中東の戦後70年

2018年07月22日

Home Page: OCIN INITIATIVE

(Japanese Version)

(Arabic Version)

(Table of contents)

By Areha Kazuya

 

Chapter 5: Two calendars (Gregorian & Hijri)

 

5-2(38) Around Hijri 1400 (Gregorian 1980)

 

Hijri which started on July 16, 622 AD celebrated 1st of Muharram, 1400 on November 21, 1979 AD. It was the last year of the 14th century of Hijri. The 14th century of Hijri began in the year 1883 AD. As explained earlier, the year of Hijri is shorter than 11 days compared with the Gregorian calendar, so the length of one century of Hijri is four years shorter than Gregorian.

 

Before the 19th century AD, people in the Western countries of Christianity thought that the end of one century would cause serious fears. But in the age of modern science of the 20th century, such superstition had gone away. There was a small noise that the computer 's "Year 2000 problem" might took place when the time passed away from December 31st,1999 to January 1st, 2000.

 

Muslims did not make a loud noise about the 1400th year of Hijri. They were more sensitive to monthly events such as Ramadan and Haji (Great Pilgrimage). They are less confident about the change of the year. Therefore, changing of the year from 1399 to 1400 of Hijri did not be emphasized too much. However, it was a historical fact that major events occurred one after another in the Middle East before and after the year 1400 of Hijri.

 

For example, in Hijri 1399 (1978-79 AD) Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menaham Begin had concluded a historical Camp David Accords mediated by the US President Jimmy Carter. They won the Nobel Peace Prize for that year, and the two countries signed the peace treaty in 1979 AD. But this brought about fierce opposition from other Arab countries. Egypt was expelled from the Arab League. Egypt lost the position as the leader in the Arab and Muslim world in return for bilateral peace with Israel.

 

The Iranian revolution occurred in January 1979 (Hijri 1399, hereinafter Gregorian calendar will basically be applied for easy understanding). In July 1979, Saddam Hussein assumed the presidency in Iraq. He aimed for the leader of Arab nations replacing Egypt. In August 1979, Ka’aba temple of Makkah in Saudi Arabia was occupied by Islam extremist. It shocked the Saud ruling family. In September 1980 (Hijri 1401, the first year of the 15th century of Hijri) the Iran-Iraq war was broken out. Ayatollah Khomeini, supreme religious leader of Shia Islam aimed for the religious leader of whole Islam, while Saddam Hussein of Iraq aimed to be a dictator in the Middle East. Religion and ethnicity competed regional hegemony each other.

 

At this time, Saddam Hussein stipulated Iran-Iraq War as a battle between Shiite and Sunni of Muslims. Using such rhetoric, Saddam Hussein withdrew the war chest from Gulf oil-producing countries of the same Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Of course, both Saddam Hussein and Gulf monarchies were the same secular states. The Iran-Iraq War, therefore, was not a battle between religious sects but It was the war between secularism and religion. When Iran put up a bad fight at the first stage of the war, the young Iranian volunteers appeared in the battlefield one after another. It was the "jihad" for the Iranian Shiite Muslims, who were driven by the sense of religious mission and bravely challenged against Arab secular states.

 

Although Saddam Hussein was Sunni, but many Shiite residents lives in southern Iraq. Shiites are the majority in Iraq. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Bahrain also there are many Shiites. In Bahrain the majority is Shiites. Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini allured these Shiite residents in Gulf countries to resist against their rulers. Sunni rulers in Gulf countries felt crisis. It was the reason why six Gulf States formed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in 1981 (Hijri 1402). They feared that the Shiites would rose and overthrew the monarchy regime. Hussein brought a composition of Islam sectarian conflict into the Iran-Iraq War and involved the Gulf oil-producing countries into war. GCC countries have fallen into Hussein's trap.

 

In December 1979, the same year as of the Iran-Iraq War, the USSR invaded Afghanistan and the Afghan War broke out. These two wars continued during 1980s across the 14th and 15th century of Hijri.

 

Judging these historical incidents from the scale of Hijri, the years before and after 1400 of Hijri was the era of large crustal deformation or paradigm shift in the Middle East world. The driving force was the Islam. During the first decade of Hijri 15th century (From 1980 to 1990 AD), Muslims fought against apostates who had anti-Islam religion. The first enemy was an atheistic communist Afghanistan government. The second one was the struggle within two sects of Islam of Shiites vs Sunnis representing two major regional powers, namely Iran-Iraq War. The third one was the conflict between the Islam fundamentalism so-called Al-Qaeda and Islamic moderate forces and Western Christianity. September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) in 2001 was the biggest tragedy. And until very recently, Islamic State (IS or ISIS), the virtual caliphate nation challenged the existing secular states of Iraq and Syria.

 

Like riot by Ikko sect of Buddhism in the 15th and 16th century in Japan, the religious riots used to become extremely radical in the end. The modern Islamic movement is also taking on that aspect. When the movement reached at the peak, it was self-destructed and lost the support of the masses. In Buddhism, it is said that prosperous must decay. Nobody knows when the struggle will end in the Middle East. It is true that "Only God (Allah) knows".

 

(To be continued ----)





drecom_ocin_japan at 09:23コメント(0) 

2018年07月15日

Home Page: OCIN INITIATIVE

(Japanese Version)

(Arabic Version)

(Table of contents)

 

By Areha Kazuya

E-mail: areha_kazuya@jcom.home.ne.jp

 

Chapter 5: Two calendars (Gregorian & Hijra)

 

5-1(37) Hijri eroded by Gregorian

37HijraCalender
 

In the Islamic world, Hijri calendar (Islamic calendar) has penetrated every corner of Muslim life. Hijra was the day when the Prophet Muhammad emigrated from Makkah to Madinah. And Hijri is an Islamic calendar starting from the emigration of Prophet Muhammad, corresponding to July 16, 622 AD.

 

The hijri is a lunar calendar which based on the monthly cycles of the Moon’s phases. The month of a lunar calendar alternates between 29 and 30 days. So the period of twelve such lunations, a lunar year, is only 354 days and 8 hours. The hijri, purely lunar calendar, loses around 11 days per year relative to the Gregorian calendar.

 

Once upon a time a lunar calendar was used in Japan, too. At that moment an additional month was set up to adjust the seasonal deviation. However, same adjustment does not apply in a hijri. The seasons, therefore, are gradually shifting every year. As a result, the 9th month of a hijri, Ramadan, known as the fasting month, or the 12th month of hijri, Hajj may start in a midsummer or in a midwinter from year to year. The lack of additional one month causes the lunar months to cycle through all the seasons of the Gregorian year over the course of a 33 lunar-year cycle. A Hijri started in 622 AD, and in September this year (in 2018) a hijri will reach the year of 1440. There were 1,396 years from the year 622 till 2018, but it was 1,440 years in a hijri. In a hijri, 46 years passed ahead on a Gregorian calendar.

 

In Japan the seasonal deviation was adjusted by introducing an additional month. On the other hand, a Hijri has no such adjustment. It is interesting to think about the reason why the Islamic countries and the old Japan used the same lunar calendar. Basically, the time of sunrise and sunset becomes faster or slower day by day in a year. But it is difficult to perceive the difference of daylight hours of yesterday and today. On the contrary, phase of the moon can recognize every night.

 

Muslim in the Middle East has unique feeling about moon and sun. Japanese who lives in moderate climates seems that the sun is grace. However, Muslim living in the Middle East who suffers harsh and dry climate with glaring sunshine seems that the sun means death. The calm moon and night is the time of rest for Muslim. Arab people love the moon more than the sun.

 

People in the Middle East Islamic countries dared to accept the seasonal discrepancy without creating an additional month in the lunar calendar. Japanese created an additional month in their lunar calendar. The reason is conceivable that the former is pastoral society and the latter is agricultural society. In the agricultural society, it moves along with the season from sowing to harvesting. It must be aligned with the movement of the sun. In pastoral society, grass growing in the field and breeding of animals are closely related to the seasonal change, too, but grass grows and livestock breeds its children naturally without human assistance. Therefore, pastoralists need not to be so sensitive for the seasonal change as agricultural people.

 

There are various kinds of events related to the daily life that match to a lunar calendar. For example, there are many events in Japan such as 88th day and 210th day which start from the beginning of February (i.e. The day just Spring has come). 88th-day is the suitable day for picking green tea around May and 210th-day means a high season of typhoon in September. Both events are tailored for Summer and Autumn seasons respectively and are closely related to natural phenomena. However, Ramadan (fast) and Hajj (Makkah pilgrimage), typical events of a Hijri, are both human acts unrelated to nature and season.

 

Let's think about economic activities which have nothing to do with the seasons. Economic activities are often settled in monthly basis, such as payment of salary or debt. However, in this case, it is not necessary to adjust the duration of each month to a Gregorian calendar. Merchants in the Islamic world decide that one month is from full moon to next full moon. They feel no inconvenience for such business manner.

 

Thus, the Muslim society has kept the traditional lifestyle for 1400 years. However, from the beginning of 15th century of a Hijri corresponding to 1980s of AD, Muslim society was swallowed in the wave of globalization. They were forced to adjust the year and month scale to the Gregorian calendar. In order to trade with non-Muslim countries in the world, it became indispensable to conform with the Gregorian calendar as the de facto standard not only in the Western countries but also all over the world.

 

Financial business was the first field of de facto standard. In the modern financial business, the annual, monthly or daily transaction are based on Gregorian calendar. And trading day is from Monday to Friday. In contrast. in the Middle East Islamic world Thursday and Friday were holidays, so trading day was from Saturday to Wednesday. The duplicated working days are only three days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. This is extremely inefficient. The Sabbath day is on Friday in the Islamic countries and that of Sunday in Western countries respectively. Of course, the Islamic countries cannot change the Sabbath on Friday. In the end, the Islamic countries made compromise with Western style. Now Middle Eastern Islamic countries have changed two-day weekend from Thursday and Friday to Friday and Saturday.

 

It looked like a mere change of institution. But the biorhythm in Muslim society began to go wrong. Muslim was forced to obey the Gregorian calendar for business purpose, though their mind was belonging to Islam. Muslim was teared between a Hijri and a Gregorian. Hijri was eroded by Gregorian.

 

(To be continued ----)





drecom_ocin_japan at 09:15コメント(0) 

2018年07月08日

Home Page: OCIN INITIATIVE

(Japanese Version)

(Arabic Version)

(Table of contents)

By Areha Kazuya

E-mail: areha_kazuya@jcom.home.ne.jp

Chapter 4: War and Peace in The Middle East

 

4-8(36) East of Nakba(great catastrophe)

The Arab countries have been disastrously defeated by Israel in the First Arab Israeli War in which Israel aimed for Independence. That was the reason why Arab countries called this war "Nakba (Great Disaster)" and Israel called the War of Independence. The greatest victim was the Arab-Palestinians who lived in Palestine. Approximately 750,000 Jews flowed from all over the world into Palestine after the war. As a result, the same number of Arab-Palestinians were pushed out of the country and became refugees. More Palestinian refugees came in the later Arab-Israeli wars. The number of refugees reached approximately ten million in total. Most of them evacuated to the east neighboring country - Jordan. Jordan was "the east of Nakba".

 

Jordan, however, was the poor country from its foundation. Palestinian refugees had a difficult time in Jordan. Many of them had to migrate to the Gulf countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, where the oil boom began. They moved from the land of Nakba in Palestine to Jordan and thereafter toward to the east again. This time, Gulf countries became “the east of Nakba”. Palestinian refugees were the diligent workforce in the Gulf oil-producing countries. Palestinians were the same Arabs with inhabitants in the Gulf countries. They could easily communicate by speaking Arabic language. They believed the same religion of Islam as the same Sunni sect. The Saudis and Kuwaitis appreciated the excellent knowledge of the Palestinians.

 

In the Gulf countries, they called migrants coming from abroad as "guest workers" and called themselves as "host countries". Palestinian migrants who spoke Arabic and worshiped together at the mosque on Friday were the best "guest workers" for “host countries”. However, do not be misled by the softness of the word "guest". Palestinians coming to Gulf countries in search for getting a piece of oil wealth were merely migrant workers. Palestinians were given cold shoulder. Inhabitants in the Gulf countries were blind to own faults and abused the Palestinians. Children imitate their parents and teased Palestinian children irrationally.

 

Palestinians, however, had to endure remained silent, otherwise they might lose good salary which was pretty high than their home country. Their status was unstable. The employment contract was depended on the temper of their lords. The lords were easily dismissed migrants and expelled them. Migrants were exactly modern slavery.

 

It is necessary to point out that migrants are different from immigrants. Immigrants are those who emigrated from other countries and acquired the citizenship of that country. Although there might be social discrimination, immigrants have the same political rights and the right of social security same as the original citizens. But migrant “guest” workers are not given such a right.

 

The Palestinians were obviously more educated, experienced and diligent than the Kuwaitis or Saudis. But under the modern slavery system of migrant workers, they had to endure humiliation and continue their duties. They sent the most of their salary to their relatives at home. Someday in the future when they would retire and return to home, it might be their dream to build an apartment and become a landlord, or to open a small shop and become the owner of self-employed business.

 

Palestinians were also enthusiastic about giving university education on children. As refugees living in other countries it was necessary to have excellent knowledge and expertise. The Shatilas and Al-Yassins who were Palestine refugees from Turkam had been working in Kuwait as teacher or doctor, respectively. They were keen on education more than others. The second son of the Shatillas was sent to the United States for studying though their household spending was painful. The eldest son of the Shatillas who had been working at an oil company in Saudi Arabia handed over a part of his salary to his father to support his brother's tuition. The Shatilas expected that their young son got citizenship of the United States after graduating university. Furthermore, the family had hidden agenda that if something happened in the Middle East they would rely on him and migrate to the United States.

 

Father himself did not lose hope to return to Turkam. He had a dream to open a private school in his hometown and spend the rest of his life to teach Palestine children. When he retired a teacher in the late 1970s, he left Kuwait and returned to Jordan. Around the same time Al-Yassin also sent his daughter Rania to American University in Cairo and the family returned to Jordan. He had a doctor's license, so he decided to settle permanent residence in Jordan and changed their nationality from Palestine to Jordan.

 

When the "Black September" incident took place in 1970, the PLO, Palestine Liberation Organization, moved its headquarter to Beirut, Lebanon. Jordan restored a peaceful condition under King Hussein. The Palestinians who emigrated to the Gulf countries returned to Jordan with various expectations in mind. Once the Palestinians had moved eastward from the land of "Nakba" to Jordan and again settled in Gulf countries in eastward. This time they moved westward and back to Jordan. Most of them waited for the day when they could return to Palestine.

 

(To be continued ----)





drecom_ocin_japan at 08:57コメント(0) 

2018年07月01日

Home Page: OCIN INITIATIVE

(Japanese Version)

(Arabic Version)

(Table of contents)

By Areha Kazuya

E-mail: areha_kazuya@jcom.home.ne.jp

 

Chapter 4: War and Peace in The Middle East

 

4-7(35) Iran-Iraq War: Isolated Iran vs Iraq supported by Arab & US

35Iran-IraqWar
 

The Islamic warriors in Afghanistan (Mujahideen) have advantageously fought Afghan War which was not only the battle between the communist central government backed by the USSR and Muslim guerillas but also the battle between atheism and monotheism. In Iran, Islamic coalition forces between clerics and bazaar merchants succeeded in the Islamic Revolution beating the Shah who advocated the Western style "White Revolution". The Islamic revival movement began in Afghanistan and spread to the neighboring Iran.

 

Ayatollah Khomeini, the top religious leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has directed Islamic revival movement further to the Arab countries. He urged Muslims in the Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on the other side of the Persian Gulf to overthrow the monarchic institution. Ayatollah Khomeini criticized that Saud family of Saudi Arabia has made Islamic holy cities Makkah and Madinah its own belongings, and they further monopolized the oil wealth. Khomeini condemned Saud Family as enemy of Allah. He preached that Muslims had to overthrow the monarch.

 

In addition, Ayatollah Khomeini further asked Muslims in Iraq to rebel against a secular dictator who forgot the teachings of Islam and disobeying Allah. There were many Shiite residents on the Persian Gulf coast and the southern part of Iraq. In Bahrain the Shiite Muslim were majority of the population. In Iraq which was controlled by Sunnis president, there were many Shiites in the southern part of the country too. Khomeini called these Shiite residents to overthrow the regime. And he aimed to overthrow even Israel. He called on Islamic countries "Kick down Israel to the Mediterranean!".

 

The dictator of Iraqi and monarchs of Gulf countries were frightened by roaring Khomeini. In November 1979 when the Iranian Revolution took place, a man who arrogated himself as Mahdi occupied the Kaaba Mosque of Makkah in Saudi Arabia with his supporters. Every Sunni rulers strengthened the control of Shiite Muslims. The battle between the Shiite and the Sunni had begun again since the days of the cradle of the Islam. In Christianity, conflict between sects having different doctrine often took place, and sometime resulted in warfare. In Islamic society there was an unwritten rule that was generous to the differences of sects and did not interfere with each other. However, the Iranian Revolution brought about a new confrontation between Sunni and Shiite.

 

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein thought this conflict as an opportunity to reinforce his power. He declared war on Iran. It was common for dictators to declare war against neighboring country to divert the people's eyes from domestic problems. President Hussein just tried that effect. But he expected another effect. He was sure that as soon as he declared the war against Iran, there might be many countries which would support his country. He made up the Iran-Iraq War not only as the battle between the Persians and Arabs but also the battle between Shiite and Sunni.

 

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which had a good number of Shiite in the country, were weak and could not stand on the stage of the war against the powerful Iran. Hussein urged that they should share war costs with Iraq which fight on behalf of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia appreciated Iraq. As rich countries, they were satisfied if the money could settle their annoyance. They proceeded to bear the war cost. Hussein also did not miss the fact that anti-Iran feelings were rising in the United States owing to overthrow of Shah's regime and occupation of the US embassy in Tehran. Of course, it was unrealistic that the United States would support the dictatorship of Iraq. But it was almost certain that the United States would became the friend of Iraq if Iraq opened the fire to Iran. And when the war began, even the USSR supported the Iraq in addition to the United States.

 

The Iran-Iraq War began in September 1980 from a surprise attack by Iraq. Iraqi army with superior in modern armament went into Iranian territory in the first stage of battle. But Iranian resistance was intense. The Iranian volunteer soldiers who had just experienced the Islamic Revolution had high fighting spirit. They fought bravely without fear of death. It was Iraqi soldiers who feared. Iranian soldiers appeared one after another in the battlefield like swarms. The population of 80 million in Iran meant there was no shortage to replenish the volunteer soldiers. Iraqi soldiers lost fighting spirit. The war fell into a stalemate in May of the next year. Iran-Iraq War which was Persian versus Arab or Shiite versus Sunni had become a war of attrition.

 

 

(To be continued ----)





drecom_ocin_japan at 09:21コメント(0) 

2018年06月24日

Home Page: OCIN INITIATIVE

(Japanese Version)

(Arabic Version)

(Table of contents)

 

By Areha Kazuya

E-mail: areha_kazuya@jcom.home.ne.jp

 

Chapter 4: War and Peace in The Middle East

 

4-6(34) Islamic revolution in Iran

 

Until the end of the 1970s Iran was the most stable country in the Middle East. In 1921 Rezah Shah of Cossack troops established Pahlavi dynasty by a coup d'etat, and changed the country name of Persia to Iran. In the World War II, he approached the Nazis of Germany. Iran, therefore, was surrendered by the Allied Forces. His son Muhammad Rezah Pahlavi inherited the position of the Shah. Then the Communist Party gained power. In 1951 Mosaddegh became Prime Minister and nationalized the oil industry.

 

The United States, which thought Iran's communism and nationalization of oil industry as crisis, overthrew the Mosaddegh regime through the secret operation by the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA). Muhammad Rezah Pahlavi gained full authority again. Since then the honeymoon relationship between the United States and Iran had started. The United States generously gave the state-of-th-art weapons to Iran. In return Iran poured the wealth of oil to the United States. The US entrusted Iran to stabilize around the Persian Gulf and to support indirectly the unstable situation of Israel. Iran became called "Police officers of Persian Gulf". Muhammad made reign of terror with the cooperation of the CIA of the United States and Mossad of Israeli intelligence agency. The network of the secret police, so-called SAVAK, covered all over the country. Agricultural land reform, privatization of state enterprises and right of women's vote were introduced in order to curry the United States' favor. It was called White Revolution.

 

The most influenced people by the White Revolution was merchants of the bazaar (market) in the city and the religious power of the Islamic clergy. Prophet Muhammad was a leader of the caravan, so in Islamic society the chemistry between merchant and religious classes was in good relation. In addition, the power of the merchant in the Middle East could not be neglected. Merchants and clergies cooperated each other and resisted the Shah regime. Shah was merciless for the resistance movement, and imprisoned them or exiled them abroad. Ayatollah Khomeini, a top religious leader, was expelled abroad. He directed the resistance movement from Paris.

34ホメイニ
 

In 1978, a slander article against Ayatollah Khomeini triggered a riot in the sacred City Qom. They protested the government suppressing them, and demonstrators shouted the establishment of Islamic state. The riot spread throughout Iran like the wildfire. In January 1979, Shah finally retired and exiled abroad. In exchange Ayatollah Khomeini returned home from Paris. In 1979, the Islamic Revolution achieved at last.

 

In April of the same year, the Islamic Republic of Iran was declared by a referendum. Ayatollah Khomeini advocated “velayat-e faqih”. Velayat-e faqih meant Guardianship of Islamic Jurist. It was the basic theory of the national sovereignty. Religious state was established in Islamic modern society for the first time. Velayat-e faqih is the legal theory unique to the Twelver Shiism occupying the majority of Muslims in Iran. Twelver Shiism preaches as follows; Imam, religious leader, took over the leadership after Muhammad's death. But the Imam of twelfth successor suddenly hid out (Hidden Imam). Thereafter the Islamic religious leader ruled the world on behalf of Imam until he appears as Mahdi. Their theory justifies the control by religious clerics. Iran became a religious state which was very rare in the modern world.

 

At the same time, a communist regime was born in Afghanistan next to the east of Iran, and the war started. The War in Afghanistan had two aspects; ideology and religion. That was the reason why the United States of America and the Arab Islamic countries, which historically conflicted each other, opposed the USSR in one mind. In other words, the United States which believed liberalism and capitalism as the best ideology thought that the War in Afghanistan was the final ideological war against USSR. While the Arab-Islamic countries thought that the war was religious one to stop the invasion of atheism.

 

The Islamic Revolution in Iran had changed the social structure from the ideology of liberalism and capitalism by Shah to religious beliefs of Ayatollah Khomeini. Both the USSR and the United States were perplexed by the change in the social structure of Iran. The impact of the United States, which lost the only one friend in the Middle East, was much big compared with USSR. The United States has protected Shah’s exile under humanitarian consideration. This, however, ignited the anti-American sentiments of Iranian students. They occupied the US embassy in Tehran. As the occupation lasted for a year, the strong anti-Iran sentiment was born in the United States. There is no indication to end the mutual antipathy until now. It was the beginning of the unfortunate history between Iran and the United States.

 

 

(To be continued ----)





drecom_ocin_japan at 15:42コメント(0) 
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