If we take away the religion angle and evaluate the history of the holy sites for the last 100-110 years, we realize that Makkah (aka Bakkah) amd Madina, both are located in the Hejaz area of current Suadi Arabia. Hejaz (ruled by Hasmim royals) and Nejd (ruled by House of Saud present day Saud family aka Quyarash), primarily from Riyadh.
Historically, Hejaz has always seen itself as separate from the rest of Saudi Arabia. Hejaz is the most populated region in Saudi Arabia with 35% of all Saudis living in Hejaz. Saudi Hejazis are of ethnically diverse origins. Hejazi Arabic is the most spoken accent in the region.
In 1925, Saudi Arabia conquered and annexed Hejaz. People of Hejaz still maintain a distinct identity and feel alienated from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is predominantly composed of a geographic area called Najd. Hejaz and Najd don’t go well at all. So, in a way, Saudi Arabia are the current crusaders. If you visit the history of this region, you will notice that successive Ottoman and Egyptians rulers have always tried to conquer this part irrespective of their religious faith.
At the Treaty of Jeddah in May 1927, Ibn Saud’s realm was recognized by the United Kingdom, and was addressed as the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd. Eventually, the House of Saud, consolidated the other remaining regions and by 1932 formed the so called current Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Petroleum was discovered in 1932 in Saudi Arabia. Treaty between Saudi Monarch and Great Britain dates a few years back. It was not opportunism by Britain but a coincidence that high quality oil was found with an ally.
So, if it is outsiders ruling the Holy sites, it is the House of Saud, which has been dominating the Hejaz. In fact, House of Saud practices the extreme form of Islam, called Wahabism unlike the practice of the locals from Hejaz (where Makkah and Madina are situated and Islam was practiced originally. Real invaders are House of Saud (again, I have no concerns or issues about their local politics) but it’s wrong to call Christians as Crusaders of the land.
Any ruler would look for synergy with an ally, you may call it opportunism as well. Just because they are Christian doesn’t mean they are crusaders. Christian Crusaders is an Al-Quida dominated view of that local opportunistic alliance and the expression of that is Talibans. The modus Operandi of protest was practiced in India by the Pakistanis and refined and exported to all extreme form of protest in the peaceful practice of Wahabism.
As of today, America is self-sufficient with Gas and mostly with Oil. Yes, there were times when America found cheap and high quality Oil and developed a strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia. It was Britain, who was the first to establish followed by other nations, coincidently, these nations were majority Christians. However, countries where majority Christians did not develop alliance with Saudi Arabai, simply because they had their own Oil. Venezuela, Russia are examples.
With the recent discovery of better refining techniques, US and Canadian have become self sufficient and flooding the market with Oil that will eventually supplant Saudi Oil and that’s the reason for the slump is Oil. Oil, like agriculture (and associated rain) has a fundamental effect on Economy. Many countries are so acutely dependent on Oil that they need a minimum threshold of barrel cost to sustain their economy. Russia and Venezuela are examples in this category. Yes, India is gaining from this Oil slump, because our dollars are staying home (imagine a barrel of oil costing $35 as against $114). Almost, a third of dollar outflow has stopped. That has direct implications for the currency.
Summarily, Western World is friends with Saudi Arabia and the Middle East because of the 60% Oil, that is high quality and cheap, not because of any imperialistic attitude. Calling them as Crusader is misnomer. Let the Oil get over, and the alliance will change if not stop working.
Just a small correction, use of Crude Oil was prevalent in many parts of the world for the last 2-3 centuries, Burma, present day Myanmar, UK, Europe, China will show anecdotes of such presence and use.
It was around 1850 that filtration of crude oil was achieved in Britain. Automobile industry 1890-1910) and vast expanse of American continent and modern machinery found better use of crude and refined oil. Oil was discovered in Saudi Arabia around 1932.
It’s not an invention associated with Middle East, just that they are seating or sleeping over abundant lakes of Oil. That oil is huge in quantity, has more octane and needs less energy to tap with low residue.
On Christian Crusaders:
Ottoman, and how can you forget Istanbul, the name itself has Muslim connotations, was interchangeable ruled by invaders and local who were sometimes Muslims (Remember Genghis Khan, the Mongol ruler, a nomadic warrior, who accepted Islam) and other times by Christians. These were often at loggerheads with the rulers of the land now ruled by Saudi Arabia.
The same Istanbul, called Constantinople, when ruled by Christian (Catholics), attacked this region and ruled for a couple of decades. These crusaders did a whole lot of injustice (atyachar) on the local populace that cannot be supported at all. That was in 1054 AD. What’s the connection with that 1000 year history with current economic and geopolitical compulsions? On injustice (Atyachar), why don’t we remember what Britishers did with us for 300 years? We were just freed 68 years back. Our potential (and deficiencies) have got us where we are but can we not focus on nationhood? Can we not understand our identity as a nation? How can we insist on being non pleural when that is bred within us for centuries, ethnically, genetically and culturally?
History is for learning, being proud about good moments and not making the same mistakes.
Why spend time and screw up present with ostensibly old archaic history, that too the records of which might have not been captured or caught rightly? Can we march forward? Do we have the option of going backwards? Undoing what has been done. Stopping similar mistakes from recurring? History of mankind is very flimsy and brief. Of the 60000 years of Homo Sapiens stage, we hardly know 8000 years of our story. It’s definitely not trivial but definitely not reliable, at best incomplete.
On Crusade, Sam Harris and …
The Crusades were a “reaction,” he laments, and in any event, holy war was a “late, peripheral” development within Christianity. This ought to be news to the flayed bodies and burned heretics and massacred dissidents put to death by Christianity’s sword. Muslim empires were authoritarian, as were Christian empires. Muslim clerics gave fatwas declaring jihad, and Pope Urban II gave his own decree explicitly calling on Christian subjects to take up arms and reclaim the Holy Land from the Mohemmadans. Why Sam Harris feels the need to take sides in the fanatical squabbles of our barbaric ancestors eludes me.
Link on crusaders below
(Above article was written in December 2015 and uploaded to this site in Sept., 2016)