Against Russiaor Us?
Britains Huge Military Base on Cyprus
Opposes American Influence, Too
Cyprus is situated in the eastern Mediterranean, close to
the Syrian mainland on the east and to Turkey on the north. There the
British are beginning to construct a formidable military base. This base
is intended to serve for the defense of the Near East against the Russians;
it also dominates the oil-rich Arab countries and the pipelines that carry
the oil from the wells to the ports of Mediterranean. It can be shown,
however, that this British base is designed not only against Russian penetration
into the oil countries, but also against the Americans and their interests
in this area, and even more against them than against the Russians.
The short history of Cyprus in modern times is this:
In the 16th century the island was ruled by the Venetian
Republic and controlled the trade routes to the Levant (Near East). Shakespeare
made it the scene of his tragedy about 0147Othello,0148 the Venetian Governor
of Cyprus. In 1571, Sultan Selim II wrested it from the Venetians. It
belonged to Turkey until 1878, when Disraeli, Britains Prime Minister,
obtained it from Turkey for the purpose of administration. In 1914 the
British converted it into a Crown Colony.
The population consists of a Greek majority and a Turkish
minority (one fifth of the population.)
The British ruled the island, inciting the minority against
the majority. In 1931 the Greek population of Cyprus, inspired by its
religious leaders, burned the palace of the British Governor, Gen. Storrs.
It was this same scheming Storrs who, before that, as the Governor of
Jerusalem, had appointed to the post of Mufti in Jerusalem a soap-box
orator and an ex-convict sentenced to 15 years at hard labor.
The Greek population of the island longs to reunite with
the Greek state. But the British opposite this and since the Greek king
is a German-born, Nazi-oriented, British-reinstated monarch, the present
Greek Government does not support the desire of the Greek population of
Cyprus to become a part of Greece.
* * *
Here appears the strangest paradox. In Greece the British
have instigated the annihilation not only of the left-wing elements, but
of democratic elements as well, a work being accomplished with the monetary
and military help of the Americans. But on Cyprus, the British at present
persecute the right-wing Greeks, and build their policy on promoting the
The reason is simple. All Greeks on the island are eager
to see Cyprus a part of Greece, but the left-wing elements would not like
to unite with present-day Greece with its reactionary government, because
they are afraid of persecution. Thus, while the British support the Left
wing, Communists included, on the island, they support the Right wing
in Greece, turning the expensive job of fighting the Left wing over to
By supporting the Communists and the Left in general on
Cyprus, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, pretending to build there
a base against Communist penetration into the Near and Middle East, the
British play a game against the Americans. The British lost the oil fields
of Arabia to the Americans, not the Russians.
In order to re-enter into this area, they have to eject
the Americans, not the Russians. Since the end of World War II in Europe,
they have done everything to create antagonism between the Americans and
the Russians. If there should be war, the British, under the pretext of
being too much exposed to attack, and also because they pretend to be
a socialist government, ideologically between capitalist America and Communist
Russia would try to maintain neutrality.
Whatever may be the outcome of such a conflict, the British
hope to come out with spoils. The most desirable spoils in the world are
the oil regions of the Middle East. To have a strong military base on
Cyprus prepared for this contingency is a well-calculated move in the
game of power politics.
* * *
If the British are sincere in maintaining that the fortress
of Cyprus is built against penetration in the Near and Middle East by
the Russians, and not against American interests already there, then let
them offer to lease a part of the island to the Americans for a base of
their own. If the Americans are good enough to finish the job the British
started in Greece, why should they not have a military base on Cyprus?
Here is a test of British integrity with respect to America.