The Fateful Triangle of America, Israel, and Palestine
A Violent Scenario
After exploring a wishful (peaceful) scenario of how the fateful relations between America, Israel, and Palestine might develop (last week), it's time to explore a violent scenario in which these relations may develop into, particularly more injustices, wars, and instability in the Middle East and the world as a whole.
The US Vice President, Dick Cheney, has returned from his tour of the Middle East. Almost all Arab leaders told him and announced publicly that they are against any US attacks on Iraq. But he doesn't seem to be impressed with their opinions. After meeting with President Bush, the President announced that he would continue with his plans to attack Iraq. He doesn't seem to pay attention to the US European allies either, particularly the French and the Germans, who made it clear that they would not join any military action against Iraq unless it was within the UN context. Britain has been the exception, and the British Defense Minister announced that he would order the use of nuclear weapons, if Iraq used weapons of mass destruction. It seems that the US and the UK will attack Iraq irrelevant to whether the Iraqis will allow UN inspectors to return or not. The Bush administration, so far, has not presented any evidence to link Iraq to terrorism generally, and to September 11 attacks, in particular. Iraqis are willing to allow UN inspectors to return to the country to make sure that they have no weapons of mass destruction, in return for an end to the embargo, economic sanctions, and US-British air raids and violations. The only explanation, then, for the Bush administration insistence on attacking Iraq is to complete a job that war hawks wanted the Bush Sr. administration to do in 1991. Back then, the Bush Sr. critics, who were mainly pro-Israel war hawks, were not content of the destruction of the Iraqi military machine, economy, and infrastructure. They were not content of the unnecessary killing of about 150,000 Iraqi soldiers during the 44 days of the war. They do not seem to be even impressed with the death of one and a half million Iraqis, half a million of whom were children, during the subsequent 11 years, as a result of the sanctions. They do not seem to be happy with anything short of the occupation of Iraq and changing its government. Why not? Isn't that going to rid Israel of the only Arab regime that dared to launch missiles on Israeli cities?
The day US forces occupy Iraq, Israelis will be dancing in the streets. They will feel, finally, that they are safer than ever. The US will be the new occupier of Arab lands. The world generally, and Arabs in particular, will forget about the Israeli occupation of Palestine, which may continue and become more oppressive than ever before. Iraqi and Arab resistance of the US occupation of Iraq may be more fierce than Palestinian resistance of the Israeli occupation. After all, Iraqis are 22 million people living on their own country. By all counts, an American invasion of Iraq will be counterproductive and harmful to strategic US interests in that region of the world. And when the United States is bogged in a protracted war against the Iraqi people, other world powers will be so happy to see American resources depleted. Moreover, nobody can predict how other Arab states will react to seeing a brethren Arab state occupied. It is more likely that the US will be left alone in a long fight against Arabs and Muslims, with a symbolic support from the British and the Canadians, and a lot of applause from Israelis and their supporters.
As for Arab leaders, none of them will dare to support the US invasion. Some of them will oppose it outright and side with Iraqis, particularly those who know that they are going to be next, such as Syrians and Libyans. Others will wait and see before they make a decision. If the military operation is short and successful, they will be quiet. But if it is protracted and facing problems, they will speak out saying: "we told you so." Ultimately, they will make the decisions that make their regimes more stable. They will listen to the Arab street.
With regard to the beneficiaries, Israelis will have the lion's share. It is really their war, fought on their behalf by somebody else. They may be tempted to carry out their favorite solution for the Palestinian problem, i.e. transferring Palestinians to Jordan. Their dreams of a greater Israel, that extends from the Nile to the Euphrates, may be revived. When Iraq is conquered by the United States, it may be dismembered and become divided into three small and weak states. This will make the Zionist dream closer to achievement than anybody can think of. Multinational oil corporations will be the second main beneficiary. They will divide Iraq up among themselves, as the state-owned Iraqi oil industry will be gone. Thus, it will be their second triumph after the consolidation of their interests in the Caspian Sea and Afghanistan. The third beneficiary is the Kuwaiti royal family. It will rejoice getting rid of its major enemy in the world.
The list of losers is a very long one. Iraqis, Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims are on top of the list, which includes world peace and stability, too. The list of losers also includes poor and working class Americans, who will pay the ultimate price of the war in the battlefield. They will also pay at home, as they become more deprived of funding for the social programs and services they benefit from. American taxpayers will lose, on the long-run, as the national debt swells to unprecedented digits, although the coffers of the military-industrial complex beneficiaries will swell, too.
It is so sad that the only solution for the Israeli occupation of Palestine is an American occupation of Iraq. There is an easier solution though: ending the Israeli occupation and recognizing the Palestinian rights, including statehood and solving the refugee problem. There is an easier solution for the crisis with Iraq, too. Take Iraqis on their words. Let inspectors return, let the embargo and sanctions be lifted. Make peace, don't make war. Can this happen? Absolutely, if there is a peaceful will. Is it going to happen? That is a different story. Actually, if war breaks out, it could develop into a catastrophic scenario, which will be the subject of the next analysis.
Dr. Hassan A. El-Najjar is the Editor of www.aljazeerah.info and author of "The Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness." (2001).