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html The Arab-Israeli Conflict The area known as the Middle East has been one of the worlds most troubled regions, especially since 1945. It consists of Egypt, the Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Most of these states are peopled by Arabs, except for Turkey and Iran. The Middle East also contains a small Jewish state of Israel which was set up by the UN in 1948 in Palestine. The creation of Israel in Palestine, an area belonging to Palestinian Arabs, outraged Arab opinion around the world and especially blamed Britain who, they felt, had been more sympathetic to the Jews than to the Arabs. Most of all they blamed the USA which had supported the idea of a Jewish state very strongly. The Arab states refused to recognize Israel as a legal state and they vowed to destroy it. There were four short wars between Israel and the various Arab states (1948-9, 1959, 1967, and 1973) but all of them failed and Israel survived. The Arabs however had two other aims: The desire to achieve political and economic unity among the Arab states The desire of many Arabs to put an end to foreign intervention in their countries. Arab unity and interference from the outside world Arabs have several things in common Almost all of them speak Arab, almost all are Muslim, and most of them wanted to see the destruction of Israel so that the Palestinian Arabs could have back the land which they felt is rightfully theirs. Also, several attempts were made to increase unity among the Arab states. The Arab League founded in 1945, included Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, membership later expanded to include twenty states in 1980; however, it achieved very little politically. In the mid-1950 the leadership of Egypts Nasser served as a great boost for pan-Arabism who gained enormous prestige after the 1956 Suez Crisis. In 1958, Syria joined Egypt in the United Arab Republic, but only lasted till 1961. After Nassers death in 1970, his successor, Sadat, organized a loose union betwixt Egypt, Libya and Syria known as the Federation of Arab Republics. However the Arab states still had disagreements over certain points. Jordan and Saudi Arabia were ruled by fairly conservative royal families who were often criticized for being too pro-British by the governments of Egypt and Syria, which were Arab nationalist and socialist. The other Arab states fell out with Egypt in 1979 because Egypt signed a separate peace treaty with Israel. This caused Egypt to be expelled form the Arab League. Interference in the Middle East by other counties This took place for several reasons: Britain and France had been involved in the Middle East for many years, specifically Britain with Egypt, and after WW1, Iraq and Jordan and France Syria and Lebanon. The Middle East held a very important position in the world- as it acted as a sort of crossroads between the Western nations, the communist bloc and the Third World of Africa and Asia At one time, the M East produced over a third of the worlds oil supplies, being the main producers Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. European nation were heavily dependant on oil supplies from the middle East and remained friendly to their governments in order to get oil cheaply The lack of unity among the Arab sates encouraged other countries to intervene in the Middle East. Most Arab countries had nationalist governments which bitterly resented Western influence. One by one, governments which were thought to be proWestern were swept away and replaced by regimes which wanted to be non-aligned. The creation of Israel and the Arab-Israeli war 1948-9 Why did the creation of the state of Israel lead to war? Palestine had been the home of the Jews since Roman times, when in the year 71 they were forced out of it: slowly they started to return, but they never were enough to threaten the Arabs who now felt Palestine as their homeland. In 1897, Jews in Europe founded the World Zionist Organization, which believed that the Jews ought to be able to go back to Palestine and have a national homeland, where to be safe from persecution. The problem was that Palestine was inhabited by Arabs, who were alarmed at the prospect of losing their land. Britain became involved in 1917, when the foreign minister Balfour announced that Britain supported the idea of a Jewish national home in Palestine. After Palestine became a British mandate in 1919 large number of Jews began to immigrate in and the Arabs protested bitterly that they wanted a) and independent Palestine for Arabs b) the end of Jewish immigration. Britain seeked to reach compromise between the two peoples and looked for them to live peacefully in the same country. Due to Nazi persecution after 193, a flood of refugees began, and by 1940 half of the Palestinian population was Jewish. A British plan to divide Palestine in two states was rejected by the Arabs, and a further one, by the Jews. The Second World War worsened the situation as hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees looking for somewhere to go. In 1945, the USA pressed Britain to allow 100,000 Jews into Palestine; this demand was echoed by Gurion, a Jewish leader, but the British, not wanting to offend the Arabs, refused. After Nazi persecution, the Jews were determined to get a national home and thus started a terrorist campaign against both Arab and British, which resulted in arrests and more immigrants returned to Europe. The British, unable to cope with the problem after WW2, asked the UN to deal with the problem and in November 1947, it voted to divide Palestine, setting aside about half of it to create a Jewish state. Britain withdrew all of its troops. In May 1948, Gurion declared the independence of Israel. It was immediately attacked by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. Who was to blame for the tragedy?

Most of the rest of the world seemed to blame Britain for the chaos in Palestine: It was said that British troops should have stayed on to ensure the partition of Palestine was carried out smoothly. The Arabs accused the British for being pro Jewish for letting fat too many Jews into Palestine and making them lose half of their homeland. Bevin blamed the USA for the chaos, and there is some evidence to support his case. It was President Truman who pressurized Britain to allow 100,000 extra Jews to go to Palestine and had refused to provide troops to keep order in Palestine and to allow more Jews in the USA. The Americans had pushed the plan for partition through the UN, even though all Arab countries voted against it. The war and its outcome Against seemingly overwhelming odds, the Israelis defeated the Arabs and even captured more of Palestine than the UN had given them. The Israeli victory was due to the fact that they fought desperately and because the Arab countries were divided among themselves and poorly equipped. Many Palestinian Arabs found themselves with no homeland as they were either now living in Israel or the territories captured by Jordan. When Jewish troops began murdering Arabs in Israel a flood of Arab immigration began which ended up living in poor refugee camps in other Arab states. Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan. The Suez War of 1956 Who was to blame for the war? 1. The Arabs blamed the Israelis, who actually began hostilities by invading Egypt. 2. The communist bloc and many Arab states blamed Britain and France, accusing them of imperialist tactics by attacking Egypt. They accused the Americans of encouraging Britain to attack 3. The British, French and Israelis blamed Nasser for being anti-Western. However, even he USA thought that Britain and France had overreacted by using force. In September 1955, Nasser signed an arms deal with Czechoslovakia for Russian weapons, and Russian military experts went to train the Egyptian army. The Americans were outraged by this, since it meant that the West no longer controlled weapons supplies to the Egypt. Egypt was seen now as a member of the communist bloc and as a sinister plot by the Russians to move into Middle East. The Americans therefore cancelled a promised grant of 46 million for the building of the Aswan Dam with the intention of forcing Nasser to abandon his new links to the communists. Crisis point reached when Nasser immediately retaliated by nationalizing the Suez Canal, intending to use the income from it to finance the dam; British and French shareholders of the dam were promised compensation. Reaction in Britain was terribly strong even comparing Nasser to Hitler and his actions before WW2. Secret talks took place between the British, French and the Israelis and a plan was hatched: Israel would invade Egypt across the Sinai peninsula and the Europeans would step in to protect the structure from the damage. Then a defeat would topple Nasser The war The war began with the planned invasion of Egypt in October and the Israelis had captured the entire peninsula in less than a week. Meanwhile, Britain and France bombed Egyptian airfields and marched troops in. This caused an international outcry from the rest of the world, and the Americans who were afraid of upsetting all the Arabs and forcing them into closer ties with the USSR, refused to support Britain, although they had earlier hinted support. At the UN, Americans and Russians for once agreed: they demanded an immediate ceasefire, and prepared to send a UN force. Thus Britain, France and Israel withdrew. The outcome of the war It was a complete humiliation for Britain and France, and a victory for Nasser The war failed to overthrow Nasser and his prestige as leader of Arab nationalism greatly grew. To ordinary Arabs, he was seen as a hero. The Egyptians blocked the canal, the Arabs reduced oil supplies to Western Europe where rationing was introduced and Russian aid replaced that from USA The Israeli attacked had greatly damaged Egypt forces however, and gave the country a breathing space as terrorist raids stopped and could consolidate. The six day war The Arab states had not signed a peace treaty at the end of the 1948-9 war and still refused to recognize Israel. In 1967, they joined together again to destroy Israel, led by Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Iraq was ready to cooperate with Egypt to attack Israel; Syria had already begun bombing Jewish settlements from the Golan Heights which overlooked the frontier. In Egypt, the popular Nasser was doing very well both in popularity and with the running of the country and decided it was time for another attempt to destroy Israel. Egypt started mobilizing its troops to the Sinai border. The USSR encouraged Egypt and Syria and kept up a flow of anti-Israeli propaganda because Israel was being supported by the USA. Their aim was to increase their influence in the Middle East at the expense of the Americans and Israelis. They hinted they would send help if war came. As Syria, Jordan and Lebanon also massed troops along their frontiers with Israel and more Arab countries joined in, the Israelis decided that they had to attack first than to wait and be destroyed. They launched a series of devastating air attacks which cleared out the enemys air forces on the ground and captured the Gaza strip, the entire Sinai peninsula, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. The Arabs had to accept the ceasefire. Results Great victory for Israelis that now kept the gained territories as buffer zones; however brining the problem of the Arabs living in new Israeli land It was a humiliation for Arab states, especially for Nasser, who realized it needed outside help to liberate Palestine. The Russians had been a disappointment for him. To try to improve their relations with Syria and Egypt, the Russians started supplying modern weapons. The Yom Kippur War Several causes:

Pressure was brought to bear on the Arab states by the PLO under Arafat for further action. It embarked on a series of terrorist attacks to draw world attention to the grave injustice being done to the Arabs of Palestine. Attacks took place in Jordan and Munich for example Sadat, president of Egypt since Nassers death in 1970, was becoming increasingly convinced of the need for a negotiated peace settlement with Israel. He was prepared to work with either the USA or the USSR, but he hoped to win American support for the Arabs so that the Americans would persuade the Israelis to agree to a peace settlement. However, the Americans refused to get involved. Sadat, together with Syria, decided to attack Israel again, hoping that this would force the Americans to act as mediators. The Egyptians were feeling more confident now with Russian weapons and tactics War began on October 1973 on the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur. After some early Arab success, the Israelis, using mainly American weapons were able to turn the tables. They succeeded in hanging on to all territory they had captured in 1967 and even crossed the Suez Canal to Egypt. However, Sadats plan had been successful both the USA and the USSR decided it was time to intervene to try to bring out a peace settlement. Acting with UN co-operation, they organized a ceasefire which both sides accepted. The outcome of the war gave some hope to the idea of permanent peace. Egyptians and Israelis met and the latter agreed to move their troops back from the Suez Canal enabling Egyptians to clear and open the canal in 1975. Importantly, during this war, the Arab states made use of the oil-weapon: they reduced oil supplies to put pressure on the USA and on Western European states which were friendly to Israel. Camp David and the Egyptian-Israeli peace, 1978-9 Why did the two sides began to talk to each other? President Sadat had become convinced that Israel could not be destroyed by force, and that it was foolish to keep on wasting Egypts resources on wars. However, it took great courage to meet the Israelis, as it would mean the recognition of the existence of the country and would cause huge resentment among more aggressive states such as Iraq and Syria and also from the PLO. In spite of all, Sadat offered to go to talk to Israel and went to the Parliament The USA was pressing them to settle their differences with at least some of the Arabs. They accepted Sadats offer. He visited Israel in November 1977 and Menahem Begin visited Egypt the following month President Jimmy Carter played a vital role in setting up formal negotiation between the two sides at Camp David which began in September 1978. The Peace treaty and its aftermath The main points agreed were: The state of war which had existed betwixt the two countries since 1948 was now over Israel promised to withdrew it troops from Sinai Egypt promised not to attack Israel again and guaranteed to supply her with oil Israeli ships could use the Suez Canal The treaty was condemned by the PLO and most Arab states. World opinion began to move against Israel and to accept the PLO had a good case; but when the USA tried to bring the PLO and Israel together in a conference the Israelis refused. In November 1980, Begin announced that: Israel would never return the Golan Heights to Syria, not even in exchange for a peace treaty They would never allow the West Bank to become part of an independent Palestinian state, that would be a mortal threat to Israels existence. Peace between Israel and the PLO The election of the less aggressive Labour government in Israel in June 1992 raised hopes for better relations with the Palestinians. The PM Rabin and the Foreign Minister Peres both believed in negotiation and were prepared to make concessions in order to achieve a lasting peace. Arafat, leader of the PLO, responded and talks began, but there was much mutual suspicion and distrust. However, by early 1996, remarkable changes had taken place. The peace accord of September 1993 (Oslo accords) Israel formally recognized the PLO the PLO recognized Israels right to exist and promised to give up terrorism the Palestinians were given self rule in the West Bank and in part of the Gaza Strip, areas occupied by Israel since 1967 Extremists on both sides opposed the agreement, but two years later there was an even greater step forward. Self rule for the Palestinians (September 1995) Israel agreed to withdrew its troops from the West Bank, handing civil and security powers to the PLO The areas would be ruled by a Palestinian Council to be elected early in 1996 by all West Bankers and Arab residents of Jerusalem All Palestinian prisoners held by Israel would be released (about 6000) While most of the world welcomed this brave attempt to bring peace to the Middle East, again extremists on both side claimed that their leaders were guilty of surrender. The PM Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli right winger, and this caused revolution against extremists. In January 1996 King Hussein of Jordan paid an official public visit to Israel for the first time and peace talks opened between Israel and Syria. The promised elections were held and as expected Arafat became the new Palestinian president, with a large majority in the Parliament. However, later in 1996 the situation changed rapidly, as terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah enabled the hard-line Netanyahu, who denounced labour policy as too-soft, to win a narrow victory. This disappointed much of the outside world, putting the whole peace process into doubt. The Iran-Iraq War The Middle East and the Arab World were thrown into fresh confusion in September 1980 hen Iraqi troops invaded Iran.

Iraqs motives He was afraid of militant Islam spreading across the border into Iraq from Iran, which dad become and Islamic republic ran by the Ayatollah and his Shiite supporters. The population of Iraq was mainly Sunni, but there was a large Shiite minority. Sadam, whose government was non-religious was afraid that some of Shiite officers might rise against him and executed them, causing Iranian retaliations across the border. There was a long standing dispute over the Shatt-el-Arab waterway. This was an important outlet for the oil exports of both countries and formed part of the frontier between them. The waterway had belonged to Iraq but Iran had forced the country to share control over it. Saddam thought that the Iranian forces would be weak and demoralized after the fundamentalist takeover, so he expected a quick victory. The war drags on The Iranians quickly organized themselves to deal with the invasion, replying with mass infantry, and although Iraqs forces seemed much stronger, supplied with British and American equipment, the Iranian guards fought with fanatical devotion. Eventually, they too began to get modern equipment from Chine and North Korea and USA. As the war dragged on, Iraq tried to cut off Irans oil exports which financed its supplies, and meanwhile, Iran forces got alarmingly close to Basra. The war had important international repercussions: The stability of the Arab world was threatened: The conservative Arab states gave cautious support to Iraq, but Syria, Libya and the PLO were critical of Iraq for starting the war The attacks on Irans oil exports threatened the energy supplies of the West: and at times brought American, British, Russian and French warships to the region. The success of Irans Shia fundamentalist troops alarmed the non-religious Arab governments, and many Arabs were afraid of what might happen if Iraq was defeated. The end of the war, 1988 Although neither side had achieved its aims, the cost of the war was huge. Both sides began to look for a way to end the fighting. The UN became involved, did some straight talking and succeeded in arranging a ceasefire, which, monitored by UN troops, lasted, against all expectations. Peace negotiations opened in October 1988 The Gulf War, 1990-1991 Saddams force invaded and quickly occupied the small neighbouring country of Kuwait, even before de had accepted the peace terms of the IranIraq war. Saddam Husseins motives His real motive was probably to get his hands on the wealth of Kuwait, which he desperately needed after the last war. Kuwait had valuable oil-wells that he would now be able to control. He did not expect any action from the outside world now that his troops were firmly entrenched in Kuwait and he had the strongest army in the region. He thought that the USA and Europe were reasonabley amenable to him as they had supplied him with arms during the war with Iran. Also, they had not interfered whrn he brutally crushed the Turks in the north of Iraq. The world unites against Saddam Hussein Again, Saddam had miscalculated. Bush of Usa took the lead in pressing to remove the Iraqis from Kuwait, and the UN placed trade sanctions on it by cutting off her oil exports. Saddam was ordered to remove his troops by January 1915, or the UN would use all necessary means to clear them out. Saddam believed was not true. Britain and the USA decided that the Husseins power should be curb, as he controlled too much of the oil that the West needed. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria also, fearful of Iraq, supported UN action. Although Saddam knew that a force of 600 000 had gathered in Saudi Arabia in a multinational force of over 30 countries (operation Desert Storm), he felt that he could not lose face by withdrawing from Kuwait. The Desert Storm campaign, divided into two parts, was quickly successful. First, with a bombing of the Iraqi capital and military gets and secondly, the attack on the army itself. Within four days, the army had been driven out and routed. However, Saddam had withdrawn much of his army intact. The aftermath of the war Saddam Hussein survives The war had unfortunate consequences for many Iraqi people. It was widely expected outside Iraq that after his humiliating defeat, Saddam Hussein would soon be overthrown, but although there were some uprisings throughout the country, Iraq had enough remaining army so as to crush them easily. No country intervened in these, except for USA declaring of no-fly zones to stop bombardments on civil pop. The war and its aftermath was very revealing about the motives of the West and the great powers. Their primary concern was their self interest: they only took action against Saddam because they felt he was threatening their oil supplies. After the Gulf War, Saddam a most brutal dicator, was allowed to remain in power because the West thought that his survival was the best way of keeping Iraq united and the region stable. Additional analysis Pags 69-72 USSR attitudes The Soviet attitude towards the Arab countries in the Middle East shows a change of course in its politics. At first, Stalin competed with the Americans to be the most pro-Israeli, even to the point of supporting the country with weapons during the 48-49 war. However relations soon cooled, due to Israels following of a West-oriented course, despite its socialist domestic policies. Kremlins suspicions towards Soviet Jews also made good relations difficult, as well as Stalins anti-Semitism. Even so, Moscow hesitated to improve relations with Arab countries; maybe due to their reactionary regimes. However, when Nasser came into power, was skeptical even of them, and the coup leader were described as a group of reactionary officers. Soviet relations with Syria and Iraq were even poorer than with Egypt. Nonetheless, the domestic radicalization of several of the Arab countries, the polarization in the wake of the Western attempts to build up a system of alliances, and most of all the Arab-Israeli conflict opened up unique opportunities for Moscow. In 1955 came the first full Soviet support for Nasser when the USSR acceded to sell arms to Egypt under the disguise of a Czech-Soviet Pact, after

the Americans refused, unwilling to do so and dissatisfied with Nassers policies. After the Suez Crisis, Moscows position was strengthened as its military threats two the European countries awarded it much popularity and propaganda in the Middle East Arab countries. In response to this, Eisenhower claimed his so-called Eisenhower Doctrine. When disagreements broke out between Iraqs Kassem and Nasser, the USSR had to decide on one of them; finally, it sided more with Iraq due to its more radical domestic policies and cooperation with communists. However, there was never a question of a break with Nasser: economic assistance continued (the building of the Aswan Dam). After an unsuccessful Communist takeover in Iraq failed, Moscows influence here dwindled rapidly and then it turned again towards Egypt, now the United Arab Republic, until 1961. Pags 99-102 Six-Day War and Yom Kippur The threat to dtente was greater in Middle East due to the breaking out of two wars and the powers involvement in them. Soviet influence was on the increase, in part as a result of US ties with Israel. The USSR continued with its economic and military assistance to Arab countries, and had built a fleet in the Mediterranean Although Moscow did not wish for war in 1967, it did not want to weaken its position with radical Arab countries. After 6 days of the breaking out of war, Egypt, Jordan and Syria had been defeated. In the short term, the war represented a defeat for the Soviet Union. It did not send military aid to assist the Arabs and the fleet did not intercede. The USSR was forced to accept cease fire with no Israeli retreat to prewar boundaries. In a longer perspective, the USSR was able to reinforce its position. Moscow provided diplomatic support and the Arab countries were again built up military. In 1971, the Soviet Union and Egypt signed a friendship and cooperation agreement. However, the next year, the soldiers that had been established there were sent home as Sadat had not been promised the necessary support in the event of a new war with Israel. However, when Sadat failed to receive support in the West it returned to the USSR, which was eager to recover what it had lost and started supplying weapons. Soviet policy was even more active in 1973 than in 1967. Although due to the dtente the USSR should have passed vital information to the USA on the Middle East, it failed to do so. After war had broken out, the USSR immediately asked for a cease fire, which at the moment would had favoured the Arab countries. When fortunes were reversed, the Soviet Union gave substantial military assistance. Finally, when Israel did not respect the cease fire ordered by the USSR and the USA, the Soviet Union threatened to intervene, and the possibility of a conflict between the superpowers became high. The Yom-Kippur War was a strain on dtente, and western powers reacted against increasing Soviet involvement. Even so, many Arab countries were disappointed with the insufficient Soviet support. After the 1973 war, Egypt returned to a pro-Western course as it had now power to pressure Israel diplomatically through the United States. By 1976 Soviet presence in Egypt did not longer exist. Page 122 Camp David agreements The US first based its efforts for achieving a comprehensive peace treaty on cooperation with the Soviet Union. However, as soon as the powers had reached agreement in 1977, the Carter administration under Israeli, Congress and Sadats pressure- was forced to drop the scheme. Egypt and Israel reached a peace treaty in September 1978 and therefore the Soviet Union became even more determined to win influence in the radical Arab countries and to cooperate with the PLO. Page 143 In the Middle East, superpower rivalry had represented only one dimension of the conflicts, which had deep local roots. In August 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait, in an uncomplicated military operation. The USA held the key military role in the liberating forces, but its new position was demonstrated by the considerable military and not least economic support that the USA received from a number of other countries. The USA could now cooperate with the USSR, dramatically showing the transformed international climate after the end of the Cold War. This also meant that the UN could play an important role, which it did. After Saddams defeat, Iraq had to accept limits to its sovereignty in the north and south and to agree to dismantle nuclear and chemical installations. The end of the Cold War and of the Gulf War would each, in different ways, contribute to better relations between Israel and the PLO. The collapse of the Soviet Union meant that the PLO had lost an important source of support. The Gulf War made the PLO lose most of its economic support and emphazised the key role of the USA in the Middle East. With the Labour party in power, however, the PLO now found a negotiating partner. (Oslo accords.) The Oslo accords not only resulted in mutual recognition between the PLO and Israel; to a considerable degree, it also normalized relations between Israel and moderate Arab countries. However, the agreements faced strong opposition from fundamentalists groups and the Likud party. With the return of the Likud to power in 1996, the peace process soon came to a halt. Even Clintons efforts to revive it made little difference, until in 1998 the administration finally persuaded Netanyahu to cede additional lands of the West Bank to the PLO and convinces Arafat to clamp down further on security threats to Israel.