A Strategy for Implementing the Reconciliation Process Between Israel and the Palestinians

by Alon Ben-Meir PhD

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The most puzzling aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that after 69 years of mutual violence, enmity and suffering, it remains unresolved even when coexistence is inevitable and a two-state solution remains the only viable option. Although there are many contentious issues that must be specifically addressed, it is the psychological dimension of the conflict which directly impacts every conflicting issue and makes it increasingly intractable. To mitigate the conflict, we must first look into the elements that inform the psychological dimension and how to alleviate them as prerequisites to finding a solution.

Dr. Alon Ben Meir is a professor and Senior Fellow at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute. Dr. Ben- Meir is an expert on Middle East politics and affairs, specializing in international negotiations and conflict resolution. In the past two decades, Ben-Meir has been directly involved in Track II diplomacy related to various conflicts in the Middle East, including numerous negotiations between Israel and its neighboring countries and Turkey.

 

 

Israel’s Future Wars: Military and Political Aspects of Israel’s Coming Wars

by Ehud Eilam

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This book examines Israel’s possible future wars in the upcoming years. It analyzes the strategic background and the nature of operations of those wars and concentrates on feasible future battlefields of Israel in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Sinai.

 

“Eilam’s work provides valuable context to the political and military issues that may shape Israel’s future wars. His analysis helps us understand the complexity of the conditions surrounding potential future confrontations in the Mideast. This well-informed study is a must read for those who wish to learn more about the challenges and risks facing Israel.”
David A. Deptula, Lt Gen USAF (Ret.) Dean, The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies

 

“Israel’s Future Wars is a remarkable work in the field, noteworthy for both its subject matter breadth, and its corollary command of very complex facts and materials. Each of the author’s chapters deals with a particular military threat to Israel, but Eilam still correctly understands the possible intersections and prospective synergies between them…There is no doubt that Israel’s Future Wars will quickly become essential reading for both academic strategists and Israel’s military policy-planners and makers. This recognition will be well-deserved.”
Louis René Beres, Emeritus Professor of International Law, Purdue University.

“Read this book if you are interested in the future of the Middle East as Dr. Ehud Eilam takes the reader through a fascinating tour of Israel’s possible conflict scenarios… The insightful book will take you into the future of the most volcanic region in the world.”
Dr. Thomas Parker worked for the U.S. government in the past thirty years. He currently teaches security studies at George Washington University.

“In “Israel’s Future Wars,” Ehud Eilam, a veteran analyst of Israel’s security and defense policy, provides readers with a glimpse into the future with an expert analysis of Israel’s possible military operations against Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Syrian front, and Egypt. It is a must read for those interested in a better understanding of how Israel survives and thrives in one of the world’s most complicated threat environments.”
Matthew Kroenig is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University

 

“Israel’s Future Wars by Dr. Ehud Eilem is a compelling and thought-provoking discussion on the shape of the most likely wars or armed conflict Israel will plausibly face in the near future. Based on his extensive and exhaustive research and analysis Dr. Eilem has written an authoritative, comprehensive and fascinating book on the challenges Israel would face if it should go to war against a range of potential adversaries from terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas to Iran, Syria or Egypt or combinations thereof.
He combines his thorough research and analysis on the defense capabilities of Israel and the capabilities of its adversaries to create a highly believable and authoritative vision of what future wars in the Middle East could look like. This is also a useful book for military planners, policy makers and the concerned public.
As a starting point for defense planning the assessment of the future security environment is essential and Dr. Eilem’s assessments, worse case planning, and recommendations are important contributions to understanding and preparing for these threat scenarios.”
Guy B. Roberts, Colonel USMC (Ret.) Former NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General

 

Iran: Who Is Really In Charge?

by Camille Verleuw, Introduction by Alain Bauer

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Born in a country with three official languages, and an acquaintance with Latin during high school, it was no surprise that author Camille Verleuw became interested in Indo-European linguistics, discovering the Persian language and its local Afghan or Tajik forms. Verleuw graduated from two schools of the Department of Letters, Translation & Communication of the Université Libre of Brussels (Belgium) before moving to the University of Teheran to specialize in iranistics while working as a writer for the French-language daily newspaper Le Journal de Téhéran. After the closure of the newspaper at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Verleuw worked as a translator, a correspondent for European media, a media officer and an expert on Iranian affairs, including Shia Islam. Verleuw also spent long periods in Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

iranThe present study is aimed at explaining the realities of a country which is only presented in the media for the sensational statements of some of its leaders or its deep involvement in the Middle East affairs. The image has been mostly negative for years, especially since the takeover of the American embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, although the Iranian clerics’ antagonism towards the United-States dates from the 1950s.

The recent signing of agreements between Iran and some Western countries carries many hopes for a restoration of better relations and a return to the international scene of a matured Iran. Many businessmen will head back to Tehran: the country is in fact extremely thirsty of procuring new technologies or materials to meet development capabilities in all areas. However, thirty-seven years of isolation has led Iran to become self-sufficient in many areas thanks to its young people who have never been forbidden to study in Western countries. The reader will be impressed by the intellectual level of the authorities as shown by the included biographies of the government members.

The land offers many opportunities, and this work highlights some of these areas. However, this study also cautions foreigners regarding their behavior and business opportunities while visiting Iran.

. The conference photography shows her as the lone woman. Secreted in the Semiramis Hotel, she and the other ‘forty thieves’ laid out policies whose failures (and Lawrence’s disillusionment) are well known.

Therein lies the tragedy of her life, perhaps more of a tragedy that than of Lawrence. Almost none of the undertakings to the Arabs to which she was an enthusiastic participant were realized. There were a number of these promises, although they were less publicized than those made in the famous McMahon letters. For example, the assurances at the 1916 durbar at Kuwait were equally dishonored: the shaikh of Kuwait received a CSI and Ibn Saud got the KCIE along with pledges that with the defeat of the Turks: “The dream of Arab unity … has been brought nearer fulfillment than dreams are wont to come, but the role of presiding genius has been recast.”


Instead of an Arabian viceregality that would justify the wonderful title of ‘Viceroys of the Gulf,’ or of a ‘final’ resolution of the region’s conflicts, British Imperial administration be- tween the world wars became a long and unsatisfactory interlude in which little was accomplished. Hobson remarks in Imperialism about the use of ‘masked worlds’ and an Imperial Genius for inconsistency: “Most of the men who have misled … have first been obliged to mislead themselves.” This was the case with Gertrude Bell, who committed suicide in 1926. After she and her friends departed the scene, the air went out if the balloon, and the ‘countervailing disadvantages’ of being misled became apparent to the Arabs. This little-known book is one key to heady days at Basra when the Middle East empire seemed likely.

 

Invasions of the Gulf: Radicalism, Ritualism and the Shaikhs

by Paul Rich

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The Gulf was ruled for a good part of the 19th and 20th centuries from India, and those who served there constituted a unique, small foreign service of their own. Their public (private boarding in American usage) school backgrounds taught them to believe in elitism and snobbery, which they passed on to their sheikhs who became obsessed with their own positions, their wealth, and rituals surrounding their majlis and the pompous titles of Highness and regal monarchy.

As Dr. Rich asks, if the British had come from ordinary schools would they have thought less about elitism and more about providing good education for their charges? Would the sheikhs have paid for education instead of thoroughbred racehorses? Would they still have treated Indians as houseboys?

The Residents did not see any incongruity between their own privileged education, and the lack of attention they paid to often appalling local conditions. If accused of neglect, the colonial rulers could reply that without them the Arabs of the Gulf would have been even worse off.

Dr. Rich’s verdict on the years of British rule is far from favourable. His conclusion is that British achievements were decidedly modest, and that a legacy was left behind which combined the worst features of Indo-British and Arab tradition. The rulers of the Gulf need to take crash courses in history, pluralism and constitutionalism if they are to survive. If the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq had brought the Gulf to its senses, then some good might have come from it. Obviously not. Perhaps the world is reaping the results of British policy that left a system in the Gulf which could not adapt, burdened by frontiers which are now questioned. Stability accompanied by social inertia was what the century and a half of British rule provided.

 

The Arab of Mesopotamia

by Gertrude Bell, Introduction by Paul Rich

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One very determined woman incontestably held her own and more with the great figures of the Middle East in the early twentieth century. That was Gertrude Bell. Highly strung, petulant, aggressive, and gossipy, she occasionally provided tea but rarely sympathy to the extraordinary group of British imperial administrators whose adventures centered on Basra at the head of the Gulf in 1914–1916. Not enough has been made of the Barra cabal as a group rather than individuals. Nor have the machinations of the ‘Basra gang’ had the attention given to figures such as Lawrence of Arabia and General Allenby, individuals who when all is said and done were not deeply involved in Gulf and Iraqi affairs.

The Arab of Mesopotamia is a collection of once confidential briefing papers that Bell helped to produce for British army officers new to the Mesopotamian theater, published in Basra by a military printer. The tone confirms views that Gertrude Bell and her colleagues were interested in the possibility of playing on the world stage and wanted quiet in the shaikhdoms while they pursued notions of a Middle East empire that would rival the Indian empire. Heady plans were made for an Imperial service that would include Arabia, Iraq, the Trans-Jordan, and even the Sudan. While exiting, this ‘mega outlook’ was opposed to Arab concerns.

arabThe apotheosis for Bell was reached in 1921 when Winston Churchill called a famous meet- ing of forty Middle East experts in Cairo. The conference photography shows her as the lone woman. Secreted in the Semiramis Hotel, she and the other ‘forty thieves’ laid out policies whose failures (and Lawrence’s disillusionment) are well known.

Therein lies the tragedy of her life, perhaps more of a tragedy that than of Lawrence. Almost none of the undertakings to the Arabs to which she was an enthusiastic participant were realized. There were a number of these promises, although they were less publicized than those made in the famous McMahon letters. For example, the assurances at the 1916 durbar at Kuwait were equally dishonored: the shaikh of Kuwait received a CSI and Ibn Saud got the KCIE along with pledges that with the defeat of the Turks: “The dream of Arab unity … has been brought nearer fulfillment than dreams are wont to come, but the role of presiding genius has been recast.” 


Instead of an Arabian viceregality that would justify the wonderful title of ‘Viceroys of the Gulf,’ or of a ‘final’ resolution of the region’s conflicts, British Imperial administration be- tween the world wars became a long and unsatisfactory interlude in which little was accomplished. Hobson remarks in Imperialism about the use of ‘masked worlds’ and an Imperial Genius for inconsistency: “Most of the men who have misled … have first been obliged to mislead themselves.” This was the case with Gertrude Bell, who committed suicide in 1926. After she and her friends departed the scene, the air went out if the balloon, and the ‘countervailing disadvantages’ of being misled became apparent to the Arabs. This little-known book is one key to heady days at Basra when the Middle East empire seemed likely.

 

The War in the Cradle of the World

by Eleanor Franklin Egan, Introduction by Paul Rich

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This book is an outstanding example of how the highly subjective and the autobiographical dominated writing about the Middle East in the first half of the twentieth century. Serious political analysis was thin on the ground. Egan was fortunate in the quality of her contacts in the area, including Lt. General Sir William Raine Marshall, who was General Maude’s successor, Brig. General Robert Hughes and Admiral Sir Drury St. Aubyn Wake. 


cradleWartime in Baghdad raises questions about the relationship between the British and the Americans in the Middle East. Early in the nineteenth century the British were apprehensive about American ships trading with the Arabs, and this suspicion of both the Arabs and the Americans continued through the years. After World War I British doubts grew. Unquestionably some of the American institutions in the Middle East were breeding grounds for Arab nationalists. 


Eleanor Egan’s book should not be read for what it tells about Baghdad during a war, but as a reminder that the United States in many ways has inherited the British position in the Gulf. The American military retains a considerable respect for British military traditions.

 

The Ins and Outs of Mesopotamia

by Thomas Lyell, Introduction by Paul Rich

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This highly opinionated book, written by a British officer in occupied Iraq, first appeared in 1923. Thomas Lyell was completely convinced of the necessity of the British presence in Iraq, and felt his book would help to enlighten Westerns as to the “true” nature of Iraqi life, complicated as it was by the various religious and political factions that existed within the country. Bigoted and prejudiced, though intensely pragmatic, this book is a truly startling expose of the attitude taken by British officers towards the indigenous peoples of the Gulf region, over whose day-to-day lives they were given charge.

insandoutsAgainst a background of the British invasion of the First World War and the subsequent civil war, Lyell presents a portrait of life as he saw it. He explodes in detail the influence of religion on Arab life, both in its domination of everyday affairs and in the antipathy between orthodox Sunnis and unorthodox Shias, believing an appreciation of this to be crucial to any understanding of the area. Although his experiences as a criminal judge may have coloured his views towards the Arabs (whom he considered lawless and unfit for self-government), he is equally castigating of British, Jewish and Kurdish peoples in the region (bemoaning British folly in placing a Sunni of the throne of largely Shia Iraq, and referring to the Kurds as “untrained savages”).

Commenting, in the final section of the book, on the possible future of Iraq, Lyell has grim warnings. He foresaw the influence of the Red Army in the area, the threat of a Kurdish revolution and, in the event of the British pulling out and leaving the Iraqis to govern themselves, a bleak future for the minority elements in the country: “… no conceivable guarantees in the world ensure their safety … All modern civilization and progress would be wiped out.”