A non-partisan journal of the left.

Israel’s Plans for a New Arab World

Wed 22nd Aug 2012

Israel’s aim has always been to divide the Arab world, to weaken Arab states and thereby create a powerful Israeli hegemony in the Middle East whilst expanding its own territories. Israel is helped by the unconditional support it receives from the United States as well as by misguided Christians who believe that the Israelis are the rightful heirs to the land of Palestine, as stated in the Old Testament of the Bible.

The journalist Kamal Kanj quotes former Israeli Foreign Ministry official Odes Yinon, writing in the early 1980s, that it would help Israel to turn Iraq and Syria “into ethnically or religiously unique areas”.

On Iraq, he wrote: “Its dissolution is even more important than Syria. Iraq is stronger. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to breaking up Iraq into provinces along ethnic and religious lines.” In 2003, Israel successfully watched the US invade Iraq to diminish the 'threat' it posed to Israel.

On Syria, he called for dividing it into “an Alawi (sic) state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus and the Durzes in the Hauran and in northern Jordan”. As ever, Assad is doing the job for Israel.

And today, Israel is squaring up to that other regional power, Iran, with American and, ironically, with Arab blessings.

In 1982, Israel had already successfully neutralised Egypt which was quickly homogenised and sanitised by a cocktail of American dollars, Mubarak’s corruption, and the Egyptian people’s refusal to define themselves as Arab Muslims, which they undoubtedly are. (I appear to be meeting an endless number of Egyptians these days vociferously denouncing their Muslim Arab heritage). It is as if the denial of an obvious national identity would allow the lost souls to join the ranks of so-called civilised Christian Western norms. During this time, Israel was also attempting to tame both the Palestinians and the Lebanese through its invasion of Lebanon in 1982. It succeeded by expelling Palestinian fighters from Beirut and through the failed Oslo Accords the Palestinians were left either in the Diaspora or in disjointed and economically dependent 'Bantustans' controlled by Israel’s military occupation, supported by American collusion. More recently, Israel has failed miserably to tame Lebanon because of the tough fight put up by the resistance group Hisbollah both in 2000 and in 2006.

Israel’s fortunes have been largely more successful than otherwise mainly because of the unconditional support it receives from the Western powers as well as its own skill for organisation and successful long term planning. However, Israel’s ‘success’ is also in part down to the division and disorganisation seen in the countries of the Arab world.

T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) held the view that the Arabs were a “noble savage” people whose courage was unparalleled but whose suspicions of other Arabs always took precedence over national aspirations. Nothing has changed except that one hundred years of dictatorships, blind obedience through lack of education and the unquestioning faiths, has led my poor compatriots into losing the “noble” part of the “noble savage” phrase. They have not lost their courage, as is seen through the various uprisings all over the Arab World. However, these uprisings may mimic the ‘Arab Awakening’ that took place in the late 19th century which eventually led to fragmentation, division on tribal, ethnic and religious lines, followed by a hundred years of aping the Western World by adopting its trappings of ‘civilisation’.

The net result of this story will be a continued success for Israel and the continued subjugation of the Arab world by Israeli hegemony (Palestine), Western control through a mixture of aid (Egypt), consumerism (United Arab Emirates), proxy politics (Lebanon, Jordan and Syria), obscurantism (Saudi Arabia), military defeat (Palestine and Iraq) and other equally debilitating influences.

Israel’s success story is remarkably similar to that of the United States. The first Zionists were the Plymouth Brethren. The founding fathers were the signatories of the Declaration of Independence. The IDF were the US cavalry coming over the hill to drive away the Native Americans and to occupy land belonging to them.

Israel’s manipulation has the Arabs playing right into their hands – from Arafat and Saddam Hussein to Gaddafi, Mubarak and Assad.

This is a heartbreaking story of incompetence, double standards, lies, imperialism, racism, dictatorships, divisions and, worse of all, denial that can rewrite history on both sides. It is a recipe for our continued oppression and for Israel’s continued successful expansion.

And amidst all of this, coupled with the woeful absence of courageous and visionary leadership both in Israel and in the Arab World, "peace in our time" is as elusive today as it was the first time that a British Prime Minister used that rather unfortunate phrase when he returned from Munich in 1938.
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