Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Commentary: Mideastern potpourri
by Arnaud De Borchgrave
Washington (UPI) Jul 12, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Like it or not, seemingly endless Middle Eastern crises and wars and civil wars were triggered by the recognition of the state of Israel May 14, 1948, with David Ben-Gurion as the first head of the Jewish state. No longer. Today's bloodshed -- Syria, Egypt, Lebanon -- flows from local and transnational sectarian conflicts.

At Israel's birth there was much fear-mongering on both sides. Some 850,000 Jews fled from Arab countries to the new state of Israel while 720,000 Palestinians were panicked into leaving Palestine as it became Israel.

But the major divide between Islamists and secularists was there long before Israel made its international debut. It was the Palestinian refugee exodus from Palestine as it became Israel that triggered wars and territorial disputes for decades to come.

The armies of five Arab nations took on the new Jewish state, beginning with an Egyptian air attack on Tel Aviv. The armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Transjordan (later renamed Jordan) invaded Israel from the north, east and south.

The Arab armies came with artillery, tanks, armored cars, personnel carriers. They had plenty of gas and ammunition. Egypt, Syria and Iraq also threw their small air forces into the mix.

The Jews had no artillery, tanks or aircraft as the Arab armies attacked. But these came quickly from Jewish organizations abroad.

The humiliating Arab defeat was the genesis of several subsequent Middle Eastern wars:

-- Gamal Abdul Nasser's 1952 coup in Egypt was directed against the Muslim Brotherhood, which six months earlier had torched some 300 buildings in Cairo. The young colonel's coup toppled the monarchy, a move designed to control the state against Muslim extremists.

-- 1950s-1960s: Reprisal raids by Israel's military following guerrilla attacks from Syria, Egypt and Jordan into Israel. Designed as a deterrent, these operations were usually 10 times the size of Arab guerrilla attacks.

-- 1956: Three months after Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, Britain and France invaded Egypt to seize the critically important waterway while Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula.

Taken by surprise (no overhead satellite recon in those days) an angry U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the three powers to exit Egypt immediately. They complied.

Whatever propaganda value the West might have gained from the Soviet invasion of Hungary at that time vanished. Moral equivalence was quickly established by countless millions straddling the Cold War fence.

-- June 1967: Six Day War. Nasser's military maneuvers in the Sinai gave Israel the pretext for the most spectacular victory in the history of human conflict. The Israeli air force destroyed the entire Egyptian air force on the ground in a couple of hours.

Nasser called Jordan's King Hussein and told him to look on his radar and he will see scores of Egyptian fighter bombers on their way to attack Israel. "Are you with us?" Nasser asked Hussein. In what he later said was the worst mistake of his reign, the Jordanian monarch answered, naam.

As a result, Jordan lost the West Bank. Israel's phenomenal booty: the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; Golan Heights from Syria; Sinai and Gaza from Egypt.

-- 1967-70: War of Attrition. Started by Egypt as a way of recapturing the Sinai, it was fought mostly in the Suez Canal Zone and involved militarily Egyptian, Russian (missiles) Jordanian, Syrian and Palestinian units. It was Nasser's attempt to recapture the Sinai from the Israelis, which failed and kept the canal closed to shipping.

-- October 1973: three-week Yom Kippur War. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat launches a surprise attack to seize the Suez Canal and dig in on the eastern side for subsequent negotiations. Syrian forces attacked on the Golan Heights at the same time.

The Israeli army, taken by surprise on Yom Kippur, fought back with some supplies from the United States flown directly to the frontline in Sinai.

Israeli forces, momentarily off balance, recovered, and launched a counterattack that took them to within 60 miles of Cairo. U.S. President Richard Nixon, via Henry Kissinger, warned the Israelis to scrap the plan that would have taken them in to Cairo. Subsequent negotiations, masterminded by Kissinger, got the Israelis out of Sinai.

-- 1971-82: long-playing war of attrition against the Palestinian Liberation Organization (relocated to Beirut from their defeat in Jordan by King Hussein's army in 1970).

-- 1981: Muslim extremists never forgave Sadat for recognizing Israel. They use their sympathizers in the Egyptian army to assassinate Sadat.

-- 1982: Lebanon War. Triggered by the assassination of Shlomo Argov, Israel's ambassador to Britain, the Israeli military invaded Lebanon to expel the PLO. The Palestinian organization was indeed expelled and had to relocate at the other end of the Mediterranean, in Tunisia. Israel established a security zone in southern Lebanon.

-- 1982-2000: South Lebanon war of attrition for almost two decades against Lebanese Hezbollah supplied by Iran.

-- Oct. 23, 1983: largest non-nuclear explosion ever detonated kills 243 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers in their badly guarded barracks on the outskirts of Beirut. U.S. President Ronald Reagan decides to pull out of Lebanon. He orders the invasion of Grenada 48 hours later.

-- 1987-93: First Intifada was the Palestinian uprising against Israel in the West Bank and Gaza.

-- 2000-05: Second Palestinian uprising.

-- 2006 Lebanon war. Touched off by the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah, this rapidly grew into a major confrontation between Hezbollah's paramilitary forces and the Israeli military. Coupled with an Israeli naval blockade of the Lebanese coast, a U.N.-negotiated cease-fire led to momentary stability in southern Lebanon.

-- 2008: Three-week Gaza war, dubbed Operation Cast Lead, is designed to put an end to Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. The Israeli military attacked military and civilian targets, including police stations and government buildings.

-- 2011: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a friend of the West in power for almost 30 years, is arrested by Muslim extremists and deposed under guard.

-- 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense was the latest Israeli military punitive expedition into Gaza.

-- 2013: Mubarak's successor, Mohamed Morsi, is deposed by pro-Western Egyptian army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The army clearly feared that the incompetent Morsi would lead Egypt into a confrontation with Israel.

The future of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan is unpredictable. And the United States would be wise to keep its powder dry.


Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Egypt rival rallies planned as tensions soar
Cairo (AFP) July 12, 2013
Activists for and against ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi have called rival rallies for the first Friday of Ramadan, as tensions soar over the army's overthrow of the Islamist leader. The Muslim Brotherhood, the influential group from which Morsi emerged, has vowed to keep protesting until he is reinstated. The group has called separate rallies across Cairo, but the group's abili ... read more

Man who battled Fukushima disaster dies of cancer

Fukushima radioactive groundwater readings rocket

REACTing to a crisis

RESCUE Consortium Demonstrates Technologies for First Responders

Bioengineers Use Adhesion to Combine Silicones and Organic Materials

NASA's OPALS to Beam Data From Space Via Laser

Experts row over 'earliest' Chinese inscriptions find

Designer droplets open new possibilities

Habitat loss doubles coastal flood impact - study

Invasive lionfish in Caribbean, Atlantic growing in numbers

N.Z suspends Tonga aid over Chinese plane fears

Corals cozy up with bacterial buddies

The contribution of the Greenland ice sheet to sea-level rise will continue to increase

Scientists track noisy icebergs across world's oceans

Antarctic nations to wrestle again over sanctuary plan

Glass sponges take advantage of retreating Antarctic ice shelves

In US, struggle against snakehead ends on plates

Getting to the Root of the Matter

US farm subsidy policies contribute to worsening obesity trends

Contemplating the Brazilian dilemma: Abundant grain but inadequate storage

Geothermal power facility induces earthquakes, study finds

More than 200 dead or missing in China rain, landslides

More than 200 dead or missing in China rain, landslides

Flood death toll rises to 60 in Nepal

Canada to send 'at least 15' observers to Mali vote

South Sudan gunmen battle rivals in war-torn Jonglei

Governor of flashpoint Mali town leaves after brief visit

Investment tops agenda as Nigerian president visits China

China island centenarians claim secret of long life

Did Neandertals have language?

How well can you see with your ears? Device offers new alternative to blind people

Ability of people to 'see' with their ears called impressive

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement