Term Paper: Intended to Give an Insight

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¶ … intended to give an insight into the Middle East with emphasis on the areas of concern namely Israel and Palestine, and Iraq. The viewing of the situation is from the Conservative point-of-view and taking into consideration the growing feeling among the Conservatives that the current administrative policies have been influenced strongly by the Neo-conservatives against whom the Conservatives have strong reservations.

The Middle East is a very significant region in the world and just as it is important so has it been deeply misunderstood. It is the cradle of Western civilization where the ancient civilizations flourished and also the birthplace of three important religions namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It houses a variety of cultures and peoples that include Arabs, Berbers, Armenians, Jews, Iranians, Turks and Kurds. This diversity has been the cause of conflicts and will continue to be so. In addition external intervention has been a frequent occurrence in the history of the region and it has been the target of conquests by Romans, Mongols and Turks among others. This region will be of vital interest to the United States and other world powers as it is the biggest source of petroleum. It is also receives a large quantity of foreign aid and it is of vital strategic importance. (Political Science 375: Middle East Politics)

The collapse of communism has made many Western countries including the U.S. To view the rising militant Muslim fundamentalism and certain Middle Eastern countries as the biggest threat they currently face. The events of September 11, 2001 have gone a long way in reinforcing this. The Average American is quite often confused and some times find the Middle East inexplicable despite its significance. This arises from the diversity of the region. There are many sects of Islam and the other regional faiths are also divided, having their own character and history and this makes the region quite confusing. The political systems are varied too and include authoritarian regimes, monarchies, parliamentary democracies, presidential democracies and theocracies. Finally the countries in the region have significant differences in the levels of wealth, population and size of the country, levels of education, minority groups, domestic and external politics. (Political Science 375: Middle East Politics)

Israel and Palestine:

History as well as different views of history could well be the most significant factors in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Several accounts of this history have been written and interpreted in different ways depending on whether the intention is negation of the other sides views or whether it justification of the views held. Many of these accounts try to convince rather than inform. Determining who is right by using history or accounts of history just for the sake of convincing anyone, as to who is right hardly seems convincing. Should truth be found in any of these accounts and it is bitter, then quite likely it will be buried. The land called Israel or Palestine depending on who is doing the calling is a small strip of land approximately ten thousand square miles in size. (Israel and Palestine: A Brief History)

During the long history of this land the ownership has varied and so has its area and population. The current state of Israel occupies all the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In the south it is bounded by Egypt, Lebanon in the north and Jordan to the east. The state of Israel occupies approximately 78% of the land. The rest is made up of areas occupied by Israel since the 1967 war and the autonomous regions under the Palestinian Authority. The Gaza strip consisting of 141 square miles of area and to the south of Israel is also under the control of the Palestinian Authority, though there are small pockets of Israeli settlements. (Israel and Palestine: A Brief History)

The national unity government of Ariel Sharon and the use of tanks of and helicopters in attacks on the Palestinian towns on the West Bank and Gaza and the blockade of the areas under the Palestinian Authority brought the peace process under the Oslo declaration of 1993 to an abrupt end. The Palestinians now press for a return to the pre-1967 borders as an independent state with East Jerusalem as their capital. They also reject any interim accommodation, as it will keep them in a situation of dependence. This unfortunate deadlock in the Arab-Israeli conflict including the freezing of negotiations between Syria and Israel comes at the critical time when a new set of leaders have taken the reins at Jordan, Syria, Qatar, UAE and Palestine. It could be the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Middle East, which has seen a lot of economic, political and social challenges especially since the events of September 11. Will this collapse of the peace process be final and would that cause a new conflict in the region and will the political confrontation taking place between the Arabs and the Israelis lead to a bigger conflict of religions are two questions that need to be addressed with careful consideration. (a special focus on the Middle East)

Iraq:

During the First World War, British troops gained control of the area known as Mesopotamia in 1915. After the war under a League of Nations mandate Britain retained control of the territory. A bloody Arab uprising in 1920 causes Britain to establish a Hashemite monarchy in 1921. In 1932 Iraq became nominally independent with Britain retaining a major interest both in petroleum and defense. The borders of present day Iraq were drawn up by diplomats, as was the practice at that time. There was no thought given to geographic or ethnic differences. The north was carved out of Kurdish region and the south made up of politically dominant but outnumbered Sunnis along with the relatively powerless yet numerous Shias. Saddam Hussein officially took the reigns of Iraq in 1979 and petroleum dollars made Iraq a thriving regional power. In 1980, he declared war on Iran in an attempt to crush the fledgling Shiite Islamic republic under Ayatollah Khomeini and gained control of the Shatt al - Arab waterway, which was disputed territory. (Special Section: U.S. Vs. Iraq History)

The war continued for eight years causing terrible casualties and devastation, yet not disturbing the boundaries on the maps. In 1990 Sadaam Hussein declared oil-rich Kuwait as a province of Iraq and occupied it. This led to the Gulf War the next year in which the U.S. led coalition with the support of many Arab states routed the Iraq army and set Kuwait free. The UN regulations ending the war required Iraq to give up all plans for any weapons of mass destruction, including the destruction of any such weapons already in their possession. Subsequently Hussein refused to stop any activity leading to the development of weapons of mass destruction, which he was bound to do as per the UN resolutions and in addition ousted the UN weapon inspectors sent to supervise the destruction of such weapons and international sanctions were imposed leading to severe economic devastation. In 2003 the U.S. along with a coalition of countries came together to remove Saddam Hussein from the leadership of Iraq, as it was felt that weapons of mass destruction were still in Iraq's possession and Saddam was a threat not only to the region but to any other country in the world and that his people were suffering under his rule with mass persecutions and did so. (Special Section: U.S. Vs. Iraq History)

Signs of Iraqi chemical readiness were increasing as the army neared Baghdad. Tabun a nerve gas and chemical weapon, which Iraq is banned from possessing were retrieved from a training facility in the western Iraqi desert by American troops. Nearer to Baghdad at an Iraq's biggest military industrial complex nerve agent antidotes, documents on chemical warfare and a white powder apparently used in the preparation of explosives were found. (Allies Find Signs of Iraq's Chemical Preparedness) Men, women and little children slaughtered in cold blood by the stooges of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein were found in a trench. A similar terrible mass grave was discovered in the desert of northwestern Iraq near the town of Hatra. These are similar to what was found at the town of Hilla south of Baghdad in 2003, just after Saddam was ousted. A mass grave of Iraqi Shiite Muslims was found there. Many of these were those who opposed the rule of Saddam Hussein and rose in revolt in 1991. Women and civilians were also seen among the dead bodies. (Reporter's Notebook: Saddam's Killing Field)

The Conservatives in the U.S.:

Opposition to rapid change in government and society are the tenets of Conservatives and so too in the U.S. This demands that any change be brought about by the rule of law rather than through a sudden upheaval or revolution and that this might finally end up in a right or left leaning government is less important. An example of this is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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