Thursday, January 04, 2007

Is a new Middle East war looming?

Is a new Middle East war looming?

Ghassan Rubeiz/ Jan 1, 2007

When Western friends ask me why the Palestinians don’t get their act together, I simply say I do not know. Last week provocative, albeit ineffective, Palestinian rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel while a new Israeli settlement was announced to the world. Palestinians complain in a language of despair and Israel exploits regression in Palestinian politics. Why with force, their weakest weapon, do Palestinians keep offering Israel additional excuses to extend and expand a cruel occupation?

As I listen to Palestinians I detect excessive anger and when I listen to Israelis I detect a subconscious holocaust fear. Palestinians are angry about continued, worsening and expanding occupation. Israelis are afraid of their future; they know that they can not simultaneously have peace and the occupation.

Both Palestinians and Israelis look for miracles to solve problems. For Israel 1948 and 1967, the dates of the creation of the state and the expansion into the Territories respectively, were miracle years. But sine1967, additional wars over forty years were battles of loss and destruction for the Jewish as well for the Arab people. Indeed, the two rival nations need external help as they continue to fulfill each other’s worst nightmares.

Israeli fear is many sided. Surrounded by 300 million angry Arabs Israel seeks security in partnership with the US, the world’s superpower. Israel postpones partnership with its neighbors and evokes their hatred through occupation and Western ties. But Israel will always be searching for security if it continues to conceive of it in terms of isolation from the “enemy”.

There are four million Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In Israel proper (1967 borders) there are five million Jews, and a sizable minority community of one million Palestinians. Within the combined area of Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territories high Palestinian birth rates will give them the chance to become a majority in the foreseeable future.

In a decade or less Israel will be forced to make a choice between two painful decisions: to terminate the occupation of Palestinian land (to avoid becoming apartheid, as former President Carter suggests his recent bestseller) or to go to war (to drive more Palestinians from the Territories into Jordan, Syria and/or Lebanon).

Terminating the occupation is not on the horizon. Being an alien state in the region, Israel does not feel secure enough to offer Palestinians a sovereign and viable state in exchange for peace and normalization. That is why Israeli illegal settlements in the West Bank continue to expand.
Ironically, lack of vision in Palestinian politics stimulates Israeli injustice. Palestinians are too fratricidal; they do not articulate their exact expectations of Israel; and they do not abandon blind use of force in their struggle against the occupation.

Peace is an investment in a trusting relation with one’s adversary. Peace making demands leadership and positive thinking. Strong leadership is now lacking among Arabs and Israelis. Within the Palestinian community, President Abbas and his Fattah party fight with Prime Minister Haniyeh and his Hamas party. On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Olmert has lost much of his credibility after the summer war with Lebanon.

While Israel is not likely to withdraw from the Occupied Territories voluntarily it does not wish to demographically slide into apartheid. A war of ethnic Israeli cleansing of Palestinians under Israeli rule becomes tempting. The rise of the extremist Avigdor Lieberman, the new deputy prime minister is an indication that ethnic cleansing has advocates in Israel.

But ethnic cleansing is not easy to implement without a cover up. Regional instability provides this cover up. The Middle East looks more unstable than ever today. In Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine there are similar dynamics of political turmoil: a threat of civil war accompanies external intervention in domestic governance.

The major external players in these three related crises are the US and Israel on one side, and Iran and Syria on the other. Global tension concerning Iran’s growing militancy is increasing. On December, 23, the UN Security Council issued sanctions on Iran. Israel and the US are alarmed about Iran’s ideology, its current leadership and its nuclear program.

Regional and local dynamics are blurred. Israel seems to be anticipating a second round of fighting with Hezbollah and Hamas, and their regional allies, since the summer war was not successful in taming resistance forces in Lebanon and Palestine. In the next expected round Israel and/or the US may attack Iran and/or Syria to reach five objectives: dismantle Iran’s nuclear defense, reduce Syria’s influence in the region, liquidate Hezbollah’s militarization in Lebanon, reduce Hamas’ power and quite the Iraq insurgency.

As Israel is desperate to find lasting security in an isolating region, the US is desperate for an exit from the Iraqi quagmire. Neoconservative policy planners in the US and Israel argue that a victory with Iran and Syria would reposition America and the Jewish state as peace makers, democracy builders and 9/11 avengers.

But war planners need to realize three points: Iraq policy failure can not be rectified by a new war with Iran and its allies, previous Middle East wars have not enhanced stability in the region and military success of classical warfare against popular insurgencies is no more guaranteed.

In this conflict there is a perpetual fear- anger cycle: an excessive fear that compels Israel to dominate in order to preserve its future security, and in response to Israeli imperial dominance there is a growing anger that divides and blind Palestinians in political problem solving. Both the fear and the anger are legitimate emotions that need to be tackled by an international force of justice and peace for years to come until the two nations build sufficient trust in each other.

To rely on Israel to change its policy of semi-permanent occupation is unrealistic since its fear of the future is crippling. And to expect Palestinians to give up militant resistance is to dream of collective national spontaneous recovery.

Since the international political climate is not likely to change in the near future further deterioration of the Palestinian- Israeli conflict is expected. Regrettably, it appears that in the foreseeable future a new round of a regional Middle East war looms ahead.

The author’s email is and his blog is .


Anonymous Nadim said...

I would say the answer is "Yes". And soon. Speaking about Lebanon, I was there recently and clearly saw and felt the dead-lock. Things are not looking good. The parties are extremely polarised with no resolution in sight. This will have to end with one group "defeating" the other. Regionally speaking, things seem just as bad as you have shown us. The question now is which conflict will break out first. Lebanon, Palestine/Israel or region?

7:09 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

ray ban outlet, prada handbags, tory burch outlet online, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet online, coach purses, coach outlet, christian louboutin outlet, kate spade outlet, burberry outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet, polo ralph lauren, michael kors outlet store, jordan shoes, red bottom shoes, louis vuitton outlet online, burberry outlet online, longchamp outlet online, coach outlet, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton handbags, oakley vault, oakley sunglasses, gucci handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, louis vuitton, kate spade outlet online, nike air max, true religion outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, nike outlet, nike air max, true religion, cheap oakley sunglasses, longchamp handbags, louis vuitton outlet, coach outlet store online, michael kors handbags, tiffany jewelry

10:45 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, nike air max, air max pas cher, longchamp, louis vuitton pas cher, converse pas cher, hollister, nike free pas cher, nike roshe, nike air max, mulberry, louis vuitton uk, ralph lauren, michael kors canada, air jordan, air max, chaussure louboutin, tn pas cher, lacoste pas cher, true religion jeans, true religion outlet, barbour, sac louis vuitton, ralph lauren pas cher, oakley pas cher, new balance pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, burberry pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban uk, hermes pas cher, north face pas cher, longchamp pas cher, hollister, nike roshe run, north face, louis vuitton, timberland, nike air force, lululemon, sac vanessa bruno, nike free, guess pas cher, ray ban pas cher, scarpe hogan, sac michael kors

10:49 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

wedding dresses, mac cosmetics, soccer shoes, soccer jerseys, canada goose outlet, insanity workout, canada goose, p90x workout, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp, nfl jerseys, ugg soldes, instyler ionic styler, giuseppe zanotti, canada goose outlet, reebok shoes, ghd, herve leger, nike huarache, ugg outlet, bottega veneta, jimmy choo shoes, celine handbags, ferragamo shoes, ugg, canada goose outlet, babyliss, mcm handbags, uggs outlet, asics shoes, north face jackets, lululemon outlet, north face jackets, hollister, marc jacobs outlet, replica watches, valentino shoes, uggs on sale, birkin bag, uggs outlet, nike roshe, vans outlet, chi flat iron, new balance outlet, nike trainers, beats headphones, ugg boots, mont blanc pens, ugg boots

10:50 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler outlet, wedding dress, supra shoes, uggs canada, louboutin, coach outlet, canada goose, air max, ugg, lancel, moncler, converse, moncler outlet, louis vuitton canada, thomas sabo uk, moncler, pandora charms, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, links of london uk, swarovski uk, replica watches, juicy couture outlet, moncler, nike air max, swarovski jewelry, timberland shoes, montre femme, hollister, oakley, moncler, hollister clothing, ray ban, hollister canada, pandora uk, vans, pandora jewelry, baseball bats, ralph lauren, gucci, parajumpers outlet, converse shoes, moncler, canada goose pas cher, iphone 6 case, karen millen, canada goose, toms outlet

10:51 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

burberry outlet, nike free, oakley sunglasses wholesale, gucci handbags, longchamp outlet, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, nike air max, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin uk, ugg boots, nike air max, polo ralph lauren outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, kate spade outlet, tiffany jewelry, michael kors outlet, uggs outlet, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet, nike outlet, michael kors outlet online, prada handbags, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, jordan shoes, polo outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, burberry handbags, christian louboutin outlet, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet online, longchamp outlet, uggs on sale, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet store, tiffany and co, prada outlet, ugg boots, chanel handbags, uggs outlet, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches

12:35 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

michael kors, converse pas cher, new balance, north face uk, true religion outlet, nike roshe, sac hermes, nike tn, true religion jeans, timberland pas cher, vans pas cher, michael kors outlet, mulberry uk, coach purses, nike roshe run uk, nike free uk, lululemon canada, michael kors pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, oakley pas cher, nike air max, polo lacoste, polo ralph lauren, nike air max uk, abercrombie and fitch uk, hollister uk, nike free run, longchamp pas cher, north face, hollister pas cher, hogan outlet, true religion outlet, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, jordan pas cher, air max, sac vanessa bruno, guess pas cher, nike air max uk, kate spade, louboutin pas cher, ray ban uk, ray ban pas cher, burberry pas cher, coach outlet, nike air force, coach outlet store online, sac longchamp pas cher, coach outlet, true religion outlet

12:39 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans, ralph lauren, giuseppe zanotti outlet, nike roshe run, ray ban, p90x workout, herve leger, asics running shoes, nike air max, timberland boots, ghd hair, reebok outlet, new balance shoes, north face outlet, iphone 6 cases, mac cosmetics, wedding dresses, nike trainers uk, converse outlet, celine handbags, lululemon, hollister clothing, soccer jerseys, instyler, longchamp uk, converse, soccer shoes, babyliss, insanity workout, beats by dre, gucci, north face outlet, vans outlet, abercrombie and fitch, hermes belt, ferragamo shoes, hollister, bottega veneta, nike huaraches, nike air max, louboutin, jimmy choo outlet, valentino shoes, baseball bats, nfl jerseys, chi flat iron, oakley, mcm handbags, hollister, mont blanc pens

12:44 AM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

karen millen uk, doudoune moncler, canada goose, michael kors outlet online, louis vuitton, moncler, moncler, replica watches, pandora uk, pandora charms, swarovski crystal, ugg uk, coach outlet, michael kors handbags, canada goose outlet, moncler, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, ugg, canada goose outlet, marc jacobs, pandora jewelry, lancel, wedding dresses, moncler, moncler outlet, links of london, moncler outlet, barbour uk, canada goose outlet, canada goose uk, doke gabbana, michael kors outlet, barbour, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, canada goose, supra shoes, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, canada goose jackets, canada goose, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton, swarovski, hollister, toms shoes, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, pandora jewelry, ugg pas cher, thomas sabo, moncler uk, montre pas cher

12:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home