghanistan’s Shia minority and its wary dislike of the Sunni Taliban. With the US invasion, Afghanistan continues, sadly, as the site of millennia of foreign intervention.

PRESENT SITUATION : Afghanistan continues to be weakened by two major dilemmas: decades of war and underdevelopment and by Pakistan’s reluctance and inability to clear the Taliban from its own border region and prevent them from moving into Afghanistan. These problems, along with the Taliban’s survival on the opium trade are deeply historical. The cultivation of the poppy is thousands of years old as are the Pashtun-speaking tribes who populate a single area of western Pakistan and eastern and southern Afghanistan. The Pashtun-speaking region is so coherent, culturally and historically, that it has been named “Pashtunistan” to distinguish it from the Tajik and Uzbek peoples of northern Afghanistan. In fact, in 1947, Afghanistan demanded that Britain's 'Durand' line could no longer be the legitimate border with the new state, Pakstian- and supported, instead, the creation of an autonomous 'Pashtunistan'. Over the centuries, the Pashtuns have had Kandahar as their capital and still look on power exerted from Kabul with suspicion. For NATO, a foreign military alliance, it is going to be a difficult task to persuade ordinary Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan to participate in a modern Afghanistan ruled from Kabul and shared with the northern tribes that helped the US beat the Pashtun Taliban in 2002.

PLUS CA CHANGE: With the break-up of the Greek, Seleucid empire in the last centuries BC, Central Asian tribes gathered to the north, eyeing the vulnerable Afghan region. Around 100 AD, the Kushan tribes descend to occupy northern Afghanistan, while a resurgent Persia, in the form of Parthia held onto southern Afghanistan. This division between a culturally Persian south and west and a Central Asian north and east has endured into modern times. In 2002, the Northern Alliance, made up of Afghan Uzbek and Tajik tribes helped the US defeat the Persian-influenced Pashtun Taliban of the south. In Kabul, President Karzai still has the difficult task of balancing northern and southern tribal interests in his government.

CURIOSITY: In 1020, Mahmud of Ghazni, a Turkish, Central Asian warlord in Eastern Afghanistan on the edge of Islam’s Abbasid empire, hired himself out to the Abbasids. Using a Turkish slave army he extended Abbasid influence to the point of forming his own autonomous empire whose influence stretched from Mesopotamia to the valley of the Indus.

HISTORY OF AFGHANISTAN: CHRONOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS:

The Iranians

2200 BC: the original or Indoeuropean migrants move from Bactria (present day Uzbekistan), down through Afghanistan into the Middle East.

1500 BC: Iranians of the Bactrian and 'Afghan' regions are at the source of a second great Indoeuropean migration.

670 BC: the Sakas, an Iranian sub-group form in Bactria and to the south in the Afghan region.

The Persians

560 BC- the Medes from an Empire in northern Persia, north of the Babylonian empire. The Median Empire includes the Afghan region.

400-300- conquests of the Median, Achaeminid Kings, Cyrus the Great and Darius I create the Persian empire. Darius II conquers the eastern and northeastern Afghan and Bactrian region. In Persia, the Afghan region is known as Drangiana, Satrapy XIV.

The Greek Seleucids

330 BC: Alexander the Great of Macedon, having defeated Darius II, enters Herat in western Afghanistan and in southern Afghanistan, founds a city in his own name, Kandahar. He has to contend with determined resistance by the Pashtuns.

330 BC- 200 AD- after his death, the Seleucid Greek successors to Alexander break away from the Antigonids and the Ptolemys and rule the Middle Eastern region. They barely manage to hang on to the extreme northeastern, Afghan region, known as Drangiana in the south and Bactria in the north.

-the break-up of the Seleucid Empire.

300 BC- Changragupta Maurya extends an empire of the central Ganges up to Kabul, Herat and Kandahar.

220 BC- Greek colonists in Bactria begin to secede, forming the kingdom of Bactria which includes northern Afghanistan.

260 BC- (circa) under the influence of the great Indian emperor, Ashoka, Buddhism becomes the religion of the Afghan-Bactrian region.

The Yue Che/Kushan People

176 BC- the Chinese Yue-Chi are forced westward by the Xiongnu of western China and press on Bactria from the north, as the Sakas press from the northwest.

74 BC- the eastern Seleucid empire breaks up into the Parthian Empire in eastern Persia. Afghanistan is divided between Parthia in the south and the Yue Chi in the North.

67 AD- the Kushan people, having emerged from the Yue Chi, form in force on the northern edges of Afghanistan.

-the Kushans, caught between pressure from the Hsiang-Nu Chinese in the east and Persia in the west, invade Afghanistan and Sind before conquering part of northern India. The route southeast from central Asia to the Gangetic plain of northern India will be used for repeated invasions, the invaders always coming from the Afghan region and the north.

140 AD- the Kushan Empire extends into northern India. Afghanistan is divided between the Kushan Empire on the North and the Parthian empire to the south.

200-400 AD- the Kushan Empire breaks up into principalities.

Sassinid Persia.

484- the White Huns or Hephthalites from Central Asia invade Afghanistan and Persia.

500-630- the Sassinids rule Persia. Afghanistan is part of the Eastern Military Region, known as Kwarazm.

561- the Hephthalites are driven out by the Sassinids and the Central Asian Turks.

-the Turks are the new opponents on the northeast of the Sassinid empire.

Islam

684- the Muslim conquest of Kandahar. The Umayyads attempt to extend religious, political and economic control into Central Asia.

751- with the defeat of the Chinese by the Umayyads at the battle of Talas in Turkestan, Central Asia comes within the sphere of Islam.

800- Western Afghanistan is the Khorasan region of the Abbasid Empire. Eastern Afghanistan, including Kabul and Kandahar is in the non-Islamic tribal region of the Indus. There is already a circular trade route anticipating the modern ring road from Kandahar to Kabul in the east to Balkh in the north and to Herat in the west.

1020- Mahmud of Ghazni, an East Afghanistan Turkic warlord and mercenary for the Abbasid Muslims, secedes to form his own dynasty.

The Mongols

1221- the Mongols of Gengis Khan conquer Muslim Kandahar and take Afghanistan before moving south and west.

1350- collapse of the Mongol Empire.

Tamerlane

1399-1425- Tamerlane ('Timur the Lame'), an Uzbek descendant of Babur, invades from Samarkand and takes Afghanistan, going on to conquer and briefly to hold, much of the Middle East.

1425-1506- Descendants of Tamerlane rule an empire in Turkestan and Iran.

Babur and the Moghuls

1483- the Muslim conqueror Babur fails to establish a kingdom in his native Uzbekistan and instead takes Herat and Kandahar, making them the centre of his future empire.

1526- Babur, the first Moghul, invades India, takes the Gangetic plain and

founds the Moghul Empire in India.

1526-1761- the Moghuls rule India.

1502-1720- the Safavid kings rule Persia.

1504- Kabul is annexed as a Moghul military and administrative area.

1545- Kandahar becomes a Moghul military and economic base.

1700-1800- the British consolidate their trading power in India through the East India company, taking advantage of the weakened Aurangzeb and make India a British colony.

1709- Mirwais Kahn Hotak, a Pashtun, rallies the Afghan Ghilzais of Kandahar against the Persian Safavids and defeats them. Mirwais is ruler of Kandahar.

1715- Death of Mirwais.

1720-22- Pashtun Afghans of the Kandahar region under Mahmud Hotak, son of Mirwais, invade and overthrow the Persian Safavids under Shah Hussein. Mir Mahmud Hotak declares himself Shah in Isfahan.

1724- Mahmud Hotak dies insane.

1729- Nadir Shah of Persia expels the Hotaki Afghans.

1738- Nadir Shah invades Afghanistan and northern India, his empire lasting only until ssassination in 1747.

The Durrani Empire

1747- Ahmad Shah (of the Saddozai family, Abdali clan) commander of Nadir's body guard, takes the name Durrani, meaning 'Pearl of the Age' and establishes the Durrani dynasty of Afghanistan, unites varied tribes in southern Afghanistan around their common link: the Pashtun language. He invades the Gangetic plain of India conquering and weakening the last Moghul emperor Aurangzeb. The modern Afghan nation begins to take shape. His empire extends from near the Caspian Sea to India.

1761- Ahmad Shah defeats the Mahrattas of India at Panipat.

1777- death of Ahmad Shah Durrani.

1777-1799- Timur Shah, son of Ahmad, moves the Durrani capital from Kandahar to Kabul. The Durrani empire weakens under Timur and under Timur's son, Zaman.

The British.

1830s- to protect her interests in India from the new Russian empire to the north, Britain uses diplomacy and espionage to keep Afghanistan as a friendly buffer state between India and Russia.

1838- After Shah Mahmud of Kabul favours his Russian ambassador while imprisoning the British ambassador, Britain sends a force from India and invades Kabul.

1847- After finding it too difficult to hold Afghanistan in the face of the Pashtuns, British forces retreat with heavy losses to Jalalabad, before retreating back to India.

1875- the British try and fail, a second time, to hold Afghanistan through military force.

1876- Baluchistan becomes a British protectorate.

1879- Afghanistan forced to concede theoretical sovereignty to the British.

1893- the Durand line forms the limit of British territorial expansion into the Pashtun territories of Afghanistan. The Pashtun region, which had once defined Afghanistan, is split by the new boundary with Afghanistan. Western Pakistan is ceded to British India.

1907- Britain and Russia work out a treaty defining separate spheres in influence in Persia with a British sphere of influence in Afghanistan.

King Amanullah

1919- the Third Afghan War. Pashtun tribes under Ananullah, on both sides of the Durand line, defeat the British. The British concede nationhood to Afghanistan. King Amanullah attempts westernizing reforms.

1929- King Amanullah, having tried to use tribes instead of an army, is forced to abdicate. He is succeeded briefly by Nadir Shah. He rolls back Amanullah's liberalizing reforms but succeeds in uniting Afghanistan despite tribal rebellions.

1933- Nadir Shah is assassinated as a result of a tribal dispute.

King Zahir Shah

1933- Nadir Shah is succeeded by his son, Zahir Shah.

1947- Britain agrees to the formation of an independent Pakistan, separate from India, with the Durand line remaining as the border between the two nations. The border still cuts through the region of the Pashtun people- despite Afghan claims on the entire Pashtun region, which includes much of the Baluchistan region of western Pakistan.

-Zahir Shah claims the Pathan (east Pashtun) state from Pakistan. Meanwhile, he extracts support from both the US and the Soviet Union.

1964- King Zahir Shah institutes a constitutional monarchy.

1965- Afghanistan holds its first elections.

The Afghan Republic.

1973- Zahir Shah is overthrown by his own Prime Minister, General Mohammed Daoud. Khan Declares himself president. He begins an unpopular policy of nationalization of industry.

1978- 28 April. The Kalq, (Armed Forces Revolutionary Council) a radical communist group overthrows Daoud and assassinates him.

The Soviet Invasion

1979- President Babrak Kemal emerges from in-fighting. Radical anti-Muslim Marixsts threaten to overthrow Kemal. At Kemal's request, the Soviet Union Invades Afghanistan.

1979-1989- the Afghan Mujehadeen mount powerful resistance against Soviet occupying forces.

1987- the Soviets install Afghan Communist president, Najibullah.

1989- the Soviet Occupation ends in defeat. Civil war begin among Afghan mujehadeen factions.

1992- President Najibullah resigns.

The Taliban.

1993- the Taliban, an ultra-Islamist religious student organization, intended to bring order to the anarchy in Afghanistan, is formed by Pakistani intelligence.

1994 -the Taliban cross into Afghanistan and take Kandahar

1996- the Taliban are victorious in the civil war and begin strict rule according to Shariah law. They are fully supported by Pakistan.

-Najibullah is murdered by the Taliban.

1997- former Saudi Mujehadeen leader Osama Bin Laden founds al Qaeda. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda become guests of the Taliban.

1999- the Taliban control most of the country.

9/11 and the US Invasion.

2001- Al Qaeda terrorists fly passenger jets into the twin towers in New York, killing 2,900 Americans.

2001-2002- US forces invade Afghanistan to rid the country of Al Qaeda and its Taliban protectors. The Americans link up with the 'Northern Alliance', former Mujehadeen of northern Afghanistan and kill or expel Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda forces.

2002- a UN-approved interim government under President Hamid Karzai is approved by tribal leaders.

2003- Western countries, under the United Nations pursue a program of democratization and reconstruction. Hamid karzai becomes Afghanistan's first president.

The Resurgence of the Taliban.

2005- resurgent Taliban return to Afghanistan from refuges along the mountainous Pakistan border.

2005- NATO forces begin to engage the Taliban in the west and US forces fight the re-emergent Taliban and Al Qaeda in the eastern Afghanistan. Both engage in programs to reconstruct the Afghan economy.

2005- September- Hamid Karzai is re-elected president of Afghanistan.

2006- July- NATO combat forces, mostly British and Canadian, take over from US command and with US support launch Operation Mountain Thrust to the clear the Taliban from southern Afghanistan.

2006- August-September- Canadian forces lead Operation Medusa, clearing the Taliban from the Panjwai district only 30 km from Kandahar, where the Canadians are based.

2006 December- January 2007- Canadians launch operation Falcon's Summit, clearing the Taliban, once again, from Kandahar.


FEB. 6,2007- LEBANON- Murmurs of a revivied Lebanese Civil War.

QUOTE: on the history of Lebanon: "In this current crisis, the combination of sects and groups and countries that are allied or opposed may be new, but these configurations seem mostly another incarnation of Lebanon's centuries-old story. Ottoman Turks once guarded Sunni interests in Lebanon. while the French gave protection to Marionites, the Russians helped the Greek Orthodox, and the British had a loose partnership with the Druze; later Muslims turned to Egypt and Syria to replace the Ottomans. The Shiites have always looked to Iran or to the Shiite clerics of Iraq...In Lebanon, things change so that they can remain the same." -Charles Glass, 'The Lord of No Man's Land'- Harper's, March 2007.

CHRONOLOGICAL HIGHLIGHTS in the History of Lebanon:

-1860- in Ottoman Lebanon, Druze Muslims massacre Maronite Christians. Maronites were considered to be dhimmi, like Jews and Christians- 2nd class citizens.

-1861- France intervenes and forces the Ottoman sultan to appoint a Christian governor for Lebanon. As a result the Maronite Christians are awarded a special enclave.

1864-1914- the Ottoman province of Mount Lebanon retains semi-autonomous status.

1914- post-Ottomoan Turkey retains the ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon.

1920- as part of the Sevres settlement between the allies and the Ottomoan empire at the end of World War I, Syria-Lebanon comes under French mandate.

-the Turkish ‘sanjak’ of Lebanon is enlarged by the French into ‘Greater Lebanon’.

-the Lebanese Maronite Christian enclave is expanded by France to form modern Lebanon, governed separately from Syria but still under French mandate. This is France’s way of protecting Lebanon;s Maronite Catholics. It includes coastal Muslim regions despite Muslim protest.

-Lebanon, on becoming a League of nations Mandate, increases in size, bringing its Muslim population almost to parity with the Maronite Christian establishment.

1925-26- uprising by the Druze Muslims. They are a Shia sect who still revered as an incarnation of God the 11th century Shia Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim who is said to have been taken up to heaven.

1926- Lebanon’s new Communal Constitution, modeled on that of the French Third Republic, representation in the assembly favours Maronites to Muslims, 6 to 5. This majority was to become permanent despite changes in the population. The President was to be a maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni and the Speaker a Shia Muslim.

-Lebanon is run by an agreement between Maronite and Orthodox Christians, Druzes, Shia and Sunni Muslims that required self-discipline and rejected radicalism. The Maronites and the Sunnis are the dominant groups but this ruling entente was run by the Higher Muslim Council which represented all the sects.

1936- Pierre Jumayyil, educated in France brings the idea of a Fascist militia to Lebanon, which he names the Phalanges Libanaises, founded to oppose Pan Arabism.

1941- Britain and the Free French liberate Lebanon from Vichy France.

1943- the National Pact settles differences between Muslims and Christians.

1945- Jan 1- Lebanon becomes independent. But the Muslms tend to want to be part of Syria and the Christians regard themselves as part of Europe, having no real connection with the Arab World. They called themselves Phoenicianists, considering themselves a Mediterranean, not an Arab civilization.

1945- after World War II, the influence of the Maronites declines with the withdrawal of the French and the British.

1948- as a member of the Arab League, Lebanon declares war on Israel.

1949- Lebanon is made to receive 300,000 Palestinian refugees. 100,000 are in 15 major camps, five of which ring the capital, controlling entry and exits from Beirut.

1952 -Maronite Camille Chamoun becomes President, favouring the West against the leftist, pan-Arab Nasserite movement.

- Lebanon has a bloodless revolution.

1956- many Lebanese begin to follow Nasser. Muslims believed they had lost the prestige they had had under the Ottomans before 1920 when the Franch separated Lebanon from Syria.

-until 1958- Lebanese governments tried to steer a middle course, reaching out both to the west and the Arab world.

1958- Unrest during the Suez Crisis. Chamoun’s acceptance of US aid and his opposition to a union of Syria and Egypt causes fighting between Christians and Pan Arab Nasserites, the latter with Syrian and Egyptian support. Pierre Jumayyil’s Maronite Phalanges Libanaises supports Chamoun. The Maronites invite intervention by US Marines. The Soviet Union protests.

-Kamal Jumblatt, leader of the Jumblatt clan and the Druze Muslims, supports the Nasserites, opposes the Communal Constitution. He also founds the Progressive Socialist party.

-Chamoun resigns, forms the National Liberal party and becomes the leader of the Maronite Chrisitians, favouring pluralism against an Arabism.

-General Fouad Chebab, a Muslim becomes president. US troops are withdrawn. Chebab restores Muslim parity with Christians in the assembly. Lebanon begins to lean toward the Arab states.

1961- Syria’s withdrawal from a Pan Arab union with Egypt aggravates a rift between pro Arb and pro Western forces in Lebanon.

1962- Syria incites a coup to draw Lebanon into a ;Greater Syria but the plot is crushed.

-the late 60s- Palestinian Resistance units begin to infiltrate south Lebanon Kamal Jumblatt encourages their entry into Lebanon in order to weaken the Maronites.

1967- Lebanon gives lip service to the Arab cause in the Six Day War but tries to steer a middle course.

1968- Dec. 28- Israel raids Beruit Airport in reprisal for a Lebanon-based Palestinian attack on an Israeli plane in Athens.

1969- after attempting to limit the PLO’s activities, the Lebanese army engages against PLO units.

1970- Bashir and Amin Jamayyel begint to take over leadership of the Maronite Phalange from their father Pierre. Their ascendance begins the eclipse of Chamoun.

1970-71- King Hussein of Jordan expels refugees from the 1967 war into Lebanon. These refugees join PLO cells rather than Lebanese society. The PLO forms the sole government of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, forming a state within a state.

-Amiin Jemayeil, younger son of Pierre Jemayyel, becomes president upon the assassination of his elder brother, Bashir.

-Syria expels the PLO into Lebanon for spreading radicalism

-poor Muslims in Lebanon look to the PLO rather than to Lebanon as their authority.

-Muslim militias AMAL and the Muslim Lebanese national Movement (LNM) are formed.

-Muslims become aware that, due to their increasing birth rate and the declining Maronite birthrate (and the high rate of Maronite emigration) relative populations are no longer accurately represented by the governing accord. Moreover, the Christians still form the economic elite while the poorest elements are Muslim.

1972- fighting flares up between the Lebanese Army and Palestinian units.

1973- a brief upsurge of sectarian fighting. The Lebanese army engages Palestinian groups.

1973- Lebanon stays neutral in the Yom Kippur war.

1974- Palestianian groups launch attacks from Lebanon against Israel.

1975- Sakris becomes president.

1975- Left wing Shia and Druze Muslims supported by Syria revolt against Arab Maronite Christian (Eastern Chrisitians in communion with Rome) and Sunni control of the government. The Maronites are supported by Israel. The Druzes are led by Kamal Jumblatt, the Shia by Moussa Sadr.

-Shia leader Moussa Sadr undermines the Higher Muslim Council by calling for a Higher Shia Council.

-the war complicates as the PLO, driven out of Palestine by the Israelis and from Syria by the Syrians sets up around Beirut, using Lebanon as a new base for sorties against Israel.

1975- with Egypt having signed a peace accord with Israel, Syria’s Alawite regime decides to take over leadership of the Arab cause from Egypt by backing the PLO rebellion in Lebanon.

-the Shia form an alliance with the left of the PLO.

-The PLO sides with Druze and Shia Muslims and the LNM militia in the growing civil war. Government order dissolves into anarchy.

1976- Syria forms the Arab Deterrent Force (ADF) and invades Lebanon at the request of Suleiman Franjieh, supporting the Maronites to prevent the Palestinians from gaining control. Syrian intervention is opposed by Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt.

-Oct- a ceasefire fails to last.

1976- the PLO shifts to southern Lebanon, out of reach of Syria’s ADF, but giving Arafat more direct control over them.

-West Beirut is riven by competing militias.

-East and North Beirut is the objective of Christian militias backed by Israel.

-fighting continues despite the presence of Multinational Peace Troops.

1977- Druze leader, Kamal Jumblatt is assassinated on orders from Syria and he succeeded by his son Walid as head of the Progressive Socialist Party.

1978- March- June – seeing that there is no longer any central authority in Lebanon to deal with the PLO, Israel invades in an attempt to crush the PLO in southern Lebanon and forms a security zone north of the Israeli border.

-the UN sends in an ineffective UNIFIL force of 6,000.

1980s- Syria sends its army in to restore order and occupies Lebanon. Syria and the PLO hold separate parts of the country.

-the Soviet Union provides arms for Syria and the PLO.

-in response to PLO sorties against Israel, Israel mounts raids on the PLO in Lebanon

-1981- Christians start battling Syrian forces.

1982- Israel invades, wiping out PLO strongholds in Tyre and Sidon, attacks Beirut by land, air and sea. Israeli troops encircle and bomb East Beirut, home of the PLO HQ. Israel drives out Syria and the PLO- sending the PLO to resettle in various Arab counties under the eye of international peace keepers.

Aug. Maronite Bashir Gemael is elected President.

-Sept.- When president Bashir Gemayel of Lebanon is assassinated in a bombing of the Christian Falangist headquarters,, Israel, fearing further instability, occupies Beirut. In the process it allows a proxy force of Christian Maronite militias to massacre Palestinian refugees in the Shabra and Shatila refugee camps- the Christians probably doing do in retaliation for the death of Gemayel.

-Bashir’s brother Amin Gemayel is elected president.

-the US pressures Israel for a settlement.

-the expulsion of the PLO from Lebanon results in the creation of Hezbollah as the new resistance to Israeli occupation, dedicated also to the annihilation of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian theocracy.

1982 -Israeli troops occupy southern Lebanon to stop sorties against Israel by the PLO and the Shia militia, Hezbollah.

1983- April- a bomb destroys the US embassy in Beruit, killing 50.

- May- in a treaty brokered by the US, President Amin Jemayyil, though a Maronite must ask Israel, as well as Syria, to withdraw, if he is to retain national support. Even if it exposes him to Druze and Muslim militias. Nevertheless he successfully negotiates Israeli withdrawal. The Syrians, however, refuse to withdraw.

-when Israel finally withdraws, the Christian militias clash with Syrian backed Druze militias.

-Multinational Peace Troops suffer bomb attacks, killing 230 US maries and 58 French partroopers.

-fighting continues despite the 1982 ceasefire.

-1984- Israeli troops are forced to withdraw to their south Lebanon security zone.

-the Christian, South Lebanese Army, with the aid of Israeli troops, occupies south Lebanon.

-mid 1980s- various militias begin taking westerners hostage.,

-Shia women begin wearing the black Chador as a gesture of traditionalist solidarity.

-in the absence of Israel, Lebanese factions turn on one another as the civil war fragments.

-President Amin Jemayyel is forced to recognize Syrian influence.

-President Jemayyel refuses to reduce the the permanent Maronite majority in the Taif Accord.assembly.

-PLO units filter back into Lebanon.

-1988- Syrian troops enter Lebanon to restore order. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt reluctantly accepts Syrian intervention.

-Sept. President Amin Gamayel’s term ends. Due to the impossibility of elections, he brings in military government by Maronite Michal Aoun whose mandate is to expel Syria.

-Syran troops are attacked by the Lebanese army, led by General Michel Aoun.

-the Arab league brokers a truce between Muslims and Christians but makes no mention of Syrian occupation.

-1989 the Arab League proposes the Ta’if Accord, signed by the last members of the assembly standing before the civil war in 1975; the accord reduces the representation of Maronite Christians in the Lebanese government. Druze leader Walid Jumblatt accepts it reluctantly.

1989-1990- revolts against Syrian occupation by Gen. Michel Aoun are put down by Syria and Aoun is forced to leave the country.

1990- President Muawad assassinated. President Hrawi succeds him.

-internecine fighting among Christian groups.

- Syria quietly re-occuppies Lebanon and enforces the Ta’if Accord.

-early 1990s- the militias begin releasing western hostages.

- Nov. -rival Shia groups make peace among themselves.

-1991- a government of national unity is established. A timetable for disarmament of the militias is established.

-the Lebanese army prepares to re-take control of the south.

-Aug- peace talks with Israel, Syria and a joint Palestinian-Jordanian delegation continue through 1992.

1992- fighting continues between various groups; and the Syrian military and the PLO are still in Lebanon.

-a general election in Lebanon is boycotted by many Maronite Christian parties. Amal and Hezbollah gain the most seats and Rafiq Hariri becomes Prime Minister. The constitution dictates that the president must be a maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the 108 member parliament divided equally between Christians and Muslms.

-the last of the hostages are released.

1990s- Hezbollah gradually drives Israeli troops from southern Lebanon.

2000- Under pressure from its own people, Israel withdraws its troops from the security zone, hence from Lebanon altogether.

2001- Syria withdraws 25,000 troops from Beruit but leaves 20,000 in the surrounding area.

2004- Aug. Under Syrian pressure, its own man in Lebanon, President Lahoud, remains in office beyond the constitutional six year time limit.

2004- Syrian President Bashir Assad, in a private meeting with Lebanon's western-oriented Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, allegedly delivers a veiled threat of death should Hariri refuse to accept an extension of Syrian-backed President Lahoud's mandate to rule Lebanon.

2005- Hariri, who has almost rebuilt Lebanon in the wake of the war, resigns rather than confirm an extension of the mandate of Syria's proconsul, President Lahoud.

2005- February 14- Hariri is assassinated. Syria is strongly suspected. A national outpouring of support for Hariri, combined with international censure, forces Syria out of Lebanon.

-the new, pro-West, independence government of Prime Minister Sinioria is faced with heavy representation of the the Syria-supported Hezbollah Party in parliament and Cabinet.

2006- July- Hezbollah kidnaps Israel soldiers in the border area with Israel. In response, Israel invades Lebanon in order to destroy Hezbollah and cut off all support for hezbollah by Syria and Iran.

2006- November- the UN investigation of the murder of Rafiq Hariri implicates four Lebanese generals suspected of carrying out the attack on Syrian orders. Syria's president Bashir Assad's inner cicrcle is named as the instigator of the plot.

-Lebanon's finance minister, Pierre Gemayel is assassinated. Syria, once again is suspected. In light of UN disclosure of Syria's implication in the Hariri assassination, Syria is suspected of attempting to derail any further inquiries.

-Hezbollah holds masss demonstrations for the resignation of the Sinioria government and new elections that will more acurately show, in Hezbollah's view, the strength of the Shia vote.

FEB 28, 2007- BRAZIL, URUGUAY AND MERCOSUR

History abhors determinism but cannot tolerate chance-

-Bernard de Voto

HISTORY IN THE NEWS: DEVOTED TO THE DEEP ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.

Index

Darfur, Nov. 18 06

Latin American Economic Union- Dec. 9 06.

Lebanon-Syria Nov. 21 06

North Korea - Nov. 20 06.

Ethiopia Invades Somalia, Dec. 27 06.

The Taliban- Afghanistan- Jan 7, 07

Lebanon- Feb 6. 07

BULLETIN: Latin America: Brazil tries to keep Uruguay loyal to the Mercosur trading bloc.

A SHOT FROM THE PAST: In 1822 Brazil institutionalized historic claims to the region that is now Uruguay. Aregntina had already challenged those claims in 1817. The result was a war- and eventually, the creation of Uruguay.

THE ECHOES: Uruguay still feels lost in the shadows of Argentina and Brazil and Brazil is finding new ways of keeping Uruguay 'loyal'.

IN THE NEWS TODAY:

(see Dec, 9 ‘06) Brazilian President Luiz da Silva traveled to Uruguay to discourage Uruguayan president, Tabare Vazquez from making a competitive, liberal trade deal with the United States. Uruguay and Brazil are members of the Mercosur trading bloc, made up of Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay. DaSilva offered Uruguay infrastucture loans for energy projects in hopes that might wean Uruguay from the exclusive trade deal offered by US president, George Bush. In general the smaller Mercosur partners have been complaining of unfair treatment by the larger members, Brazil and Argentina. Perennial grievances as well as historic rivalries among the South American nations have complicated the enlargement of Mercosur into the rest of South America as well as relations within Mercosur itself.

LOOKING BACK: Argentina and Brazil both had claims to Uruguay. In 1680, the Portuguese founded the city of Colonia in modern-day Uruguay, on the north shore of the river La Plata- only to be driven out by the Spanish who founded Montevideo in 1717. Still, by the early 19th century, the sparsely settled region of southeastern Brazil ended, comfortably enough, on that same north shore of the La Plata River. But for years neighbouring Argentinian gauchos crossed the La Plata to get cattle hides and extended ranch lands northward to resist Brazilian penetration. In 1817, Argentina laid claim to the area (known as the Banda Oriental) while Brazil made it a part of her empire in 1822. A war ensued, with rebels from Montevideo fighting Brazil on behalf of Argentina. Great Britain finally brokered the Peace of Montevideo in 1828, making the disputed region the independent nation of Uruguay. Uruguay was to act as a buffer between Argentina and Brazil

In 1842-1851 Uruguay was embroiled in a civil war between the ‘Red’ and ‘White’ political factions. Argentina intervened to end the conflict. In 1864, Brazil made claims against Uruguay for damages incurred by the fighting, Uruguay refused and Brazil invaded and overthrew the ‘Whites’ government in Montevideo. After Paraguay intervened on the side of the Whites. Uruguay joined Brazil and Argentina with the ‘Reds’ in the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguayan ambitions in Uruguay. Paraguay was defeated in 1870. With that, Brazilian and Argentinian intervention in Uruguay ended.

CONCLUSION: Brazil can hardly be blamed for feeling a natural kinship with Uruguay. But that ‘kinship’ may be more paternal in nature than Uruguay would like.

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