But the opportunity for a broader, regional conflict was still decades away in the Yom Kippur War and Six Day War.
Today, the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction makes the region in a more significant condition for war. With Syria and Iran attempting to build nuclear facilities capable of enriching uranium, and receiving support from North Korea in this endeavor, the opportunity for devastating warfare is made all too clear. Not only nuclear, but chemical and biological agents, perhaps carried by Iranian Shahab missiles, pose a grave security threat to not only Israel, but also to the Lebanese government, and moderate Arab states such as Turkey. Also, the possibility of Pakistani nuclear weapons being controlled by Islamic hardliners, or falling into (intentionally or not) the hands of terrorist entities makes the possibility of war in this period more compelling. While stability in Iraq and Lebanon is in question, Arab terrorist groups will continue to undermine political stability in moderate regimes, which is why these states must continue to arrest their spread and influence.
4. There are enormous problems today relating to Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. Are these problems a product of past great power errors? Explain with reference to specific decisions and activities of the great powers over the last 100 years. Discuss at least five errors.
The enormous problems confronting the Middle East today can be very distinctly traced back to the last one hundred years of political history, and probably much further. To be sure, miscalculations and machinations by the world's strongest nations have wreaked havoc in the region, and continue to influence the strategic outlook to this day. In particular, the break-up of the Ottoman Empire following World War One highlights the tremendous errors in judgment that were made by the victorious Allied powers.
The Balfour Declaration in particular represented a substantial break from earlier guarantees made by the British Empire to Arab representatives. Earlier promises made to Arab leaders had been inexcusably vague and had omitted any intention of establishing a Jewish state. Also, to be sure, the UN mandate of 1948, which established political borders for the Israel state and for Palestinian territory, was not a perfect solution. As the coming decades would show, the adjustment of those borders was a source of serious contention -- contention that would result in numerous wars and border skirmishes. The Suez Crisis mentioned earlier was another error on the part of the great powers. It represented a very apparent collusion between Israel, Britain, and France, which stoked Arab resentment against western influence.
Also, the partitioning of Syria as a French mandate after World War One compromised goodwill that had existed between the Allied powers and local Arab leaders. Lastly, the failure of the British to ensure peace in the aftermath of Indian/Pakistani independence contributed to disputes in the region, notably the Kashmir question, which plagues the world to this day.
To bring Stability to the Middle East, should you first address the Arab-Israeli issue, Lebanon, Iraq, or Iran?
Iran is the most pressing issue confronting the international community in the Middle East at this time. Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism throughout the world. In terms of financing, equipping, training, and technical support, Iran is second to none in its support of terrorist activities worldwide. The nation is also specifically responsible for causing instability in the Arab-Israeli issue, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran. In Iraq, they are the chief supplier of IEDs, RPGs, and automatic weapons used by the insurgency. In Lebanon, they have provided Chinese-manufactured anti-ship missiles and short-range Katyusha rockets to Hezbollah, the terrorist group that has killed more Americans than any other, after Al Qaeda. And they are also responsible for providing support to Hamas in Lebanon as well.
Also, although the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is worthy of considerable attention, it is important to remember that most other Arab nations in the Middle East actively discriminate against Palestinians. Although the Arab politicians often cite Palestinian mistreatment as a key reason for resentment against Israel, the real motivation underlying Arab militancy is concealed. It is simply a window-dressing for militant propaganda. The reality of the matter is that Palestinians in Israel are guaranteed the broadest freedoms, both religiously and politically, when compared to every other nation in the region. And although Palestinians' economic status is often lower than average Israelis, the same is true of Arab nations, which specifically target Palestinians for discrimination because of their status as a separate ethnic group. When it joined several other Arab states in expelling 400,000 Palestinian refugees since 1991, because of PLO support for the Iraq invasion, Kuwait became a good example of this discrimination. Egypt has also curtailed Palestinian settlement to the Gaza strip, where Palestinian militants continue to launch attacks on Israel,
Most revealing of all, however, is the Arab League's policy of refusing to grant Palestinians citizenship in any of its member states. Instead, Palestinians become international refugees in the region, living in camps by the thousands and growing more resentful all the time -- which is probably League's goal, as the displaced Palestinians then serve as proxy warriors against Israel.
The most effective appraoch is to pursue more aggressive action in preventing the Iranian state from acquiring WMDs, and in isolating Iran from its influential position as terrorist and militant financier and supporter. President Ahmedinejad has expressed very harshly and openly the intentions of the Iranian government to eliminate Israel and to pursue radical Islamic hegemony. This provides the international community with a dramatic glimpse of Iranian goals. In assessing the threat posed by Iran, the international community must realize that Iran will not easily be deterred by threats of sanction or isolation. Instead, it must be made absolutely clear to the Iranian regime that its current course will result in consequences. Also, the Iranian dissident movement must be supported and encouraged in order to undermine the support…