From the editorial
of The Scribe No. 45, November 1990
In recent weeks,
Middle East politics have been shifting like the quicksand
of the desert.
Saddam now fancies
himself as an Arab and Moslem messiah - a latter-day Nebuchadnezzar
- and dreams of standing at the gates of Jerusalem to lead
the Jewish people (God forbid) into another captivity in his
rebuilt Babylon, as did the other Nebu. 2,558 years ago. (The
rape of Lebanon and Kuwait are previews of what Arab extremists
have in store for Israel).
Will history repeat
Like a good teacher,
History only repeats itself if the lesson is not learned.
What then is this lesson that we have to learn?
In the Middle
East, the lesson of the last 3,000 years has been that the
Fertile Crescent, the cradle of civilisation and the birthplace
of monotheistic religions, is too vulnerable to invasion and
that if the Jews want to have a lasting presence in that region,
they must have a say in the affairs of the whole area. Any
attempt to hold only a small part has ended in failure.
Since time immemorial,
the Fertile Crescent was never united in freedom but was overrun
by various empires, one after another. For 400 years, Ottoman
rule brought relative peace and quiet in the region. A feature
of their system was the millet concept whereby local communities
enjoyed self-rule or autonomy.
After the two
World Wars, ill-conceived Arab regimes became the inheritors
of the region and have made a mess of it. By denying the Jews
and the Kurds their right to a national homeland, by persecuting
the Assyrians and Armenians, by trying to swamp the Lebanese
Christians, by refusing to deal with the problem of Palestinian
Arab refugees, by squandering the immense oil wealth of the
region for the last three decades, by Iraq's waging a futile
war against Iran for eight years, by Iraq's brutal invasion
and destruction of Kuwait, by their use of poison gas and
other chemical weapons, by indulging in terrorism and hostage
taking - the Arabs have forfeited their right to lead the
Middle East. Their greed was their undoing.
world suddenly woke up to the fact that it is not Zionism
but Arab imperialism that poses the real threat to the Middle
East and indeed to the whole world.
How then shall
the Middle East be run?
The United States
and her allies are assembling a motley force of 500,000 men,
2,000 tanks and 800 planes to contain Saddam and, hopefully,
to topple him. This effort is proving too costly and threatens
the world with recession. Israel has all this force and more,
and Israel is permanently there. Israel is most suited to
be the trustee of the Middle East. It is dangerous to leave
the destiny of the Middle East and possibly of the world exclusively
to combinations of Arab or of Moslem countries.
America has asked
Israel to keep a low profile in the present crisis but wishes
to retain Israel's might in reserve and use it as a last resort
if things do not go well for the allies in the coming war.
among Israelis is that they don't want to suffer one casualty
if they can help it. We all prefer to die in bed, but this
is the hour of destiny when the whole Middle East will be
in the melting pot. Can Israel afford to stay out of the game?
Will Israel wait till she is attacked by Saddam?
Israel must choose
her own moment to strike at Saddam. She would be amply justified
in doing this in view of Saddam's repeated threats. Israel
happens to be in a unique position to take the lead in this
direction. Secretary of State James Baker has expressed the
view that Israel's involvement would not unite the Arabs against
America. On the contrary, moderate Arabs would see in Israel's
action the value of her presence in the region in defence
of justice and freedom.
Moreover, it is
generally agreed that once the fighting is over, all foreign
forces will leave the area. Israel can then take over policing
the region in co-operation with her moderate neighbours.
Jews and Arabs
always worked together on the personal level. Such co-operation,
given the chance. would also prove successful at the state
level. In any case, it has been declared that the security
structure envisaged for the Middle East will include Israel,
who should be prepared to take the leading role in this future
can be the key to peace in the Middle East. Having seen the
savage behaviour of the Iraqis with Iran, with the Kurds and
in Kuwait, moderate Arabs are ready to embrace Israel with
But before lasting
peace can prevail. all the chronic problems of the region
have to be resolved. To do that we have to go back to the
first World War and eliminate the misdeed, of Lawrence of
Arabia and others that gave the Arabs more than they deserved
or were entitled to.
The events following
the defeat of the Ottoman empire in 1918 have to be reviewed
and revised on the following lines:
1) Kuwait's sovereignty
and regime to be restored.
2) Iraq to pay
compensation for the damage done, Iraq's punishment to fit
Saddam's crimes. Saddam's Babylon must be destroyed - an edifice
to a bloodthirsty despot.
3) Iraqi leaders
and officials to be tried for crimes against humanity and
4) The Iraq/Iran
1975 Algiers border agreement to be confirmed and recognised
by the United Nations.
5) Iraq, under
a new regime, to get the two disputed islands to relieve her
dependence on Shat-al-Arab waterway.
6) Mosul and neighbouring
provinces, where Kurds predominate, that were wrested from
the Ottoman empire after the 1918 armistice, to be returned
to Turkey together with small border areas from Iran and Syria.
Autonomy for the 10 million Kurds to be granted in these areas
within the Turkish republic. Turkey's good behaviour for the
last 70 years and her membership of NATO warrants this confidence.
7) Turkey, in
turn, to cede Kars and Ardahan to Soviet Armenia as a token
of atonement for the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians in
8) A reduced,
mainly Christian, Lebanon to be created from Junieh, north
of Beirut, right down to the border with Israel, with the
rest of old Lebanon going to Syria.
9) Jewish historic
rights in the Middle East to be recognised and implemented
and Israel to be confirmed within her present borders. That
area represents only two per mil of Arab lands and with new
immigrants coming in, Israel cannot afford to cede any territory.
In any case, the Arabs had rejected all partition plans and
these have become invalid. Israel went into Gaza as a result
of Egypt's aggression and went into the West Bank when, against
Israel's advice to King Hussein, Jordan entered the Six-Day
War in 1967
10) The problem
of the Palestinian Arabs must be solved by the Arabs themselves,
just as Israel absorbed the Jewish refugees from Arab lands.
Jordan to become a state for moderate Palestinians, enlarged
by a tract from Saudi Arabia. Palestine was partitioned in
1922 and Transjordan became Arab Palestine.
11) King Hussein
to become King of Iraq. His grandfather had this
ambition 70 years ago.
12) A declaration
that no outside Power shall be allowed to penetrate or interfere
in the region.
13) In thus re-shaping
the region there will have to be large population transfers
to ensure stability and to avoid future conflicts. Iraq has
demonstrated this is feasible by the transfer of thousands
of Kurds from the north and now by moving thousands of Iraqis
14) The oil wealth
of the Middle East has to be regulated - first, by enlarging
OPEC to include not only the exporting countries but also
the main oil importing countries; secondly, to keep the oil
prices at a steady realistic level; thirdly, only a basic
part of that price to go to the countries of origin, with
the balance spread wider afield to Egypt, Jordan, Israel,
Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and the new Kurdistan.
In the next century
the world will be even more dependent on Arabian oil. In treating
oil reserves as an international asset, one is reminded of
the Californian gold rush of 1848 when a large and prosperous
farming estate was ruined by the sudden discovery of gold
on it that brought thousands of
prospectors from far and wide to dig for the precious metal.
The owner of the farm went to Washington to seek federal protection
but was told that one man's rights cannot be upheld against
so many others. He was given instead a substantial pension
for the rest of his days.
While it may not
be necessary to pension off the Saudi and Kuwaiti rulers and
other oil sheikhs, they should not, on the other hand, be
allowed to hold the world community to ransom for a commodity
that was discovered, is extracted and needed by other countries.
15) In a final
settlement between Israel and the neighbouring countries,
Jews must be allowed to travel, reside and work anywhere in
the region. Israel should be given reparations for the 40
years of senseless wars to frustrate the existence of a Jewish
and hostage-taking must be recognised and treated as acts
of war and democratic governments shall gradually replace
the despotic regimes in most Middle Eastern countries.
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