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Apr 18 2017

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The ANZAC Legacy

HOW THE ANZACS DESTROYED THE OTTOMAN CALIPHATE

All Australians know about our ANZACS. But very few know that the ANZAC’S caused the collapse of the Ottoman Empire; the same Ottoman Empire that islam is trying to revive today.

Ottoman Empire History

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , the leader of ISIS, styled himself after the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who led the “Rightly Guided” or Rashidun. According to Sunni tradition, Abu Bakr replaced Muhammad as prayer leader when he was suffering from illnesses.

The leader of ISIS declared himself the new Caliph of a revived islamic empire.

Today, the President of Turkey, Recep T. Erdogan, has usurped that role, seeking to re-create another Ottoman Empire by declaring himself the leader of the Caliphate. But like all dynasties it is doomed to failure. The very nature of islam guarantees that it will fail.

Ibn Khaldun, in his book on historiography, The Muqaddimah, states that “dynasties have a natural life span like individuals” and that “it [a dynasty] grows up and passes into an age of stagnation and then into retrogression.” The insightful words of Ibn Khaldun in 1337 hold true for the history of the last great Muslim empire – the Ottoman Empire.

The seeds of the the Ottoman Empire’s demise were sown early in its life. However, it took the ANZAC’S to complete the destruction.

In their initial stages of expansion, the Ottomans were leaders of the Turkish warriors for the faith of Islam, known by the honorific title ghazi (Arabic: “raider”).

Islam has always used violence to spread its power. Disguised as a religion it uses fear, violence, and deception to subjugate those it seeks to conquer. Once islam gains power in a country it immediately sets out to forcibly convert the conquered people to islam.

They are offered a choice. Convert to islam or die. The Jews and Christians, mentioned in the koran as “the people of the book”, are allowed to live under islam provided they pay the jizya.

The jizya is a per capita yearly tax levied on non-Muslim subjects— called dhimmis—residing in islamic lands under Islamic law. The amount may vary, but it is invariably a serious financial burden on those required to pay, forcing them to live poor, mean lives. Their only rights are those granted under sharia law.

All moslems live in a permanent state of fear in a fully Islamic state. They must conform rigidly to sharia law. Even today in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia we see draconian punishments meted out to those who transgress sharia.

Spanish Moors

Despite this, islam has spread its tentacles into many lands. It has not always been successful in holding onto conquered lands. Spain, for example, suffered under Moorish rule for eight hundred years in total. However, the Berber-Hispanic moslems were only able to inhabit two-thirds of the peninsula for 375 years, about half of it for another 160 years, until finally they were reduced to only the kingdom of Granada for the remaining 244 years. The Spaniards fought hard throughout this time to get rid of the invaders. But it took the Spanish Inquisition under a strong Monarchy to finally rid the Iberian Peninsula of islam. The Spanish realized that the only way to defeat islam is through showing their spirit was stronger than the islamists, and that is what it took for the ANZAC’S to beat the Ottomans as well.

The Gallipoli Campaign

Australia went to war against the Ottoman Empire in a series of battles that have become known as the Gallipoli Campaign, also known as the Dardanelles Campaign. It is named after the Gallipoli peninsula where most of the fighting took place. The peninsula forms the northern bank of the Dardanelles, a strait that provided a sea route to the Russian Empire, one of the Allied powers during World War 1.

The campaign began on 25 April 1915 and ended 9 January 1916. Britain and France launched a naval attack followed by an amphibious landing on the peninsula. The ANZAC force consisted of 20,000 Australians and New Zealanders, led by British Army officers, and supported by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) under the control of the British Admiralty.

The aim was to capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople, known as Istanbul today. Both sides fought fiercely, but after eight months fighting the naval attack was abandoned and the invasion force was withdrawn to Egypt.

The Turks regarded it as a great victory, little realizing that it actually heralded the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Gallipoli campaign would eventually lead to the Turkish War of Independence and the formation of the Republic of Turkey after eight years of bitter fighting under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal, also known as Kemal Atatürk

The Gallipoli campaign created a huge surge of pride and national consciousness in Australia and New Zealand. The date of their landing, 25 April, has since become known as “Anzac Day”.

Seven VC’s were won during the campaign. The first was won by Albert Jacka. Some Turks had captured a small section of trench at Courtney’s Post. Early attempts to drive them out failed, until Jacka, taking advantage of a diversion created by bomb throwers at one end of the Turkish position, leapt in. He killed most of the Turks in the trench. Jacka survived the war. When he returned home he eventually became Mayor of St. Kilda.

The Turks had immense respect and a great deal of fear of the Anzacs. They often said that the Anzacs fought like demons. But what produced this special brand of courage and bravery?

In the Trenches

Imagine you are one of those soldiers. You are about to land at Anzac Cove, as it is called today. On the way in you look out from the boat at a land that is lit up like an amusement park. Flares and bullets flying through the night make it look more like a Guy Falks night instead of a deadly battlefield.

Once you reach the beach you head up the cliffs towards the fighting. As you climb the bullets and shells start, and they never stop the whole time you are there.

The fear begins.

You get to your trench and huddle in the mud with all the other men waiting for the signal to go “over the top”.  You have already seen other groups of man go over and run into a hail of bullets that cut many of them down before they could even move forward more than a few yards.

The fear builds, but you grit your teeth, knowing you have no choice. No matter how scared you are you have a job to do. You won’t let your mates down.

Besides, if you do refuse to go over the top a British officer is stationed nearby to shoot you. You have no choice.

The ships that delivered you to the battle start a barrage that seems to last for hours. Shells scream overhead onto the Turkish lines. You crouch in the trench, the fear building, hoping vainly that there will not be any Turks left when it’s your turn.

Suddenly, the barrage stops and there is complete silence. Then a whistle blows. You tense your muscles, grit your teeth, and if you are lucky you don’t crap your pants. There’s no shame in it. The men understand your fear. They are just as afraid, but it doesn’t stop you, or them. On the signal you clamber out of the trench.

You run as hard and as fast as you can, men on either side of you falling as they are hit.

As you run forward you take cover in craters left by the shelling shooting at anything that moves in front of you.

You get up and run crouching forward again, wondering if one of those bullets whizzing by you will take your life. But you make it all the way to the Turkish lines.

The Turks are there even though you can’t see them. They have put boards above their trenches and covered them with dirt, leaving holes so that they can shoot up at you.

You get down on your knees and scrape the dirt away using your hands and bayonet, scrabbling wildly, the fear driving you into a raging madness. Then you rip up the boards and leap into the trench below where you come to grips with the waiting Turks. The fighting is too close to use your rifle. You grapple with the Turk, using your bayonet, fists, and anything else you can to kill him before he kills you. The whole world becomes a mad fight, slashing, stabbing, punching, choking, and for some, dying.

The fighting goes on for three days. By then you are standing on piles of bodies, exhausted, but still fighting for your life…until suddenly you are felled.

If you are lucky you wake up on a hospital ship. If not, your body will lie in the mud until they come to take you away for burial. Or you might wake up still on the battlefield, out of sight, and out of reach of any help. You lie there in agony until death takes you away from the pain and the fear. Some injured men are lucky enough to be rescued hours or even days after a battle by brave medics, guided to your position by your pitiful cries for help as the pain slowly drives you mad.

This is what it was like for the Anzac’s.

No wonder so many men won VC’s during those awful days.

ANZAC’S GAINED RESPECT AND FEARED

It was this bravery that gained the respect and the fear of the Turks. The courage of the Anzacs put Australia and New Zealand on the world map. They were respected by allies and enemies alike.

While we think of the Anzacs fighting the Turks, they were in fact fighting over a much wider area. The end of the Ottoman Empire was won through a series of battles from Gallipoli to Egypt and the Sinai.

At the Battle of Romani, fought between 3 and 5 August 1916 near the Egyptian town of Romani on the Sinai Peninsula, the Anzac’s were outnumbered 10 to 1. The battle was fought between the 52nd (Lowland) Division and the Anzac Mounted Division of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) and a combined Ottoman and German force. The Anzac’s fought so hard that they defeated and ousted the enemy from the Suez Canal area. This victory ensured that the Allies’ supply lines could no longer be disrupted.

The Battle of Beersheeba was a two year campaign fought over 10 battles in southern Palestine and Sinai. The final battle was won by the Australian Mounted Division’s 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments (4th Light Horse Brigade). They cleared the German and Turkish lines with a mounted infantry charge, bayonets in their hands, their only weapon for mounted attack, their rifles slung across their backs.

While part of the two regiments dismounted to attack entrenchments on Tel es Saba defending Beersheba, the remainder of the light horsemen continued their charge into the town, capturing the place and part of the garrison as it was withdrawing.

They were given the order to take Jerusalem by Christmas, and that is what they achieved.

Even though the Anzacs lost at Gallipoli, it was a defining moment in our history. The experience and courage gained at Gallipoli enabled the Anzac’s to defeat those same Turks later, freeing Jerusalem from Islamic occupation and bringing down the Ottoman Caliphate. At the same time, their victory cleared the way for the establishment of the Nation of Israel.

We can all feel justly proud on ANZAC day, the day Australia was born in blood and battle.

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