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"Ancient History": U.S. Conduct in the Middle East Since World War II

"Ancient History": U.S. Conduct in the Middle East
Since World War II and the Folly Of Intervention

by Sheldon L. Richman

Sheldon L. Richman is senior editor at the Cato Institute.

Executive Summary

When Iranian revolutionaries entered the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and seized 52 Americans, President Jimmy Carter dismissed reminders of America's long intervention in Iran as "ancient history." Carter's point was not merely that previous U.S. policy could not excuse the hostage taking. His adjective also implied that there was nothing of value to be learned from that history. In his view, dredging up old matters was more than unhelpful; it was also dangerous, presumably because it could only serve the interests of America's adversaries. Thus, to raise historical issues was at least unpatriotic and maybe worse.(1)

As the United States finds itself in the aftermath of another crisis in the Middle East, it is worth the risk of opprobrium to ask why there should be hostility toward America in that region. Some insight can be gained by surveying official U.S. conduct in the Middle East since the end of World War II. Acknowledged herein is a fundamental, yet deplorably overlooked, distinction between understanding and excusing. The purpose of this survey is not to pardon acts of violence against innocent people but to understand the reasons that drive people to violent political acts.(2) The stubborn and often self-serving notion that the historical record is irrelevant because political violence is inexcusable ensures that Americans will be caught in crises in the Middle East and elsewhere for many years to come.

After 70 years of broken Western promises regarding Arab independence, it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations (as opposed to some of the political regimes) of the Middle East.(3) The United States, as the heir to British imperialism in the region, has been a frequent object of suspicion. Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region's political conflicts. Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East. The most recent part of that record, which includes U.S. alliances with Iraq to counter Iran and then with Iran and Syria to counter Iraq, illustrates a theme that has been played in Washington for the last 45 years.

An examination of the details and consequences of that theme provides a startling object lesson in the pitfalls and conceit of an interventionist foreign policy. The two major components of the theme that are covered in this study are U.S. policy toward Iran and the relations between Israel and the Arabs. Events in which those components overlapped-- development of the Carter Doctrine, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Persian Gulf War--will also be examined.

In the aftermath of the most overt and direct U.S. attempt to manage affairs in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf War, it is more important than ever to understand how the United States came to be involved in the region and the disastrous consequences of that involvement. President Bush's willingness to sacrifice American lives to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, to restore the "legitimate" government of that feudal monarchy, and to create a "new world order" proceeds logically from the premises and policies of past administrations. Indeed, there is little new in Bush's new world order, except the Soviet Union's assistance. That may mean the new order will be far more dangerous than the old, because it will feature an activist U.S. foreign policy without the inhibitions that were formerly imposed by the superpower rivalry. That bodes ill for the people of the Middle East, as well as for the long-suffering American citizens, who will see their taxes continue to rise, their consumer economy increasingly distorted by military spending, and their blood spilled--all in the name of U.S. leadership.

Background: Oil

If the chief natural resource of the Middle East were bananas, the region would not have attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers as it has for decades. Americans became interested in the oil riches of the region in the 1920s, and two U.S. companies, Standard Oil of California and Texaco, won the first concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. They discovered oil there in 1938, just after Standard Oil of California found it in Bahrain. The same year Gulf Oil (along with its British partner Anglo-Persian Oil) found oil in Kuwait. During and after World War II, the region became a primary object of U.S. foreign policy. It was then that policymakers realized that the Middle East was "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history."(4)

Subsequently, as a result of cooperation between the U.S. government and several American oil companies, the United States replaced Great Britain as the chief Western power in the region.(5) In Iran and Saudi Arabia, American gains were British (and French) losses.(6) Originally, the dominant American oil interests had had limited access to Iraqi oil only (through the Iraq Petroleum Company, under the 1928 Red Line Agreement). In 1946, however, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil Oil Corp., seeing the irresistible opportunities in Saudi Arabia, had the agreement voided.(7) When the awakening countries of the Middle East asserted control over their oil resources, the United States found ways to protect its access to the oil. Nearly everything the United States has done in the Middle East can be understood as contributing to the protection of its long-term access to Middle Eastern oil and, through that control, Washington's claim to world leadership. The U.S. build-up of Israel and Iran as powerful gendarmeries beholden to the United States, and U.S. aid given to "moderate," pro-Western Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, were intended to keep the region in friendly hands. That was always the meaning of the term "regional stability."(8)

What threatened American access to the region? Although much was made of the Soviet threat, there is reason to believe that throughout the cold war Washington did not take it seriously in the Middle East. The primary perceived threat was indigenous--namely, Arab and Iranian nationalism, which appears to have been the dominant concern from 1945 on. "The most serious threats may emanate from internal changes in the gulf states," a congressional report stated in 1977.(9) Robert W. Tucker, the foreign policy analyst who advocated in the 1970s that the United States take over the Middle Eastern oil fields militarily, predicted that the "more likely" threat to U.S. access to the oil would "arise primarily from developments indigenous to the Gulf."(10) The rise of Arab nationalism or Muslim fundamentalism, or any other force not sufficiently obeisant to U.S. interests, would threaten American economic and worldwide political leadership (and the profits of state-connected corporations). As Tucker wrote, "It is the Gulf that forms the indispen-sable key to the defense of the American global position."(11) Thus, any challenge to U.S. hegemony had to be prevented or at least contained.(12) As Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said privately during the Lebanese crisis in 1958, the United States "must regard Arab nationalism as a flood which is running strongly. We cannot successfully oppose it, but we could put sand bags around positions we must protect--the first group being Israel and Lebanon and the second being the oil positions around the Persian Gulf."(13)

The government sought foreign sources of oil during World War II because it believed U.S. reserves were running out. Loy Henderson, who in 1945 was in charge of Near Eastern affairs for the State Department, said, "There is a need for a stronger role for this Government in the economics and political destinies of the Near and Middle East, especially in view of the oil reserves."(14) During the war the U.S. government and two American oil companies worked together to win concessions in Iran.(15) That action brought the United States into rivalry with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, both of which had dominated Iran in the interwar period, though Reza Shah Pahlavi had succeeded in reducing foreign influence from its previous level. (Great Britain had its oil concession through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.) With the Soviets and the British occupying Iran and both favoring the decentralization of that country, the Tehran government sought to involve American oil interests as a way of enlisting U.S. support for Iran's security and stability. The U.S. government aided the companies, by providing facilities for transportation and communication along with other help, and dispatched advisers to the Iranian regime. In 1942 Wallace Murray, a State Department official involved in Near Eastern affairs, said, "We shall soon be in the position of actually 'running' Iran through an impressive body of American advisers."(16)

The relationship between the U.S. government and large American oil companies remained close throughout the war, despite differences over such issues as the government's part ownership of commercial enterprises. The oil companies and the State Department coordinated their efforts to ensure themselves a major role in the Middle East. One indication of that coordination was the appointment in 1941 of Max Thornburg as the State Department's petroleum adviser. The United States was a comparative latecomer to the region, but it intended to make up for lost time. Thornburg had been an official with the Bahrain Petroleum Company, a Middle Eastern subsidiary of Socal (Standard Oil of Cali-fornia) and Texaco. Throughout his government tenure, he maintained ties with the company and even collected a $29,000 annual salary from the oil company.(17)

While still in the department, Thornburg commissioned a study on foreign oil policy that predicted dwindling domestic reserves and advised that those reserves be conserved by ensuring U.S. access to foreign oil. As a result, Secretary of State Cordell Hull created the Committee on International Petroleum Policy, which included Thornburg. The committee recommended creation of the Petroleum Reserves Corporation, which would be controlled by the State Department and would buy options on Saudi Arabian oil. Once in operation, the corporation tried to buy all the stock of the California Arabian Standard Oil Company, created by Socal and owned by it and Texaco, but the deal eventually fell through.(18) Government officials had great hopes for the Petroleum Reserves Corporation. As Interior Secretary Harold Ickes revealingly put it, "If we can really get away with it, the Petroleum Reserves Corporation can be a big factor in world oil affairs and have a strong influence on foreign relations generally." Ickes was thinking of the influence that the government would have on oil prices and distribution.(19) A similar view is found in a 1953 position paper prepared by the Departments of State, Defense, and the Interior for the National Security Council, which stated that "American oil operations are, for all practical purposes, instruments of our foreign policy."(20) Such was the attitude of the U.S. government and its partners in the oil industry after World War II.



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Iran

Iran and the Soviets, 1945-47

The first U.S. intervention in the Middle East after World War II grew directly out of U.S. participation in that conflict. During the war, U.S. noncombatant troops were stationed in Iran to help with the transfer of equipment and supplies to the Soviet Union. The Red Army occupied the northern part of the country in 1941; the British were in central and southern Iran. In the Tripartite Treaty of January 1942 (not signed by the United States), the Soviet Union and Great Britain had said that their presence there was not an occupation and that all troops would be withdrawn within six months of the end of the war. At the Tehran conference in late 1943, the United States pledged, along with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, to help rebuild and develop Iran after the war. Those countries gave assurances of Iranian sovereignty, although that may have been a mere courtesy to a host country that had not even been notified that a summit would be held on its soil.(21)

The Soviet Union broke its promise about withdrawing. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin viewed the part of Iran that bordered his country as important to Soviet security, and he was aware of the U.S. and British designs on Iran, which had traditionally sided with the Soviet Union's enemies. Although the Soviet Union had much oil, Stalin was concerned about the size of its reserves and so was interested in the northern part of Iran as a potential source of oil. But as State Department official George Kennan sized up the situation at the time, "The basic motive of recent Soviet action in northern Iran is probably not the need for the oil itself, but apprehension of potential foreign penetration in that area."(22) The Soviets meddled in Iranian government affairs, oppressed the middle class in the north, and helped revive the suppressed Iranian Communist (Tudeh) party. When the war ended, the British and U.S. forces left Iran, but the Soviet troops moved southward. They by then had established two separatist regimes headed by Soviet-picked leaders (the Autonomous People's Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kurdish People's Republic) and kept the Iranians from putting down separatist uprisings. (The Azerbaijanis and Kurds, members of large ethnic groups that live in several countries, had long hated the rulers in Tehran.) Negotiations between the Soviets and Iran's prime minister, Qavam as-Saltaneh, won Moscow the right to intervene on behalf of the Azerbaijani regime, an oil concession in the north, and the appointment of three Communists to the Iranian cabinet.(23)

That Soviet conduct irritated President Harry S Truman. He said he feared for Turkey's security and criticized "Russia's callous disregard of the rights of a small nation and of her own solemn promises."(24) The United States formally protested to Stalin and then to the UN Security Council. Those actions succeeded in getting the Soviets to leave, although Truman may also have threatened to send forces into Iran if Stalin did not withdraw his troops.(25) In late 1946 the Truman administration encouraged Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, who succeeded his father in 1941, to forcibly dismantle the separatist regimes the Soviets had left behind.(26) In 1947 the administration objected to the use of intimidation (by others) to win commercial concessions in Iran and promised to support the Iranians on issues related to national resources. As a result, the Iranian government refused to ratify the agreement with the Soviets on the oil concession in the north.

Truman's high-profile use of the United Nations and his bluster against the Soviets were the beginning of U.S. post-war involvement in the Middle East. In 1947 Truman issued his Truman Doctrine, pledging to "assist free people to work out their own destinies in their own way," ostensibly to thwart the Soviets in Greece and Turkey. In reality, it marked the formal succession of the United States to the position of influence that Great Britain had previously held in the Middle East.(27)

Mossadegh and the Shah, 1953

When Dwight D. Eisenhower became president in 1953, his administration had one overriding foreign policy objective: to keep the Soviet Union from gaining influence and possibly drawing countries away from the U.S. orbit. To that end, Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, crafted a policy the primary principle of which was the impossibility of neutrality in the cold war. In the Dulles world view, there was no such thing as an independent course; a country was either with the United States or against it. That principle helps explain much of the Eisenhower administration's conduct in the Middle East, for if there was one region in which the United States strove to prevent what it called Soviet penetration, it was the Middle East.

The earliest direct U.S. involvement occurred in Iran. Even before Eisenhower took office, political turbulence in that country was on the rise, prompted by discontent over Iran's oil royalty arrangement with the British-owned AngloIranian Oil Company.(28) A highly nationalist faction (the National Front) of the Majlis, or parliament, led by Moham med Mossadegh, nationalized the oil industry. (Nationalization was considered a symbol of freedom from foreign influence.) Mossadegh, whom the shah reluctantly made prime minister after the nationalization, opposed all foreign aid, including U.S. assistance to the army. He also refused to negotiate with the British about oil, and in late 1952 he broke off relations with Great Britain. The turmoil associated with nationalization stimulated activity by Iranian Communists and the outlawed Tudeh party. At a rally attended by 30,000 people, the Communists hoisted anti-Western, pro-Soviet signs, including ones that accused Mossadegh of being an American puppet.(29)

In the United States, officials feared that loss of Iranian oil would harm the European Recovery Program and concluded that the communist activity in Iran was a bad omen, although the Soviets did not intervene beyond giving moral support.(30) The Mossadegh government hoped that the United States would continue to deal with Iran and prevent economic collapse, but the Truman administration put its relations with Great Britain first and participated in an international boycott of Iranian oil--although Washington did give Tehran a small amount of aid. U.S.-Iranian relations deteriorated, as did the Iranian economy. Under that pressure, Mossadegh resorted to undemocratic methods to forestall the election of anti-government deputies to the Majlis. When he tried to control the Ministry of Defense, he was forced to resign, but he soon returned to power when his successor's policies triggered virulent criticism from Mossadegh's supporters. Mossadegh came through the crisis with increased, and in some ways authoritarian, powers.(31) On August 10, 1953, the shah, unable to dominate Mossadegh, left Tehran for a long "vacation" on the Caspian Sea and then in Baghdad. But he did not leave until he knew that a U.S. operation was under way to save him.

As author James A. Bill has written: "The American intervention of August 1953 was a momentous event in the history of Iranian-American relations. [It] left a running wound that bled for twenty-five years and contaminated relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran following the revolution of 1978-79."(32) London had first suggested a covert operation to Washington about a year earlier. The British were mainly concerned about their loss of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, but in appealing to the United States, they emphasized the communist threat, "not wishing to be accused of trying to use the Americans to pull British chestnuts out of the fire."(33)

The British need not have invoked the Soviet threat to win over John Foster Dulles or his brother Allen Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency; both were former members of the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.(34) Besides, there was ample evidence that Mossadegh was neither a Communist nor a communist sympathizer. Nevertheless, Operation Ajax was hatched--the brainchild of the CIA's Middle East chief, Kermit Roosevelt, who directed it from Tehran.(35) Also sent there was Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose job was to recruit anti-Mossadegh forces with CIA money.(36) The objective of Operation Ajax was to help the shah get rid of Mossadegh and replace him with the shah's choice for prime minister, Gen. Fazlollas Zahedi, who had been jailed by the British during World War II for pro-Nazi activities.(37)

The covert operation began, appropriately enough, with assurances to Mossadegh from the U.S. ambassador, Loy Henderson, that the United States did not plan to intervene in Iran's internal affairs. The operation then filled the streets of Tehran with mobs of people--many of them thugs-- who were loyal to the shah or who had been recipients of CIA largess. In the ensuing turmoil, which included fighting in the streets that killed 300 Iranians, Mossadegh fled and was arrested. On August 22, 12 days after he had fled, the shah returned to Tehran. Mossadegh was sentenced to three years in prison and then house arrest on his country estate.

Later, in his memoirs, Eisenhower claimed that Mossadegh had been moving toward the Communists and that the Tudeh party supported him over the shah. Yet a January 1953 State Department intelligence report said that the prime minister was not a Communist or communist sympathizer and that the Tudeh party sought his overthrow.(38) Indeed, Mossadegh had opposed the Soviet occupation after the war.(39) Author Leonard Mosely has written that "the masses were with him, even if the army, police, and landowners were not."(40) Eight years after his overthrow, Mossadegh, about 80 years of age, appeared before a throng of 80,000 supporters shouting his name.(41)

Once restored to power, the shah entered into an agreement with an international consortium, 40 percent of which was held by American oil companies, for the purchase of Iranian oil. It was symptomatic of the postwar displacement of British by U.S. interests that the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was not restored to its previous dominance.(42) In succeeding years the United States regarded the shah as a key ally in the Middle East and provided his repressive and corrupt government with billions of dollars in aid and arms.

The restoration of the shah to the Peacock Throne engendered immense hostility toward the United States and had cataclysmic consequences. The revolutionary torrent that built up was ultimately too much for even the United States to handle. By the late 1970s the shah and his poor record on human rights had become so repugnant to the State Department under Cyrus Vance that almost any alternative was deemed preferable to the shah's rule. But the shah had his defenders at the Pentagon and on the National Security Council who still thought he was important to regional stability and who favored his taking decisive action to restore order. President Carter at first was ambivalent. U.S. policy evolved from a suggestion that the shah gradually relinquish power to a call for him to leave the country. On January 16, 1979, the shah, as he had in 1953, took leave of his country--this time for good.(43)

When the monarchy was finally overthrown in the 1978-79 revolution, which was inspired by Islamic fundamentalism and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranians held Americans hostage for over a year at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and the United States suffered a humiliating repudiation of its foreign policy in the Middle East. Iran and Israel had been built up over the years into the chief U.S. security agents in the region. Now Iran would no longer perform that function, and more of the burden had to be shifted to Israel.



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Israel and the Arabs?

The Creation of Israel

In the aftermath of World War I, Great Britain was granted a mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations. By 1947, however, the violence directed at British officers by Jews and Arabs, and the financial drain on the declining imperial power after World War II, moved Great Britain to turn to the United Nations for help. In April 1947 the Arab nations proposed at the United Nations that Palestine be declared an independent state, but that measure was defeated and instead, at Washington's suggestion, a UN commission was set up to study the problem.

The defeat of the Arab proposal is important to an understanding of subsequent events. During World War I the British sought Arab support against the Ottoman Turks, who ruled much of the Arab world. In return for their support, the British promised the Arabs their long-sought independence. The British, however, also made promises about the same territory to the Zionists who sought to establish a Jewish state on the site of Biblical Israel. The Balfour Declaration, issued on November 2, 1917, stated that "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object. . . ." Significantly, however, the sentence ended with the words, "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." (The U.S. Congress endorsed the Balfour Declaration, using similar language, in 1922.)(44) Toward the end of World War I, however, the Bolsheviks exposed a secret Anglo-French agreement to divide the Ottoman Empire between Great Britain and France. Arab independence had never been seriously intended. Meanwhile, Great Britain was preparing to allow Jewish immigration into Palestine.(45)

Violence among Jews, Arabs, and British officials in Palestine before and after World War II led London to ask the United Nations in 1947 for a recommendation on how to deal with the problem.(46) The murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis and the deplorable state of the Holocaust survivors had stimulated the international effort to establish a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine, and American Zionists had declared in 1942 (in the Biltmore Program) "that Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth integrated in the structure of the new democratic world."(47)

In November 1947 the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recommend partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. The two states were to be joined in an economic union, and Jerusalem would be administered by the United Nations. The Arabs would get 43 percent of the land, the Jews 57 percent. The proposed apportionment should be assessed in light of the following facts: The Jewish portion was better land; by the end of 1947 the percentage of Palestine purchased by Jews was less than 7 percent; Jewish land purchases accounted for only 10 percent of the proposed Jewish state; and Jews made up less than one-third of the population of Palestine.(48) Moreover, the Jewish state was to include 497,000 Arabs, who would constitute just under 50 percent of the new state's population.

The United States not only accepted the UN plan, it aggressively promoted it among the other members of the United Nations. Truman had been personally moved by the tragedy of the Jews and by the condition of the refugees. That response and his earlier studies of the Bible made him open to the argument that emigration to Palestine was the proper remedy for the surviving Jews of Europe. Yet he acknowledged later, in his memoirs, that he was "fully aware of the Arabs' hostility to Jewish settlement in Palestine."(49) He, like his predecessor, had promised he would take no action without fully consulting the Arabs, and he reneged.

Truman's decision to support establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine was made against the advice of most of the State Department and other foreign policy experts, who were concerned about U.S. relations with the Arabs and possible Soviet penetration of the region. Secretary James Forrestal of the Defense Department and Loy Henderson, at that time the State Department's chief of Near Eastern affairs, pressed those points most vigorously. Henderson warned that partition would not only create anti-Americanism but would also require U.S. troops to enforce it, and he stated his belief that partition violated both U.S. and UN principles of self-determination.(50)

But Truman was concerned about the domestic political implications as well as the foreign policy implications of the partition issue. As he himself put it during a meeting with U.S. ambassadors to the Middle East, according to William A. Eddy, the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, "I'm sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism: I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents."(51) Later, in a 1953 article in the American Zionist, Emmanuel Neumann, president of the Zionist Organization of America, conceded that Truman would not have worked so hard for the creation of Israel but for "the prospect of wholesale defections from the Democratic Party."(52) Truman's decision to support the Zionist cause was also influenced by Samuel I. Rosenman, David K. Niles, and Clark Clifford, all members of his staff, and Eddie Jacobson, his close friend and former business partner. Truman later wrote:

The White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders--actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats--disturbed and annoyed me.(53)

Pressure on Truman also came from non-Jewish fundamentalists and politicians.

In some cases, support for Jewish admission to and statehood in Palestine may have had another domestic political angle. That support sidestepped the sensitive issue of U.S. immigration quotas, which had kept European Jews out of the United States since the 1920s and had left them at the mercy of the Nazis. In other words, support for Zionism may have been a convenient way for people who did not want Jews to come to the United States to avoid appearing anti-Semitic. American classical liberals and others, including the American Council for Judaism, opposed the quotas, and it is probable that many of the refugees, given the option, would have preferred to come to the United States.(54)

By mid-November 1947 the Truman administration was firmly in the Zionist camp. When the State Department and the U.S. mission to the United Nations agreed that the partition resolution should be changed to shift the Negev from the Jewish to the Palestinian state, Truman sided with the Jewish Agency, the main Zionist organization, against them.(55) The United States also voted against a UN resolution calling on member states to accept Jewish refugees who could not be repatriated.(56)

As the partition plan headed toward a vote in the UN General Assembly, U.S. officials applied pressure to--and even threatened to withhold promised aid from--countries inclined to vote against the resolution. As former under-secretary of state Sumner Welles put it:

By direct order of the White House every form of pressure, direct and indirect, was brought to bear by American officials upon those countries outside of the Moslem world that were known to be either uncertain or opposed to partition. Representatives or intermediaries were employed by the White House to make sure that the necessary majority would at length be secured.(57)

Eddie Jacobson recorded in his diary that Truman told him that "he [Truman] and he alone, was responsible for swinging the vote of several delegations."(58)

While the plan was being debated, the Arabs desperately tried to find an alternative solution. Syria proposed that the matter be turned over to the International Court of Justice in The Hague; the proposal was defeated. The Arab League asked that all countries accept Jewish refugees "in proportion to their area and economic resources and other relevant factors"; the league's request was denied in a 16-16 tie, with 25 abstentions.(59)

On November 29 the General Assembly recommended the partition plan by a vote of 33 to 13. The Soviet Union voted in favor of the resolution, reversing its earlier position on Zionism; many interpreted the vote as a move to perpetuate unrest and give Moscow opportunities for influence in the neighboring region.

The period after the UN partition vote was critical. The Zionists accepted the partition reluctantly, hoping to someday expand the Jewish state to the whole of Palestine, but the Arabs did not.(60) Violence between Jews and Arabs escalated. The obvious difficulties in carrying out the partition created second thoughts among U.S. policymakers as early as December 1947. The State Department's policy planning staff issued a paper in January 1948 suggesting that the United States propose that the entire matter be returned to the General Assembly for more study. Secretary Forrestal argued that the United States might have to enforce the partition with troops. (The United States had an arms embargo on the region at the time, although arms were being sent illegally by American Zionists, giving the Jews in Palestine military superiority, at least in some respects, over the Arabs.)(61)

On February 24, 1948, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Warren Austin, made a speech to the Security Council hinting at such second thoughts. His proposal to have the five permanent council members discuss what should be done was approved, but they could not agree on a new strategy. The United States, China, and France reported to the full council that partition would not occur peacefully. The apparent weakening of U.S. support for partition prompted the Zionist organizations to place enormous pressure on Truman, who said he still favored partition. However, the next day at the United Nations, Austin called for a special session of the General Assembly to consider a temporary UN trusteeship for Palestine.

On April 16 the United States formally proposed the temporary trusteeship. The Arabs accepted it conditionally; the Jews rejected it. The General Assembly was unenthusiastic. Meanwhile, the Zionists proceeded with their plans to set up a state. Civil order in Palestine had almost totally broken down. For example, in mid-April, the Irgun and LEHI (the Stern Gang), two Zionist terrorist organizations, attacked the poorly armed Arab village of Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem, and killed 250 men, women, and children. The Arabs retaliated by killing many Jews the next day.(62) Before the British left in May, the Jews had occupied much additional land, including cities that were to be in the Palestinian state.

Something else was working in favor of continued support for the emerging Jewish state: U.S. domestic politics. The year 1948 was an election year and, according to memoranda in the Harry S Truman Library and Museum, Jacobson, Clifford, and Niles expressed fear that the Republicans were making an issue of their support for the Jewish state and that the Democrats risked losing Jewish support. Clifford proposed early recognition of the Jewish state.(63)

His position had been strongly influenced by a special congres-sional election in a heavily Jewish district in the Bronx, New York, on February 17, 1948. The regular Democratic candidate, Karl Propper, was upset by the American Labor party candidate, Leo Isacson, who had taken a militantly pro-Zionist position in the campaign. Even though Propper was also pro-Zionist, former vice president Henry Wallace had campaigned for Isacson by criticizing Truman for not supporting partition, asserting that Truman "still talks Jewish but acts Arab."(64) The loss meant that New York's 47 electoral votes would be at risk in the November presidential election, and the Democrats of the state appealed to Truman to propose a UN police force to implement the partition, as Isacson and Wallace had advocated.

The administration's trusteeship idea soon became academic. On May 14 the last British officials left Palestine, and that evening the Jewish state was proclaimed. Eleven minutes later, to the surprise of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, the United States announced its de facto recognition.(65)

The significance to the Arabs of the U.S. role in constructing what they regard as another Western colonial obstacle to self-determination cannot be overstated. Dean Rusk, who at the time was a State Department official and would later become secretary of state, admitted that Washington's role permitted the partition to be "construed as an American plan," depriving it of moral force.(66) As Evan M. Wilson, then assistant chief of the State Department's Division of Near Eastern Affairs, later summarized matters, Truman, motivated largely by domestic political concerns, solved one refugee problem by creating another. Wilson wrote:

It is no exaggeration to say that our relations with the entire Arab world have never recovered from the events of 1947-48 when we sided with the Jews against the Arabs and advocated a solution in Palestine which went contrary to self-determination as far as the majority population of the country was concerned.(67)



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The Suez Crisis, 1956

On October 29, 1956, the Israeli army invaded Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Soon after, the forces of Great Britain and France launched air attacks against Egypt.

That crisis had its roots in two factors: friction at the armistice line, established after the 1948 war between Israel and Egypt, and control over the Suez Canal. Another factor was the withdrawal of the U.S. offer to help finance the High Aswan Dam in upper Egypt, a prized project of the country's new ruler and champion of Arab nationalism, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Eisenhower and Dulles did not trust Nasser because he tried to steer a neutral course between the United States and the Soviet Union, and they were especially displeased with his recognition of Communist China. The administration first tried to win Nasser over, but when that failed, it tried obsessively to undermine him and worse.(68) The wish to undermine Nasser was important in forging a U.S.-Israeli "strategic relationship." The offer to finance the dam and provide arms (with conditions Nasser could not accept) were the carrots dangled before the charismatic Egyptian. When Nasser turned to the Soviets in September 1955 to purchase arms when he could not buy them from the United States without strings attached, his actions were seized on as proof that he was in the Soviet camp and thus an enemy of the United States.(69) (The events in Iran were not lost on Nasser.)

The United States also had antagonized Nasser in 1955 when it set up the Baghdad Pact (later called the Central Treaty Organization, or CENTO), an alliance of northern tier nations, including Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq (the only Arab country in the alliance). Great Britain was also a member. The United States was not a formal member but was clearly a guiding force. Nasser saw the pact as an attempt to split the Arab world and interfere with the "positive neutralism" he sought for it. Iraq at the time was friendly to the West and not disposed to the Arab nationalism that Nasser aspired to create and lead.(70) The Baghdad Pact was one of the things that had the ironic effect of bringing the Arabs and Soviets closer.

In mid-1956 the United States abruptly withdrew its offer to help finance the High Aswan Dam, just as the Egyptians had decided to accept the administration's conditions. The American reversal brought cancellations of aid for the dam from Great Britain and the World Bank as well. A week after the U.S. decision, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company, which since 1869 had been owned by French nationals and the British government and operated under an Egyptian concession. The British and French governments reacted angrily; for the French, it was not irrelevant that Nasser was helping the Algerians, who were seeking independence. The U.S. reaction was calmer, as Eisenhower and Dulles distinguished between ownership and freedom of navigation. (Nevertheless, the New York Times denounced Nasser as "the Hitler on the Nile.")(71) The U.S. administration warned Great Britain and France against responding precipitously and pressed for negotiations. A conference was convened, but Nasser refused to attend or accept its pro-posals. Nevertheless, international traffic on the canal continued normally under Egyptian administration. When Great Britain and France failed to get satisfaction from the United Nations, they began making plans for war.

Israel was not able to use the canal, but the Jewish state's aims regarding Egypt went beyond that grievance. Since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Palestinian refugees had often crossed into Israel seeking to regain property and possessions expropriated by the government and to reach relatives. Some engaged in violence. Israel began responding with massive reprisal raids against entire villages in the Arab countries. Most significant was the attack on the town of Gaza in February 1955, when children as well as men were killed. That attack prompted Egypt to end direct peace talks with Israel and to turn to the Soviet Union for arms. It was only at that point that Egypt sponsored an anti-Israeli guerrilla organization whose members were known as the Fedayeen. In August Israel attacked the Gaza Strip village of Khan Yunis, killing 39 Egyptians. The attacks in the Gaza Strip, masterminded by officials loyal to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, subverted Nasser's efforts to make peace with Israel. Ben-Gurion's successor, Moshe Sharett, re-sponded positively to Nasser's overtures, but Gen. Moshe Dayan and others undermined Sharett.(72) During the winter of 1955, for example, Israeli warplanes flew over Cairo repeatedly to demonstrate Egyptian military impotence.

The Israeli government had earlier tried to prevent a warming of U.S.-Egyptian relations by having saboteurs bomb American offices in Cairo in 1954, an episode that became known as the Lavon Affair.(73) When Egypt uncovered the operation, Israel accused Nasser of fabricating the plot. Two of the 13 men arrested were hanged, and their hangings were used as a pretext for Israel's February 1955 attack on Gaza. Six years later, the Israeli government's complicity was confirmed.

Israel's bad relations with Egypt were also aggravated by the seizure of an Israeli ship, which was provocatively sent into the Suez Canal in September 1954. Both sides had seized each other's ships before, and this incident appears to have been provoked by Israel as a way to get Great Britain to compel Egypt to permit Israeli ships to use the waterway as part of a final agreement on the Suez Canal.(74)

Despite repeated provocations, Egypt, according to documents later captured by Israel, had attempted to prevent infiltration by the Fedayeen because of its fear of attack.(75) Nevertheless, in October 1956 Israel invaded Egypt, ignoring American pleas for forbearance. The United States took the matter to the UN Security Council, which called for a cease-fire and withdrawal. It also passed a resolution to create a 6,000-man UN emergency force to help restore the status quo ante.

Eisenhower's opposition to the conduct of Israel, Great Britain, and France--an anomaly in light of later U.S. policy--is explained by his opposition to old-style colonialism. The administration wanted to win the friendship of the newly independent countries of Africa and Asia and to keep them out of the Soviet orbit. That could not be accomplished if the United States were perceived to be on the side of Great Britain and France in so flagrant an act of imperialism as an attack on Egypt. Also important to the administration's calculus was its wish that London not challenge Washington's more subtle dominance in the Middle East. British and French irritation with American anti-colonialism was a source of problems among the leaders of the three nations.(76)

When the UN call for a cease-fire failed to contain the conflict, the Soviet Union threatened to intervene, and Premier Nicolai Bulganin even proposed to Eisenhower that their two countries take joint military action to end the war. Eisenhower rejected the proposal and warned the Soviets not to get involved.(77)

The fighting ended on November 7, when Britain and France bowed to the United Nations and agreed to withdraw. Israel, however, refused to withdraw from the Sinai until its conditions were met. Israel was especially adamant that Egypt not regain the Gaza Strip, which was to have been part of the Palestinian state under the UN partition. Eisenhower responded to Israel's position by threatening to cut off aid, although he apparently never did so.(78) By March 1957 Israel had withdrawn from all the occupied areas, but not before the United States had given assurances that UN troops would be stationed on Egyptian territory to ensure free passage of Israeli and Israel-bound ships through the Strait of Tiran and to prevent Fedayeen activity. The United States, in an aide-mÇmoire by John Foster Dulles, also acknowledged that the Gulf of Aqaba was international waters and "that no nation has the right to prevent free and innocent passage in the Gulf and through the Straits." The key to the final settlement was a French proposal that Israel be allowed to act in self-defense under the UN charter if its ships were attacked in the Gulf of Aqaba.(79)

Thus, the United States again became directly involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict and made what would later be construed as guarantees to Israel. Although Israel chafed under the frank rhetoric and surprising (in light of the U.S. election season) evenhandedness of Eisenhower and Dulles, it got essentially what it wanted from the Suez campaign.(80)

The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Lebanon Invasion, 1958

The United States was determined to not let its preeminence in the Middle East be challenged--by anyone--again. Early in 1957 Eisenhower delivered a message to Congress in which he referred to the instability in the region being "heightened and, at times, manipulated by International Communism"--that is, the Soviet Union, he added obligatorily. Accordingly, he proposed a program of economic aid, military assistance, and cooperation and the use of U.S. troops, when requested, "against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by International Communism."(81) That was the Eisenhower Doctrine, which Congress ultimately approved and for which it authorized the spending of up to $200 million. Twelve of 15 Middle Eastern states approached by the administration accepted the doctrine. Initially hesitant, Israel also accepted it. However, only Lebanon formally endorsed the Eisenhower Doctrine, in return for promises of military and economic aid.(82)

Not everyone in the U.S. government understood the logic of the doctrine. Wilber Crane Eveland of the CIA later recounted his reaction:

I was shocked. Who, I wondered, had reached this determination of what the Arabs considered a danger? Israel's army had just invaded Egypt and still occupied all of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. And, had it not been for Russia's threat to intervene on behalf of the Egyptians, the British, French, and Israeli forces might now be sitting in Cairo, celebrating Nasser's ignominious fall from power.(83)

Eveland's reaction was not unusual. Many people believed that the Arabs did not rank the Soviet Union as their number-one threat. According to Eveland, when Eisenhower dispatched an envoy to sound out the Arab countries, Egypt, Syria, and some North African states said they saw no danger from international communism.(84)

In April 1957, when King Hussein of Jordan faced a Pan-Arabist challenge from socialist-nationalists and the Communist party, the U.S. government moved the Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean and provided $10 million in economic aid to his country, the first installment of a regular annual subsidy.(85) And when Syria appeared to be moving closer to Nasser and the Soviets, the Eisenhower administration, egged on by Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan, put area forces on alert and issued warnings against outside interference. The crisis subsided without direct intervention. Although the president talked much of the internal communist threat to the Arab countries, Eisenhower's biographer Stephen Ambrose writes that "what Eisenhower really feared was radical Arab nationalism" and its threat to the feudal monarchies.(86)

A full-blown intervention under the Eisenhower Doctrine finally took place in Lebanon in 1958. Rising Pan-Arabism, which worried several Arab regimes, surged on February 1 when Egypt and Syria joined to become the United Arab Republic. In re sponse, King Hussein entered a unity agreement of his own with his fellow Hashemite ruler in Iraq. And King Saud of Saudi Arabia was also so concerned that he tried to have Nasser assassinated.

In Lebanon the development was viewed as especially upsetting. The fragile Lebanese confessional system, in which religious groups have representation in the government in ratios fixed by the constitution, made the country particularly susceptible to disturbances.(87) Lebanon's large Sunni Muslim population was sympathetic to Pan-Arabism, as were its Druzes (a Muslim sect). Camille Chamoun, the country's Maronite Catholic president, feared Nasser and his ideology and favored a close relationship with the United States.

Chamoun aggravated the Pan-Arabist distrust of him by seeking a second six-year term as president, contrary to the Lebanese constitution. To achieve that ambition, he used dubious methods (possibly rigging the election) to elect a parliamentary majority that would change the constitution. The CIA funneled money to selected candidates.(88) When a pro-Nasser newspaper editor was killed, a rebellion ignited: a coalition of Sunni, Druze, and other opponents of Chamoun demanded his resignation and called for radical reform. The rebels controlled parts of Beirut and rural areas and accepted armed assistance from Syria.(89)

Chamoun appealed to Eisenhower for help on May 13. Initially, the United States was reluctant to intervene, but on July 14 a coup d'Çtat took place in Iraq, home of the Baghdad Pact, and the monarchy was replaced by a government led by Gen. Abdul Karim Qassem, a reputed Nasserite.(90) When the new Iraqi government allied itself with the United Arab Republic, fear of spreading instability in the region led Eisenhower to send troops to Lebanon. He warned that "this somber turn of events could, without vigorous response on our part, well result in a complete elimination of Western influence in the Middle East."(91) But the Eisenhower administration decided not to intervene in Iraq when Qassem announced that the Iraq Petroleum Company, in which American oil firms held shares, would not be disturbed; in fact, the United States recognized the new government on July 30.(92)

On July 15 the first of 14,357 U.S. troops landed in Lebanon.(93) Meanwhile, Eisenhower's special emissary, Robert Murphy, worked out a solution: Gen. Fuad Chehab, a compromise Christian candidate acceptable to Eisenhower, Nasser, and most Lebanese, would become president; Chamoun would complete his original term; and Washington would provide $10 million in aid.(94) One of Chamoun's opponents, Rashid Karami, became prime minister, however, and promptly announced that recognition of the Eisenhower Doctrine would be withdrawn and that Lebanon would shift to nonaligned status. Washington accepted that policy shift and withdrew all of its troops by October 25. Fortunately, no Lebanese or American was killed in the U.S. military intervention.(95)

The U.S. government counted the operation a success, but that one and only application of the Eisenhower Doctrine was actually a misapplication. The doctrine was ostensibly formulated to deter armed aggression by nations controlled by "International Communism," but neither Syria nor Egypt was controlled by the Soviet Union; they were not even independent communist regimes. "He [Nasser] curbed and suppressed native Communists both in Egypt and Syria," wrote historian George Len-czowski, "and, despite heavy dependence on Soviet arms and economic aid, jealously maintained his country's sovereignty."(96)

Two lessons National Security Council officials learned from the Lebanon intervention apparently were not heeded by subsequent policymakers. A November 1958 NSC document warned that "to be cast in the role of Nasser's opponent would be to leave the Soviets as his champion." The document also counseled against "becoming too closely identified with individual factions in Lebanese politics."(97) The first lesson would be ignored in 1967, the second in 1983.



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The Six-Day War, 1967

In six days during June 1967, the Israeli military devastated the air and ground forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and occupied the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the West Bank (an area west of the Jordan River), including East Jerusalem. The Six-Day War established Israel as the premier military power in the Middle East. Israel's might was a product of American money and French armaments, in addition to dedicated personnel. The war also established the idea of Israel as a U.S. strategic asset in the region.

Before discussing the U.S. role in the war, it is nec essary to briefly explain how and why the war was fought. Its start is generally treated as a preemptive, defensive strike by Israel, necessitated by mortal threats from its neighbors.(98) The facts show otherwise. Kennett Love, a former New York Times correspondent and a scholar of the Suez crisis, wrote that Israel drew up "plans for the new war . . . immediately after the old. . . . The 1956 war served as a rehearsal for 1967."(99) That is important because it bears on the Arab reaction to the U.S. role, a reaction that has shaped subsequent developments in the region.(100)

After the 1956 Sinai campaign, the Israeli-Egyptian border was quiet, partly because of the presence of the UN Emergency Force. But that was not true of the border between Israel and Syria. The specific causes of friction between the two countries were disputes about fishing rights in Lake Tiberias, Israeli settlement activity in the demilitarized zone established after the 1948 war, guerrilla incursions into Israel, and Israeli development of a water project involving the Jordan River.(101)

Israel retaliated against the guerrilla activity with massive raids into Syria and sometimes into Jordan.(102) Syria, which had left the United Arab Republic in 1961, underwent a left-wing Ba'athist coup in 1966 and had good relations with the Soviet Union. Syria pointed to the quiet Israeli-Egyptian border and the lack of Egyptian response to the attacks on Syria as evidence that Nasser was not up to leading the Arabs. Nasser was accused of hiding behind the UN forces. Actually, Egypt was absorbed in civil wars in Yemen and the British Crown Colony of Aden (soon to be South Yemen) at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula. Intra- Arab rivalries were assuming greater importance in the mid- 1960s, with Nasser frequently bearing the brunt of Arab criticism.(103)

The Syrian-Israeli friction continued throughout early 1967. Then, in April, Israel said it would cultivate the entire demilitarized zone between the countries, including land that Syria contended was the property of Arab farmers. When the Israelis moved a tractor onto the land on April 7, the Syrians fired on them. To retaliate, 70 Israeli fighters flew over Syria and shot down 6 Syrian war planes near Damascus. There was no response from the United Arab Command, an essentially paper military undertaking organized by Nasser at an Arab summit in 1964. (At the same meeting, the Palestine Liberation Organization had been set up--ironically, as a means of reining in Palestinian nationalism.)(104)

Over the next several weeks, Israel threatened Syria. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin said in an Israeli radio broadcast on May 11 that "the moment is coming when we will march on Damascus to overthrow the Syrian Government, because it seems that only military operations can discourage the plans for a people's war with which they threaten us."(105) The Israeli director of military intelligence, Aharon Yariv, added that Nasser would not intervene.(106) The Jewish state also directed massive military action against al-Fatah to stop infiltrations. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders did all they could to have their country appear in mortal danger.

The situation worsened when the Soviet Union told the Egyptians that Israel had massed forces on the Syrian border in preparation for a mid-May attack. The United Nations found no evidence of such preparation, but on May 14 Nasser moved troops into the Sinai. Yet U.S. and Israeli intelligence agreed that the action was, in Foreign Minister Abba Eban's words, "no immediate military threat," and several years later, in 1972, Gen. Ezer Weizmann admitted that "we did move tanks to the north after the downing of the aircraft."(107) Israel quickly and fully mobilized, prompting the Egyptians to ask the UN Emergency Force to leave the Sinai. The request did not mention the two most sensitive locations of the UN force, Sharm el-Sheikh (where it protected Israeli shipping) and the Gaza Strip, but the UN secretary general, U Thant, surprised everyone by replying that a partial withdrawal was impossible. Faced with a choice between the status quo and a complete UN withdrawal, Nasser chose the latter. When the United Nations offered to station its forces on Israel's side of the border, the Jewish state refused (as it had in the past). President Lyndon Johnson, fearing that the Israelis would "act hastily," asked Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to inform him in advance of any Israeli action.(108) Israel replied that a blockade of the Strait of Tiran would be a casus belli.

Meanwhile, Nasser told the Egyptian press that he was "not in a position to go to war."(109) Israeli military leaders believed him. General Rabin said later, "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it."(110) Ben-Gurion himself said he "doubt[ed] very much whether Nasser wanted to go to war."(111)

It is in that context that the following events must be inter-preted. On May 21 Nasser mobilized his reserves. On May 22, with the UN forces gone and under the taunting of Syria and Israel, Nasser blocked--verbally not physically-- the Strait of Tiran, which leads from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba and the Israeli port city of Elath.(112) The strait's importance to the Israelis was more symbolic than practical; no Israeli flag ship had used it in nearly two years, although Iranian oil was shipped to Israel through it.(113) Nevertheless, the closure was a worrisome precedent for the Israelis.

Despite a blizzard of diplomatic activity in and outside the United Nations, tensions rose over the next days, until, on June 5, Israel attacked Egypt--thereby launching what came to be known as the Six-Day War. (The Israeli government told the UN Truce Supervision Organization that its planes had intercepted Egyptian planes--a patent falsehood.) In short order, Israel destroyed the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Israel prepared a letter to President Johnson assuring him that Israel, in the shorthand of U.S. ambassador Walworth Barbour, "has no, repeat no, intention [of] taking advantage of [the] situation to enlarge its territory, [and] hopes peace can be restored within present boundaries."(114) But that soon changed, as signaled by a request from David Brody, director of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League, that Johnson not mention "territorial integrity" in his public statements about the war.(115)

On June 8, Egypt, having lost the Sinai to Israel, accepted the cease-fire called for by the United Nations. The next day Syria also accepted it, but Israel launched additional offensive operations. By June 10 Israel controlled the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, Sharm el-Sheikh, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and its capital city of Quneitra.(116) With the road to Damascus open, the Soviets threatened intervention if Israel did not stop. The Johnson administration signaled its readiness to confront the Soviets by turning the Sixth Fleet toward Syria. That was to be the first of two near-confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union in Arab-Israeli wars. Then, according to Johnson, the U.S. government began to use "every diplomatic resource" to persuade Israel to conclude a cease-fire with Syria, which it did on June 10.(117)

The unseen side of the Six-Day War was Israel's nuclear capability. Although Prime Minister Eshkol promised in 1966 that Israel would not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East, it had been developing a nuclear capability almost since its founding. The locus of the program was the Dimona reactor in the Negev near Beershea.(118) Israel apparently received help over the years from the American firm NUMEC, the French, and the U.S. government, including the CIA.(119) It probably had operational nuclear weapons in 1967. According to Francis Perrin, the former French high commissioner for atomic energy who had led the team that helped Israel to build Dimona, Israel wanted nuclear weapons so it could say to the United States, "If you don't want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us; otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs."(120)

Israel never signed the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has not allowed inspection of its nuclear facilities since the late 1960s. According to Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, the inspectors were consistently deceived in the early 1960s.(121) Israel had 12 to 16 warheads by the end of 1969, according to the Nixon administration. A CIA report concluded that Israel also tried to keep other Middle Eastern countries from developing nuclear weapons by assassinating their nuclear scientists.(122)

What was U.S. policy before and during the Six-Day War? In the tense days before the outbreak of hostilities, Johnson moved the Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean. On May 23, while declaring an embargo on arms to the area, he secretly authorized the air shipment to Israel of important spare parts, ammunition, bomb fuses, and armored personnel carriers.(123) After the war started, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for Israel to return to its prewar boundaries, and Johnson refused to criticize Israel for starting the war.(124)

Author Stephen Green has written that the United States participated in the conflict even more directly. Green contends that pilots of the U.S. Air Force's 38th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew RF-4Cs--with white Stars of David and Israeli Air Force tail numbers painted on them--over bombed air bases in Egypt, Syria, and Jordan to take pictures for the Israelis. They flew 8 to 10 sorties a day throughout the war, and the pilots carried civilian passports so they would appear to be contract employees if caught. When the enemy air forces were destroyed, the RF-4C mission was changed to tracing Arab troop movements at night, which enabled the Israelis to bomb the troops the next morning. The pilots also flew close-in reconnaissance sorties around the Golan Heights. Apparently, none of the flights proved decisive, but they did enable Israel to achieve its objectives quickly.(125) Ironically, the Arabs accused the United States of providing tactical air support, which apparently was untrue. In re- sponse to the accusations, President Johnson said publicly that the United States provided no assistance of any kind to the Israelis.

A critical question is whether the U.S. government gave Israel a green light to go to war. Israeli officials frequently consulted with U.S. officials in the days before June 5; they were looking for support, claiming that Israel had been promised access through the Strait of Tiran in 1956. U.S. officials often told the Israelis that "Israel will only be alone if it decides to go alone"--a statement that was interpreted by some Israelis as a nod to go ahead. That impression could have been confirmed by Secretary of State Dean Rusk's reported comment to a journalist, regarding the U.S. attitude toward Israel: "I don't think it is our business to restrain anyone."(126) Finally, Foreign Minister Abba Eban later wrote in his autobiography that when he visited Washington in late May, "what I found . . . was the absence of any exhortation to us to stay our hand much longer."(127)

The Six-Day War was a diplomatic disaster for the United States. That might have been foreseen, but President Johnson had other things on his mind. He seems to have been motivated by a desire to win Jewish American support for the war in Vietnam and to advance the "strategic relationship," begun by President Kennedy, with Israel against the Soviet Union.(128)

The cost in Arab alienation was great. Johnson had assured the Arabs that Israel would not attack and that he would oppose aggression. Yet he never called on Israel to withdraw from the conquered territories or to resolve the Palestinian question. Rather, the United States gave Israel substantial help, including diplomatic support that facilitated Israel's conquest of neighboring territories by providing critical delays.(129)

In no sense did the war bring stability to the Middle East, if indeed that was a U.S. objective. Nasser summed up the consequences: "The problem now is that while the United States objective is to pressure us to minimize our dealings with the Soviet Union, it will drive us in the opposite direction altogether. The United States leaves us no choice."(130)

Nasser's prediction was borne out by events. Within three years the Soviets were shipping military equipment to the Egyptians, including surface-to-air missiles to defend Egypt against Israel's U.S.-made F-4 Phantom jets. Thousands of Soviet troops, pilots, and advisers were provided. The Soviets also moved closer to Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The United States responded by giving more weapons and planes to Israel.(131)



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The Strategic Relationship and Aid to Israel

The idea of a strategic relationship between the United States and Israel emerged after the Suez crisis, when the Eisenhower administration realized that both countries had an interest in containing Nasser's influence. Because the Eisenhower administration feared that the Soviets were gaining clout in some Arab countries, such a relationship was seen as useful in containing the Soviet Union as well. When John F. Kennedy became president, he abandoned an initial preference for a balance of power between Israel and the Arabs in favor of a strategic relation ship. He was the first to provide Israel with sophisticated weapons and to commit the United States to a policy of maintaining Israel's regional military superiority. In 1962 Kennedy privately told Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir that their countries were de facto allies, and shortly before his assassination, Kennedy reportedly guaranteed Israel's territorial integrity in a letter to Prime Minister Eshkol.(132)

As the U.S.-Israeli strategic relationship matured, military and economic aid increased. But that increase does not mean the earlier aid had been insignificant. According to historian Nadav Safran: "During Israel's first nineteen years of existence, the United States awarded it nearly $1.5 billion of aid in various forms, mostly outright grants of one kind or another. On a per capita basis of recipient country, this was the highest rate of American aid given to any country."(133)

According to a recent Congressional Research Service report, between 1949 and 1965 U.S. aid to Israel averaged $63 million annually, and over 95 percent of that assistance was for economic development and food aid.(134) The first formal military lending, which was very modest, occurred in 1959. However, from 1966 through 1970 average annual aid jumped to $102 million, and the share of military loans climbed to 47 percent. In 1964 the U.S. government lent no money to Israel for military purposes. In 1965 it lent almost $13 million. In 1966, the year before the Six-Day War, it lent $90 million. In the year of the war such loans fell to $7 million, but in succeeding years the total rose, reaching $85 million in 1969 and hitting a high of $2.7 billion in 1979. More significant, military grants began in 1974; they ranged from $100 million in 1975 to $2.7 billion in 1979. In the first half of the 1980s, loans and grants ranged between $500 million and nearly $1 billion. Then, beginning in 1985, the loans stopped and all U.S. military aid was made as grants, ranging from $1.4 billion in 1985 to $1.8 billion each year from 1987 through 1989. Economic grants hit a high of nearly $2 billion in 1985, before falling to $1.2 billion in 1989. (See Appendix.)

Although U.S. aid has been given to Israel with the stipulation that it not be used in the territories occupied in 1967, the Congres-sional Research Service reported that "because the U.S. aid is given as budgetary support without any specific project accounting, there is no way to tell how Israel uses U.S. aid."(135) Moreover, the service wrote that, according to the executive branch, in 1978, 1979, and 1981, Israel "may have violated" its agreement not to use U.S. weapons for nondefensive purposes.(136) In 1982 the United States suspended shipments of cluster bombs after Israel allegedly violated an agreement on the use of those weapons. In 1990 Israel accepted $400 million in loan guarantees for housing on the condition that the money not be used in the occupied territories, but the promise was soon repudiated.(137)

Reporter Tom Bethell has written that of $1.8 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Israel, only about $350 million is sent by check. The rest never leaves the United States; it is spent on U.S.-made planes and weapons. Bethell also has reported that, according to the State Department, Israel returns $1.1 billion of $1.2 billion in economic aid as payment of principal and interest on old loans. It keeps the interest accrued from the time the money is received at the beginning of the year to the time it is sent back at the end of the year.(138)

The Yom Kippur War, 1973

The Six-Day War left the Arabs humiliated and the Israelis vauntingly triumphant. It was the Israeli sense of invincibility that left the country vulnerable in 1973. On October 6, as Jews were preparing for their holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, Egypt and Syria launched attacks intended to regain the territories lost in 1967. The Egyptians crossed the Suez Canal and established positions it would not lose. Two cease-fires were arranged, only to be violated by Israel. Finally, 18 days after the war began, a third and final cease-fire went into effect.(139)

The war was launched to regain not only Arab territory but Arab pride as well. That explanation, which is true as far as it goes, gives a distorted picture. Often overlooked are the Arab leaders' efforts to make peace with Israel before 1973. In November 1967 King Hussein offered to recognize Israel's right to exist in peace and security in return for the lands taken from Jordan in the Six-Day War. (Israel had de facto annexed the old city of Jerusalem shortly after that war.) In February 1970 Nasser said, "It will be possible to institute a durable peace between Israel and the Arab states, not excluding economic and diplomatic relations, if Israel evacuates the occupied territories and accepts a settlement of the problem of the Palestinian refugees."(140) (Israel had allowed only 14,000 of 200,000 refugees from the Six-Day War to return.)

Then, in February 1971, Anwar Sadat, who had succeeded to the Egyptian presidency on Nasser's death in 1970, proposed a full peace treaty, including security guarantees and a return to the pre-1967 borders. That was not all. Also in 1971 Jordan again proposed to recognize Israel if it would return to its prewar borders. Egypt and Jordan accepted UN Resolution 242, passed in November 1967, that called for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories in return for peace and security. Both Arab states also accepted the land-for-peace plan of Secretary of State William Rogers and the efforts of UN representative Gunnar Jarring to find a solution.

Israel turned a deaf ear to each proposal for peace, rejected the Rogers plan, snubbed Jarring, and equivocated on Resolution 242.(141) At that time Israel and Egypt were engaged in a war of attrition across the Suez Canal. Israel flew air raids deep into Egypt and bombed civilians near Cairo. Soviet pilots and missiles participated in the defense of Egypt.(142)

The Rogers plan represented only one side of the Middle East policy of the Nixon administration, which came into office in 1969, and it was the weak side at that. The strong side was represented by national security adviser (and later secretary of state) Henry Kissinger. Kissinger was busy with the Vietnam War and the diplomatic opening to Communist China during Nixon's initial years in office, so the Middle East was one of the few areas left to Rogers. Yet Kissinger could not resist getting involved. Thus, a battle occurred between two forms of intervention: Rogers's efforts to broker a solution and Kissinger's efforts to thwart one. The State Department believed that the key problem was Israeli intransigence. Kissinger, who saw the Middle East as another arena for the superpower rivalry, believed the Israeli victory in 1967 was a glorious defeat of the Soviets, and he actively opposed progress toward peace. Referring to 1969 he explained in his memoirs:

The bureaucracy wanted to embark on substantive talks as rapidly as possible because it feared that a deteriorating situation would increase Soviet influence. I thought delay was on the whole in our interest because it enabled us to demonstrate even to radical Arabs that we were indispensable to any progress and that it could not be extorted from us by Soviet pressure. . . . I wanted to frustrate the radicals-- who were hostile to us in any event--by demonstrating that in the Middle East friendship with the United States was the precondition to diplomatic progress. When I told [Joseph] Sisco in mid-February that we did not want a quick success in the Four-- Power consultations at the United Nations in New York, I was speaking a language that ran counter to all the convictions of his Department. . . . By the end of 1971, the divisions within our govern- ment . . . had produced the stalemate for which I had striven by design.(143)

That policy was consistent with the Nixon Doctrine, articulated by the president in July 1969. Under that doctrine the United States would rely on local powers to keep internal regional order and furnish "military and economic assistance when requested and appropriate." The United States would continue to provide a nuclear umbrella to deter Soviet intervention. In other words, client states such as Israel and Iran would police their regions to prevent upheavals by forces inimical to U.S. interests.(144)
As the 1972 election approached, Kissinger assumed more control over Middle Eastern policy. He later recalled that Nixon "was afraid that the State Department's bent for ab- stract theories might lead it to propose plans that would arouse opposition from all sides. My principal assignment was to make sure that no explosion occurred to complicate the 1972 election--which meant in effect that I was to stall."(145) Since Kissinger was able to undermine Rogers's peace efforts, his was a "policy" the Israelis could embrace.

Kissinger's obstructionism came at the worst possible time. The 1967 Arab defeat and the ensuing bilateral peace offers persuaded many Palestinians that the Arab states were willing to sacrifice the Palestinians. It was a period of heightened violence from Yasser Arafat's nonideological alFatah, a major element of the Palestine Liberation Organization; the Black September faction of al-Fatah; and George Habash's radical, Marxist-oriented Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.(146) The break between the Palestinians and the Arab states created problems for Jordan. The PLO had become a virtual state within a state there, and in 1970 the PFLP hijacked several airliners to Jordan. As a result, in September 1970 King Hussein gave the military the go-ahead to root out the guerrilla infrastructure. Syria, in a show of support for the Palestinians, sent tanks into Jordan. At Kissinger's urging, Israel mobilized in support of Jordan, but before it could enter the country, the Syrian force was repulsed. The month known as "Black September" cost the Palestinians 5,000 to 20,000 lives. Although Israeli troops did not see action, their mobilization helped cement Israel's image as a strategic asset of the United States in the region. Any evenhandedness that had marked earlier Nixon administration policy was now gone.

Less than a year later, Jordanian forces massacred Palestinians in several incidents before expelling the PLO from Jordan. The PLO then moved to Lebanon, having previously won that country's formal recognition of the right to operate autonomously. Harassment of the Palestinians by the Israeli-backed Lebanese Christians and guerrilla activity directed at Israel from Lebanon preceded massive Israeli raids and the deaths of hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.(147)

U.S. military and economic aid to Israel took a major jump. Just before the Jordanian crisis, Nixon approved a $500 million military aid package and sped up delivery of F-4 Phantom jets to Israel. Israel had indicated that, before it could start talks with the Arabs, it would need arms to ensure its security. Nixon had stalled, believing that Israel was already militarily superior. But under pressure from 78 U.S. senators, Nixon initiated a major transfer of technology (including the sale of jet engines for an Israeli warplane) that would enable Israel to make many of its own weapons. A second deal was struck for 42 Phantoms and 90 A-4 Skyhawk warplanes. Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev countered the U.S. action by promising to supply arms and bombers to the Arabs, although not in the quantities that the United States supplied them to Israel.(148)

In mid-1972 Sadat, whom Kissinger did not take seriously as a political leader, expelled the 15,000 Soviet advisers in his country. Sadat's reasons included continued wrangling about military aid, the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel, Soviet opposition to another war in the region, and general cultural differences. Although the United States was taken by surprise, Kissinger took credit for the development and, after the election, began secret negotiations with Egypt and the Soviets. However, his proposal for a settlement, which included Israeli military posts in the Sinai, was rejected by Sadat. Meanwhile, Nixon agreed to provide Israel with 84 new warplanes. Sadat summed up his reaction in a statement quoted in Newsweek: "Every door I have opened has been slammed in my face by Israel--with American blessings. . . . The Americans have left us no way out."(149)

Peace proposals by Jordan, communicated to Kissinger around that same time, were rejected by Israel, which was not interested in relinquishing the West Bank. The Israeli rejection had at least tacit U.S. approval. On September 25, 1973, two weeks before war broke out, Kis-singer became secretary of state and, with Nixon mired in Watergate, had complete control over foreign policy.

During the Yom Kippur War, Kissinger ordered four ships of the Sixth Fleet to within 500 miles of Israel and initiated a UN strategy aimed at tying up the Soviets and delaying a cease-fire resolution. As he later put it, "We wanted to avoid this [cease-fire] while the attacking side was gaining territory, because it would reinforce the tendency to use the United Nations to ratify the gains of surprise attack."(150) The Israelis asked for arms, but Kissinger was reluctant to comply, believing that Israel was well armed already, that the war would be short, and therefore that a resupply would unnecessarily anger the Arabs. But Kissinger did not want to appear to desert Israel, which he thought might harden its position, so he had arms sent secretly, a policy publicly ratified by Nixon on October 9. While the airlift of equipment was still covert, U.S. planes flew directly to the Israeli troops in the occupied Sinai, a violation of Egypt's territory.(151)

Kissinger had another reason to accede to Israel's demand for an airlift. Although no one believed that Israel's survival was at risk, the surprisingly strong Arab showing panicked some Israelis. The Israeli ambassador to Washington warned that if the request for the airlift was denied, "we will have to draw very serious conclusions from all this." According to a historian sympathetic to Israel, "Kissinger. . . had long known that Israel possessed a very short nuclear option which it held as a weapon of last resort. . . . Suddenly . . . the scenario of an Israel feeling on the verge of destruction resorting in despair to nuclear weapons. . . assumed a grim actuality." Other reasons for the change in U.S. policy included domestic political considerations (the Israel lobby had become a powerful force) and a modest Soviet airlift to Syria. The multi-billion-dollar U.S. airlift was approved.(152)

Kissinger was instrumental in having three cease-fire resolutions, all favorable to the Israeli army's position, passed in the UN Security Council. The first was passed on October 22, after Kissinger went to Moscow. His failure to consult them before working with the Soviets so outraged the Israelis that Kissinger felt he had to placate them by allowing some "slippage" in the deadline.(153) "Slippage" became a major six-day offensive in which Israeli troops crossed the Suez Canal, blocked the roads from Cairo, and completed the encircling of Egypt's Third Army in the Sinai. When the offensive was over, Israel had reached the Gulf of Suez and occupied 1,600 square kilometers inside Egypt. According to Kissinger, Israel told him, untruthfully, that Egypt had launched an attack first, but he never publicly criticized his ally.(154)

The second cease-fire, which weakly called for a return to the first cease-fire lines, passed the Security Council on October 24. Sadat accepted it, but Israel refused to pull back, which left Egypt's beleaguered Third Army at its mercy. Israel violated the cease-fire within hours and continued closing in on that army. The Nixon administration again was silent. Sadat appealed to the Security Council for help, asking for U.S. and Soviet troops to intervene. The Soviets responded favorably to the idea, but Kissinger opposed it. "We had not worked for years to reduce the Soviet military presence in Egypt only to cooperate in reintroducing it as a result of a United Nations Resolution," Kissinger later wrote. "Nor would we participate in a joint force with the Soviets, which would legitimize their role in the area and strengthen radical elements."(155)

The Soviets then said they might send troops unilaterally. In response, late on October 24, the United States put its ground, sea, and air forces--conventional and nuclear--on worldwide alert. That brush with nuclear war demonstrated once again the grave danger posed by U.S. intervention in Middle Eastern affairs.(156)
Meanwhile, Kissinger assured Israel that it would not be asked to return to the first cease-fire lines, and the airlift continued. Sadat ended the crisis by asking that a multinational force, without U.S. or Soviet troops, be sent to oversee the cease-fire. On October 25 the third UN resolution was passed, creating a peace-keeping force and again merely requesting a return to the October 22 lines.

Israel continued attacking Egyptian forces and forbidding the passage of food, water, or medicine to the trapped Third Army. Private pleas from Kissinger to Israel were rejected. The crisis ended with Sadat's offer of direct talks between the two nations' military officers about carrying out the UN resolutions. He asked for one delivery of nonmilitary supplies to the Third Army under UN and Red Cross supervision. Israel accepted, although it was bitter that the United States did not allow it to capture the Third Army and humiliate Egypt.(157)

One consequence of the mammoth U.S. arms shipments to Israel, and particularly the U.S. deliveries in the Sinai, was the OPEC oil embargo. The dollar price of oil had been rising since 1971, when Nixon stopped redeeming foreign governments' dollars for gold. Even before the war, Saudi Arabia had talked about linking oil to an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.(158)

On October 20 Saudi Arabia announced that it would sell no oil to the United States because of U.S. support for Israel. Saudi Arabia's average provision of oil to the United States came to 4 percent of American daily consumption. Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar followed the Saudi example. Nixon's price control program turned an inconvenience into a crisis, with long lines at gas stations and other disruptions of the economy. After the war, despite Kissinger's appeal, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia stood by his demand that Israel withdraw from all the occupied territories (including those taken in 1967) before the oil tap was turned on again. Kissinger threatened to retaliate while also promising that the United States would support the land-for-peace UN resolutions (Resolution 338, passed during the war, reiterated Resolution 242 of 1967). In December OPEC, at the bidding not of Arab countries but of Iran and Venezuela, quadrupled the price of oil to $11.65 a barrel. But shipments to Europe, which became more critical of Israel, were increased. Finally, on March 18, 1974, after Israel, Egypt, and Syria concluded disengagement agreements, and after prodding by Sadat, the Arab states ended the oil embargo. The Arabs placed no conditions on their action; the last export restrictions were removed on July 11. After the embargo, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait ended the concession system and ostensibly nationalized their oil industries. In fact, they entered into long-term contracts with the former concession owners.(159)

The costs to the United States of the Yom Kippur War were significant. As Kissinger calculated it, the war "cost us about $3 billion directly, about $10-15 billion indirectly. It increased our unemployment and contributed to the deepest recession we had in the postwar period."(160) The war was another demonstration of the bankruptcy of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Total support of Israel did not create stability; on the contrary, it further alienated the Arabs, pushed several Arab states closer to the Soviet Union, upset the U.S.-Soviet dÇtente (indeed, came close to igniting a nuclear confrontation), and loaded the OPEC oil weapon.



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The Camp David Accords, 1978

"The Yom Kippur war," said Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, "was not fought by Egypt or Syria to threaten the existence of Israel. It was an all-out use of their military force to achieve a limited political goal. What Sadat wanted by crossing the canal was to change the political reality and, thereby, to start a political process from a point more favorable to him than the one that existed. In that respect, he succeeded."(161)

In the aftermath of the war, there was a movement toward settling the dispute between Israel and Egypt, at the expense of the Palestinians and an overall settlement. That approach suited the three major parties--Israel, Egypt, and the United States. Israel wanted to keep the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights (which it would annex in 1981), but it was not committed to holding the Sinai. Egypt wanted to move into the U.S. camp; Sadat was disillusioned with the Soviets' inability to guarantee the cease-- fires, and he wished the capital to modernize his country. Weary of war, he wished to normalize relations with Israel, regardless of what other compromises had to be made. And Kissinger continued to oppose a comprehensive settlement.(162)

In early 1974 Yitzhak Rabin, who was then prime minister, signed a disengagement agreement with Sadat. At the end of the year and early in 1975, Kissinger did more diplomatic shuttling in search of a further Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai. He found Sadat highly accommodating and Israel intransigent. In March President Gerald Ford lost his patience with Israel and announced a "reassessment" of U.S. policy. From March to September no new arms agreements with Israel were concluded. To protect Israel's position, 76 senators sent a letter, drafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the chief American lobbying organization for the Jewish state, to Ford demanding that he declare that the United States "stands firmly with Israel" in future negotiations. The letter hardened Israel's position on the Sinai. Finally, in September, the parties reached an agreement on partial withdrawal, including the deployment of U.S. troops. The cost of the agreement to the United States was a list of wide-ranging secret commitments contained in a memorandum of understanding. It included military aid, an end to pressure for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, a promise to defend Israel if the Soviet Union went to war against it, and a pledge not to talk to the PLO until it recognized Israel and accepted relevant UN resolutions. The memorandum, an executive agreement, was never submitted to Congress. "In substance, the administration underwrote--politically, economically, and militarily--the Israeli-Egyptian agreement."(163) It would not be the last time.

Kissinger also worked out a disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria. President Hafez Assad of Syria was willing to normalize relations with Israel, but Israel was determined to hold on to the Golan Heights. The final agreement called only for withdrawal from land captured in the latest war. Kissinger commented that Assad's actions "bespoke a desire for accommodation." At that time the United States voted for a Security Council resolution condemning Israel for a big raid into Lebanon after a guerrilla action, but Israel's anger with the vote prompted a reversal. Washington pledged to support future raids against "terrorists," stating that it would "not consider such actions by Israel as violations of the cease-fire and [would] support them politically." The U.S. pledge was read at a public session of the Knesset, or Israeli parliament.(164) The "special relationship" apparently was the top priority as the Nixon and Ford administrations came to an end.

The year that Jimmy Carter became president, 1977, was the same in which Menachem Begin and his right-wing Likud coalition broke the ruling monopoly of the Israeli Labor party. Although the Laborites were as intransigent regarding the Palestinians,(165) the Likud, perhaps because of its overt actions, appeared more so. The government intensified the repression of the Palestinians on the West Bank and accelerated the building of settlements on their land, a policy that amounted to de facto annexation. Indeed, Begin's Herut party was committed to a Greater Israel (Eretz Israel) that stretched across the Jordan River. The United States condemned the West Bank settlements, calling them an obstacle to peace and illegal, but it never did anything about them, such as end the massive military and economic aid to Israel.(166)

The PLO, which at a 1974 Arab summit had been designated the sole representative of the Palestinians, was turning away from guerrilla activity and toward diplomacy. In November 1974 PLO chairman Yasser Arafat was invited to address the UN General Assembly, a first for the head of any nongovernment organization. (The United States and Israel voted against the invitation.) "I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand," Arafat said at the end of his address that called for a democratic state for Muslims, Jews, and Christians.(167) Many European countries opened contacts with the PLO and came to support the idea of an independent Palestinian state. Those events demonstrated the influence of the advocates of diplomacy over the advocates of violence within the PLO. Their continued influence would depend on the efficacy of diplo-macy.

Well into Carter's first year in office, the United States and the Soviet Union shifted gears from the Kissinger tenure and jointly outlined a plan for a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The plan included Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands, a resolution of the Palestinian issue, normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states, and international guarantees provided at least in part by the United States and the Soviet Union. The point of the proposal was to revive the Geneva conference, which was convened but abruptly halted in late 1973, but neither PLO participation nor a U.S.- and Soviet-sponsored state was in the package. The Arab states welcomed the joint statement, and more significant, the PLO agreed to a unified Arab delegation, a major compromise on its demand for independent representation. Yet Israel rejected both a reconvention in Geneva and PLO participation.(168)

There was other evidence of a change in tone on the part of the Carter administration. In March 1978 Israel invaded Lebanon, ostensibly to retaliate against guerrilla attacks. The actual purpose, however, was to establish a "security zone" in southern Lebanon under the supervision of Israel's client, renegade Lebanese army officer Saad Haddad. Carter formally requested that Israel leave Lebanon, and the administration proposed a UN Security Council resolution to that effect. Israel withdrew in July, four months after a UN observation force arrived. But Israel continued to be active in southern Lebanon, even after it agreed to a U.S.- arranged cease-fire with the PLO. The PLO had observed the cease-fire for a year when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.(169)

Carter was no less committed to the U.S.-Israeli relationship than his predecessors had been, but he did something none of them had done: he expressed concern for the Palestinians and their need for a homeland (not necessarily a state). That action earned him criticism from Israel's supporters and forced him to add heavy qualifications. For example, after meeting with Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, Carter promised never to force Israel to compromise by threatening to withhold or cut economic or military aid. He also promised to hold steadfastly to UN Resolutions 242 and 338 (the latter passed during the 1973 war), which do not mention the Palestinians. In effect, Carter allowed Israel to veto the joint U.S.-Soviet initiative. U.S. aid to Israel also continued to grow during his administration.(170)

The effort to move toward some kind of settlement received a boost on November 9, 1977, when Sadat dramatically announced that he was prepared to go to Jerusalem to talk peace. During his visit later that month, he addressed the Knesset, extended recognition to Israel, and offered a peace based on a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Arab- Palestinian dispute. Because it occurred without U.S. supervision, Sadat's initiative caught the Carter administration off balance, but soon the apprehension of U.S. officials turned to optimism.

That optimism did not last. In December, when Begin made a return trip to Egypt, the proposal he carried was not calculated to please Sadat. It called for a limited Egyptian military presence in the Sinai and Israeli retention of settlements and military airports there. Begin proposed an end to military rule of the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria, as the Likud called it) but continued Israeli responsibility for security. The Palestinians would be granted control over their own education, sanitation, and the like, and the residents would choose between Israeli and Jordanian citizenship. Israelis would be able to buy land on the West Bank, but the issue of sovereignty would be put off until a later date.(171)

The distance between Begin and Sadat induced Carter to involve himself in the negotiations, starting from a position closer to Sadat's than to Begin's. Carter was about to give up on Begin but then decided to bring him and Sadat to the presidential retreat at Camp David and personally manage the negotiations. Two agreements came out of the conference, a "Framework for Peace in the Middle East" and a "Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel."

The first framework, premised explicitly on UN Resolutions 242 and 338, stated that the inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip should elect a self-governing authority that would replace the Israeli military government. During a five-year transition period, negotiations on the final status of the territories would begin among Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and elected representatives from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (Arab Jerusalem and the West Bank Jewish settlements were not mentioned.) The Palestinian provisions were intentionally fuzzy, according to Carter's key adviser, William B. Quandt.(172) A peace treaty between Israel and Jordan would also be an objective of the negotiations. Other parts of the document dealt with pledges not to use force, each country's full recognition of the other, economic cooperation, and settlement of financial claims.

The second framework called for an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty within three months and full implementation within three years. Among the principles the treaty would embody were Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai; restoration of Egyptian sovereignty (although much of the peninsula would be demilitarized); and freedom for Israeli vessels to pass through the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Suez, the Strait of Tiran, and the Gulf of Aqaba (the last two were proclaimed international waterways). UN forces would be stationed in the Sinai and in border areas.(173)

The two frameworks were not linked; thus the peace treaty with Egypt could be concluded before the fate of the Palestinians was settled. Sadat was so disturbed by the compromises asked of him that he nearly left the conference. The evening before the signing, two of his key advisers resigned, but Sadat stayed. One may reasonably ask if Carter bought the settlement with the taxpayers' credit card. Aid to Egypt was increased substantially, which made that nation the recipient of the second largest amount of U.S. foreign aid (Israel still received the largest amount). Egypt received $1.5 billion in military credit, $200 million in economic grants, and $100 million in economic loans. Israel got $3 billion to build new air fields to replace the ones in the Sinai. When one adds to that total the foreign aid promised by Carter through FY 1982, the Camp David accords cost U.S. taxpayers $17.5 billion.(174)

Signing an agreement was one thing; carrying it out proved to be another. While still in the United States, Begin announced that Israel retained the right to remain on the West Bank indefinitely and that a provision freezing West Bank settlements was only for three months. Carter said that, on the contrary, the freeze was for five years. But the supposed agreement on the freeze was oral; it was not put in the accords. Feeling that the Camp David agreement was in jeopardy, Carter intervened again. In early 1979 he induced Sadat and Begin to sign the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, which stipulated that negotiations on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were to begin within the month. Those talks were held, with U.S. involvement, but they came to naught. The Carter administration did not help matters when it reversed its UN vote against Israel's settlement policy, claiming the initial position was an "error."(175)

The Palestinians in the occupied territories opposed the Camp David accords. Several West Bank mayors denounced the accords as a means of perpetuating the occupation. The accords cost Sadat much Arab support. In March 1979 Egypt was suspended from the Arab League, and even the moderate Arab states accused Sadat of deserting them for a bilateral treaty with Israel. They also blamed the United States for driving a wedge into the Arab world. Some of the Arab states, including Syria and Iraq, moved closer to the Soviet Union. The Camp David accords eventually cost Sadat his life. In October 1981 Muslim fundamentalists assassinated him. In the words of Middle East analyst Robin Wright, "Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem to promote Arab-Israeli peace in 1977, followed by the U.S.-orchestrated Camp David Treaty in 1979, was the ultimate sacrilege in the eyes of the militant fundamentalists."(176)

Historian George Lenczowski ironically summed up the Camp David accords this way: "If the United States' national interest demanded the strengthening of Israel at the expense of the Arabs by isolating Egypt from the Arab community and by leaving the issue of Palestine and related problems, such as the Golan Heights, vague and in suspension, then the objective was attained."(177)



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The Lebanon War, 1982-83

Supporters of the Camp David accords may have thought that the Israeli-Egyptian peace would inspire Israel to seek peace with the rest of its adversaries. But the Begin regime viewed the matter differently: security on its west flank freed Israel to pursue its other objectives. One of those was the discrediting and destruction of the PLO, which, by June 1982, had observed its cease-fire with Israel for about a year and had been pursuing a diplomatic strategy. In that month Israel's ambassador to London, Shlomo Argov, was wounded in an assassination attempt. Israel declared that the PLO had violated the cease-fire, and on June 6, under the direction of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, launched Operation Peace for Galilee--a massive invasion of Lebanon.

Actually, the PLO was not responsible for Argov's shooting; it was committed by a rival group of Arafat's al-Fatah led by Abu Nidal. Nevertheless, the time was opportune for Israel to accomplish two long-held goals. (The Falklands war between Great Britain and Argentina was distracting the world at that time.) Those objectives were the destruction of the PLO, whose turn to diplomacy was regarded as a threat to Israeli ends, and the establishment in Lebanon of Maronite rule that would recognize Israel's claim to Lebanese territory from the northern Israeli border to the Litani River.(178) Lebanon had been in turmoil and civil war for about a decade as the result of both internal and external problems. Lebanese fought Lebanese, the Muslims backed by Syrians, some Christians backed by Israelis. The presence of Palestinians, refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars as well as PLO guerrillas, aggravated the indigenous problems, and the Israelis regularly inflicted brutal punishment from the air.(179)

Shortly after the invasion, Begin told the Knesset that it was for the limited purpose of clearing Palestinians from a 25-mile-deep strip along the Israel-Lebanon border. He did not tell the Israeli people that the objective was much more ambitious: to push the Palestinians to Beirut, then to force Syria, which had been in Lebanon since 1976, to withdraw, leaving the Palestinians unprotected. The plan backfired, however, because it ignited Arab hatred that transcended the intra-Arab rivalries.

The Israeli campaign included nine weeks of brutal ground attacks in southern Lebanon and ferocious bombing of Muslim West Beirut, with great loss of civilian life.(180) What role did the United States play in the war? The Reagan administration knew of the plans for an invasion as early as October 1981, when Begin confided in Secretary of State Alexander Haig at Sadat's funeral. Although Begin assured President Reagan in January 1982 that he would not invade, Israel's chief of military intelligence, Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, told Haig and Pentagon officials that the invasion was being considered. Haig got several other notices. The response Haig gave the Israelis was, "The United States will not support such an action. . . . [But] the United States would never tell Israel not to defend itself from attack, but any action she took must be in response to an internationally recognized provocation."(181)

According to two Israeli journalists, Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari, Haig went even further. At a meeting at which Sharon said, "No country has the right to tell another how best to protect its citizens," Haig "nodded his head." Sharon then indicated that the war might go beyond the narrow aim of removing the PLO military in the south. "How far will you go?" asked an American at the meeting. "As far as we have to go," Sharon said. Haig said he expected the Israeli action to be fast and efficient, like a lobotomy. As Schiff and Ya'ari later wrote:

Sharon was clearly pleased with the results of his meeting with Haig: the secretary had confirmed Israel's right, in principle, to respond to acts of terrorism as long as they were indisputable provocations on the part ofthe PLO. . . . To Sharon's way of thinking, Haig's response added up to American recognition that Israel would not turn the other cheek if sorely provoked and, more important, that such recognition could be construed as tacit agreement to a limited military operation. From Israel's standpoint, this was sufficient. Neither in the Yom Kippur War nor the Six-Day War before it had Israel enjoyed such heartening understanding from Washington. . . . [Sharon] returned to Israel with the tidings that Washington was not averse to an Israeli advance into Lebanon.(182)

When U.S. officials became concerned that Haig had been indiscreet, the White House had him send a clarifying letter to Begin. The letter sought to "impress upon you that absolute restraint is necessary" and noted that Reagan would be dispatching his envoy to help deal with the guerrilla activity. The Israeli officials, wrote Schiff and Ya'ari, "came away with the impression that the letter represented a cautious diplomatic maneuver--the formal expression of a reservation by which the Americans intended to cover themselves against liability in case Israel got into deeper trouble than it could handle."(183)

As the war raged in Lebanon, the Reagan administration's statements were mildly negative, but, at Haig's urging, the administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolu- tion condemning the invasion.(184) Haig was also responsible for the scrapping of a harsh letter to Begin demanding an unconditional Israeli withdrawal. However, Reagan did ask Begin to accept a cease-fire. At a June 30 press conference, Reagan agreed with Israel that the PLO should leave Lebanon, but in July he suspended shipment of cluster bombs to Israel because it "may have violated" the Arms Export Control Act. (The shipments were later resumed.) As the bombing of West Beirut continued, Reagan voiced his concern, but he did not threaten to cut off aid.

With the siege of Beirut continuing, the administration worked for a cease-fire. Finally, in mid-August the United States helped to arrange an agreement that included a PLO evacuation to other Arab countries overseen by a (non-UN) multinational force, including 800 U.S. Marines. The U.S. forces left after 17 days when the PLO evacuation was completed. U.S. policy then shifted toward restoration of the authority of Lebanon's government and removal of Syrian and Israeli troops.(185) That shift again demonstrated the blunt nature of U.S. foreign policy and obliviousness to subtleties. In the Arab world the presence of Israeli and Syrian forces in Lebanon was not seen as symmetrical because, among other reasons, Lebanon is an Arab country and the Arab League had sanctioned the Syrian entry. Thus, the U.S. policy was doomed from the start.

On August 23, 1982, the leader of the Lebanese Forces (the Maronite militias, including the Phalange),(186) Bashir Gemayel, was elected president of Lebanon. He opened discussions with Israel, seeking an alliance that would preserve the minority Maronites' dominance and rid the country of the Palestinians and Syrians. Begin and Sharon demanded that Israel's Lebanese client, Major Haddad, be named minister of defense. They also made other demands that indicated their designs on Lebanon. Before Gemayel could conclude an agreement, he was assassi-nated, perhaps by rival Christians. His brother Amin, who succeeded him, showed an interest in coming to terms with Syria.

Before Amin Gemayel's election, however, Israel violated the cease-fire and completed its occupation of West Beirut. Then, on September 16-18, the Lebanese Forces massacred Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside Beirut. According to the Israelis, 328 men, women, and children were killed, and almost 1,000 people were missing. Under the cease-fire pact, the United States had promised to protect the Palestinians. And Israel controlled the area. Indeed, the Israeli military commander had let the Lebanese Forces, seeking vengeance for the death of Bashir Gemayel, into the camps. Israeli soldiers illuminated the camps, facilitating the massacre, and readmitted Phalange forces when the Israelis knew the massacre was in progress.(187) The world reacted with horror to the atrocity, but the United States threatened to veto a UN resolution if it mentioned Israel.(188)

Because of the damage to U.S. credibility, the Reagan administration--at Lebanon's request--sent 1,800 Marines back into Lebanon on September 29 as part of a multinational force that included troops from Britain, France, and Italy. The force was initially to act as a peace-keeping buffer between the Israelis and everyone else. In that environment of civil disorder, bombings, and kidnappings, the mission of the U.S. Marines was unclear. They were harassed by the Israeli forces and opposed by other factions. Particularly ominous was the activity in the Bekaa Valley of Iranian guerrillas and Lebanese Shi'ites, such as the Hezbollah group, who were sympathetic to the Iranian regime. In April 1983 one of those groups, the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in which 46 people were killed.

In August Israel partially withdrew to the south, leaving the Marines in the crossfire between Lebanese factions and removing their reason for being there in the first place. The Marines suffered casualties from Druze artillery--although it is not clear that the shelling was intentional--and the U.S. Sixth Fleet off the coast countered by firing shells the weight of Volkswagens at Druze positions. U.S. aircraft flew bombing missions as well. The United States had clearly taken sides in the Lebanese civil war.

The consequences of U.S. intervention became all too apparent on October 23 when a truck filled with explosives entered the Marine headquarters at Beirut airport. The resulting blast killed 241 Marines. By February 1984 Reagan had abandoned the intervention in Lebanon and withdrawn the surviving Marines.(189)

Five months earlier, Secretary of State George Shultz (who had succeeded Haig in mid-1982) had pushed Amin Gemayel into a peace agreement with Israel under which Israel and Syria would withdraw simultaneously from Lebanon. Syria rejected the agreement, giving Israel grounds for remaining, and after the U.S. evacuation, Gemayel scrapped the agreement. Israel has remained in its self-proclaimed "security zone" in the south of Lebanon ever since. The Syrians also remained, finally consolidating their hold in 1990.

The United States came out of that tragedy with a firmer reputation as a partisan of the country that had inflicted so much suffering on Lebanon. In the aftermath, American citizens in Lebanon were taken hostage by Iranian-backed groups. Several of those hostages remain in captivity. The hostage taking, in turn, gave rise to the Iran-Contra affair. President Reagan defended his pro-Israel policy on the grounds that the United States had a vital interest in keeping Lebanon out of the Soviet bloc.(190) Thus, he followed in the dubious footsteps of his predecessors.



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The Expanding U.S.-Israeli Security Relationship

The invasion of Lebanon was not the only occasion the Reagan administration had for giving aid and comfort to Israel. As Prime Minister Shamir put it, "This is the most friendly administration we have ever worked with."(191) Reagan himself had said that "the security of Israel is a principal objective of this Administration," and he wrote to Begin that "I am determined to see that Israel's qualitative edge is maintained."(192) Military and economic aid to Israel grew, and loans were occasionally forgiven.

The occasional difference between the Reagan administration's public and private positions regarding Israel was demonstrated in June 1981, when Israel destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad. In carrying out the attack, Israel used U.S.-made F-16 and F-15 fighters. Secretary Haig reported to Congress that the attack "may" have been a violation of the 1952 U.S.-Israel Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement. The United States officially condemned the strike, and Reagan suspended a scheduled delivery of four F-16 fighters to Israel. But a few days later he sounded more sympathetic to Israel's position. What was not known publicly at the time was that Israel had used satellite photographs provided by the CIA to plan the strike. Israel had almost unlimited access to such information under an intelligence-sharing agreement set up with the approval of CIA chief William Casey. Cooperation between U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies was nothing new, but it had rarely reached such levels.(193)

Also in 1981 the Reagan administration offered Israel a strategic cooperation agreement. Among other things, it set up a committee to arrange joint U.S.-Israeli military exercises, gave the U.S. Sixth Fleet use of Israeli ports, alowed the United States to store military supplies in Israel for the Central Command, provided for resumption of the shipment of cluster bombs to Israel, and called for a U.S.- Israeli free-trade agreement. The strategic agreement, which did not have to be submitted to the U.S. Senate, also promised increased military aid.(194) When Israel annexed the Golan Heights a few weeks later, Reagan re-sponded by putting the strategic agreement into "abeyance." In November 1983 it was reinstated.

The Reagan administration also gave sanction to Israel's policy on settlements in the West Bank. Despite the policy's illegality under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and contrary to the position of previous presidents, Reagan pronounced the policy "not illegal" shortly after he took office. That policy had resulted in the Israeli government's taking over more than half of the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem).

Although Secretary of State Shultz formulated a peace plan that, among other things, called for a freeze on settlements, the Reagan administration was also increasing aid that could free Israeli funds to build them. The plan proposed autonomy for the Palestinians after five years, in association with Jordan, but no independent state. The plan was vague about borders, but it reiterated support for UN Resolution 242's land-for-peace principle. The Reagan (Shultz) peace plan was issued nearly simultaneously with the Arab League's Fez plan of September 9, 1982, which called for a Palestinian state and implicitly recognized the existence of Israel. (A similar plan, the Fahd plan, had been previously proposed by Saudi Arabia.) Israel rejected the Reagan peace plan and announced that it would proceed to build 42 new settlements.

U.S. Response to the Intifada

Shultz tried to bring the Reagan peace plan back to life in January 1988, after the outbreak of the intifada, after the uprising against the Israeli occupation by rockthrowing Palestinians on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, and after the nightly television news clips of Israeli soldiers breaking the bones of Arab youths. Shultz sought a comprehensive solution, beginning with Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian negotiations later in the year. Again, UN Resolutions 242 and 338 would provide the basis for the negotiations on a transition and then a final settlement. A conference of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would also be part of the process, albeit mostly ceremonial.

In March 1988 Prime Minister Shamir all but said no to the Shultz plan. Shamir opposed the international conference and said that Israel had discharged its Resolution 242 obligations when it returned the Sinai.(195) The PLO also turned down the proposal, objecting to the absence of Palestinian self-determination as a goal of the negotiations. Reagan nonetheless warmly greeted Shamir in Washington, and even before the visit Reagan had accelerated delivery of a shipment of 75 F-16 fighters. Reagan also reconfirmed the Strategic Cooperation Agreement of 1981. Moreover, his administration moved to close PLO offices in Washington and New York, the latter of which was the PLO's UN observer mission, on the grounds that the PLO was a terrorist organization. A federal court ruled that closing the UN mission violated the 1947 UN headquarters agreement.

But there were also currents running in the opposite direction. To Israel's dismay, Shultz met in late March with two Palestinian-Americans (Professors Edward Said and Ibrahim Abu Lughod) who were members of the Palestine National Council (a parliament in exile). Shamir said the meeting violated the U.S pledge to have no contact with the PLO. A few months later, Bassam Abu Sharif, a close aide to PLO chairman Arafat, published an article endorsing a two-- state solution; accepting the UN resolutions; and most significant, calling for negotiations with Israel. Attention was further shifted to the PLO when King Hussein of Jordan relinquished responsibility for the West Bank. Arafat him- self then spoke. "I am ready to meet at the United Nations with any Israeli representative. We set no preconditions for a meeting. . . . I extend to the Israelis the hand for peace negotiations," he told the European Parliament.(196) (He also broached the idea, anathema to Israel, of an Israeli withdrawal to the 1947 borders.) Shultz continued to oppose a separate Palestinian state.(197)

In November 1988 the Palestine National Council, meeting in Algiers, voted to accept UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and thus implicitly acknowledged Israel's existence and right to security. The council then declared an independent Palestinian state. Speaking at the December 1988 UN General Assembly session in Geneva, Arafat said the PLO wanted a comprehensive settlement that would respect every state's "right to exist in peace and security." He also noted that the Palestine National Council had "reaffirmed its rejection of terrorism in all its forms." Shultz said Arafat's statement did not meet U.S. conditions for official recognition as representative of the Palestinians. At a press conference the following day, Arafat essentially repeated what he had said the day before. The second time it was good enough for Shultz, who announced that the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia (where the PLO had been based since leaving Lebanon) would begin discussions with Arafat's organization.(198)

The low-level discussions over 18 months between the United States and the PLO signified no real change in U.S. policy. It was never clear what the discussions were to achieve. Nor did they represent an effort to get the Israeli government to meet with the PLO, despite the growing sentiment in Israel that that was necessary.(199) The matter became academic in 1990 when President Bush suspended rela tions with the PLO because he was dissatisfied with Arafat's response to an attempted attack on Israel by the Palestinian Liberation Front, which is represented in the PLO.(200)

The year before, Secretary of State James A. Baker III, as had come to be expected, had formulated yet another peace plan. But as he made clear before formally introducing his plan, the Bush administration's "goal all along has been to try to assist in the implementation of the Shamir initiative."(201) The Shamir plan of May 1989 calls for elections in the occupied territories to choose a Palestinian delegation to negotiations. The process is to produce a settlement on borders with Jordan. But Shamir's "basic premises" are essential to his initiative: no Palestinian state, no negotiations with the PLO or Palestinians affiliated with it, and no change in the status of the territories except according to the Israeli government's guidelines. The Palestinians will not go along with a plan that does not have PLO approval, which Shamir's does not. Baker stands behind Israel's insistence that it have a veto over its negotiation partners. "The United States understands that Israel will attend the dialogue only after a satisfactory list of Palestinians has been worked out," declared a State Department press release.(202) That policy was continued by the 1991 Baker initiative for a U.S.-Soviet Middle East conference. The Bush policy is consistent with past policy and bodes ill for resolution of the Palestinian question.



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Interventions Involving Iran and Arab-Israeli Issues

The Carter Doctrine

The Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 led to an upsurge of U.S. intervention in the Middle East. Washington increasingly became a direct participant as the strategy of relying on regional surrogates became less viable after the Iranian revolution.

The Soviet invasion came a year and a half after the Afghani Communist party overthrew the republican government of Prime Minister Daoud Khan. Daoud had come to power in 1973 in a coup against his cousin, King Amanullah. Daoud destroyed the king's rigorous neutrality between the United States and the Soviet Union by moving closer to traditional adversaries (and U.S. allies) Pakistan and Iran. The shah of Iran provided massive aid and promised to build a railroad to the Iranian border that would reduce Afghanistan's reliance on the Soviet Union.

The indigenous communist takeover occurred after Daoud removed Communists from his cabinet and convened a meeting of religious and political leaders who approved a new constitution and elected him president for six years. The Soviet invasion was prompted by widespread discontent with the communist leader Hafizulla Amin, whose regime harshly violated tribal rights and customs.(203)

Although the invasion represented the Soviets' first direct use of force near the Middle East since World War II, some American observers saw it as the inauguration of a new communist aggressiveness. They regarded it not only as a way of saving the Communists in Afghanistan but also as a means of achieving the long-held Soviet objective of gaining a warm-water port. The Soviets' move into a country so close to the Persian Gulf was viewed as a violation of the U.S. sphere of influence. Thus, in his January 1980 State of the Union message, President Carter issued what came to be known as the Carter Doctrine, pledging to defend the gulf even if it meant going to war. "An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region," Carter said, "will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States. It will be repelled by use of any means necessary, including military force." Privately, the president said it was "the most serious international development that has occurred since I have been President."(204)

Carter's presidential doctrine had a new name, but that did not mean the contents were new. It had long been the U.S. position that war would be justified to protect U.S. interests in the gulf area. Three years earlier, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Henry Jackson (D-Wash.) had declared, "Threats to the continuous flow of oil through the Gulf would so endanger the Western and Japanese economies as to be grounds for general war."(205) In fact, U.S. efforts to strengthen the nation's defensive alliances and military capabilities in the region were begun before the Soviet invasion, because of the revolution in Iran. As Cyrus Vance, Carter's secretary of state, wrote, "The [Iranian] hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan simply accelerated measures already under way."(206)

To carry out the Carter Doctrine, the administration imposed sanctions against the Soviet Union, including a grain embargo and U.S. withdrawal from the 1980 Olympic games held in Moscow. It also established the Rapid Deployment Force (later joined with other forces to become the Central Command) and asked Congress to authorize registration for a military draft. Finally, it furnished military equipment to the Afghani resistance, a policy continued by the Reagan administration and formalized in the Reagan Doctrine. Carter's policies had the effect of drawing the United States closer to the authoritarian regime of President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan.

Thus, Carter followed in the footsteps of his predecessors in his determination to let nothing loosen the American grip on the Middle East. As had those of previous administrations, the measures he initiated enabled the U.S. government to gain new powers and military facilities.

The Iran-Iraq War

Iran and Iraq have been adversaries since at least the seventh century A.D. Their latest clash erupted when the Shi'ite Muslim leader the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran in 1979 and encouraged Iraq's majority Shi'ites to revolt against the secular Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein. Iraq responded by trying to incite the Arabs in Iran's Khuzistan province, an area long disputed by the two countries. At first border clashes grew out of mutual antagonism, and then, in September 1980, Iraq's army invaded Iran. Saddam hoped to establish himself as the Arab leader who put down the Persians and regained control of the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway and islands held by Iran. Iraq made early gains in the war and then called for a cease-fire in December 1981. It was not until July 1988 that Iran finally agreed to a cease-fire; by that time Iran had partially reversed its fortunes and even threatened Basra, Iraq's second largest city.

When the war broke out, the United States declared its neutrality. But that did not stop the U.S. government from aiding Iraq's war effort to keep Iran, which had humiliated the United States in the hostage crisis, from prevailing. In fact, the American "tilt" toward Iraq began before the invasion. The Carter administration furnished Iraq, through Saudi Arabia, exaggerated reports of Iran's military weakness as a way of encouraging Saddam to invade. Author Dilip Hiro has written that according to then Iranian president Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, secret documents purchased by his government described "conversations in France between several deposed Iranian generals and politicians, Iraqi representatives and American and Israeli military experts."(207) President Carter's hope was that Iran's dire need for spare parts would force it to deal with the United States and free the 52 American hostages it still held. When the war began, the Carter administration criticized the invasion to "soften up" the Iranians. But the plan did not work because Iran turned to Vietnam for parts, which the U.S. military had left behind. The Reagan administration furnished the Iraqis with intelligence on Iranian troop concentrations and damage assessments of Iraqi attacks on Iran. After removing Iraq from the list of countries supporting terrorism, the administration began providing $500 million in annual commodity credits, which enabled the nearly bankrupt nation to obtain wheat and other food. The United States provided another $500 million in Export-Import Bank guarantees for an oil pipeline. Those measures gave Iraq critical support in the eyes of other potential lenders. With U.S. approval, American allies, such as France, armed Iraq with, among other things, Super Etendard fighters equipped with Exocet missiles. The Reagan administration also encouraged Arab financial assistance to Iraq and urged American allies to stop selling weapons to Iran.(208) In 1984 Reagan resumed diplomatic relations with Iraq.

Finally, in 1987, in response to attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf during the war, the United States escalated its involvement by agreeing to reflag 11 Kuwaiti oil tankers and to deploy a major force of warships in the gulf. President Reagan had turned down an earlier invitation to provide U.S. escort services for Kuwait's tankers but changed his mind when the Soviets offered their services. Reagan justified his policy as ensuring freedom of navigation, but the prime beneficiary was Iraq, which was bankrolled throughout the war by Kuwait, whose oil tankers the United States was pledging to protect. The United States also tilted toward Iraq diplomatically by supporting UN resolutions condemning Iran and demanding that it accept a cease-fire.(209)

Of course, U.S. involvement in the gulf was dangerous. Shortly after the reflagging, an Iraqi warplane attacked the USS Stark, killing 28 men. The Reagan administration accepted Iraq's claim that the attack was an error and its apology, but the president then blamed Iran for the tragedy. There were also clashes with Iran. A U.S. Navy helicopter damaged an Iranian warship in the fall of 1987, and when Iran struck a U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tanker with a Silkworm missile, U.S. naval forces destroyed two Iranian offshore drilling platforms. Several months later a U.S. frigate hit an Iranian mine and almost sank. In retaliation, the U.S. Navy destroyed two more oil platforms and sank six Iranian warships. The restrained nature of the U.S. response drew criticism of the Reagan administration from people, including former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who thought Iran was being treated too leniently. Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), for example, called for the mining of Iran's waters.(210) The tragedy of U.S. intervention reached a peak in July 1988, when the U.S. cruiser Vincennes downed a Ira nian commercial airliner, killing 290 civilians. (The crew said it had mistaken the airliner for a fighter plane during a battle with Iranian speedboats.) Two weeks later, Iran formally accepted a cease-fire with Iraq.

The importance of the de facto alliance between the United States and Iraq, which continued until shortly before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, cannot be overstated. By siding with Iraq against Iran, the United States granted legitimacy to Saddam Hussein as the world's guardian against Muslim fanaticism. His use of chemical weapons against Iran brought the mildest criticism because of who his victims were.(211) Moreover, the various forms of aid had a direct effect on Iraq's ability to hold out against Iran's long onslaught. At the end of the war, Saddam had a huge military establishment and believed that he was the savior of the Arab world. When Kuwait refused to forgive the large debt Saddam owed, he concluded that the Kuwaitis were ungrateful free riders who had taken him for granted. That conclusion explains, in part, Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.(212)

It is sobering to realize that some foreign policy experts urged Washington to support Saddam Hussein during the war against Iran on the grounds that an Iraqi victory was preferable to an Iranian one. Daniel Pipes and Laurie Mylroie, for example, wrote that "the fall of the existing regime in Iraq would enormously enhance Iranian influence, endanger the supply of oil, threaten pro-American regimes throughout the area, and upset the Arab-Israeli balance." They favored "other economic steps" to help Iraq in addition to the commodity and Ex-Im Bank credits. "Such measures," they wrote, "would assert U.S. confidence in Iraq's political viability and its ability to repay its debts after the war's end, and would encourage other countries--especially Iraq's Arab allies and European creditors--to continue financing Iraqi war efforts."(213)

Pipes and Mylroie anticipated the argument that a triumphant Saddam Hussein would be bad for American interests and responded:

But the Iranian revolution and seven years of bloody and inconclusive warfare have changed Iraq's view of its Arab neighbors, the United States, and even Israel. . . . Its leaders no longer consider the Palestinian issue their problem. [Its] allies have forced a degree of moderation on Iraq. . . . Iraq is now the de facto protector of the regional status quo.(214)

The consequences that Pipes and Mylroie feared from an Iranian victory have come as a result of Washington's backing Iraq. That typical backfire is not simply a hazard of foreign policymaking. It is inherent in the nature of war and lesser state conflict, in which the law of unintended consequences rules. Sheer hubris alone permits so-called experts to make pronouncements about how distant peoples' affairs should be managed and with exactly how much force.(215)

Unfortunately, the fresh example of the Iran-Iraq War has not deterred either the policymakers or their expert allies in the private sector. As if their support for Iraq had been a resounding success, they embraced Syria's Hafez Assad and Iran in the conflict with Iraq, blind to what effects that may have in coming years.



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The New Gulf War

Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, underscored more than one irony of prior U.S. policy. U.S. aid to Saddam during his eight-year war with Iran is only one of those ironies.(216) Another is that although President Bush emphatically rejected Saddam's attempt to link the invasion to the plight of the Palestinians, Bush may yet face enormous Arab pressure to address that problem.

Bush offered several reasons for his response to Saddam's actions, a response that included the cobbling of an international coalition of nations. The initial military deployment was to deter an Iraqi attack on Saudi Arabia. Then, ostensibly to drive Iraq from Kuwait, Bush went to the United Nations to have an economic blockade, an act of war, imposed, although American ships were already in place. Vowing to usher in a "new world order," Bush declared that, in the first test of the post-cold-war world, unprovoked aggression and the toppling of a "legitimate" government (read: quasi-feudal monarchy) by a tyrant comparable to Hitler could not be tolerated. The Munich analogy was rolled out more than once. Although American intervention was lightly shrouded in the mantle of the United Nations and collective security, Bush made it clear that no country but the United States could have spearheaded the effort. Bush and other public officials, including Secretary Baker and Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, raised the less lofty issue of oil and the purported danger to the U.S. economy ("our way of life"), although that argument had been discredited early in the crisis.(217) When the specter of Iraq's controlling 40 percent of the proven oil reserves did not spook the American public, President Bush insisted that the intervention was not about oil but about aggression. He also defended his policy in terms of protecting the Americans held hostage by Saddam Hussein, although they were not taken hostage until after the policy was launched, and of the economic damage being inflicted on the fledgling democracies of Eastern Europe, although the rise in oil prices resulted from Bush's own embargo.

Two days after the November election, the president announced a doubling of the military deployment to provide an "offensive option." Faith in the blockade was abandoned. On Thanksgiving Day 1990 Bush added a new justification of the possible need for war: Saddam's apparent effort to develop nuclear weapons, which, Bush implied, would endanger the American people. The speech followed by days the publication of a New York Times opinion poll in which a majority of respondents had said that a nuclear threat was the one reason they would be willing to support military action against Iraq. Thus, in faithful Orwellian 1984 fashion, the official U.S. attitude toward a recent ally turned 180 degrees.

The hollowness of the Bush administration's reasons, particularly the highly selective stand against aggression, indicates that the president sees the Middle East as his predecessors saw it, as a U.S. sphere of influence in which rival interests may not compete. Saddam's offense did not lie in occupying a neighbor (partners Turkey, Syria, China, and the Soviet Union, as well as Israel, had done that), or in murdering "his own people" (China's leaders and Syria's Hafez Assad had done that), or in having nuclear weapons (several unsavory states have them and more are in the process of acquiring arsenals). Rather, his offense lay in upsetting the status quo in an area where the United States had vowed repeatedly to go to war, if necessary, to prevent adverse change. Bush's policy was a reaffirmation of U.S. claims in the Middle East, in case anyone thought that the end of the cold war made them obsolete. As he put it, the lesson of the war against Iraq is that "what we say goes."(218) Related reasons for the policy include the need for a new mission for a defense establishment threatened by the public's demands for a peace dividend; the desire to test new weapons; and the need to distract the public from troubling domestic issues, such as the exploding budget deficit and higher taxes.

One outcome of U.S. intervention has been immense Arab pressure on the United States to settle the Palestinian question, something that worries Israel. Bush's Arab coalition partners have a strong case when they argue that the United States cannot justify its double standard for Iraq and Israel. Unfortunately, few in the region will argue that Bush should disengage and let the parties solve the problem themselves. At best, Arab pressure may prompt him to change the nuances of U.S. intervention, but it is doubtful Bush will be willing or able to try to change the Shamir government's position on the occupied territories. Israel, for one thing, managed to rehabilitate its public image in the United States by its decision to stay out of the war.

The war against Iraq, though executed quickly and with light American casualties (let's not forget the death and destruction inflicted on Iraq), will have continuing unfortunate consequences, besides the massacre of Kurds and Shi'ites at Saddam's hands. It was a grotesquely logical denouement to 45 years of U.S. policy in the Middle East.(219)



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Conclusion

Perspective

It is easy to miss the forest for the trees. The forest in this case is a vast system set up to enable some Americans to manage events--the lives of others, that is--in the Middle East. Each of the U.S. policies and actions, in Iran and in the Arab-Israeli dispute, has been aimed at bringing about certain results, desired by U.S. policymakers, by regulating the behavior of others, sometimes through the application of force (directly or by proxy) and at other times through the application of money. The question never asked is, quo warranto? Who anointed the United States? The Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Carter doctrines command all the awe that presidential names and upper-case letters can evoke, but did those presidents have the consent of the people at whom those doctrines were directed? At best, they satisfied themselves with the proxy consent of autocratic rulers. That is a peculiar attitude for leaders of a democratic country.

U.S. policy by its very nature is never ending. Those whom the policy seeks to mold resist it, and change always upsets expectations. As John Bright asserted in assessing similar 19th-century British policies, "The balance of power is like perpetual motion, or any of those impossible things which some men are always racking their brains and spending their time and money to accomplish."(220)

Whether the United States was trying to keep the shah of Iran in power or trying to prevent the rise of Arab nationalism and nonalignment, its policy was a blunt instrument applied presumptuously to subtle and complicated prob lems. One journalist has likened it to playing pool with a 20-foot cue stick. It would have been a miracle had the result not been chronic turmoil. The impracticality of the policy would have been a stumbling block even if the United States had not been on the side of injustice. Unfortunately, critics of U.S. policy usually believe that U.S. power, influence, and money have merely been put to the wrong use. Critics of the pro-Israel policy, for example, often think that U.S. diplomacy should have been more evenhanded or should have tilted toward the Palestinians. Such critics fall short in their analyses. The real question is, what business do American elected officials have determining the fate of people in the Middle East? Those people do not exist for our convenience or for our energy security. The oil is not ours. Nor is it America's place to ensure justice in the region. Government in the United States was to be strictly limited by the Constitution. Its purpose was to guard the peace and security of the American people at home, not to extend American power hither and yon for grandiose schemes. John Quincy Adams expressed that distinction in his address of July 4, 1821: "America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

Reshaping the world was to be achieved only by example. As Sen. Robert A. Taft put it in 1951:

If we confine our activities to the field of moral leadership we shall be successful if our philosophy is sound and appeals to the people of the world. The trouble with those who advocate this [interventionist] policy is that they really do not confine themselves to moral leadership. They are inspired with the same kind of New Deal planned-control ideas abroad as recent Administrations have desired to endorse at home. In their hearts they want to force on these foreign peoples through the use of American money and even, perhaps, American arms the policies which moral leadership is able to advance only through the sound strength of its principles and the force of its persuasion. I do not think this moral leadership ideal justifies our engaging in any preventive war, or going to the defense of one country against another, or getting ourselves into a vulnerable fiscal and economic position at home which may invite war. I do not believe any policy which has behind it the threat of military force is justified as part of the basic foreign policy of the United States except to defend the liberty of our own people.(221)

A Conflict of Interest

Economist Ludwig von Mises identified three features of government intervention in the domestic economy: (1) unintended consequences, (2) negative consequences from the policymakers' standpoint, and (3) proliferation of new interventions as correctives for past interventions. The same applies in foreign policy. All foreign policies bring results not intended by those who author the policies. And some of those results are regretted by the policymakers. Further, the undesirable consequences are frequently grounds for further intervention.

The primary source of unintended consequences in foreign policy is the irresponsibility that attends the subsidization of client states. Elementary economics would teach that a subsidized agent will probably behave differently than one who must bear all the costs of his actions. Throughout the postwar period, Israel has been reasonably sure that it will be kept militarily superior to its Arab opponents, and that its treasury will be replenished, almost regardless of what it does. Even its "miscalculation" in the 1956 Suez intervention did not bring about a cutoff of U.S. aid. Such an arrangement makes irresponsibility inevitable. Conversely, the Palestinian conclusion that no compromise can possibly change the official U.S. attitude also is conducive to irresponsibility--and indiscriminate violence. A policy that helps to create, repress, and demoralize hundreds of thousands of refugees and second-class citizens will inevitably breed demagogues and their attendant horrors. Thus, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been complicitous in fostering recklessness and atrocities on all sides.

However, it is important to avoid naivetÇ. Not all consequences are unintended, and not all unintended consequences are regretted by the policymakers. Unexpected crises can serve their interests because they "necessitate" further intervention, confirm the warnings used to justify the policies to the people, and thus strengthen the consensus for the overall policy. For example, the appearance of growing Soviet influence in the Middle East, the result of policies followed by the U.S. government, need not have really upset the policymakers.(222) Egypt's turning to the Soviets for arms and financing of the High Aswan Dam in the 1950s was a convenient pretext for the intensification of policies that John Foster Dulles was already pursuing. Similarly, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided an occasion for the United States to flex its rhetorical muscles (the Carter Doctrine) and to establish the Central Command and draft registration. It has been noted that Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait saved the U.S. military budget from deep cuts by Congress. Thomas Paine recognized long ago that "taxes were not raised to carry on wars, . . . wars were raised to carry on taxes."(223)

On the other hand, apparent victories for U.S. policy can reasonably be reinterpreted as, in reality, setbacks for the policymakers because the victories might undermine the consensus. When Sadat expelled the Soviets from Egypt, it must have crossed the policymakers' minds that a few more "victories" like that could put them out of business. How long would the taxpayers put up with annual military budgets of hundreds of billions of dollars if they stopped believing in a Soviet threat? That is not to deny the existence of disagreements within the policymaking elite, or of hawkish and dovish wings in the establishment. Yet the essence of U.S.-Soviet rivalry in the Middle East (and elsewhere) may best be captured in the title of a book by the late Walter Karp on the relationship between Republicans and Democrats, Indispensable Enemies.(224)

Thus, much of the critical literature on U.S. foreign policy--the literature that says the policy has been self-defeating--is flawed. It implies that the policymakers have persisted irrationally in a course that is contrary to their interests. That is implausible. They undoubtedly followed the best course they could, given their objectives and contraints. A policy calculated to be truly pro-Palestinian or equitable to both the Arabs and the Israelis would have been inconsistent with the requirements of U.S. hegemony. In other words, if one accepts that U.S. political leaders should maintain a particular world order, then one is logically drawn to the sort of policy that has been pursued since World War II. A thorough rejection of those policies requires a rejection of the objectives they were designed to achieve.

The error too often committed in judging foreign policy is to identify the interests of the political and specially connected corporate leaders with the "national interest," or better, the interests of the people who constitute the United States. In fact, there is a conflict of interest between the politicized elite and the great bulk of the people. The Manchester school of Cobden and Bright recognized that clash between the "tax-payers" and the "tax-eaters." As Cobden, in calling for strict noninterventionism and complete free trade, put it:

Warlike governments can find resources [for war] only in the savings of merchants, manufacturers, farmers, and renters, and we appeal to them, in the name of humanity and their own interest, to refuse to lend their aid to a barbarous system which paralyzes trade, ruins industry, destroys capital, stops work, and waxes fat through the blood and the arms of their brothers.(225)

His contemporary, French economist FrÇdÇric Bastiat, added, "Political economy shows that, even if we consider only the victorious people, wars are always waged in the interest of the few at the expense of the many."(226)

The American people have not been well served by U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. They have been forced to pay billions of dollars to foreign governments, and that has cost them untold opportunities for better lives afforded by an undistorted consumer economy. Even when the foreign "aid" was used to buy American-made products, it was merely a politically contrived transfer from the taxpayers to politically connected corporate interests. U.S. policy has put the American people at risk of war several times, including the risk of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. American lives have been lost--in Israel's attack on the USS Liberty during the 1967 war, in Beirut, and through desperate acts of terrorism. The people have even gotten a bad deal on oil. The true cost of oil includes not only the per barrel or per gallon price but also the cost of the overgrown military establishment and foreign aid budget. That cost is hidden, because it is not overtly added to the price at the pump, but it is real all the same. That fact was recognized in a 1953 statement by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, which said:

Although Middle East oil is so abundant that it can be developed at a fraction of the cost of our own, it is far from "cheap." On the contrary, Middle East oil may already be the most expensive in the world market today when consideration is given to the fact that vast amounts of public funds are spent on the defense mechanism which is intended largely to protect American interests in the Middle Eastern oil fields.(227)

The statement goes on to note that the real price would multiply immeasurably if the policy began costing American lives--a point that is even more relevant today.

How, in the absence of hegemonic U.S. policy, could Americans and their large capitalist economy have achieved energy security and prosperity? The answer is the free market, in which entrepreneurs earn profit by correctly anticipating consumer demand, as well as the uncertain future, and make provisions for both. The belief that government planning is necessary to provide for the people's energy needs is a species of what economist F. A. Hayek calls "the fatal conceit" and a failure to understand the nature of the market's self-regulating, spontaneous order. In other words, political and military noninterventionism in the Middle East would have cost the policy and corporate elites the chance to serve their special interests, but it would have left the people free to pursue their private complementary interests in the market's cooperative and competitive environment.(228)

To put it bluntly, a power- and privilege-seeking elite has profited at the expense of the people. Classical liberals have long warned that that was the danger inherent in foreign policy. In that area, above all others, the government can insist on the unquestioning faith of the people and dull their natural suspicion of government. In domestic affairs a leader who proposed massive spending or risky policies on the grounds that the rest of us do not have all the facts would be ridiculed. Yet that approach is standard in foreign policy. The result, as the classical liberals warned, has been government run amok.

In 1796 George Washington, in his farewell address, offered advice that now seems aimed directly at those who constructed the foreign policy we have suffered with for the past 45 years:

Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and exces sive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real Patriots, who may resist the intriegues [sic] of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.(229)

By any standard, the relationship between the United States and Israel has been extraordinary. Criticism of any other American ally does not cost a person an elective or appointed position in government. Criticism of any other American ally does not bring accusations of being a hater of the dominant religious group in the allied nation. Both of those things happen, almost routinely, to anyone who criticizes Israel. Elected U.S. officials who have cast a single vote against an Israeli position have seen major opposition mounted by Israel's American supporters. The rare journalist who points out unattractive facts about Israeli conduct is likely to be smeared as an anti-Semite. The chilling effect that has had on public debate is too obvious to need elaboration.(230)

As for the standard rejoinder that Israel has been the staunchest U.S. ally in the Middle East, one is reminded of the one-liner about lawyers: if we didn't have them, we wouldn't need them. The U.S. relationship with Israel produces the very adversaries that are pointed to as justifying the close relationship.

We have allowed our leaders to violate George Washington's sage advice, and it has cost us dearly. For Washington, "the Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible."(231) We must rediscover the wisdom of our first president.

After the first full-blown U.S. imperialist adventure, the Spanish-American War, classical liberal William Graham Sumner, surveying the results, concluded that, despite its military victory, the United States in fact had been conquered by Spain. By that he meant that the traditions of the American republic were being undermined by the imperial values of the Spanish Empire.

The question of imperialism is the question of whether we are going to give the lie to the origin of our own national existence by establishing a colonial system of the old Spanish type, even if we have to sacrifice our existing civil and political system to do it. I submit that it is a strange incongruity to utter grand platitudes about the blessings of liberty, etc., . . . and to begin by . . . throwing the Constitution into the gutter here at home. If you take away the Constitution, what is American liberty and all the rest? Nothing but a lot of phrases.(232)

Sumner feared for the future, as we all must.

Now what will hasten the day when our present advantages will wear out and when we shall come down to the conditions of the older and densely populated nations? The answer is: war, debt, taxation, diplomacy, a grand governmental system, pomp, glory, a big army and navy, lavish expenditure, political jobbery--in a word, imperialism. In the old days the democratic masses of this country, who knew little about our modern doctrines of social philosophy, had a sound instinct on these matters, and it is no small ground of political disquietude to see it decline. They resisted every appeal to their vanity in the way of pomp and glory which they knew must be paid for. They dreaded a public debt and a standing army.(233)

As we witness the jingoistic celebrations of the U.S. military's victory over Iraq, it is clear that great energy must now be directed to the revival of that "sound instinct." It is a matter of life and death--literally.



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"Tresor never sleeps"

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Noruega y Dinamarca eran paises neutrales, pero ni el eje ni los paises aliados parecian dispuestos a respetar esa neutralidad. Noruega contaba con yacimientos de hierro, indispensables para la industria belica y para la economia alemana que dependia de las importaciones de ese metal. Por todo esto Hitler decidio la ocupacion de Noruega y de Dinamarca antes de efectuar operaciones ofensivas contra los aliados.

El 9 de abril de 1940 los alemanes ocuparon Dinamarca sin encontrar resistencia, por ello y para evitar confrontar con la poblacion permitieron que el rey de Dinamarca permaneciera en su trono.

Noruega tenia que ser invadida por mar, por eso se formaron 5 grupos de buques que debian transportar a las fuerzas invasoras a distintos puntos del pais:

Grupo1: Acorazados Scharnhorst y Gneisenau y 10 destructores. Se dirigieron a Narvik

Grupo 2: Crucero Hipper y 4 destructores. Se dirigieron a Trondheim

Grupo 3: Cruceros Koln y Konigsbergern. Atacarian Bergen

Grupo 4: Crucero Karlsruhe y 2 torpederos. Desembarcarian en Kristiansand.

Grupo 5: Cruceros Blucher, Lutzow y Emden y unidades ligeras. Se dirigieron a Oslo la capital de Noruega.

Los desembarcos se efectuaron el 9 de abril a pesar de las perdidas sufridas debido a la accion de la marina inglesa. Los noruegos presentaron resistencia contra la invasion pero su inferioridad numerica y material les impidio resistir en forma efectiva. La ciudad de Oslo fue ocupada facilmente. El 15 de abril los anglo-franceses decidieron enviar fuerzas para intervenir a favor de Noruega, pero ya la zona sur del pais habia caido en manos alemanas. Entre el 19 y el 30 de abril hubo combates contra los alemanes en la zona central del pais, pero finalmente los aliados se vieron obligados a evacuar sus fuerzas. En las inmediaciones de la norteña ciudad de Narvik tambien desembarcaron fuerzas aliadas, que ante los ataques alemanes y a la situacion en el resto de Europa (Francia fue invadida por Alemania el 10 de mayo) se vieron obligadas a reembarcarse el 8 de junio. De esta manera toda Noruega quedo en manos alemanas. Gracias a esto los alemanes se aseguraron el aprovisionamiento de hierro, el acceso al mar del norte para su flota, asi como numerosas bases aereas y navales que les permitirian lanzar ataques contra las fuerzas britanicas.

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Los planes para la invasion.

Hitler para derrotar a Francia invadiria primero la zona del Benelux, que en ese momento era neutral, ya que en su frontera con Alemania, Francia contaba con la famosa linea Maginot, una linea fortificada que era capaz de rechazar los ataques alemanes o causarles numerosas bajas. El plan para la invasion fue propuesto por el general Manstein y consistia en atraer a los ejercitos aliados hacia los Paises Bajos para defenderlos, las fuerzas alemanas blindadas atacarian en la zona de las Ardenas entre Namur y Sedan, llegando al Canal de la Mancha y cercando de esta manera a los aliados.

Fuerzas antes de la invasion

Aliados: 2.862.000 hombres, 3.000 tanques y 1.700 aviones

Alemania: 2.350.000 hombres, 2.700 tanques y 3.000 aviones.

Tambien hay que tomar en cuenta que los soldados alemanes estaban mejor preparados, algunos de ellos ya habian peleado en guerras anteriormente, los aviones y tanques alemanes eran superiores a los aliados (con excepcion del tanque Char B frances), y los aliados tenian poca disponibilidad de municiones.

Invasion a los Paises Bajos

El dia 10 de mayo de 1940 la Whermacht lanzo la ofensiva en el frente occidental. Ese dia cayo el fuerte de Eben Emael ante un sorpresivo ataque aerotransportado, punto clave para la defensa holandesa. En Inglaterra ese dia cayo el gobierno y asumio como primer ministro Churchill que pertenecia a la linea dura contra los alemanes. Entre el dia 12 y 15 de mayo los ejercitos alemanes fueron penetrando en el area de las Ardenas que estaba relativamente poco defendida y lograron tomar la ciudad francesa de Sedan. Mientras sucedia esto en un segundo plano el mundo contemplaba la invasion de Holanda. Entre el 10 y el 15 de mayo Holanda fue invadida por paracaidistas y aerotransportados alemanes. Los alemanes tomaron los principales puentes y nudos de comunicacion con paracaidistas, mientras que las tropas terrestres avanzaron desde la frontera. Para destruir rapidamente la resistencia holandesa la Lutwaffe bombardeo la ciudad de Rotterdam de manera indiscriminada el dia 14 de mayo, dejando un saldo de 30.000 civiles muertos. Esto aterrorizo a la poblacion y al gobierno que inmediatamente solicito el armisticio a los alemanes y el dia 15 ceso toda resistencia. Ese mismo dia los tanques de Rommel continuaron su avance en la zona de las Ardenas y derrotaron en una batalla a las fuerzas francesas en las cercanias de la ciudad de Philipenville. Mientras tanto Reinhardt llego a unos 60 km al oeste del rio Mosa. Debido al rapido avance de los panzers el alto mando aleman comenzo a preocuparse ya que el flanco de las fuerzas se extendia demasiado y temian un contraataque aliado. Los generales alemanes hicieron caso omiso a las advertencias y continuaron avanzando. Luego de conocida la rendicion de Holanda las fuerzas aliadas se retiraron hacia la zona del rio Escalda para establecerse alli defensivamente. El 18 de mayo los alemanes conquistaron la ciudad francesa de San Quintin y el puerto belga de Amberes. Ese mismo dia la II Panzerdivision alcanzo la ciudad de Abbeville en el Canal de la Mancha con lo que las fuerzas aliadas en Belgica quedaron cercadas. Lo que posibilito este fulminante avance aleman fue su nueva tecnica conocida como guerra relampago. Las fuerzas alemanas avanzaban rapidamente gracias a que sus pricipales fuerzas de ataque estaban formadas por columnas de tanques. A diferencia de los franceses que utilizaban los tanques dispersos entre la infanteria, los alemanes agrupaban los tanques en grandes columnas, lo que los hacia devastadores en combate. Debido a la velocidad del avance, la artilleria no podia acompañarlo para machacar los puntos de resistencia, para solucionar esto los alemanes utilizaron su fuerza aerea en total coordinacion con las fuerzas terrestres, donde encontraban resistencia, los Stukas atacaban sembrando la muerte y la confusion en las lineas aliadas.

Operacion Dynamo

Luego de que las fuerzas alemanas alcanzaran el Canal de La Mancha las fuerzas aliadas quedaron divididas en 2 sectores. Los fuerzas que se hallaban en Belgica fueron retirandose hacia la zona de la ciudad portuaria de Dunquerke. Los ingleses decidieron evacuar la mayor cantidad de fuerzas posibles para salvarlas de una segura destruccion en manos de los panzers. pero la tarea de destruir a las fuerzas aliadas fue dejada a la Lutwaffe, para permitirles a las fuerzas Panzer descansar unos dias luego del agotador avance sin cesar y para permitir reorganizar a las fuerzas terrestres, fortificar los flancos y asi evitar los contraatques aliados. A pesar de haber sufrido muchas bajas la flota inglesa logro evacuar a la mayor parte de las fuerzas cercadas, salvando asi en parte el desastre que se avecinaba.

La derrota de Francia.

Luego de la evacuacion de las tropas en Dunquerke Francia quedo sola contra fuerzas alemanas netamente superiores numericamente. Los franceses para contrarrestar la Blitzkrieg alemana cambiaron su tecnica defensiva, apelando a los Erizos, que eran nucleos fortificados con artilleria antitanque que podian seguir resistiendo varios dias aunque permanecieran aislados. Los alemanes reanudaron su avance en la zona norte y por unos dias las tacticas francess lograron dificultar la penetracion alemana. Pero luego de unos dias la defensa francesa se derrumbo, los alemanes cruzaron el rio Somme y tomaron Reims el 11 de junio. El 9 de junio en el extremo norte los alemanes lograron atravesar el rio Sena que era una importantisima defensa natural. El 14 de junio finalmente la ciudad de Paris cayo en manos alemanas sin que los franceses resistieran la ocupacion de la ciudad. Mientras esto sucedia al este de Paris la XLI Panzerdivision continuo su avance en direccion a la frontera Suiza, tomando la ciudad fronteriza de Pontarlier el dia 17 de junio, dejando totalmente cercadas de esta manera a las tropas francesas que defendian la linea Maginot en la frontera con Alemania. A su vez al Noroeste de Paris las fuerzas de Rommel continuaron avanzando y entre el 10 y el 18 de junio los alemanes tomaron practicamente todo el territorio abarcado entre los rios Sena y Loira. Dijon cayo el dia 16 mientras que Lyon y Vichy cayeron el dia 20 en manos alemanas. El dia 20 de junio, cuando la guerra ya estaba totalmente definida a favor de Alemania, los italianos atacaron a traves de su frontera a las fuerzas francesas con escaso exito. Finalmente el dia 21 de junio se firmo la rendicion de Francia en el mismo vagon de tren en el cual Alemania se habia rendido en 1918. El pais quedo dividido en 2 zonas, una ocupada por Alemania y otra zona en el sur llamada Francia de Vichy, con un gobierno pro-aleman. Los alemanes evitaron invadir todo el pais para que el imperio colonial de Francia no cayera en manos de los ingleses que estaban decididos a continuar la lucha.

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OPERACION BARBARROJA

Segunda Guerra Mundial: Hitler invade la Union Sovietica



Operacion barbarroja fue el nombre en codigo para el ataque relampago a la Union Sovietica por las fuerzas del eje. El ataque estaba planeado para aplastar las defensas sovieticas antes del invierno, pero el ejercito rojo demostro una gran capacidad de regeneracion. Las fuerzas alemanas se dividieron en 3 grupos para el ataque:

Grupo Norte: Von Leeb

Grupo Centro: Bock (Guderian comando los panzers)

Grupo Sur: Rundstet

La operacion barbarroja comenzo el 22 de junio de 1941 con ataques aereos masivos y ataques fulminantes.



Avance sobre Smolensk (grupo de ejercitos centro)



El 22 de junio de 1941 el avance aleman comenzo sin resistencia seria de los rusos. El 26 Brest-Litovsk y Daugavpils fueron conquistadas despues de ser rodeadas. Entre el 22 de junio y el 9 de julio las fuerzas alemanas llegaron a Minsk luego de haber rodeado y destruido en su camino a varias divisiones sovieticas en reiteradas ocasiones. Luego de esto los panzers continuaron su avance y rodearon 7 divisiones sovieticas en Moguiliov, 4 divisiones en Vitevsk, y conquistaron Smolensk rodeando 14 divisiones. En el flanco sur del avance se encontraban los pantanos del Pripet un territorio dificil de transitar para los vehiculos, esta zona fue usada por el general ruso Timoshenko como base para un contraataque en el flanco aleman. A pesar del sacrificio de los soldados rusos este ataque fallo. El 5 de agosto las fuerzas sovieticas que habian sio rodeadas en torno a Smolensk se rindieron lo que libero parte de las fuerzas alemanas para proseguir el avance. Pero esto no sucedio, ya que Hitler quizo utilizar esas fuerzas para agilizar el avance en Ucrania antes de tomar Moscu.



Avance sobre Kiev (grupo de ejercitos Sur)



Al principio de las operaciones el avance fue lento. En la region sur los alemanes luchaban junto a los ejercitos rumanos. A pesar de este avance lento los alemanes cercaron a las fuerzas sovieticas el 3 de agosto en la zona de la ciudad de Uman. El 5 de agosto cercaron Odessa que fue sitiada durante 73 dias hasta que cayo en manos del eje. A mediados de agosto los refuerzos provenientes del grupo centro comenzaron a llegar. El 25 Guderian cruzo el rio Dnieper con su ejercito y el 15 de septiembre logro cercar 665.000 rusos en Kiev y sus alrededores, el 17 tomaron la ciudad y el dia 27 las fuerzas rusas remanentes se rindieron. Esa enorme derrota debilito al ejercito rojo y en los dias siguientes los alemanes capturaron las importantes ciudades de Jarkov y Rostov. Pero la voluntad de resistir de los rusos no fue destruida como Hitler predijo. EL dia 27 de Noviembre para sorpresa los sovieticos contraatacaron y lograron liberar la ciudad de Rostov, esto y el invierno puso un alto al avance aleman en el sur hasta el verano de 1942.



Avance sobre Leningrado (grupo de ejercitos Norte)



El dia 26 de junio los ejercitos del norte atacaron y tomaron los puentes sobre el rio Dvina. El dia 10 de julio los ejercitos finlandeses atacaron a la Union Sovietica con el objetivo de recuperar los territorios perdidos en la guerra de 1940, sumandole un enemigo mas a los sovieticos. El dia 16 de julio los alemanes alcanzaron el rio Luga y el lago Ladoga. Entre los dias 3 y 4 de Agosto el avance ceso para reagruparse ante el asalto final a Leningrado. El dia 8 los alemanes cruzaron el Luga y tomaron Novgorod y finalmente el dia 16 llegaron a los suburbios de Leningrado, pero no fueron capaces de tomar la ciudad. De esta manera comenzo un asedio a Leningrado que duraria 900 dias y en el cual miles de rusos moririan de hambre ante la falta de suministros. El 7 de Octubre la ofensiva finlandesa tambien se detuvo lo que mantuvo la situacion militar en el norte casi estatica en los meses subsiguientes.



Avance sobre Moscu (grupo de ejercitos centro)



Luego de la conquista de Ucrania los ejercitos centrales contaban nuevamente con los recursos para continuar su avance. El 7 de octubre los alemanes lograron rodear 6 ejercitos sovieticos ne Viazma y 3 ejercitos en Briansk. El avance continuo con una resistencia muy ardua hasta el 27 de Noviembre cuando las cabezas de lanza alemanas llegaron a los suburbios de Moscu donde fueron detenidas y obligadas a retirarse. La milagrosa resistencia y poder de recuperacion sovieticas combinado con el duro invierno finalmente detuvieron la ofensiva alemana.



El General Invierno



En Noviembre-Diciembre de 1941 las condiciones climaticas para las operaciones alemanas empeoraron. El clima era muy frio y la nieve junto con el fango hacian el movimiento de vehiculos y tanques muy dificil o imposible. La falta de ropa adecuada para el invierno causo entre los alemanes muchas bajas y enfermos. Esta situacion permitio a los sovieticos ganar tiempo para construir defensas, fabricar equipamiento y entrenar mas soldados. Durante el invierno de 1941-42 el ejercito rojo monto una serie de contraofensivas en todos los frentes rechazando a los alemanes unos cuantos kilometros de sus posiciones originales pero de ninguna manera esto constituia un cambio definitivo en la guerra.

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Para diciembre de 1944 Hitler se las habia ingeniado para lograr algo considerado imposible 3 meses atras, con los restos de los ejercitos en retirada desde Normandia y el sur de Francia, y con una amplia cantidad de refuerzos frescos, formo un poderoso grupo de batalla, capaz de realizar acciones ofensivas en el frente occidental.

Los Planes para la batalla de las Ardenas.

El plan de Hitler consistia en un ataque blindado masivo en la zona de las Ardenas, un avance muy veloz de los Panzers, cruzando el rio Mosa y llegando a la ciudad portuaria de Amberes, aislando de esta manera a los ejercitos britanicos y canadienses que se hallaban desplegados en el norte de Belgica y el sur de Holanda. Los comandantes alemanes mas prestigiosos, pensaban que esos objetivos no podian ser alcanzados, incluso Von Rundstedt, pero Hitler les ordeno seguir sus ordenes al pie de la letra y fijo la fecha del ataque para el 16 de diciembre de 1944.

El Terreno.

La zona de las Ardenas tenia un terreno muy escarpado, con pocos y pequeños caminos, lo que hacia dificil las comunicaciones y el avance de los vehiculos blindados. La zona tambien poseia una gran concentracion de arboles lo que servia como camufalge a las unidades militares. Un gran obstaculo para el avance aleman era el rio Mosa. Algunas ciudades con puentes o nudos de carreteras eran claves para la velocidad del avance.

El Clima.

Los alemanes planearon atacar durante el mes de diciembre con la esperanza de que el mal tiempo dejara a la aviacion aliada inmovilizada en sus aerodromos, ademas la niebla tipica de la epoca serviria como escondite de las unidades alemanas. El tiempo frio y la nieve fueron elementos que jugaron contra la velocidad del avance ya que dificultaron el movimiento de hombres y vehiculos.

Las operaciones comienzan.

El ataque aleman comenzo a las 5:30 horas del 16 de diciembre de 1944 en un frente de 136 kilometros que se extendia desde Monschau hasta Ecternacht, y tomo a las fuerzas americanas totalmente por sorpresa. Este frente estaba originalmente defendido por 80.000 soldados americanos, pero los alemanes contaban con una importante superioridad numerica, tenian 200.000 soldados y una dotacion de tanques y equipos totalmente renovada. En el primer dia del ataque los alemanes casi aniquilan 3 divisiones americanas, rompiendo el frente en la zona central. En el flanco sur los americanos opusieron una solida resistencia. Una rapida captura de las ciudades de Saint Vith y Bastogne era clave para el exito, pero los alemanes no lograron esto. Lo que quedo de la division americana 106 se retiro a Saint Vith, donde se les unieron los restos de las divisiones blindadas 7 y 9. De esta manera Saint Vith resistio los ataques alemanes por 5 dias, suficiente como para complicar los planes alemanes al maximo. La ciudad finalmente cayo el 21 de diciembre.

El alto mando aliado tomado por sorpresa.

El 16 de diciembre de 1944 los comandantes aliados recibieron las noticias sobre el ataque aleman, pero pensaron que solo era un ataque local, con objetivo de entorpecer la ofensiva que Patton estaba preparando para los proximos dias. Solamente enviaron al area 2 divisiones blindadas. El dia 17 Eisenhower y Bradley debieron admitir que se trataba de un ataque a gran escala. Reagruparon a las divisiones aerotransportadas 82 y 101 ubicadas en Amiens y las movieron a primea linea. La division 101 llego a Bastogne justo a tiempo para defender la ciudad del ataque aleman.

Bastogne resiste.

La ciudad de Bastogne era un nudo de comunicaciones escencial para el avance aleman. El dia 18 de diciembre los alemanes se hallaban a solo 12 km de la ciudad. Las divisiones americanas 10 y 101 se dirigian a defender la misma en una carrera contra la penetracion alemana. Finalmente los americanos ganaron la carrera. El dia 19 los alemanes rodearon la ciudad y comenzo el sitio. Los americanos estaban rodeados y escasos de algunos suministros pero debido a que las division 101 era de paracaidistas ya estaban acostumbrados a ese tipo de situaciones. El 22 de diciembre los alemanes les ofrecieron la posibilidad de rendirse pero los americanos la rechazaron con la esperanza de que sus aviones les arrojaran suministros para continuar la lucha, pero el mal tiempo obligo a los aviones a permanecer en sus bases. para empeorar la situacion la Lutwaffe bombardeo la ciudad a pesar del clima. El dia 23 de diciembre finalmente los americanos recibieron 150 toneladas de suministros por via aerea. A pesar de la demora los alemanes estaban dispuestos a tomar esta ciudad estrategica. En la noche del 24 de diciembre, recibieron refuerzos y lanzaron un gran asalto. Alguna unidades lograron penetrar el perimetro defensivo y alcanzar el centro de la ciudad. A pesar de ello durante el transcurso del 25 de diciembre estas unidades fueron destruidas una a una por los americanos que retomaron el total control sobre la ciudad.

Los alemanes son detenidos.

Mientras algunas unidades alemanas rodeaban Bastogne otras continuaron su avance. La resitencia de Bastogne les causo problemas logisticos ya que un tramo de las carreteras estaba cortado. La maxima penetracion alemana tuvo lugar el 25 de diciembre cuando casi alcanzaron el rio Mosa. Pero los refuerzos aliados no paraban de llegar dia a dia al frente de batalla. En el flanco sur Patton logro movilizar sus fuerzas para contraatacar a una velocidad sorprendente. El 26 de diciembre los alemanes lanzaron un nuevo ataque contra Bastogne, pero al mismo tiempo la cuarta division blindada americana, lanzo un ataque en el flanco sur, que logro alcanzar la ciudad, liberandola de esta manera del asedio. Al mismo tiempo que sucedia esto, los aliados comenzaron a contraatacar en todo el frente. El 1 de enero de 1945 Hitler lanzo un ataque menor en el area del Sarre para obligar a replegarse a las fuerzas de Patton. Al mismo tiempo la Luftwaffe lanzo un ataque masivo contra las tropas aliadas y contra los aerodromos aliados. Ambas fuerzas aereas sufrieron graves bajas pero las bajas alemanas no podian ser reemplazadas. Luego de esto los alemanes reforzaron el frente de Bastogne con 8 nuevas divisiones y lanzaron un nuevo ataque durante el 3 y el 4 de enero, pero esta vez la ciudad libre del asedio resistio sin problemas los embates alemanes. Ambos bandos sufrieron fuertes bajas, pero los aliados contaban con enormes reservas, en cambio los alemanes con muy pocas. Luego de esta batalla los aliados reanudaron su avance en direccion a Houffalize.

Los ultimos dias de la batalla.

El 12 de enero de 1945 los Sovieticos lanzaron una nueva ofensiva en Polonia que desvio todos los refuerzos alemanes disponibles. La ofensiva de Hitler estaba ahora totalmente aplastada. El 16 de enero las tropas aliadas tomaron finalmente Houffalize y continuaron el avance. Ahora las condiciones climaticas permitian operar a los aviones. Las fuerzas alemanas fueron diezmadas por ataques aereos una y otra vez. Finalmente el 28 de enero se alcanzaron las posiciones del frente originales.

Consecuencias de la batalla.

La batalla de las Ardenas consumio las ultimas reservas alemanas. Los aliados tambien perdieron gran cantidad de hombres y de materiales, pero a diferenecia de los alemanes, los aliados contaban con enormes reservas. Ahora estaba abierta la puerta para la invasion de Alemania. Entre los meses de Febrero y Marzo los aliados alcanzaron el rio Rin sin demasiada resistencia alemana. Finalmente cruzaron este rio y conquistaron la mayor parte de Alemania con facilidad, a excepcion de las zonas del este que fueron ocupadas por los sovieticos.

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British Commonwealth Occupation Force 1946 - 1951
Historical background
Participation in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) marked the first time that Australians were involved in the military occupation of a sovereign nation which it had defeated in war. BCOF participation in the allied occupation force was announced on 31 January 1946, though planning and negotiations had been in progress since the end of the war. The main body of Australian troops arrived in Japan on 21 February.

Up to 45,000 Australians served in BCOF, including an infantry contingent of 4,700, base units consisting of 5,300, an air force wing of 2,200 and 130 from the Australian General Hospital. The Australian Navy also had a presence in the region as part of the British Pacific Fleet. For two thirds of the period of occupation the Commonwealth was represented solely by Australians and throughout its existence BCOF was always commanded by an Australian officer.


Kure, Japan. BCOF marching to parade ground for ANZAC Day celebrations, 1946.
AWM 127170

The BCOF area of responsibility was the western prefectures of Shimani, Yamaguchi, Tottori, Okayama, Hiroshima and Shikoku Island. BCOF headquarters were located at Kure, the army was encamped at Hiro, the RAAF at Iwakuni, and the naval shore establishment at the former Japanese naval base at Kure. At the peak of its involvement the Australian component of BCOF was responsible for over 20 million Japanese citizens and 57,000 sq. kilometres of country. Adjacent to the area of Australian responsibility were prefectures occupied by the 2 New Zealand EF (Japan), the British and Indian Division (Brindiv) and, further away, the US 8th Army.

The main Australian occupation component was the 34th Infantry Brigade, which arrived in early 1946, and was made up of the 65th, 66th and 67th Battalions. The RAN ships that served were HMAS Australia, HMAS Hobart, HMAS Shropshire and the destroyers HMAS Arunta, Bataan, Culgoa, Murchison, Shoalhaven, Quadrant, Quiberon. Landing Ships Infantry Manoora, Westralia and Kanimbla were used for transport.


September 1946. The HMAS Manoora loaded with BCOF troops at no. 8 wharf, Glebe Island, Sydney, before departing for Japan
AWM 126623

The Australian air force component was stationed at Bofu, in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The RAAF Squadrons which served were No. 76, No. 77 and No. 82, all flying Mustangs. The airforce component of BCOF was known as BCAIR. By 1950 only one Australian squadron, No 77, remained in Japan.


Kisarazu, Japan. 1947. Lineup of Mustang aircraft of No. 82 (Fighter) Squadron RAAF, BCOF, which took part in a fly-past over Tokyo, and were based temporarily at the United States Air Force (USAF) base at Kisarazu.
AWM P02032.023

By early 1947, BCOF had begun to decline from its peak of over 40,000 service personnel from the UK, New Zealand, India and Australia and, by the end of 1948, BCOF was composed entirely of Australians. The force was dismantled during 1951 as responsibilities in Japan were handed over to the British Commonwealth Forces Korea. Some personnel stayed on to serve in the Korean War. Members of No 77 Squadron, for example, had their 'going home' celebrations interrupted by the news that they were to be sent immediately to Korea. BCOF ceased to exist on 28 April 1951 when the Japanese Peace Treaty came into effect.


Kure, Japan. Japanese civilians watch planes fly over the area during the BCOF parade to celebrate ANZAC Day, 1948.
AWM 145470

Australia's role in BCOF
The primary objective of BCOF was to enforce the terms of the unconditional surrender that had ended the war the previous September. The task of exercising military government over Japan was the responsibility of the United States forces. BCOF was required to maintain military control and to supervise the demilitarisation and disposal of the remnants of Japan's war making capacity. To this end, Australian army and air force personnel were involved in the location and securing of military stores and installations. The Intelligence Sections of the Australian battalions were given targets to investigate by BCOF Headquarters, in the form of grid references for dumps of Japanese military equipment. Warlike materials were destroyed and other equipment was kept for use by BCOF or returned to the Japanese. The destruction or conversion to civilian use of military equipment was carried out by Japanese civilians under Australian supervision. Regular patrols and road reconnaissances were initiated and carried out in the Australian area of responsibility as part of BCOF's general surveillance duties.

The RAN component of BCOF was responsible for patrolling the Inland Sea to prevent both smuggling and the illegal immigration of Koreans to Japan. In this task they were assisted by the RAAF whose aircraft were also involved in tracking vessels suspected of smuggling or transporting illegal immigrants. RAAF squadrons also flew surveillance patrols over each of the prefectures in the BCOF zone in order to help locate left over weapons and ordnance.

By the end of 1946 the task of demilitarising Japan was requiring less effort and the nature of BCOF's duties was changing. From then guard duties and training began to occupy more of the occupying forces time.

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First World War 1914 – 1918
For Australia, as for many nations, the First World War remains the most costly conflict ever in terms of deaths and casualties. From a population of fewer than five million, 300,000 men enlisted, of which over 60,000 were killed and 156,000 were wounded, gassed or taken prisoner.

The outbreak of war was greeted in Australia, as in many other places, with great public enthusiasm. In response to the overwhelming number of volunteers, the authorities set exacting physical standards for recruits. Yet most of the men accepted into the army in August 1914 were sent first to Egypt, not Europe, to meet the threat which a new belligerent, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), posed to British interests in the Middle East and the Suez Canal.


HMAS Sydney at full speed, ten minutes after the cease-fire was ordered in her battle with the German cruiser Emden.
AWM EN0470

After four and a half months of training near Cairo, the Australians departed by ship for the Gallipoli peninsula, together with troops from New Zealand, Britain and France. The Australians landed at what became known as ANZAC Cove on 25 April 1915, and they established a tenuous foothold on the steep slopes above the beach. During the early days of the campaign, the allies tried to break through the Turkish lines and the Turks tried to drive the allied troops off the peninsular. All attempts ended in failure for both sides, and the ensuing stalemate continued for the remainder of 1915. The most successful operation of the campaign was in fact the evacuation of the troops on 19-20 December, under cover of a comprehensive deception operation. As a result, the Turks were unable to inflict more than a very few casualties on the retreating forces.

After Gallipoli the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was reorganised and expanded from two to five infantry divisions, all of which were progressively transferred to France, beginning in March 1916. The AIF mounted division that had served as additional infantry during the campaign remained in the Middle East. When the other AIF divisions arrived in France, the war on the Western Front had long been settled in a stalemate, with the opposing armies facing each other from trench systems that extended across Belgium and north-east France from the English Channel to the Swiss border. The development of machine-guns and artillery favoured defence over attack and compounded the impasse, which lasted until the final months of the war.

While the overall hostile stasis continued throughout 1916 and 1917, the Australians and other allied armies repeatedly attempted attacks preceded by massive artillery bombardments intended to cut barbed wire and destroy enemy defences. After these bombardments, waves of attacking infantry emerged from the trenches into no man's land and advanced towards the enemy's positions. The surviving Germans, protected by deep and heavily reinforced bunkers, were usually able to repel the attackers with machine-gun fire and artillery support from the rear. These attacks often resulted in only limited territorial gains which were followed in turn by German counter-attacks; although this style of warfare favoured the defence, both sides sustained heavy losses.


An Australian "Digger" uses a periscope in one of the trenches captured during the attack on Lone Pine, Gallipoli, 8 August 1915.
AWM A03771

Australian infantry were introduced to this type of combat at Fromelles on the Somme, in July 1916, where they suffered 5,533 casualties in 24 hours. By the end of the year 42,270 Australians had been killed or wounded on the Western Front. In 1917 a further 76,836 Australians became casualties in battles such as those at Bullecourt, Messines and the four-month long campaign around Ypres, known as the battle of Passchendaele.


Troops of 53rd Battalion wait to don equipment for the attack at Fromelles, 19 July 1916. Only three of these men survived.
AWM A03042

In March 1918 the German army launched its final offensive of the war, hoping for a decisive victory before the military and industrial strength of the United States could be fully mobilised in support of the allies. At first the Germans met with great success and advanced 64 kilometres past the region of the 1916 Somme battles before the offensive lost momentum. Between April and November the stalemate of the preceding years began to give way, as the allies began to combine infantry, artillery, tanks and aircraft more effectively: such a combined operation was behind the Australian capture of Hamel spur on 4 July 1918. The allied offensive which began on 8 August at Amiens also contributed to Australian successes at Mont St Quentin and Peronne, and to the capture of the Hindenburg Line. In early October the Australian divisions withdrew from the front for rest and refitting; they were preparing to return when Germany surrendered on 11 November.


Australian wounded infantrymen at the first battle of Passchendaele, near Zonnebele railway station.
AWM E01202

Unlike their counterparts in France and Belgium, the Australians in the Middle East fought a mobile war against the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) in conditions completely different from the mud and stagnation of the Western Front. The light horsemen and their mounts had to survive extreme heat, harsh terrain and water shortages. Nevertheless, casualties were comparatively light, with 1,394 Australians killed or wounded in three years of war. This campaign began in 1916 with Australian troops participating in the defence of the Suez Canal and the allied reconquest of the Sinai peninsular. In the following year Australian and other allied troops advanced into Palestine and captured Gaza and Jerusalem; by 1918 they had occupied Lebanon and Syria. On 30 October 1918, Turkey sued for peace.

Australians also served at sea and in the newly-formed flying corps. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN), under the command of the Royal Navy, made a significant contribution early in the war when HMAS Sydney destroyed the German raider Emden near the Cocos Islands in November 1914. The First World War was the first armed conflict in which aircraft were used; about 3,000 Australian airmen served in the Middle East and France with the Australian Flying Corps, mainly in observation capacities or providing infantry support.


3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment machine-gunners in action at Khurbetha-Ibn-Harith, near Palestine, 31 December 1917.
AWM B01697

Australian women volunteered for service in auxiliary roles, as cooks, nurses, drivers, interpreters, munitions workers and skilled farm workers. While the government welcomed the service of nurses, it generally rejected offers from women in other professions to serve overseas. Australian nurses served in Egypt, France, Greece and India, often in trying conditions or close to the front, where they were exposed to shelling and aerial bombardment.

The impact of the war was also felt at home. Families and communities grieved following the loss of so many men, and women increasingly assumed the physical and financial burden of caring for families. Anti-German feeling emerged with the outbreak of the war, and many Germans living in Australia were sent to internment camps. Censorship and surveillance, regarded by many as an excuse to silence political views that had no direct impact on the war, increased as the conflict continued. Social division also grew, reaching a climax in the bitterly contested (and unsuccessful) conscription referendums held in 1916 and 1917. When the war ended, thousands of ex-servicemen, many disabled with physical or emotional wounds, had to be re-integrated into a society which was keen to consign the war to the past and resume normal life.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

German soldiers at the Battle of StalingradWorld War II was the most extensive and costly armed conflict in the history of the world, involving the great majority of the world's nations, being fought simultaneously in several major theatres, and costing tens of millions of lives and large percentages of countries' gross national product.

The German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939 is the most common date in the West for the start of World War II. Others cite the Japanese invasion of China on July 7, 1937, as the war's beginning, or even the 1931 Japanese incursion into Manchuria. The war ended in Europe with the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, but continued in Asia and the Pacific until the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945.

There are several main causes of this conflict, most important being unforeseen consequences of the Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I, and of the Great Depression, the worldwide economic disaster gave rise to nationalism and militarism. The lead-up to the war stretches back to build-ups and smaller regional wars of the 1930s, which slowly drew in more countries and culminated in massive battles with millions of combatants in the first half of the 1940s.

Fighting occurred across the Atlantic Ocean, in the European theatre in and around eastern and western Europe, in North Africa and the Middle East as well as across the Mediterranean Sea, and in the Pacific theatre in the Pacific, in Oceania and across much of East Asia and South East Asia.

It was the first war in which air power was a significant factor and civilian suffering and terror a primary military strategy. The war caused more casualties than any war in history. This was partly due to its unprecedented scale, the first uses of mass aerial bombings against civilian populations (a policy initiated by the German Luftwaffe against Poland and later used more extensively against German cities by the Allies), and the first application of industrial-age technology to enable the mass killing of unwanted civilians in extermination camps; a significant part of the German war machine was diverted towards the execution of Jews, Roma, Slavs and other unwanted citizens in the Holocaust. In total, World War II caused the deaths of about two percent of the population of the world.

The war also saw the re-emergence of the United States from its isolationism, the destruction and rebuilding of Germany and Japan into major industrial powers, the advent of the atomic bomb, the emergence of the United States and the Soviet Union as global superpowers, closer integration of Europe in the form of a European Union, the dissolution of the League of Nations and creation of the United Nations, founded by the victorious Allies in order to prevent such a large and destructive conflict from ever happening again.

The post-war period set the stage for the Cold War, with the Western Allies and most of Western Europe including West Germany, Italy, the United States and United Kingdom forming NATO, and the Soviet Union and its Eastern Europe satellites creating the Warsaw Pact. The struggle for dominance between these two alliances would last until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991

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Participants
Main article: Participants in World War II

Traditionally, the war is described as a conflict between two groups of powers: the Axis and the Allies. The primary members of the Allies were the British Commonwealth, the United States, and the Soviet Union. The Axis primarily consisted of Nazi Germany, Italy, and the Empire of Japan.

In reality, this network of alliances changed over time, with divisions within countries, shifts in alliances, and questionable practices by supposedly neutral countries. Countries that highlights complication with the Allied–Axis categorization include:

France, that was Allied at the start of the war, but was later divided between the Vichy France and a German occupational government, with the Free French Forces controlling some French colonies;
Italy, where the association with Nazi Germany remained controversial and tentative until the German conquest of France, and which country later surrendered to and joined the Allies following its invasion by Allied forces;
The Soviet Union, that actively participated in the invasion of Poland in a partnership with Nazi Germany, and extended its territory in The Baltics with German approval, but joined the Allies following an invasion by Nazi Germany in June 1941 which broke the Molotow-Ribbentrop Pact between them;
Finland, which initially received Allied sympathy, and some support, while defending itself from the Soviet invasion of the Winter War; a sympathy that diminished starkly after the aforementioned invasion of the Soviet Union, when the Red Army in the Continuation War afresh attacked Finland, that then in its northern part was defended by German forces; and Britain, but not the United States, declared war on Finland.
In addition, many countries, although avowedly neutral, provided military volunteers and other support either to the Allies or to the Axis. For example, Spain supplied troops for use by Germany.

[edit]
Causes
Main article: Causes of World War II

The Second World War originated from a variety of causes. Some of the most commonly mentioned include the aggressive rise of totalitarian ideologies, and, from a narrower perspective, war reparations demanded of Germany after World War I, coupled with the effects of the Great Depression and the lack of raw materials in Japan.

The economic depression and inflation of these latter nations' currency contributed to the rise of fascist ideals and fervent nationalism, which, in turn, led to the militarization of the economy and mobilization of forces along key borders in these nations. With the rise of fascism, the foreign policies of the Axis nations became more aggressive and strained the Allied leadership.

[edit]
Prelude to War
Main article: Events preceding World War II in Europe, Events preceding World War II in Asia

Resentment of the victorious powers' treatment of the Weimar Republic in the aftermath of World War I and economic difficulties caused by war reparations and the Great Depression allowed Adolf Hitler's extreme nationalist NSDAP movement to come to power in Germany. Due to the fragile political situation, Hitler was able to assume emergency powers and virtual total control of the country.

Defying post-WWI treaties, he re-developed the German military by means of the democratic constitution that was later put aside. He re-militarised the border zone next to France, enforced the re-unification with Austria in the so-called Anschluss, and with Franco-British approval he annexed parts of Czechoslovakia.

In 1922 Benito Mussolini and the Fascist party had risen to power in Italy. Mussolini's Italian fascists shared some ideological goals with the German National Socialists or Nazis and, although Mussolini distrusted Hitler, the two countries formed an agreement that became known as the "Rome-Berlin Axis" in 1936.


Benito Mussolini ("Il Duce") with Adolf HitlerIn the east, Japan had, as early as the late nineteenth century, begun to spread out across Asia, brought about by conflict between traditional Japanese practices and changing social conditions associated with rapid industrialisation and modernisation. In 1905 Japan won an astounding victory over Russia, and in 1910 it occupied Korea and made it a colony.

During the 1920s democracy seemed to be taking root in Japan, but by the 1930s, the Great Depression brought to the fore many talented military leaders who took control of Japan, often ruling in the name of Emperor Hirohito, and playing on the traditional respect the Japanese people held for their emperors. In 1931, Japan invaded and occupied Inner Manchuria, setting up the puppet state of Manchukuo, and by 1937 launched a second invasion that occupied the rest of the region. For this reason, some scholars consider 1936/37 the actual start of World War II.

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Pacific Theatre

US landing in the Pacific, August 1942-August 1945Main article: Pacific War

In 1940, Japan occupied French Indochina (Vietnam) upon agreement with the Vichy government and despite local Free French, and joined the Axis powers Germany and Italy. These actions intensified Japan's conflict with the United States and the United Kingdom which reacted with an oil boycott.

The Japanese had already invaded China before World War II started in Europe. U.S. President Roosevelt signed an executive order in May of 1940 allowing U.S. military personnel to resign from the service so that they could participate in a covert operation in China. Hence was born the All Volunteer Group, more commonly known as Chennault's Flying Tigers. With the United States and other countries cutting exports to Japan, Japan decided to bomb Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 without warning or declaration of war. Severe damage was done to the American Pacific Fleet, although the aircraft carriers escaped as they were at sea. Japanese forces simultaneously invaded the British possessions of Malaya and Borneo and the American occupied Philippines, with the intention of seizing the oilfields of the Dutch East Indies. The British island fortress of Singapore was captured in what Churchill considered one of the most humiliating British defeats of all time.

In May 1942, the Allied navies in the Battle of the Coral Sea thwarted a Japanese naval attack on Port Moresby, New Guinea which had it succeeded would have put them within striking range of Australia. This was both the first successful opposition to Japanese plans and the first naval battle fought only between aircraft carriers. A month later the U.S. Navy again prevented the invasion of Midway Island, this time destroying four Japanese carriers, which Japanese industry could not replace, and putting the Japanese navy on the defensive.

However, in July the Japanese Army attempted an overland attack on Port Moresby, along the rugged Kokoda Track. Australian reservists, many of them very young and untrained, fought a stubborn rearguard action, until they were relieved by Australian regular troops returning from action in the Middle East.

The Allied leaders had agreed even prior to the American entry to the war that priority should be given to the defeat of Germany. Nonetheless US and Australian forces under General Douglas MacArthur began to attack captured territories, beginning with, against the bitter and determined defence of Japanese troops, Guadalcanal Island. On 7 August 1942 the island was assaulted by United States Marines. In late August and early September, while battle raged on Guadalcanal, Australian forces fought off a Japanese amphibious attack on the eastern tip of New Guinea at Milne Bay, the first conclusive defeat suffered by Japanese land forces. US forces triumphed on Guadalcanal in February 1943.

Exhausted Australian and US forces then strove to retake the occupied parts of New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies, experiencing some of the toughest resistance of the Pacific Theatre. The rest of the Solomon Islands were retaken in 1943, New Britain and New Ireland in 1944. The Philippines were attacked in late 1944 following the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

US and Allied submarines and aircraft also attacked Japanese merchant shipping, depriving Japanese industry of the raw materials she had gone to war to obtain. The effectiveness of this stranglehold increased as the U.S. captured islands closer to the Japanese mainland.

The Nationalist Kuomintang Army under Chiang Kai-shek and the Communist Chinese Army under Mao Zedong both opposed the Japanese occupation of China, but never truly allied against the Japanese. Conflict between Nationalist and Communist forces continued after and, to an extent, even during the war.

Capture by the Allies of islands such as Iwo Jima and Okinawa close to Japan brought the homeland within range of naval and air attacks, Tokyo was firebombed and later an atomic bomb, the "Little Boy", was dropped from the B-29 "Enola Gay" and destroyed Hiroshima. On 8 August 1945 the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, as had been agreed to at Yalta, and launched a large scale invasion of Japanese occupied Manchuria (operation August Storm). On August 9, in Nagasaki, another atom bomb, "Fat Man" was dropped by the B-29 "Bock's Car". The Japanese surrendered on 14 August 1945, signing official surrender papers on 2 September 1945 aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

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What do you think of Obadiah Shoher's views on the Middle East conflict? One can argue, of course, that Shoher is ultra-right, but his followers are far from being a marginal group. Also, he rejects Jewish moralistic reasoning - that's alone is highly unusual for the Israeli right. And he is very influential here in Israel. So what do you think? uh, here's the site in question: Middle East conflict

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Originally posted by AlexZello
What do you think of Obadiah Shoher's views on the Middle East conflict? One can argue, of course, that Shoher is ultra-right, but his followers are far from being a marginal group. Also, he rejects Jewish moralistic reasoning - that's alone is highly unusual for the Israeli right. And he is very influential here in Israel. So what do you think?


Extremism in either direction is a bad thing.



"Tresor never sleeps"

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Originally posted by AlexZello
What do you think of Obadiah Shoher's views on the Middle East conflict? One can argue, of course, that Shoher is ultra-right, but his followers are far from being a marginal group. Also, he rejects Jewish moralistic reasoning - that's alone is highly unusual for the Israeli right. And he is very influential here in Israel. So what do you think?


Obadiah Shoer's belief that Israel should treat all Islamic states as enemies, and expel all Palestinians from Israel is ridiculous and assinine.
People that share Obadiah Shoer's beliefs are the very reason you have people in Iran calling Israel a bacteria, however as Translucent alluded to....all extremists do no justice to helping the geopolitical situation of the Middle East.



"I close my eyes and see you, better than before, than i feel you touch me and its 1984, i know what you will say before you stop."

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