Iran Hostage Discussion Questions: Middle Research Paper
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Here, the British are implicated in a number of ways which are obvious and damning with respect to the fate of European Jewry in the coming years.
3. Examine the events in Palestine 1945 to 1948. Why, in your opinion did the United Nations propose the partition of Palestine? (2 pages)
After World War II, when the full extent of the horrors of the Holocaust had become apparent to the global public, the Zionist movement gained significant momentum. Upon the world's revelation that more than 6 million Jews had been sent to the gas chambers, the campaign to make Israel the Jewish national homeland earned the full sympathy and support of the United Nations, the United States and Great Britain. Moreover, the intense pressure which had come to be placed upon the world community with mounting violence between the Zionists, Arabs and British troops in the Palestenian territory would force the hand of the United Nations. Indeed, Great Britain, consistent with its irresolute behavior in the region, would look to remove its self from the question of Palestinian determinism. According to the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) (2002), "the British requested that the recently established United Nations determine the future of Palestine. But the British government's hope was that the UN would be unable to arrive at a workable solution, and would turn Palestine back to them as a UN trusteeship." (MERIP, 1)
Certainly, this was not the intention of the UN nor was it the outcome. Quite instead, the UN established what it viewed as the only viable solution for a future of peace in the region and called for a partition of the territory into separate Jewish and Palestinian states. After sending an envoy to investigate the region's demands in 1947, the UN General Assembly voted in support of the partition, to the begrudging acceptance of the Zionist movement and the outright hostility of the Arab community. The latter viewed this as a validation of the Zionist movement, which it perceived as nothing more than a settlement community in historically Arab lands. The former viewed this as a point of entry with expectations that it could either diplomatically or militarily extend its borders at the appropriate time.
With the Arab rejection of the partition plan, this time would arrive quite a bit faster than anticipated. MERIP reports that the Arab population significantly outnumbered the Jewish population but that expectations based on the events of World War II and the Holocaust were that massive numbers of Jewish immigrants would soon be arriving. Thus, the partition awarded the West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Palestinian people, leaving another 77% of the land to Jewish control. (MERIP, 1) When the Arab community revolted against this decision, increasingly well-armed and organized Zionist troops began to assume occupation of the lands awarded to them in the partition settlement. Sensing this as an indicator of the mounting tensions that would soon erupt in outright conflict, the last of the British troops left the territory, essentially conferring the land to Zionist control.
In 1948, Israel declared itself independent with the reluctant backing of the world community and, conversely, the outright condemnation of the Arab nations which surrounded it. (Rabinovich, 5) Upon its independence, Israel was promptly invaded by Egypt, Syria and Jordan, with the endorsement of Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Led by its first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, Israel emerged victorious against its aggressors and gained an even greater expanse of land for its statehood.
Research Essays: Iranian History
1. Life (Character Sketch) of Ayatollah Khomeini.
Born in 1902 in a small town in rural Iran, Rouhollah Mousavi Khomeini was reared by a family of religious scholars. Thus, he was raised in dedication to the principles of the Koran and the notion that these principles should define public and private life in Iran. In this regard, he would from a very young age be molded into the figure that would one day define Iran well into the present day. To this point, Khomeini may be even be said to have spent much of his life in preparation for this eventual role as the head of a religious revolution and the theocracy created thereafter. For the larger part, the first portion of his life would be spent in dedication to his Islamic studies. Accordingly, "Khomeini did not engage
in any political activities during the 1930's. He believed that the leadership of political activities should be in the hands of the foremost religious scholars, and he was therefore obliged to accept the decision of Ayatollah Haeri to remain relatively passive toward the measures taken by Reza Shah against the traditions and culture of Islam in Iran." (ICS1, 1)
That said, Khomeini would begin at this point in his life to view with hostility the established secular authority represented by the Shah. The Pahlavi Dynasty had explicit sympathies toward the West, as an increasingly intimate relationship would develop therewith in the years immediately following World War II. It was at this juncture that the simultaneous hospitability of the Shah to the United States and emergent Israeli statehood would inspire fury amongst the religious factions to whom Khomeini was an increasingly influential figure. By the early 1960s, several of the figures who outranked Khomeini by seniority had passed on, leaving him to assume a more aggressive control of the Islamic movement to oppose the Shah's secularization of Iranian society.
Therefore, the increasingly popular religious clergy would begin to conduct public speeches condemning the Shah and predicting his overthrow. One such speech in 1963 was particularly instigative and implied that the time would soon come that the Shah would be exiled from Iran. As the Iran Chamber Society (2010) notes, "the immediate effect of the Imam's speech was, however, his arrest two days later at 3 o'clock in the morning by a group of commandos who hastily transferred him to the Qasr prison in Tehran. As dawn broke on June 3, the news of his arrest spread first through Qom and then to other cities. In Qom, Tehran, Shiraz, Mashhad and Varamin, masses of angry demonstrators were confronted by tanks and paratroopers. It was not until six days later that order was fully restored. This uprising of 15 Khordad 1342 marked a turning point in Iranian history." (ICS1, 1)
At this juncture, Khomeini would become a living martyr to the cause of Islamic Revolution in Iran. The Shah's policies continued to push for a secularization and Americanization of Iran, and in doing so, continued to gather the ire of the growing student movement of which Khomeini had become a figurehead. The following decade and a half would see Khomeni first released, then once again apprehended and, ultimately, exiled from Iran. In his absence, his influence would only grow, with the exile producing a sense amongst Iran's Islamic movement that the government intended to suppress its religion in favor of American imperial ambitions. First in Turkey, then Iraq, and ultimately in Paris, Khomeini gained status as a revolutionary figure, with the anniversary of his exile becoming an occasion for ever larger public demonstrations in Tehran. It would be these demonstrations that would lead to the departure of the Shah in 1979, just as Tehran collapsed under the weight of a popular Islamic uprising.
The Ayatollah Khomeini, the Shi'a population's spiritual and political leader theretofore exiled in Paris, returned to his country on February 1st. (Khorrami, 1) The Shah went into hiding and the Ayatollah ordered hundreds of his supporters executed.
On April 1st of 1979, "Ayatollah Khomeini declared an Islamic republic with a new Constitution reflecting his ideals of Islamic government." (ICS, 1) This act gave birth to the nation which is presently known as Iran. Inbuilt to this new nation were the policies of denouncement of the West and its corrupt invasion of Islamic holy land, especially as such was carried out by America's unwavering support of Israel. In demonstration of its hostility toward the U.S. And its pursuit of interests in Iran, a group of radical Islamic students with sanctioning of the Khomeini government, stormed the U.S. embassy and took its personnel hostage. This touched off an international crisis for the United States and signaled the beginning of the modern age of terrorism. To date, the Iranian transformation is a touchstone to those with ambitions toward turning the entire region to the laws and courts of Sharia.
That this impulse already existed amongst the people in Iran is suggestive that the impulse is embedded throughout the Shi'a Islamic world, which stretches across the Middle East and is dominantly populous in many nations therein. Therefore, the threat of the Iranian revolution to the rest of the region may said to be continuously underway now, where the War On Terror has highlighted many of the movements in settings such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Palestine to establish…
Sources Used in Documents:
Ganji, M. (2002). Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance.' Praeger.
Gerner, D.J. (1994). One Land, Two Peoples. University of Kansas Press.
Hughes, T. (2003). The Rise and Fall of the British Empire. The British Empire. Online at http://www.britishempire.co.uk/article/liverpool.htm.
ICS. (2003). History: The Islamic Revolution of 1979. Iran Chamber Society.
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