Israeli actions: a catalyst for jihād?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by fas_et_gloria, May 16, 2006.

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  1. Okay, what promised to be a reasonably interesting thread about the jihād-catalytic influence of Israeli actions in the occupied territories has been thinned out by PTP, on the basis that a) It was getting a bit nasty, and ii) It was off topic – which was really the utility of berets in a tropical/desert environment. And it was, on both counts, so: fair play.

    On the other hand, even though I can see that this might well be a magnet for every 'Herrenbloke' type neo-loon out there in ARRSE-land, it is an issue which needs talking about.

    The Islamists cite both the existence of Israel and the actions of the ‘Zionists’ as justification for taking the jihād global rather than restricting themselves to the ‘near enemy’. Is it time to use the West’s soft-power (and Israel's economic dependence) in an effort to bring Israel into line with at least some of the UN resolutions of which they are in breach; is it time to address the fact that in a post-Cold War era, Israel no longer constitutes a bulwark against Soviet influence in the Arab world which can do no wrong; without condoning (in any way whatsoever) the actions of the Mujahideen, ought we to say – this is not the way in which the British Army would respond to the intifada – and think hard about whether the Israeli response is the recursive half of the (or 'at least one of the') cycle(s) of terror?

    Before the accusations of anti-Semitism come flooding in, I’d like to remind everyone (including the august PTP) that one of the reasons (probably) that the original ‘head dress’ thread got thinned out was that I got on my high horse about the latent anti-Semitism of the early off topic posts…
  2. The Islamists, like the pan-Arabists use the existence of Israel to attract people to their cause. You look at the writings of prominent Islamists like Qut'ub, Maududi and very little is written about the experience of the Palestinian people. Instead the terms of reference is phrased in the discourse of western imperialism. Secondly, Israel has never been a bulwark against soviet expansionism, the myth was allowed to grow that it was. But in any war in the Middle East that the Brits and the US envisaged it was the Arab states that were to play the major role.

    Israel in my point of view has benefited from western benevolence for a couple of reasons:
    A) Guilt over the holocaust
    b) The beliefs of some Christians concerning the apocalypse.
    c) Cultural similarities and the fact that the dominant elite is not the 'other'
    d) The lingering hope that one day that Israel could be a useful strategic partner - the actual reality is that with the Arab-Israeli conflict Israel is actually quite limited in what it can offer and do.

    Will the west ever act against Israel? Never, because frankly Israel is not seen as the 'other'.
  3. I think that the 'Zionist' angle is being pushed in order to drum up popular support for 'jihad' on the West. The creation of the state of Israel has, and probably always will be a bone of contention amongst many in the arab world.

    With regard to the local situation in Israel, I have applauded many of Israels actions against terrorism to a certain extent, but the element of overkill does tend to alienate both the local Palestinian population, arabs in general, and public opinion worldwide.

    I think parallels can be drawn between the policy of internment in NI in the early seventies and many of Israels internal security measures, in that they seem to work very well, but at the same time create a fantastic opportunity for the terrorists' propaganda machine.
  4. I think the big problem with a Middle East settlement is the expectations of both sides and a timetable for any action, combined with the mistrust of the Palestinians of Israeli intentions, likewise of the Israelis re the Palestinians and whether they will stop terror actions.

    The Americans like a quick fix, ie something that the Pres can go along to the voters and show he can solve the problem in months-much the same as old Tone and the Good Friday agreement.

    It is often cited that Israel has the only democratically elected govt in the Middle East. Their elections are democratic, but some of the members of the Knesset are certainly not. There are a few looney tunes in their parliament that could match some of the more extreme on the Palestinian side in terms of their views for a solution.

    There are 2 big sticking points to any Israeli agreement, security of their borders which will include retaining the Golan Heights (an Israeli Col told me about 10 years ago that they would stay there) and part of the occupied territories, and the retention of Jerusalem as their capital.

    On the Palestinian side, removal of all Israeli settlements from occupied territory since '67, access routes so Israel cannot economically strangle their country, and East Jerusalem for their capital (Just like East/West Berlin)

    I don't see a solution without strong leaders on both sides grabbing the mettle and keeping their subjects under control to see it through. As long as Hamas and Co can get the traditional reprisals from Israel for suicide bombers they will continue to use them, and ordinary Israelis will be backed into a defensive corner where they will support a strong line for the safety of their families.

    It's like NI, but hasn't being going as long. prior to WW1 both Jews and Arabs lived alongside each other in Palestine but that was under the Turks. Once the creation of a homeland became a reality after 1917 the seeds were set for extremists on both sides to profit from mischief and dissension which gradually led post '48 to the situation today.

    I honestly don't see a quick way out.... :roll:
  5. Israel is the biggest reviver of foreign aid in the world. The vast bulk being from the US ($3billion per annum?). The very strong pro Israel lobby in Washington means that it's very unlikely things will change.

    I think Europe and Britain are more inclined to see more of a balance in the region (look at the building of the security wall) - but we don't hold the purse strings!
  6. Bearing in mind that it was the Frankfurt School who came up with the concept of reification to try to explain the Nazi's anti-Semitism, your reference to the Jews as "the other'" alone would appear to justify the foundation of an Israel. (Can't work out how to put in a 'prime' which doesn't look like a typo...)

    The Cold War experience, as I understand it, was very much that post-Colonial pan-Arabist nations eventually turned to the Soviets for support - look through Jane's and spot the kit which most Arab armies are still using - most of the armour has a T- designation for starters.

    As for Qut'b and Mawdudi - they might well not involve themselves in the personal aspect of the conflict - but this reflects the academic nature of their Islamic discourse and the times during which they were writing - for them the issue isn't the suffering of an individual, it's the infidel assault on/ apostate occupation of the Dar-ul-Islam. Fast forward to the current generation of Salafist-Islamist and there's a great deal more going on. Which reflects the live media nature of the second intifada and that with the advent of martyrdom operations, recruitment is carried out on a far more personal level - suicide bombings are a response of overwhelming personal emotion. The use of Muhammed al-Durrah's televised death is a case in point - on both counts. If it had been British soldiers 'controling' the riot, would al-Durrah be dead, and if not would the intifada have developed the momentum which fed back into the global jihād? Probably not.
  7. When I referred to the Other I meant the Arabs - or did you miss the work of Said, Rodison et al because it happened to look at western prejudices against the Arabs? :roll:

    In the event of a war in the Middle East, the countries that the west would turn to would have been in the 1950s: Iraq, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (Turkey, Iran and Pakistan not being Arab) . In the 1960s Iraq now being nationalist was scrubbed from the equation but it was still hoped that they would be begnin as at the end of the day. Muslims don't like athiests. I suggest you look up the work of W. Louis and R. Ovendale.

    I don't know what you have read of Mawdudi and Qutb but the self is important to their work as without the submission of the self to the truest form of Islam there can be Islamic renaissance. Also they were not traditional Islamic scholars as they fused Political ideas with Islam so the term Islamist

    I think you are missing the fact that suicide bombing is now a tool of the non-state force. It is a weapon that can be easily utilised and used agaisnt those with less nihilistic attutudes.
  8. Good to see a proper discussion started. I'd like to remind posters to this thread, that descending into name calling and throwing wild accusations about will get this thread thinned.

    No FAS, it wasn't your post, it was the Artillery exchanges that followed it. On that note, I would prefer that people behaved in an adult fashion when debating what is bound to be, a heated debate.


  9. Quote:
    The Cold War experience, as I understand it, was very much that post-Colonial pan-Arabist nations eventually turned to the Soviets for support - look through Jane's and spot the kit which most Arab armies are still using - most of the armour has a T- designation for starters.

    In the event of a war in the Middle East, the countries that the west would turn to would have been in the 1950s: Iraq, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan (Turkey, Iran and Pakistan) not being Arab . In the 1960s Iraq now being nationalist was scrubbed from the equation but it was still hoped that they would be begnin as at the end of the day. Muslims don't like athiests. I suggest you look up the work of W. Louis and R. Ovendale.

    Startegy in the 50's was designed around a buffer zone ie The Baghdad Pact which the UK hoped to get as money countries signed up to incase there was trouble in the area but which the US may nt get involved in. When Nasser was on the up in Egypt he slagged any other state off as being pro-imperialist if they sided with UK/US so most dropped out of the frame leaving Turkey in under their membership of NATO.

    As for Russia, she offered arms and instructors in return for raw materials and bases to compete with the Yanks. The US couldn't afford to let Israel go down the pan, thus a mini arms race in the middle east. It was also an ideal time for both sides to see how their weapons workes against the other side (shades of Spanish Civil War) :wink:
  10. Nasser's predominance amongst the elite wasn't really that secured. Countries lie Saudi, Iran and Jordan played lip service to the ideals of Pan Arabism, but maintained their links. I would say that in the case of Jordan it was actually the pressure of the population that drove Hussein to Nasser and so the involvemnt in the A-I war. But in the case Iraq, Nuri suffered because of the growing hatred of the populace towards the Royals. Also it has to be remembered that America did not join the Baghdad Pact only because of Saudi Arabia and rival hashemite tensions. Finally don't forget that Israel too received arms from the USSR in the early days of its formation.
  11. Things seem to have broken down in the Palestinian territories - especially Gaza - following the Hamas election victory. Since the West cut of aid to the PA their Civil Service is collapsing and the wider Palestinian population is suffering more. If these tactics fail to cow Hamas into recognising Israel's right to exist the result is likely to be increasing radicalisation of the more moderate Fatah supporting civpop, more attacks on Israel and a continuing downward spiral.

    IF Israel took the initiative and offered to withdraw all illegal settlers unilaterally to the '67 border - build a big wall there if they want - AND provided Hamas wind their neck in and declare recognition of Israeli soveriegnty and right to exist in peace - and said border could then be guarnateed by NATO. Put the ME on notice that NATO will act by all means necessary to protect Israel if she is attacked. EU, UN, NGO's pour into new state of Palestine and help nation-building. I also don't think it would turn into an AQ stronghold if the Israelis left, because the Palestinians own interests lie in peace and stability and they wouldn't let it.

    The majority of Israelis believe all of the Holy Lands were given to them by God, therefore negotiating when both parties hold a Fundamentalist position is tricky.

    This won't be solved in the corridors on Europe or the US, without some radical rethinking by the locals it will run and run..

    Edited for not answering the question.
    Removing Israel/Palestine from the Jihadi wish-list probably would have a very positive impact on the locals in the ME, but with Iraq, Kashmir, Chechnya and potentially Iran to choose from the hardcore will just change their press releases and crack on.
  12. Stalin supposedly had a defacto pro Zionist foreign policy in 1948,as he apparently believed the new country would be socialist, and would subsequently speed up the demise of British influence in the Middle East.

    Paraphrased from: 'A History of the Jews by Paul Johnson, London, 1987, p.527'
  13. Actually, I thought that I was agreeing with you here. The Arabic states of the region were, if you go back to the right point in time, looked to as potential allies - your very point below - what I was saying was that 70 years ago, the actions which led into the Shoa and eventually the formation of Israel, was the very reification (though of the Jews) which now you attribute to the contemporary Arabs. If the Jews are no longer the other, and thus have protected status, then this justifies the creation of Iarael in the first place.

    Will do.

    My misrepresentation. I was thinking rather that the nature of the individual as an external actor (in the way that al-Durrah became vicariously) was less important than the role of the Ummah. Albeit that the Ummah is composed of composite individuals.


    On the contrary - that's very much my point. It is in the final analysis an individual (as a sub-set of 'non-state') action, but the point is that the target is either a state or theh percieved (mis-)rulers/ occupiers of that state.

    Thank you.
  14. It's my belief that the USSR did strongly support Israel at the time, a lot of jews were (and still are) very much on the left and socialists and I believe it was the Russian belief that a Socialist Israel would be the driving force for Soviet style socialism in the Middle East. Weapon transfers through Czechslovakia by the recently 'elected' communist Govt do point towards strong socialist support from other nations, whether or not those transfers were ordered by the USSR or independant I dont know for certain but I personally suspect that they were part of a USSR policy.

    I also question the US support of Israel, Israel certainly didn't use much of their equipment until the mid to late 60's, using mostly Brtiish, French, German (immediately during the '48, and from Czechslovakia, ironically) and home grown [edit - ground? to much coffee... *shakes head*]. The Americans believed that the Arabs should be ruling themselves and as shown during the Suez Crisis were happy to put pressure on the UK and the French in support of Arab nationalists. During the late 40's and onto the early 60's the Americans seemed to have an anti-colonialist / pro nationalist stance with nations across the planet and were not overly helpful to the UK or France in regards in their attempts to keep colonial possesions. That only seemed to change when many of the nationalist groups they were giving the nod to turned towards the USSR.

    In regards to the fundies in the Knesset, IIRC Israel has a PR system, with a low watermark, this seems to end up with coalition cabinets being formed and some extremist little foxtrot holding the last vote in the knesset, so getting a seat on the cabinet and having far more influence in Israeli politics than their representation should give them. I do think that a reform of the Israeli democratic system should be part of a peace process, to prevent small extremist parties from having undue influence within the Govt. Isreal is one of the reasons I do not support PR.

    As a catalyst for a jihad? it's certainly one of the major problems that Muslims talk about, but then again you also have their perception of persecution in the West (Balkans for example), low status of muslim immigrants in Western nations, Chechenya, China (Xinjuang province and south western provinces and Kashmir. Also the corrupt nature of many of their 'secular' Govt's which the west supports (because the alternative would most likely not be any improvement). So, even if you remove Israel from the equation there is still a lot for the angry young jihadist to get all worked up about.
  15. I understand what you mean but you did say 'your reference to the Jews as the 'others'.