Karl Marx, having in mind the respective coups d'état of Napoleon I (1799) and his nephew Napoleon III (1851), wrote acerbically in 1852: "Hegel remarks somewhere that all facts and personages of great importance in world history occur, as it were, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."
A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin
It was true that the Soviets encouraged Persian nationalism, supported Turkish nationalism, and sought to aid rebellion in Iraq; but the Russians had not inspired – and did not direct – any of these movements.
While this might read as something from recent headlines, there are enough hints in the above to conclude otherwise. Fromkin is writing of the time after World War One, when the British believed every revolt in their various colonies and dependencies was directed by the Bolsheviks.
In fact there was an outside force linked to every one of the outbreaks of violence in the Middle East, but it was the one force whose presence remained invisible to British officialdom. It was Britain herself.
They were unable, it seems, to look in the mirror for the common link behind the various rebellions.
From the Middle East correspondent of The Times, published in September 1920:
“My conviction, based on careful study, is that the Arab Bureau at Cairo, the G.H.Q at Cairo, and our Occupied Enemy Territories Administrations in Palestine and last year in Syria, bear a heavy load of responsibility for the present waste of British lives and money in Mesopotamia.” He charged that “British Pan-Arab propaganda is one of the most serious existing dangers to the world’s peace.” Putting aside the few British officials who genuinely believed in Arab independence, he denounced the “extremely dangerous officials who have no great belief in the Arabs’ own capacity for government, but an intense belief in our Imperial Mission” to run Arab affairs behind a façade of nominal Arab Independence.
Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon and Permanent Under-Secretary Lord Hardinge argued for a forward British military position in the Middle East, defending Transcaucasia and northern Persia from Russia, claiming that…
…the loss of any one area in the Middle East to Russian aggression would, I turn, lead to the loss of the area behind it, in a domino reaction that might lead eventually to the loss of India.
Within twenty years, Britain would ally with this same Soviet Russia, allowing dominos to fall throughout half of Europe. Shortly thereafter Britain lost claim over much of her holdings in the Middle East and the sub-continent of Asia.
Americans have been fighting to regain these holdings and more ever since.