Where do you start
when you are trying to learn why or how this seemingly interminable conflict began?
In 1914, when the First World War began, Italy was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary as the Central Powers. Later, the Italians decided that
side was not in a winning position and changed sides becoming allied with France and Great Britain. Shortly thereafter, the Ottomans made the greatest
mistake in their 500 years in power. They jumped into the War on the side of the Central Powers. In 1917, when the United States joined the war on the
side of the Allied Powers the game was over.
In 1918, Germany effectively sued for peace. Russia had been decimated before it fell into the 1917 October Revolution of Lenin and had sued for
peace. The US, GB and Japan invaded Russia trying to restore capitalism, but failed and went home by 1922. Russia did not appear to be worth either
the worry or the effort.
started negotiations with the Ottomans in the 1890s to build a new Berlin to Baghdad railroad as a competitor to the Agatha
Christie made-famous French Orient Express train running from Paris to Istanbul. By the 1900s, the Germans impressed the Shah of Persia so much he
began discussions for the Germans to build an extension rail line from Baghdad to Tehran. Other circumstances intervened to prevent this from getting
beyond the planning stages.
Reminiscent of the American trans-continental railroad building era of the 1850s-1860s, the Germans agreed to build the railroad at no cost to the
Ottomans, but in exchange, the Germans got the rights to all the oil 10 miles on either side of the tracks. The world’s navies were just beginning
to switch from coal to oil fueled warships. Germany was in strong competition with both Great Britain and France, and wanted to gain every advantage
in its warships.
was not the capital of Iraq - Iraq did not exist until 1922 - or of anyplace. It was a regional administrative center for the Ottomans,
besides being one of the oldest cities in the world. Damascus was the center of the Ottomans’ Muslim religion. That city lays claim to being the
oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. The Sunni Muslims had already declared Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem to be numbers 1, 2 and 3 in holy
sites of Islam, in that order.
When both the Ottomans and the Germans were defeated in 1918, it opened the entire Middle East to the victorious British and French. The Americans
under Woodrow Wilson did not want to see the spread of empires, but Wilson was unable to stop the French and British. And so, the Allied powers met in
Versailles and other places, and began to draw new lines on old maps of the world. It was like playing God.
, the Baltic states, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, were drawn off. Poland was given a new existence. The democratic state of
Czechoslovakia was created. The areas of Hungary and Austria were reduced to mere shadows of their former extent. Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and the
new Yugoslavia were created. I don’t know why Liechtenstein was left over.
, maps of Morocco, Algiers, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, were re-drawn. German colonies were taken over, the largest being German
West Africa re-named Namibia, made a League of Nations mandate to South Africa. German East Africa was divided into renamed Rwanda, to Belgium, and
into renamed Tanganyika to GB, and a small piece of land added to Portugal’s Mozambique.
, Palestine, Trans-Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia the two Yemens, Qatar, the Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain. This
“second creation” was created without regard to the sensibilities of the inhabitants. Accommodations worked out over a millennia were ignored. The
map was drawn for the convenience of colonial administration.
. The southwest-most part of this region is sometimes referred to as the Levant. A word created by 15th century Spanish translators
who used Arabic’s “b” and “v” in Spanish interchangeably. Levant has stuck over the centuries. Today it means usually Lebanon, Syria,
Israel, Jordan and the Occupied Territories, though sometimes it refers only Lebanon and sometimes with Syria added. Hmm?
During the “War to End All Wars,” the indomitable Britisher Laurence of Arabia, had made what he thought were promises to be kept, with the Arabs
of the Arabian peninsula to resist the Turks and keeping several divisions occupied away from the Western Front. All his promises were sneered at and
were broken in 1922. Sow the winds, reap the whirlwinds.
, as the culmination of 75 years of hard work by those who were called Zionists, and while not publicly admitted but no doubt driven in
even larger part by a guilty conscience over the Holocaust, at the instigation of Eleanor Roosevelt, the UN created and Harry Truman recognized the
State of Israel. It seemed the right thing to do in 1948.
, neither the Americans nor others in the UN gave consideration to the “on the ground” facts in the old British Palestine
Mandate, a creature of the League of Nations. We acted as if we were assuming the land was empty of people, devoid of civilization, and like the
American west, waiting to be populated by ambitious settlers from around the world. UN Resolution 181 divided Palestine into 2 parts, and declared one
part to be Jewish and one Arab. This was in direct contravention of the UN’s own Charter which said all peoples were entitled to “self
The closest analogy
I can give is if your home state was divided in no logical way into 2 halves, and a new race of people found in the Upper
Amazon Valley were given one of the halves. Your friends would be ordered out of the half they had been born in without compensation. How long would
it take for your friends to accept this new condition? Or do you think they would resist this intrusion? That is the problem we have failed to address
realistically at any time since 1948.
Soon it will be 60 years
. Like cancer, it does not get better when left unattended. It will get worse. I attribute the Nine Eleven Event to
this. The longer we - say Israel and America - delay making peace with the Arab inhabitants of old Palestine - now called Palestinians - the risk of a
real disaster grows. You can see from the goings-on in Lebanon today that the leadership of Israel and the United States is bereft of ideas for
solution and both are bankrupt in terms of moral leadership. It is a sad day for the world. With sadder days yet to come.
. Hamas is a Sunni charitable group with a self-defense arm. It is primarily located in the Occupied Territories and Gaza. Estimates vary
but it is usually said 80% of its money goes to providing Palestinians with food, shelter, health care and education. There is no Salvation Army, no
Red Cross, no Catholic Charities in Gaza or the Occupied Territories. It is up to the Palestinians to take care of themselves. Hamas has gained great
sympathy for doing so much, so well. America (and Israel) always knew Yasser Arafat and the Fatah movement were corrupt- say hello VP Cheney hello
Halliburton - but it served well America’s and Israel’s destructive but disguised motives to let him stay in power.
. Hezbollah is located in Lebanon, mostly south of the Litani River, in the zone that is contiguous with Israel. About 20 miles wide.
This region was occupied by Israel until 2000 when Israel withdrew, ending its occupation since 1983. After 2000, Syria was “effectively” in
control of Lebanon. The US, for reasons unexplained and unchallenged, forced Syria out of Lebanon in 2005 - another of the much less than brilliant
foreign policy decisions by John Bolton, Condo Rice, VP Cheney and the Oval Office - which allowed Hezbollah a free hand in the southern part of
Lebanon. That was possible because Lebanon has always been a fragmented country since its creation in 1922 as a French Protectorate under the League
of Nations. About half of the Muslim majority of Lebanon are Shia, and under the influence of Iran, the prmo Shia country albeit non-Arab.
Hezbollah, like Hamas, has gained widespread support amongst the local people due to its charitable work with poor and displaced Arabs. Hezbollah,
originally supported by Iran and Syria, each for its own reasons - Syria wants to raise the price of the Golan Heights occupation by Israel since 1967
- and Iran wants to establish Shia hegemony over the region. The two guerilla organizations fight Israel with the only weapons they have, which has
been suicide bombers. As the Oberfuhrer, Mr. Rumsfeld said, “You fight with what you have, not with what you wish you had.”
Now, by reason of the grossest of miscalculations
by both the American government and the Israeli government, the once vaunted and feared
military power of each has been exposed and demonstrated in Iraq and Lebanon to have sharp limits on what each can do, and which limits can easily be
exploited by practitioners of asymmetric warfare. As smart as you are, Herr Oberfuhrer, you cannot drive an aircraft carrier across a desert!
sad day for America and for Israel. To have the world to learn the Emperor is naked!
Israel, post Sharon, is being led by "children." Ehud Olmert is the first non-warrior of Israel to lead the country. (Golda Meir was a warrior!)
Look where he his leading it. The worst disaster to befall Israel since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Long Live Sharon!
See also en.wikipedia.org...
[edit on 8/10/2006 by donwhite]