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File photo of Palestinians in Khan Younis refugee camp. Intelligence analysts and other experienced observers of the Mideast situation have been strangely negligent in failing to draw attention to the important linkage between two political and philosophical decisions of tremendous importance that will soon be faced almost simultaneously in the region. (UNRWA file photo/A Abu-Hasna)...





Linkage:  Iraq and Palestine

No matter how much George wants to ignore the reality of the link between Arab support for his war on Iraq and a Palestinian nation, that link still exists.  

The Arabs are not stupid.  They are not going to support a war against Iraq and turn their back on the atrocities of the Israelis against the Palestinians.

The core issue of virtually all the problems in the Middle East has to do with the Palestinians.  And it has been so since Israel achieved nationhood in 1948.

Until there is a area wide solution to the Arab Israeli conflict then there is not going to be any peace in the Middle East.

The problem that George has is that he is hell bent to gain access to 112 billion barrels of Iraqi oil but he is also hell bent not to make enemies of the American Jews who support his candidacy by advocating and creating a Palestinian nation.

The problem is simple to understand.  But George wants his cake and he wants to eat it too.  

Give the Palestinians a nation and terrorism is going to come to a virtual halt.  Arab terrorism that is.  I can't say about Israeli terrorism.

John WorldPeace
November 29,  2002

Friday, November 29, 2002 

The Mideast linkage factor


Intelligence analysts and other experienced observers of the Middle East situation have been strangely negligent in failing to draw attention to the important linkage between two political and philosophical decisions of tremendous importance that will soon be faced almost simultaneously in the region, and which could determine the course of history there for many decades.

Within the next two months, Washington will have to decide whether to launch a war of conquest and occupation against Iraq, probably in the absence of clear evidence that would justify that action in the eyes of much of the world and a significant proportion of the American electorate. At almost precisely the same time, the people of Israel will be forced to choose between radically different strategies for the preservation of their national existence: either continued uncompromising and violent confrontation as articulated and practiced by Likud leaders, or an equally dangerous and uncertain path of conciliation and compromise now being propounded by the new leadership of the Labor Party.

These two subjects are linked in a manner that recalls significant events in the history of American foreign policy in the Middle East. Immediately relevant to the debate over existential issues that is already raging in Israel is the potentially ill-fated decision of the Bush administration to tackle Saddam Hussein without first restoring George W. Bush's credibility as a constructive influence on both sides of the Palestine-Israel confrontation.
Absent positive American support for the Arab-Israeli peace process, freshly constructive Israeli policies would be doomed. And likewise, without energetic and demonstrably evenhanded American support for a just settlement, negative and destructive elements on the other side, firmly committed to terrorism and violence, would kill all hope that correspondingly reasonable and moderate Palestinians might emerge as effective partners. The connection between other American regional foreign policy objectives and U.S. dedication to the Arab-Israel peace process has traditionally been referred to as the "linkage factor." But the concept has always been dismissed in Washington as a contemptible effort by enemies of the United States to manipulate American policy.
It has been advocated most vigorously by the Arab side whenever the United States has pursued objectives in the region that were perceived by Arabs to be a distraction from the pursuit of a "just and lasting peace" in Palestine. And, of course, it has been denounced vehemently in Israel whenever Arab interests were perceived to be developing a degree of independent credibility and leverage in relations with the United States.
Speaking from long experience in dealing with leaders of Saudi Arabia, in particular, I can certify the sincerity and consistency of their commitment to the cause of justice for the Palestinians, and hence their persistent advocacy of linkage between that issue and other policy objectives initiated by Washington.
Today we see this manifested in clear indications from Saudi leaders that a more evenhanded American policy in Palestine is intimately related to Saudi Arabia's ability and willingness to participate in, and support without reservation, America's proposed "regime change" operation in Iraq.
Valuable lessons in understanding the linkage phenomenon can be drawn from a brief review of events as far back in history as the early 1970s, before, during and after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Starting in late 1972, about 10 months before the outbreak of the 1973 war, the late King Faisal began warning President Richard Nixon that other Arab states, led by Iraq and Libya, were beginning to put heavy pressure on him to join them in utilizing what became known as the "oil weapon" against the United States unless the Nixon administration took a more active interest in resolving the Palestine problem. These warnings from Faisal were earnest, and they were urgent. Washington ignored them. Faisal never gave up. He sent his oil minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani, and others to Washington several times in the next few months to convey that message to everyone who would listen, inside and outside of government. The warning was ignored in most cases. In other instances the messenger was publicly denounced as a crude practitioner of "blackmail."
On April 17, 1973, several months before the Yom Kippur War began, I was informed by my official Saudi intelligence counterparts that Anwar Sadat had reached a decision to begin preparing for a major military assault across the Suez Canal, and that he had informed King Faisal of this decision in a letter received that day.
Sadat acknowledged unashamedly in this letter that he did not expect to win a war against Israel, but he explained that only by restoring Arab honor and displaying Arab courage on the battlefield could he hope to capture the attention of Washington and persuade Henry Kissinger to support a peace process.
The letter was read to me with King Faisal's express permission. In reporting this information, I included news that Prince Saud al Faisal, the king's son and present foreign minister, was being sent to Washington to convey again his father's deep concern, made much more urgent by the message from Sadat, that only a vigorous American peace initiative, urgently undertaken, could avert a regional Middle East war that would inevitably include the imposition of an oil embargo.
King Faisal considered including this message again in written form in a personal letter to Nixon, but he then thought better of the idea. He was tired of writing letters to the American president, he explained, recalling that the last time he had done so it had been three months before he received a reply. Prince Saud was therefore instructed to convey the message verbally.
Again, as usual, Washington paid no heed to this admonition from a wise and dignified gentleman, a proven friend of America for many years.
It was no surprise, then, that when the dire predictions came true six months later, Faisal stood resolutely, shoulder to shoulder, with his Arab brothers. Washington had again failed, through arrogance and ignorance, to appreciate the significance of linkage. Another significant episode took place several weeks after the Yom Kippur War had ended, but while the oil embargo was still in effect. In a personal letter to King Faisal dated Dec. 3, 1973, President Nixon included the following remarkable passages:
"Looking back over recent years, I recall the many times Your Majesty has written to me of your concern and of your conviction that we should do more to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. You have always given me wise counsel, and in retrospect your advice was well taken and should have been heeded.
"The latest war, and the shadow it has cast over our relations with many of our friends in the Middle East, has demonstrated beyond any doubt that the situation which has existed for so long can no longer be permitted to remain unresolved. "The American people, while they feel a strong commitment to the security and survival of Israel, also harbor friendly feelings toward the Arab world and are well disposed to give responsible Arab views the attention they deserve. The American people have even understood how, in the heat of the recent war, the need to demonstrate solidarity with your Arab compatriots led Your Majesty to institute certain measures with respect to the production and supply of oil.
"With Your Majesty's cooperation, I am prepared to devote the full energies of the U.S. to bringing about a just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on the full implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, in the adoption of which my government played a major part. You have my total personal committment to work toward that goal.
The last sentence was added by Nixon in his personal handwriting, with the word "total" underlined twice, and the word "commitment" misspelled. Crown Prince Abdullah has made it very clear that he will not countenance use of the oil weapon today in the way it was employed in 1973 and 1974. However, it is nevertheless certainly true that he has been attempting to influence U.S. policy by the most effective means at his disposal - the withholding of full support for American policy objectives unless and until he sees that the Bush administration recognizes at last the importance of linkage, and demonstrates its sincere determination to fulfill the long succession of American promises to pursue a just and lasting peace in Palestine. . 

The writer, who served in the CIA from 1951 to 1977, is an international business consultant who travels frequently to the Middle East. He contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.


How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?

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