|Cato Policy Analysis No. 159||August 16, 1991|
by Sheldon L. Richman
Sheldon L. Richman is senior editor at the Cato Institute.
When Iranian revolutionaries entered the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and seized 52 Americans, President Jimmy Carter dismissed reminders of America's long intervention in Iran as "ancient history." Carter's point was not merely that previous U.S. policy could not excuse the hostage taking. His adjective also implied that there was nothing of value to be learned from that history. In his view, dredging up old matters was more than unhelpful; it was also dangerous, presumably because it could only serve the interests of America's adversaries. Thus, to raise historical issues was at least unpatriotic and maybe worse.(1)
As the United States finds itself in the aftermath of another crisis in the Middle East, it is worth the risk of opprobrium to ask why there should be hostility toward America in that region. Some insight can be gained by surveying official U.S. conduct in the Middle East since the end of World War II. Acknowledged herein is a fundamental, yet deplorably overlooked, distinction between understanding and excusing. The purpose of this survey is not to pardon acts of violence against innocent people but to understand the reasons that drive people to violent political acts.(2) The stubborn and often self-serving notion that the historical record is irrelevant because political violence is inexcusable ensures that Americans will be caught in crises in the Middle East and elsewhere for many years to come.
After 70 years of broken Western promises regarding Arab independence, it should not be surprising that the West is viewed with suspicion and hostility by the populations (as opposed to some of the political regimes) of the Middle East.(3) The United States, as the heir to British imperialism in the region, has been a frequent object of suspicion. Since the end of World War II, the United States, like the European colonial powers before it, has been unable to resist becoming entangled in the region's political conflicts. Driven by a desire to keep the vast oil reserves in hands friendly to the United States, a wish to keep out potential rivals (such as the Soviet Union), opposition to neutrality in the cold war, and domestic political considerations, the United States has compiled a record of tragedy in the Middle East. The most recent part of that record, which includes U.S. alliances with Iraq to counter Iran and then with Iran and Syria to counter Iraq, illustrates a theme that has been played in Washington for the last 45 years.
An examination of the details and consequences of that theme provides a startling object lesson in the pitfalls and conceit of an interventionist foreign policy. The two major components of the theme that are covered in this study are U.S. policy toward Iran and the relations between Israel and the Arabs. Events in which those components overlapped-- development of the Carter Doctrine, the Iran-Iraq War, and the Persian Gulf War--will also be examined.
In the aftermath of the most overt and direct U.S. attempt to manage affairs in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf War, it is more important than ever to understand how the United States came to be involved in the region and the disastrous consequences of that involvement. President Bush's willingness to sacrifice American lives to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, to restore the "legitimate" government of that feudal monarchy, and to create a "new world order" proceeds logically from the premises and policies of past administrations. Indeed, there is little new in Bush's new world order, except the Soviet Union's assistance. That may mean the new order will be far more dangerous than the old, because it will feature an activist U.S. foreign policy without the inhibitions that were formerly imposed by the superpower rivalry. That bodes ill for the people of the Middle East, as well as for the long-suffering American citizens, who will see their taxes continue to rise, their consumer economy increasingly distorted by military spending, and their blood spilled--all in the name of U.S. leadership.
If the chief natural resource of the Middle East were bananas, the region would not have attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers as it has for decades. Americans became interested in the oil riches of the region in the 1920s, and two U.S. companies, Standard Oil of California and Texaco, won the first concession to explore for oil in Saudi Arabia in the 1930s. They discovered oil there in 1938, just after Standard Oil of California found it in Bahrain. The same year Gulf Oil (along with its British partner Anglo-Persian Oil) found oil in Kuwait. During and after World War II, the region became a primary object of U.S. foreign policy. It was then that policymakers realized that the Middle East was "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history."(4)
Subsequently, as a result of cooperation between the U.S. government and several American oil companies, the United States replaced Great Britain as the chief Western power in the region.(5) In Iran and Saudi Arabia, American gains were British (and French) losses.(6) Originally, the dominant American oil interests had had limited access to Iraqi oil only (through the Iraq Petroleum Company, under the 1928 Red Line Agreement). In 1946, however, Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil Oil Corp., seeing the irresistible opportunities in Saudi Arabia, had the agreement voided.(7) When the awakening countries of the Middle East asserted control over their oil resources, the United States found ways to protect its access to the oil. Nearly everything the United States has done in the Middle East can be understood as contributing to the protection of its long-term access to Middle Eastern oil and, through that control, Washington's claim to world leadership. The U.S. build-up of Israel and Iran as powerful gendarmeries beholden to the United States, and U.S. aid given to "moderate," pro-Western Arab regimes, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Jordan, were intended to keep the region in friendly hands. That was always the meaning of the term "regional stability."(8)
What threatened American access to the region? Although much was made of the Soviet threat, there is reason to believe that throughout the cold war Washington did not take it seriously in the Middle East. The primary perceived threat was indigenous--namely, Arab and Iranian nationalism, which appears to have been the dominant concern from 1945 on. "The most serious threats may emanate from internal changes in the gulf states," a congressional report stated in 1977.(9) Robert W. Tucker, the foreign policy analyst who advocated in the 1970s that the United States take over the Middle Eastern oil fields militarily, predicted that the "more likely" threat to U.S. access to the oil would "arise primarily from developments indigenous to the Gulf."(10) The rise of Arab nationalism or Muslim fundamentalism, or any other force not sufficiently obeisant to U.S. interests, would threaten American economic and worldwide political leadership (and the profits of state-connected corporations). As Tucker wrote, "It is the Gulf that forms the indispen-sable key to the defense of the American global position."(11) Thus, any challenge to U.S. hegemony had to be prevented or at least contained.(12) As Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said privately during the Lebanese crisis in 1958, the United States "must regard Arab nationalism as a flood which is running strongly. We cannot successfully oppose it, but we could put sand bags around positions we must protect--the first group being Israel and Lebanon and the second being the oil positions around the Persian Gulf."(13)
The government sought foreign sources of oil during World War II because it believed U.S. reserves were running out. Loy Henderson, who in 1945 was in charge of Near Eastern affairs for the State Department, said, "There is a need for a stronger role for this Government in the economics and political destinies of the Near and Middle East, especially in view of the oil reserves."(14) During the war the U.S. government and two American oil companies worked together to win concessions in Iran.(15) That action brought the United States into rivalry with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, both of which had dominated Iran in the interwar period, though Reza Shah Pahlavi had succeeded in reducing foreign influence from its previous level. (Great Britain had its oil concession through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.) With the Soviets and the British occupying Iran and both favoring the decentralization of that country, the Tehran government sought to involve American oil interests as a way of enlisting U.S. support for Iran's security and stability. The U.S. government aided the companies, by providing facilities for transportation and communication along with other help, and dispatched advisers to the Iranian regime. In 1942 Wallace Murray, a State Department official involved in Near Eastern affairs, said, "We shall soon be in the position of actually 'running' Iran through an impressive body of American advisers."(16)
The relationship between the U.S. government and large American oil companies remained close throughout the war, despite differences over such issues as the government's part ownership of commercial enterprises. The oil companies and the State Department coordinated their efforts to ensure themselves a major role in the Middle East. One indication of that coordination was the appointment in 1941 of Max Thornburg as the State Department's petroleum adviser. The United States was a comparative latecomer to the region, but it intended to make up for lost time. Thornburg had been an official with the Bahrain Petroleum Company, a Middle Eastern subsidiary of Socal (Standard Oil of Cali-fornia) and Texaco. Throughout his government tenure, he maintained ties with the company and even collected a $29,000 annual salary from the oil company.(17)
While still in the department, Thornburg commissioned a study on foreign oil policy that predicted dwindling domestic reserves and advised that those reserves be conserved by ensuring U.S. access to foreign oil. As a result, Secretary of State Cordell Hull created the Committee on International Petroleum Policy, which included Thornburg. The committee recommended creation of the Petroleum Reserves Corporation, which would be controlled by the State Department and would buy options on Saudi Arabian oil. Once in operation, the corporation tried to buy all the stock of the California Arabian Standard Oil Company, created by Socal and owned by it and Texaco, but the deal eventually fell through.(18) Government officials had great hopes for the Petroleum Reserves Corporation. As Interior Secretary Harold Ickes revealingly put it, "If we can really get away with it, the Petroleum Reserves Corporation can be a big factor in world oil affairs and have a strong influence on foreign relations generally." Ickes was thinking of the influence that the government would have on oil prices and distribution.(19) A similar view is found in a 1953 position paper prepared by the Departments of State, Defense, and the Interior for the National Security Council, which stated that "American oil operations are, for all practical purposes, instruments of our foreign policy."(20) Such was the attitude of the U.S. government and its partners in the oil industry after World War II.
Iran and the Soviets, 1945-47
The first U.S. intervention in the Middle East after World War II grew directly out of U.S. participation in that conflict. During the war, U.S. noncombatant troops were stationed in Iran to help with the transfer of equipment and supplies to the Soviet Union. The Red Army occupied the northern part of the country in 1941; the British were in central and southern Iran. In the Tripartite Treaty of January 1942 (not signed by the United States), the Soviet Union and Great Britain had said that their presence there was not an occupation and that all troops would be withdrawn within six months of the end of the war. At the Tehran conference in late 1943, the United States pledged, along with Great Britain and the Soviet Union, to help rebuild and develop Iran after the war. Those countries gave assurances of Iranian sovereignty, although that may have been a mere courtesy to a host country that had not even been notified that a summit would be held on its soil.(21)
The Soviet Union broke its promise about withdrawing. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin viewed the part of Iran that bordered his country as important to Soviet security, and he was aware of the U.S. and British designs on Iran, which had traditionally sided with the Soviet Union's enemies. Although the Soviet Union had much oil, Stalin was concerned about the size of its reserves and so was interested in the northern part of Iran as a potential source of oil. But as State Department official George Kennan sized up the situation at the time, "The basic motive of recent Soviet action in northern Iran is probably not the need for the oil itself, but apprehension of potential foreign penetration in that area."(22) The Soviets meddled in Iranian government affairs, oppressed the middle class in the north, and helped revive the suppressed Iranian Communist (Tudeh) party. When the war ended, the British and U.S. forces left Iran, but the Soviet troops moved southward. They by then had established two separatist regimes headed by Soviet-picked leaders (the Autonomous People's Republic of Azerbaijan and the Kurdish People's Republic) and kept the Iranians from putting down separatist uprisings. (The Azerbaijanis and Kurds, members of large ethnic groups that live in several countries, had long hated the rulers in Tehran.) Negotiations between the Soviets and Iran's prime minister, Qavam as-Saltaneh, won Moscow the right to intervene on behalf of the Azerbaijani regime, an oil concession in the north, and the appointment of three Communists to the Iranian cabinet.(23)
That Soviet conduct irritated President Harry S Truman. He said he feared for Turkey's security and criticized "Russia's callous disregard of the rights of a small nation and of her own solemn promises."(24) The United States formally protested to Stalin and then to the UN Security Council. Those actions succeeded in getting the Soviets to leave, although Truman may also have threatened to send forces into Iran if Stalin did not withdraw his troops.(25) In late 1946 the Truman administration encouraged Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, who succeeded his father in 1941, to forcibly dismantle the separatist regimes the Soviets had left behind.(26) In 1947 the administration objected to the use of intimidation (by others) to win commercial concessions in Iran and promised to support the Iranians on issues related to national resources. As a result, the Iranian government refused to ratify the agreement with the Soviets on the oil concession in the north.
Truman's high-profile use of the United Nations and his bluster against the Soviets were the beginning of U.S. post-war involvement in the Middle East. In 1947 Truman issued his Truman Doctrine, pledging to "assist free people to work out their own destinies in their own way," ostensibly to thwart the Soviets in Greece and Turkey. In reality, it marked the formal succession of the United States to the position of influence that Great Britain had previously held in the Middle East.(27)
Mossadegh and the Shah, 1953
When Dwight D. Eisenhower became president in 1953, his administration had one overriding foreign policy objective: to keep the Soviet Union from gaining influence and possibly drawing countries away from the U.S. orbit. To that end, Eisenhower's secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, crafted a policy the primary principle of which was the impossibility of neutrality in the cold war. In the Dulles world view, there was no such thing as an independent course; a country was either with the United States or against it. That principle helps explain much of the Eisenhower administration's conduct in the Middle East, for if there was one region in which the United States strove to prevent what it called Soviet penetration, it was the Middle East.
The earliest direct U.S. involvement occurred in Iran. Even before Eisenhower took office, political turbulence in that country was on the rise, prompted by discontent over Iran's oil royalty arrangement with the British-owned AngloIranian Oil Company.(28) A highly nationalist faction (the National Front) of the Majlis, or parliament, led by Moham med Mossadegh, nationalized the oil industry. (Nationalization was considered a symbol of freedom from foreign influence.) Mossadegh, whom the shah reluctantly made prime minister after the nationalization, opposed all foreign aid, including U.S. assistance to the army. He also refused to negotiate with the British about oil, and in late 1952 he broke off relations with Great Britain. The turmoil associated with nationalization stimulated activity by Iranian Communists and the outlawed Tudeh party. At a rally attended by 30,000 people, the Communists hoisted anti-Western, pro-Soviet signs, including ones that accused Mossadegh of being an American puppet.(29)
In the United States, officials feared that loss of Iranian oil would harm the European Recovery Program and concluded that the communist activity in Iran was a bad omen, although the Soviets did not intervene beyond giving moral support.(30) The Mossadegh government hoped that the United States would continue to deal with Iran and prevent economic collapse, but the Truman administration put its relations with Great Britain first and participated in an international boycott of Iranian oil--although Washington did give Tehran a small amount of aid. U.S.-Iranian relations deteriorated, as did the Iranian economy. Under that pressure, Mossadegh resorted to undemocratic methods to forestall the election of anti-government deputies to the Majlis. When he tried to control the Ministry of Defense, he was forced to resign, but he soon returned to power when his successor's policies triggered virulent criticism from Mossadegh's supporters. Mossadegh came through the crisis with increased, and in some ways authoritarian, powers.(31) On August 10, 1953, the shah, unable to dominate Mossadegh, left Tehran for a long "vacation" on the Caspian Sea and then in Baghdad. But he did not leave until he knew that a U.S. operation was under way to save him.
As author James A. Bill has written: "The American intervention of August 1953 was a momentous event in the history of Iranian-American relations. [It] left a running wound that bled for twenty-five years and contaminated relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran following the revolution of 1978-79."(32) London had first suggested a covert operation to Washington about a year earlier. The British were mainly concerned about their loss of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, but in appealing to the United States, they emphasized the communist threat, "not wishing to be accused of trying to use the Americans to pull British chestnuts out of the fire."(33)
The British need not have invoked the Soviet threat to win over John Foster Dulles or his brother Allen Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency; both were former members of the Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.(34) Besides, there was ample evidence that Mossadegh was neither a Communist nor a communist sympathizer. Nevertheless, Operation Ajax was hatched--the brainchild of the CIA's Middle East chief, Kermit Roosevelt, who directed it from Tehran.(35) Also sent there was Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose job was to recruit anti-Mossadegh forces with CIA money.(36) The objective of Operation Ajax was to help the shah get rid of Mossadegh and replace him with the shah's choice for prime minister, Gen. Fazlollas Zahedi, who had been jailed by the British during World War II for pro-Nazi activities.(37)
The covert operation began, appropriately enough, with assurances to Mossadegh from the U.S. ambassador, Loy Henderson, that the United States did not plan to intervene in Iran's internal affairs. The operation then filled the streets of Tehran with mobs of people--many of them thugs-- who were loyal to the shah or who had been recipients of CIA largess. In the ensuing turmoil, which included fighting in the streets that killed 300 Iranians, Mossadegh fled and was arrested. On August 22, 12 days after he had fled, the shah returned to Tehran. Mossadegh was sentenced to three years in prison and then house arrest on his country estate.
Later, in his memoirs, Eisenhower claimed that Mossadegh had been moving toward the Communists and that the Tudeh party supported him over the shah. Yet a January 1953 State Department intelligence report said that the prime minister was not a Communist or communist sympathizer and that the Tudeh party sought his overthrow.(38) Indeed, Mossadegh had opposed the Soviet occupation after the war.(39) Author Leonard Mosely has written that "the masses were with him, even if the army, police, and landowners were not."(40) Eight years after his overthrow, Mossadegh, about 80 years of age, appeared before a throng of 80,000 supporters shouting his name.(41)
Once restored to power, the shah entered into an agreement with an international consortium, 40 percent of which was held by American oil companies, for the purchase of Iranian oil. It was symptomatic of the postwar displacement of British by U.S. interests that the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was not restored to its previous dominance.(42) In succeeding years the United States regarded the shah as a key ally in the Middle East and provided his repressive and corrupt government with billions of dollars in aid and arms.
The restoration of the shah to the Peacock Throne engendered immense hostility toward the United States and had cataclysmic consequences. The revolutionary torrent that built up was ultimately too much for even the United States to handle. By the late 1970s the shah and his poor record on human rights had become so repugnant to the State Department under Cyrus Vance that almost any alternative was deemed preferable to the shah's rule. But the shah had his defenders at the Pentagon and on the National Security Council who still thought he was important to regional stability and who favored his taking decisive action to restore order. President Carter at first was ambivalent. U.S. policy evolved from a suggestion that the shah gradually relinquish power to a call for him to leave the country. On January 16, 1979, the shah, as he had in 1953, took leave of his country--this time for good.(43)
When the monarchy was finally overthrown in the 1978-79 revolution, which was inspired by Islamic fundamentalism and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranians held Americans hostage for over a year at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and the United States suffered a humiliating repudiation of its foreign policy in the Middle East. Iran and Israel had been built up over the years into the chief U.S. security agents in the region. Now Iran would no longer perform that function, and more of the burden had to be shifted to Israel.
Israel and the Arabs?
The Creation of Israel
In the aftermath of World War I, Great Britain was granted a mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations. By 1947, however, the violence directed at British officers by Jews and Arabs, and the financial drain on the declining imperial power after World War II, moved Great Britain to turn to the United Nations for help. In April 1947 the Arab nations proposed at the United Nations that Palestine be declared an independent state, but that measure was defeated and instead, at Washington's suggestion, a UN commission was set up to study the problem.
The defeat of the Arab proposal is important to an understanding of subsequent events. During World War I the British sought Arab support against the Ottoman Turks, who ruled much of the Arab world. In return for their support, the British promised the Arabs their long-sought independence. The British, however, also made promises about the same territory to the Zionists who sought to establish a Jewish state on the site of Biblical Israel. The Balfour Declaration, issued on November 2, 1917, stated that "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object. . . ." Significantly, however, the sentence ended with the words, "it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." (The U.S. Congress endorsed the Balfour Declaration, using similar language, in 1922.)(44) Toward the end of World War I, however, the Bolsheviks exposed a secret Anglo-French agreement to divide the Ottoman Empire between Great Britain and France. Arab independence had never been seriously intended. Meanwhile, Great Britain was preparing to allow Jewish immigration into Palestine.(45)
Violence among Jews, Arabs, and British officials in Palestine before and after World War II led London to ask the United Nations in 1947 for a recommendation on how to deal with the problem.(46) The murder of millions of Jews by the Nazis and the deplorable state of the Holocaust survivors had stimulated the international effort to establish a sovereign Jewish state in Palestine, and American Zionists had declared in 1942 (in the Biltmore Program) "that Palestine be established as a Jewish Commonwealth integrated in the structure of the new democratic world."(47)
In November 1947 the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recommend partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. The two states were to be joined in an economic union, and Jerusalem would be administered by the United Nations. The Arabs would get 43 percent of the land, the Jews 57 percent. The proposed apportionment should be assessed in light of the following facts: The Jewish portion was better land; by the end of 1947 the percentage of Palestine purchased by Jews was less than 7 percent; Jewish land purchases accounted for only 10 percent of the proposed Jewish state; and Jews made up less than one-third of the population of Palestine.(48) Moreover, the Jewish state was to include 497,000 Arabs, who would constitute just under 50 percent of the new state's population.
The United States not only accepted the UN plan, it aggressively promoted it among the other members of the United Nations. Truman had been personally moved by the tragedy of the Jews and by the condition of the refugees. That response and his earlier studies of the Bible made him open to the argument that emigration to Palestine was the proper remedy for the surviving Jews of Europe. Yet he acknowledged later, in his memoirs, that he was "fully aware of the Arabs' hostility to Jewish settlement in Palestine."(49) He, like his predecessor, had promised he would take no action without fully consulting the Arabs, and he reneged.
Truman's decision to support establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine was made against the advice of most of the State Department and other foreign policy experts, who were concerned about U.S. relations with the Arabs and possible Soviet penetration of the region. Secretary James Forrestal of the Defense Department and Loy Henderson, at that time the State Department's chief of Near Eastern affairs, pressed those points most vigorously. Henderson warned that partition would not only create anti-Americanism but would also require U.S. troops to enforce it, and he stated his belief that partition violated both U.S. and UN principles of self-determination.(50)
But Truman was concerned about the domestic political implications as well as the foreign policy implications of the partition issue. As he himself put it during a meeting with U.S. ambassadors to the Middle East, according to William A. Eddy, the ambassador to Saudi Arabia, "I'm sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism: I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents."(51) Later, in a 1953 article in the American Zionist, Emmanuel Neumann, president of the Zionist Organization of America, conceded that Truman would not have worked so hard for the creation of Israel but for "the prospect of wholesale defections from the Democratic Party."(52) Truman's decision to support the Zionist cause was also influenced by Samuel I. Rosenman, David K. Niles, and Clark Clifford, all members of his staff, and Eddie Jacobson, his close friend and former business partner. Truman later wrote:
The White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leaders--actuated by political motives and engaging in political threats--disturbed and annoyed me.(53)
Pressure on Truman also came from non-Jewish fundamentalists and politicians.
In some cases, support for Jewish admission to and statehood in Palestine may have had another domestic political angle. That support sidestepped the sensitive issue of U.S. immigration quotas, which had kept European Jews out of the United States since the 1920s and had left them at the mercy of the Nazis. In other words, support for Zionism may have been a convenient way for people who did not want Jews to come to the United States to avoid appearing anti-Semitic. American classical liberals and others, including the American Council for Judaism, opposed the quotas, and it is probable that many of the refugees, given the option, would have preferred to come to the United States.(54)
By mid-November 1947 the Truman administration was firmly in the Zionist camp. When the State Department and the U.S. mission to the United Nations agreed that the partition resolution should be changed to shift the Negev from the Jewish to the Palestinian state, Truman sided with the Jewish Agency, the main Zionist organization, against them.(55) The United States also voted against a UN resolution calling on member states to accept Jewish refugees who could not be repatriated.(56)
As the partition plan headed toward a vote in the UN General Assembly, U.S. officials applied pressure to--and even threatened to withhold promised aid from--countries inclined to vote against the resolution. As former under-secretary of state Sumner Welles put it:
By direct order of the White House every form of pressure, direct and indirect, was brought to bear by American officials upon those countries outside of the Moslem world that were known to be either uncertain or opposed to partition. Representatives or intermediaries were employed by the White House to make sure that the necessary majority would at length be secured.(57)
Eddie Jacobson recorded in his diary that Truman told him that "he [Truman] and he alone, was responsible for swinging the vote of several delegations."(58)
While the plan was being debated, the Arabs desperately tried to find an alternative solution. Syria proposed that the matter be turned over to the International Court of Justice in The Hague; the proposal was defeated. The Arab League asked that all countries accept Jewish refugees "in proportion to their area and economic resources and other relevant factors"; the league's request was denied in a 16-16 tie, with 25 abstentions.(59)
On November 29 the General Assembly recommended the partition plan by a vote of 33 to 13. The Soviet Union voted in favor of the resolution, reversing its earlier position on Zionism; many interpreted the vote as a move to perpetuate unrest and give Moscow opportunities for influence in the neighboring region.
The period after the UN partition vote was critical. The Zionists accepted the partition reluctantly, hoping to someday expand the Jewish state to the whole of Palestine, but the Arabs did not.(60) Violence between Jews and Arabs escalated. The obvious difficulties in carrying out the partition created second thoughts among U.S. policymakers as early as December 1947. The State Department's policy planning staff issued a paper in January 1948 suggesting that the United States propose that the entire matter be returned to the General Assembly for more study. Secretary Forrestal argued that the United States might have to enforce the partition with troops. (The United States had an arms embargo on the region at the time, although arms were being sent illegally by American Zionists, giving the Jews in Palestine military superiority, at least in some respects, over the Arabs.)(61)
On February 24, 1948, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Warren Austin, made a speech to the Security Council hinting at such second thoughts. His proposal to have the five permanent council members discuss what should be done was approved, but they could not agree on a new strategy. The United States, China, and France reported to the full council that partition would not occur peacefully. The apparent weakening of U.S. support for partition prompted the Zionist organizations to place enormous pressure on Truman, who said he still favored partition. However, the next day at the United Nations, Austin called for a special session of the General Assembly to consider a temporary UN trusteeship for Palestine.
On April 16 the United States formally proposed the temporary trusteeship. The Arabs accepted it conditionally; the Jews rejected it. The General Assembly was unenthusiastic. Meanwhile, the Zionists proceeded with their plans to set up a state. Civil order in Palestine had almost totally broken down. For example, in mid-April, the Irgun and LEHI (the Stern Gang), two Zionist terrorist organizations, attacked the poorly armed Arab village of Deir Yassin, near Jerusalem, and killed 250 men, women, and children. The Arabs retaliated by killing many Jews the next day.(62) Before the British left in May, the Jews had occupied much additional land, including cities that were to be in the Palestinian state.
Something else was working in favor of continued support for the emerging Jewish state: U.S. domestic politics. The year 1948 was an election year and, according to memoranda in the Harry S Truman Library and Museum, Jacobson, Clifford, and Niles expressed fear that the Republicans were making an issue of their support for the Jewish state and that the Democrats risked losing Jewish support. Clifford proposed early recognition of the Jewish state.(63)
His position had been strongly influenced by a special congres-sional election in a heavily Jewish district in the Bronx, New York, on February 17, 1948. The regular Democratic candidate, Karl Propper, was upset by the American Labor party candidate, Leo Isacson, who had taken a militantly pro-Zionist position in the campaign. Even though Propper was also pro-Zionist, former vice president Henry Wallace had campaigned for Isacson by criticizing Truman for not supporting partition, asserting that Truman "still talks Jewish but acts Arab."(64) The loss meant that New York's 47 electoral votes would be at risk in the November presidential election, and the Democrats of the state appealed to Truman to propose a UN police force to implement the partition, as Isacson and Wallace had advocated.
The administration's trusteeship idea soon became academic. On May 14 the last British officials left Palestine, and that evening the Jewish state was proclaimed. Eleven minutes later, to the surprise of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, the United States announced its de facto recognition.(65)
The significance to the Arabs of the U.S. role in constructing what they regard as another Western colonial obstacle to self-determination cannot be overstated. Dean Rusk, who at the time was a State Department official and would later become secretary of state, admitted that Washington's role permitted the partition to be "construed as an American plan," depriving it of moral force.(66) As Evan M. Wilson, then assistant chief of the State Department's Division of Near Eastern Affairs, later summarized matters, Truman, motivated largely by domestic political concerns, solved one refugee problem by creating another. Wilson wrote:
It is no exaggeration to say that our relations with the entire Arab world have never recovered from the events of 1947-48 when we sided with the Jews against the Arabs and advocated a solution in Palestine which went contrary to self-determination as far as the majority population of the country was concerned.(67)
The Suez Crisis, 1956
On October 29, 1956, the Israeli army invaded Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Soon after, the forces of Great Britain and France launched air attacks against Egypt.
That crisis had its roots in two factors: friction at the armistice line, established after the 1948 war between Israel and Egypt, and control over the Suez Canal. Another factor was the withdrawal of the U.S. offer to help finance the High Aswan Dam in upper Egypt, a prized project of the country's new ruler and champion of Arab nationalism, Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Eisenhower and Dulles did not trust Nasser because he tried to steer a neutral course between the United States and the Soviet Union, and they were especially displeased with his recognition of Communist China. The administration first tried to win Nasser over, but when that failed, it tried obsessively to undermine him and worse.(68) The wish to undermine Nasser was important in forging a U.S.-Israeli "strategic relationship." The offer to finance the dam and provide arms (with conditions Nasser could not accept) were the carrots dangled before the charismatic Egyptian. When Nasser turned to the Soviets in September 1955 to purchase arms when he could not buy them from the United States without strings attached, his actions were seized on as proof that he was in the Soviet camp and thus an enemy of the United States.(69) (The events in Iran were not lost on Nasser.)
The United States also had antagonized Nasser in 1955 when it set up the Baghdad Pact (later called the Central Treaty Organization, or CENTO), an alliance of northern tier nations, including Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq (the only Arab country in the alliance). Great Britain was also a member. The United States was not a formal member but was clearly a guiding force. Nasser saw the pact as an attempt to split the Arab world and interfere with the "positive neutralism" he sought for it. Iraq at the time was friendly to the West and not disposed to the Arab nationalism that Nasser aspired to create and lead.(70) The Baghdad Pact was one of the things that had the ironic effect of bringing the Arabs and Soviets closer.
In mid-1956 the United States abruptly withdrew its offer to help finance the High Aswan Dam, just as the Egyptians had decided to accept the administration's conditions. The American reversal brought cancellations of aid for the dam from Great Britain and the World Bank as well. A week after the U.S. decision, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company, which since 1869 had been owned by French nationals and the British government and operated under an Egyptian concession. The British and French governments reacted angrily; for the French, it was not irrelevant that Nasser was helping the Algerians, who were seeking independence. The U.S. reaction was calmer, as Eisenhower and Dulles distinguished between ownership and freedom of navigation. (Nevertheless, the New York Times denounced Nasser as "the Hitler on the Nile.")(71) The U.S. administration warned Great Britain and France against responding precipitously and pressed for negotiations. A conference was convened, but Nasser refused to attend or accept its pro-posals. Nevertheless, international traffic on the canal continued normally under Egyptian administration. When Great Britain and France failed to get satisfaction from the United Nations, they began making plans for war.
Israel was not able to use the canal, but the Jewish state's aims regarding Egypt went beyond that grievance. Since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Palestinian refugees had often crossed into Israel seeking to regain property and possessions expropriated by the government and to reach relatives. Some engaged in violence. Israel began responding with massive reprisal raids against entire villages in the Arab countries. Most significant was the attack on the town of Gaza in February 1955, when children as well as men were killed. That attack prompted Egypt to end direct peace talks with Israel and to turn to the Soviet Union for arms. It was only at that point that Egypt sponsored an anti-Israeli guerrilla organization whose members were known as the Fedayeen. In August Israel attacked the Gaza Strip village of Khan Yunis, killing 39 Egyptians. The attacks in the Gaza Strip, masterminded by officials loyal to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, subverted Nasser's efforts to make peace with Israel. Ben-Gurion's successor, Moshe Sharett, re-sponded positively to Nasser's overtures, but Gen. Moshe Dayan and others undermined Sharett.(72) During the winter of 1955, for example, Israeli warplanes flew over Cairo repeatedly to demonstrate Egyptian military impotence.
The Israeli government had earlier tried to prevent a warming of U.S.-Egyptian relations by having saboteurs bomb American offices in Cairo in 1954, an episode that became known as the Lavon Affair.(73) When Egypt uncovered the operation, Israel accused Nasser of fabricating the plot. Two of the 13 men arrested were hanged, and their hangings were used as a pretext for Israel's February 1955 attack on Gaza. Six years later, the Israeli government's complicity was confirmed.
Israel's bad relations with Egypt were also aggravated by the seizure of an Israeli ship, which was provocatively sent into the Suez Canal in September 1954. Both sides had seized each other's ships before, and this incident appears to have been provoked by Israel as a way to get Great Britain to compel Egypt to permit Israeli ships to use the waterway as part of a final agreement on the Suez Canal.(74)
Despite repeated provocations, Egypt, according to documents later captured by Israel, had attempted to prevent infiltration by the Fedayeen because of its fear of attack.(75) Nevertheless, in October 1956 Israel invaded Egypt, ignoring American pleas for forbearance. The United States took the matter to the UN Security Council, which called for a cease-fire and withdrawal. It also passed a resolution to create a 6,000-man UN emergency force to help restore the status quo ante.
Eisenhower's opposition to the conduct of Israel, Great Britain, and France--an anomaly in light of later U.S. policy--is explained by his opposition to old-style colonialism. The administration wanted to win the friendship of the newly independent countries of Africa and Asia and to keep them out of the Soviet orbit. That could not be accomplished if the United States were perceived to be on the side of Great Britain and France in so flagrant an act of imperialism as an attack on Egypt. Also important to the administration's calculus was its wish that London not challenge Washington's more subtle dominance in the Middle East. British and French irritation with American anti-colonialism was a source of problems among the leaders of the three nations.(76)
When the UN call for a cease-fire failed to contain the conflict, the Soviet Union threatened to intervene, and Premier Nicolai Bulganin even proposed to Eisenhower that their two countries take joint military action to end the war. Eisenhower rejected the proposal and warned the Soviets not to get involved.(77)
The fighting ended on November 7, when Britain and France bowed to the United Nations and agreed to withdraw. Israel, however, refused to withdraw from the Sinai until its conditions were met. Israel was especially adamant that Egypt not regain the Gaza Strip, which was to have been part of the Palestinian state under the UN partition. Eisenhower responded to Israel's position by threatening to cut off aid, although he apparently never did so.(78) By March 1957 Israel had withdrawn from all the occupied areas, but not before the United States had given assurances that UN troops would be stationed on Egyptian territory to ensure free passage of Israeli and Israel-bound ships through the Strait of Tiran and to prevent Fedayeen activity. The United States, in an aide-mĒmoire by John Foster Dulles, also acknowledged that the Gulf of Aqaba was international waters and "that no nation has the right to prevent free and innocent passage in the Gulf and through the Straits." The key to the final settlement was a French proposal that Israel be allowed to act in self-defense under the UN charter if its ships were attacked in the Gulf of Aqaba.(79)
Thus, the United States again became directly involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict and made what would later be construed as guarantees to Israel. Although Israel chafed under the frank rhetoric and surprising (in light of the U.S. election season) evenhandedness of Eisenhower and Dulles, it got essentially what it wanted from the Suez campaign.(80)
The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Lebanon Invasion, 1958
The United States was determined to not let its preeminence in the Middle East be challenged--by anyone--again. Early in 1957 Eisenhower delivered a message to Congress in which he referred to the instability in the region being "heightened and, at times, manipulated by International Communism"--that is, the Soviet Union, he added obligatorily. Accordingly, he proposed a program of economic aid, military assistance, and cooperation and the use of U.S. troops, when requested, "against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by International Communism."(81) That was the Eisenhower Doctrine, which Congress ultimately approved and for which it authorized the spending of up to $200 million. Twelve of 15 Middle Eastern states approached by the administration accepted the doctrine. Initially hesitant, Israel also accepted it. However, only Lebanon formally endorsed the Eisenhower Doctrine, in return for promises of military and economic aid.(82)
Not everyone in the U.S. government understood the logic of the doctrine. Wilber Crane Eveland of the CIA later recounted his reaction:
I was shocked. Who, I wondered, had reached this determination of what the Arabs considered a danger? Israel's army had just invaded Egypt and still occupied all of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. And, had it not been for Russia's threat to intervene on behalf of the Egyptians, the British, French, and Israeli forces might now be sitting in Cairo, celebrating Nasser's ignominious fall from power.(83)
Eveland's reaction was not unusual. Many people believed that the Arabs did not rank the Soviet Union as their number-one threat. According to Eveland, when Eisenhower dispatched an envoy to sound out the Arab countries, Egypt, Syria, and some North African states said they saw no danger from international communism.(84)
In April 1957, when King Hussein of Jordan faced a Pan-Arabist challenge from socialist-nationalists and the Communist party, the U.S. government moved the Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean and provided $10 million in economic aid to his country, the first installment of a regular annual subsidy.(85) And when Syria appeared to be moving closer to Nasser and the Soviets, the Eisenhower administration, egged on by Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan, put area forces on alert and issued warnings against outside interference. The crisis subsided without direct intervention. Although the president talked much of the internal communist threat to the Arab countries, Eisenhower's biographer Stephen Ambrose writes that "what Eisenhower really feared was radical Arab nationalism" and its threat to the feudal monarchies.(86)
A full-blown intervention under the Eisenhower Doctrine finally took place in Lebanon in 1958. Rising Pan-Arabism, which worried several Arab regimes, surged on February 1 when Egypt and Syria joined to become the United Arab Republic. In re sponse, King Hussein entered a unity agreement of his own with his fellow Hashemite ruler in Iraq. And King Saud of Saudi Arabia was also so concerned that he tried to have Nasser assassinated.
In Lebanon the development was viewed as especially upsetting. The fragile Lebanese confessional system, in which religious groups have representation in the government in ratios fixed by the constitution, made the country particularly susceptible to disturbances.(87) Lebanon's large Sunni Muslim population was sympathetic to Pan-Arabism, as were its Druzes (a Muslim sect). Camille Chamoun, the country's Maronite Catholic president, feared Nasser and his ideology and favored a close relationship with the United States.
Chamoun aggravated the Pan-Arabist distrust of him by seeking a second six-year term as president, contrary to the Lebanese constitution. To achieve that ambition, he used dubious methods (possibly rigging the election) to elect a parliamentary majority that would change the constitution. The CIA funneled money to selected candidates.(88) When a pro-Nasser newspaper editor was killed, a rebellion ignited: a coalition of Sunni, Druze, and other opponents of Chamoun demanded his resignation and called for radical reform. The rebels controlled parts of Beirut and rural areas and accepted armed assistance from Syria.(89)
Chamoun appealed to Eisenhower for help on May 13. Initially, the United States was reluctant to intervene, but on July 14 a coup d'Ētat took place in Iraq, home of the Baghdad Pact, and the monarchy was replaced by a government led by Gen. Abdul Karim Qassem, a reputed Nasserite.(90) When the new Iraqi government allied itself with the United Arab Republic, fear of spreading instability in the region led Eisenhower to send troops to Lebanon. He warned that "this somber turn of events could, without vigorous response on our part, well result in a complete elimination of Western influence in the Middle East."(91) But the Eisenhower administration decided not to intervene in Iraq when Qassem announced that the Iraq Petroleum Company, in which American oil firms held shares, would not be disturbed; in fact, the United States recognized the new government on July 30.(92)
On July 15 the first of 14,357 U.S. troops landed in Lebanon.(93) Meanwhile, Eisenhower's special emissary, Robert Murphy, worked out a solution: Gen. Fuad Chehab, a compromise Christian candidate acceptable to Eisenhower, Nasser, and most Lebanese, would become president; Chamoun would complete his original term; and Washington would provide $10 million in aid.(94) One of Chamoun's opponents, Rashid Karami, became prime minister, however, and promptly announced that recognition of the Eisenhower Doctrine would be withdrawn and that Lebanon would shift to nonaligned status. Washington accepted that policy shift and withdrew all of its troops by October 25. Fortunately, no Lebanese or American was killed in the U.S. military intervention.(95)
The U.S. government counted the operation a success, but that one and only application of the Eisenhower Doctrine was actually a misapplication. The doctrine was ostensibly formulated to deter armed aggression by nations controlled by "International Communism," but neither Syria nor Egypt was controlled by the Soviet Union; they were not even independent communist regimes. "He [Nasser] curbed and suppressed native Communists both in Egypt and Syria," wrote historian George Len-czowski, "and, despite heavy dependence on Soviet arms and economic aid, jealously maintained his country's sovereignty."(96)
Two lessons National Security Council officials learned from the Lebanon intervention apparently were not heeded by subsequent policymakers. A November 1958 NSC document warned that "to be cast in the role of Nasser's opponent would be to leave the Soviets as his champion." The document also counseled against "becoming too closely identified with individual factions in Lebanese politics."(97) The first lesson would be ignored in 1967, the second in 1983.
The Six-Day War, 1967
In six days during June 1967, the Israeli military devastated the air and ground forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and occupied the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, the West Bank (an area west of the Jordan River), including East Jerusalem. The Six-Day War established Israel as the premier military power in the Middle East. Israel's might was a product of American money and French armaments, in addition to dedicated personnel. The war also established the idea of Israel as a U.S. strategic asset in the region.
Before discussing the U.S. role in the war, it is nec essary to briefly explain how and why the war was fought. Its start is generally treated as a preemptive, defensive strike by Israel, necessitated by mortal threats from its neighbors.(98) The facts show otherwise. Kennett Love, a former New York Times correspondent and a scholar of the Suez crisis, wrote that Israel drew up "plans for the new war . . . immediately after the old. . . . The 1956 war served as a rehearsal for 1967."(99) That is important because it bears on the Arab reaction to the U.S. role, a reaction that has shaped subsequent developments in the region.(100)
After the 1956 Sinai campaign, the Israeli-Egyptian border was quiet, partly because of the presence of the UN Emergency Force. But that was not true of the border between Israel and Syria. The specific causes of friction between the two countries were disputes about fishing rights in Lake Tiberias, Israeli settlement activity in the demilitarized zone established after the 1948 war, guerrilla incursions into Israel, and Israeli development of a water project involving the Jordan River.(101)
Israel retaliated against the guerrilla activity with massive raids into Syria and sometimes into Jordan.(102) Syria, which had left the United Arab Republic in 1961, underwent a left-wing Ba'athist coup in 1966 and had good relations with the Soviet Union. Syria pointed to the quiet Israeli-Egyptian border and the lack of Egyptian response to the attacks on Syria as evidence that Nasser was not up to leading the Arabs. Nasser was accused of hiding behind the UN forces. Actually, Egypt was absorbed in civil wars in Yemen and the British Crown Colony of Aden (soon to be South Yemen) at the southern end of the Arabian peninsula. Intra- Arab rivalries were assuming greater importance in the mid- 1960s, with Nasser frequently bearing the brunt of Arab criticism.(103)
The Syrian-Israeli friction continued throughout early 1967. Then, in April, Israel said it would cultivate the entire demilitarized zone between the countries, including land that Syria contended was the property of Arab farmers. When the Israelis moved a tractor onto the land on April 7, the Syrians fired on them. To retaliate, 70 Israeli fighters flew over Syria and shot down 6 Syrian war planes near Damascus. There was no response from the United Arab Command, an essentially paper military undertaking organized by Nasser at an Arab summit in 1964. (At the same meeting, the Palestine Liberation Organization had been set up--ironically, as a means of reining in Palestinian nationalism.)(104)
Over the next several weeks, Israel threatened Syria. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin said in an Israeli radio broadcast on May 11 that "the moment is coming when we will march on Damascus to overthrow the Syrian Government, because it seems that only military operations can discourage the plans for a people's war with which they threaten us."(105) The Israeli director of military intelligence, Aharon Yariv, added that Nasser would not intervene.(106) The Jewish state also directed massive military action against al-Fatah to stop infiltrations. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders did all they could to have their country appear in mortal danger.
The situation worsened when the Soviet Union told the Egyptians that Israel had massed forces on the Syrian border in preparation for a mid-May attack. The United Nations found no evidence of such preparation, but on May 14 Nasser moved troops into the Sinai. Yet U.S. and Israeli intelligence agreed that the action was, in Foreign Minister Abba Eban's words, "no immediate military threat," and several years later, in 1972, Gen. Ezer Weizmann admitted that "we did move tanks to the north after the downing of the aircraft."(107) Israel quickly and fully mobilized, prompting the Egyptians to ask the UN Emergency Force to leave the Sinai. The request did not mention the two most sensitive locations of the UN force, Sharm el-Sheikh (where it protected Israeli shipping) and the Gaza Strip, but the UN secretary general, U Thant, surprised everyone by replying that a partial withdrawal was impossible. Faced with a choice between the status quo and a complete UN withdrawal, Nasser chose the latter. When the United Nations offered to station its forces on Israel's side of the border, the Jewish state refused (as it had in the past). President Lyndon Johnson, fearing that the Israelis would "act hastily," asked Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to inform him in advance of any Israeli action.(108) Israel replied that a blockade of the Strait of Tiran would be a casus belli.
Meanwhile, Nasser told the Egyptian press that he was "not in a position to go to war."(109) Israeli military leaders believed him. General Rabin said later, "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it."(110) Ben-Gurion himself said he "doubt[ed] very much whether Nasser wanted to go to war."(111)
It is in that context that the following events must be inter-preted. On May 21 Nasser mobilized his reserves. On May 22, with the UN forces gone and under the taunting of Syria and Israel, Nasser blocked--verbally not physically-- the Strait of Tiran, which leads from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba and the Israeli port city of Elath.(112) The strait's importance to the Israelis was more symbolic than practical; no Israeli flag ship had used it in nearly two years, although Iranian oil was shipped to Israel through it.(113) Nevertheless, the closure was a worrisome precedent for the Israelis.
Despite a blizzard of diplomatic activity in and outside the United Nations, tensions rose over the next days, until, on June 5, Israel attacked Egypt--thereby launching what came to be known as the Six-Day War. (The Israeli government told the UN Truce Supervision Organization that its planes had intercepted Egyptian planes--a patent falsehood.) In short order, Israel destroyed the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Israel prepared a letter to President Johnson assuring him that Israel, in the shorthand of U.S. ambassador Walworth Barbour, "has no, repeat no, intention [of] taking advantage of [the] situation to enlarge its territory, [and] hopes peace can be restored within present boundaries."(114) But that soon changed, as signaled by a request from David Brody, director of the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League, that Johnson not mention "territorial integrity" in his public statements about the war.(115)
On June 8, Egypt, having lost the Sinai to Israel, accepted the cease-fire called for by the United Nations. The next day Syria also accepted it, but Israel launched additional offensive operations. By June 10 Israel controlled the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, Sharm el-Sheikh, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and its capital city of Quneitra.(116) With the road to Damascus open, the Soviets threatened intervention if Israel did not stop. The Johnson administration signaled its readiness to confront the Soviets by turning the Sixth Fleet toward Syria. That was to be the first of two near-confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union in Arab-Israeli wars. Then, according to Johnson, the U.S. government began to use "every diplomatic resource" to persuade Israel to conclude a cease-fire with Syria, which it did on June 10.(117)
The unseen side of the Six-Day War was Israel's nuclear capability. Although Prime Minister Eshkol promised in 1966 that Israel would not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East, it had been developing a nuclear capability almost since its founding. The locus of the program was the Dimona reactor in the Negev near Beershea.(118) Israel apparently received help over the years from the American firm NUMEC, the French, and the U.S. government, including the CIA.(119) It probably had operational nuclear weapons in 1967. According to Francis Perrin, the former French high commissioner for atomic energy who had led the team that helped Israel to build Dimona, Israel wanted nuclear weapons so it could say to the United States, "If you don't want to help us in a critical situation we will require you to help us; otherwise we will use our nuclear bombs."(120)
Israel never signed the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and has not allowed inspection of its nuclear facilities since the late 1960s. According to Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, the inspectors were consistently deceived in the early 1960s.(121) Israel had 12 to 16 warheads by the end of 1969, according to the Nixon administration. A CIA report concluded that Israel also tried to keep other Middle Eastern countries from developing nuclear weapons by assassinating their nuclear scientists.(122)
What was U.S. policy before and during the Six-Day War? In the tense days before the outbreak of hostilities, Johnson moved the Sixth Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean. On May 23, while declaring an embargo on arms to the area, he secretly authorized the air shipment to Israel of important spare parts, ammunition, bomb fuses, and armored personnel carriers.(123) After the war started, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for Israel to return to its prewar boundaries, and Johnson refused to criticize Israel for starting the war.(124)
Author Stephen Green has written that the United States participated in the conflict even more directly. Green contends that pilots of the U.S. Air Force's 38th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 26th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew RF-4Cs--with white Stars of David and Israeli Air Force tail numbers painted on them--over bombed air bases in Egypt, Syria, and Jordan to take pictures for the Israelis. They flew 8 to 10 sorties a day throughout the war, and the pilots carried civilian passports so they would appear to be contract employees if caught. When the enemy air forces were destroyed, the RF-4C mission was changed to tracing Arab troop movements at night, which enabled the Israelis to bomb the troops the next morning. The pilots also flew close-in reconnaissance sorties around the Golan Heights. Apparently, none of the flights proved decisive, but they did enable Israel to achieve its objectives quickly.(125) Ironically, the Arabs accused the United States of providing tactical air support, which apparently was untrue. In re- sponse to the accusations, President Johnson said publicly that the United States provided no assistance of any kind to the Israelis.
A critical question is whether the U.S. government gave Israel a green light to go to war. Israeli officials frequently consulted with U.S. officials in the days before June 5; they were looking for support, claiming that Israel had been promised access through the Strait of Tiran in 1956. U.S. officials often told the Israelis that "Israel will only be alone if it decides to go alone"--a statement that was interpreted by some Israelis as a nod to go ahead. That impression could have been confirmed by Secretary of State Dean Rusk's reported comment to a journalist, regarding the U.S. attitude toward Israel: "I don't think it is our business to restrain anyone."(126) Finally, Foreign Minister Abba Eban later wrote in his autobiography that when he visited Washington in late May, "what I found . . . was the absence of any exhortation to us to stay our hand much longer."(127)
The Six-Day War was a diplomatic disaster for the United States. That might have been foreseen, but President Johnson had other things on his mind. He seems to have been motivated by a desire to win Jewish American support for the war in Vietnam and to advance the "strategic relationship," begun by President Kennedy, with Israel against the Soviet Union.(128)
The cost in Arab alienation was great. Johnson had assured the Arabs that Israel would not attack and that he would oppose aggression. Yet he never called on Israel to withdraw from the conquered territories or to resolve the Palestinian question. Rather, the United States gave Israel substantial help, including diplomatic support that facilitated Israel's conquest of neighboring territories by providing critical delays.(129)
In no sense did the war bring stability to the Middle East, if indeed that was a U.S. objective. Nasser summed up the consequences: "The problem now is that while the United States objective is to pressure us to minimize our dealings with the Soviet Union, it will drive us in the opposite direction altogether. The United States leaves us no choice."(130)
Nasser's prediction was borne out by events. Within three years the Soviets were shipping military equipment to the Egyptians, including surface-to-air missiles to defend Egypt against Israel's U.S.-made F-4 Phantom jets. Thousands of Soviet troops, pilots, and advisers were provided. The Soviets also moved closer to Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The United States responded by giving more weapons and planes to Israel.(131)
The Strategic Relationship and Aid to Israel
The idea of a strategic relationship between the United States and Israel emerged after the Suez crisis, when the Eisenhower administration realized that both countries had an interest in containing Nasser's influence. Because the Eisenhower administration feared that the Soviets were gaining clout in some Arab countries, such a relationship was seen as useful in containing the Soviet Union as well. When John F. Kennedy became president, he abandoned an initial preference for a balance of power between Israel and the Arabs in favor of a strategic relation ship. He was the first to provide Israel with sophisticated weapons and to commit the United States to a policy of maintaining Israel's regional military superiority. In 1962 Kennedy privately told Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir that their countries were de facto allies, and shortly before his assassination, Kennedy reportedly guaranteed Israel's territorial integrity in a letter to Prime Minister Eshkol.(132)
As the U.S.-Israeli strategic relationship matured, military and economic aid increased. But that increase does not mean the earlier aid had been insignificant. According to historian Nadav Safran: "During Israel's first nineteen years of existence, the United States awarded it nearly $1.5 billion of aid in various forms, mostly outright grants of one kind or another. On a per capita basis of recipient country, this was the highest rate of American aid given to any country."(133)
According to a recent Congressional Research Service report, between 1949 and 1965 U.S. aid to Israel averaged $63 million annually, and over 95 percent of that assistance was for economic development and food aid.(134) The first formal military lending, which was very modest, occurred in 1959. However, from 1966 through 1970 average annual aid jumped to $102 million, and the share of military loans climbed to 47 percent. In 1964 the U.S. government lent no money to Israel for military purposes. In 1965 it lent almost $13 million. In 1966, the year before the Six-Day War, it lent $90 million. In the year of the war such loans fell to $7 million, but in succeeding years the total rose, reaching $85 million in 1969 and hitting a high of $2.7 billion in 1979. More significant, military grants began in 1974; they ranged from $100 million in 1975 to $2.7 billion in 1979. In the first half of the 1980s, loans and grants ranged between $500 million and nearly $1 billion. Then, beginning in 1985, the loans stopped and all U.S. military aid was made as grants, ranging from $1.4 billion in 1985 to $1.8 billion each year from 1987 through 1989. Economic grants hit a high of nearly $2 billion in 1985, before falling to $1.2 billion in 1989. (See Appendix.)
Although U.S. aid has been given to Israel with the stipulation that it not be used in the territories occupied in 1967, the Congres-sional Research Service reported that "because the U.S. aid is given as budgetary support without any specific project accounting, there is no way to tell how Israel uses U.S. aid."(135) Moreover, the service wrote that, according to the executive branch, in 1978, 1979, and 1981, Israel "may have violated" its agreement not to use U.S. weapons for nondefensive purposes.(136) In 1982 the United States suspended shipments of cluster bombs after Israel allegedly violated an agreement on the use of those weapons. In 1990 Israel accepted $400 million in loan guarantees for housing on the condition that the money not be used in the occupied territories, but the promise was soon repudiated.(137)
Reporter Tom Bethell has written that of $1.8 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Israel, only about $350 million is sent by check. The rest never leaves the United States; it is spent on U.S.-made planes and weapons. Bethell also has reported that, according to the State Department, Israel returns $1.1 billion of $1.2 billion in economic aid as payment of principal and interest on old loans. It keeps the interest accrued from the time the money is received at the beginning of the year to the time it is sent back at the end of the year.(138)
The Yom Kippur War, 1973
The Six-Day War left the Arabs humiliated and the Israelis vauntingly triumphant. It was the Israeli sense of invincibility that left the country vulnerable in 1973. On October 6, as Jews were preparing for their holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, Egypt and Syria launched attacks intended to regain the territories lost in 1967. The Egyptians crossed the Suez Canal and established positions it would not lose. Two cease-fires were arranged, only to be violated by Israel. Finally, 18 days after the war began, a third and final cease-fire went into effect.(139)
The war was launched to regain not only Arab territory but Arab pride as well. That explanation, which is true as far as it goes, gives a distorted picture. Often overlooked are the Arab leaders' efforts to make peace with Israel before 1973. In November 1967 King Hussein offered to recognize Israel's right to exist in peace and security in return for the lands taken from Jordan in the Six-Day War. (Israel had de facto annexed the old city of Jerusalem shortly after that war.) In February 1970 Nasser said, "It will be possible to institute a durable peace between Israel and the Arab states, not excluding economic and diplomatic relations, if Israel evacuates the occupied territories and accepts a settlement of the problem of the Palestinian refugees."(140) (Israel had allowed only 14,000 of 200,000 refugees from the Six-Day War to return.)
Then, in February 1971, Anwar Sadat, who had succeeded to the Egyptian presidency on Nasser's death in 1970, proposed a full peace treaty, including security guarantees and a return to the pre-1967 borders. That was not all. Also in 1971 Jordan again proposed to recognize Israel if it would return to its prewar borders. Egypt and Jordan accepted UN Resolution 242, passed in November 1967, that called for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories in return for peace and security. Both Arab states also accepted the land-for-peace plan of Secretary of State William Rogers and the efforts of UN representative Gunnar Jarring to find a solution.
Israel turned a deaf ear to each proposal for peace, rejected the Rogers plan, snubbed Jarring, and equivocated on Resolution 242.(141) At that time Israel and Egypt were engaged in a war of attrition across the Suez Canal. Israel flew air raids deep into Egypt and bombed civilians near Cairo. Soviet pilots and missiles participated in the defense of Egypt.(142)
The Rogers plan represented only one side of the Middle East policy of the Nixon administration, which came into office in 1969, and it was the weak side at that. The strong side was represented by national security adviser (and later secretary of state) Henry Kissinger. Kissinger was busy with the Vietnam War and the diplomatic opening to Communist China during Nixon's initial years in office, so the Middle East was one of the few areas left to Rogers. Yet Kissinger could not resist getting involved. Thus, a battle occurred between two forms of intervention: Rogers's efforts to broker a solution and Kissinger's efforts to thwart one. The State Department believed that the key problem was Israeli intransigence. Kissinger, who saw the Middle East as another arena for the superpower rivalry, believed the Israeli victory in 1967 was a glorious defeat of the Soviets, and he actively opposed progress toward peace. Referring to 1969 he explained in his memoirs:
The bureaucracy wanted to embark on substantive talks as rapidly as possible because it feared that a deteriorating situation would increase Soviet influence. I thought delay was on the whole in our interest because it enabled us to demonstrate even to radical Arabs that we were indispensable to any progress and that it could not be extorted from us by Soviet pressure. . . . I wanted to frustrate the radicals-- who were hostile to us in any event--by demonstrating that in the Middle East friendship with the United States was the precondition to diplomatic progress. When I told [Joseph] Sisco in mid-February that we did not want a quick success in the Four-- Power consultations at the United Nations in New York, I was speaking a language that ran counter to all the convictions of his Department. . . . By the end of 1971, the divisions within our govern- ment . . . had produced the stalemate for which I had striven by design.(143)
That policy was consistent with the Nixon Doctrine, articulated by the president in July 1969. Under that doctrine the United States would rely on local powers to keep internal regional order and furnish "military and economic assistance when requested and appropriate." The United States would continue to provide a nuclear umbrella to deter Soviet intervention. In other words, client states such as Israel and Iran would police their regions to prevent upheavals by forces inimical to U.S. interests.(144)As the 1972 election approached, Kissinger assumed more control over Middle Eastern policy. He later recalled that Nixon "was afraid that the State Department's bent for ab- stract theories might lead it to propose plans that would arouse opposition from all sides. My principal assignment was to make sure that no explosion occurred to complicate the 1972 election--which meant in effect that I was to stall."(145) Since Kissinger was able to undermine Rogers's peace efforts, his was a "policy" the Israelis could embrace.
Kissinger's obstructionism came at the worst possible time. The 1967 Arab defeat and the ensuing bilateral peace offers persuaded many Palestinians that the Arab states were willing to sacrifice the Palestinians. It was a period of heightened violence from Yasser Arafat's nonideological alFatah, a major element of the Palestine Liberation Organization; the Black September faction of al-Fatah; and George Habash's radical, Marxist-oriented Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.(146) The break between the Palestinians and the Arab states created problems for Jordan. The PLO had become a virtual state within a state there, and in 1970 the PFLP hijacked several airliners to Jordan. As a result, in September 1970 King Hussein gave the military the go-ahead to root out the guerrilla infrastructure. Syria, in a show of support for the Palestinians, sent tanks into Jordan. At Kissinger's urging, Israel mobilized in support of Jordan, but before it could enter the country, the Syrian force was repulsed. The month known as "Black September" cost the Palestinians 5,000 to 20,000 lives. Although Israeli troops did not see action, their mobilization helped cement Israel's image as a strategic asset of the United States in the region. Any evenhandedness that had marked earlier Nixon administration policy was now gone.
Less than a year later, Jordanian forces massacred Palestinians in several incidents before expelling the PLO from Jordan. The PLO then moved to Lebanon, having previously won that country's formal recognition of the right to operate autonomously. Harassment of the Palestinians by the Israeli-backed Lebanese Christians and guerrilla activity directed at Israel from Lebanon preceded massive Israeli raids and the deaths of hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians.(147)
U.S. military and economic aid to Israel took a major jump. Just before the Jordanian crisis, Nixon approved a $500 million military aid package and sped up delivery of F-4 Phantom jets to Israel. Israel had indicated that, before it could start talks with the Arabs, it would need arms to ensure its security. Nixon had stalled, believing that Israel was already militarily superior. But under pressure from 78 U.S. senators, Nixon initiated a major transfer of technology (including the sale of jet engines for an Israeli warplane) that would enable Israel to make many of its own weapons. A second deal was struck for 42 Phantoms and 90 A-4 Skyhawk warplanes. Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev countered the U.S. action by promising to supply arms and bombers to the Arabs, although not in the quantities that the United States supplied them to Israel.(148)
In mid-1972 Sadat, whom Kissinger did not take seriously as a political leader, expelled the 15,000 Soviet advisers in his country. Sadat's reasons included continued wrangling about military aid, the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel, Soviet opposition to another war in the region, and general cultural differences. Although the United States was taken by surprise, Kissinger took credit for the development and, after the election, began secret negotiations with Egypt and the Soviets. However, his proposal for a settlement, which included Israeli military posts in the Sinai, was rejected by Sadat. Meanwhile, Nixon agreed to provide Israel with 84 new warplanes. Sadat summed up his reaction in a statement quoted in Newsweek: "Every door I have opened has been slammed in my face by Israel--with American blessings. . . . The Americans have left us no way out."(149)
Peace proposals by Jordan, communicated to Kissinger around that same time, were rejected by Israel, which was not interested in relinquishing the West Bank. The Israeli rejection had at least tacit U.S. approval. On September 25, 1973, two weeks before war broke out, Kis-singer became secretary of state and, with Nixon mired in Watergate, had complete control over foreign policy.
During the Yom Kippur War, Kissinger ordered four ships of the Sixth Fleet to within 500 miles of Israel and initiated a UN strategy aimed at tying up the Soviets and delaying a cease-fire resolution. As he later put it, "We wanted to avoid this [cease-fire] while the attacking side was gaining territory, because it would reinforce the tendency to use the United Nations to ratify the gains of surprise attack."(150) The Israelis asked for arms, but Kissinger was reluctant to comply, believing that Israel was well armed already, that the war would be short, and therefore that a resupply would unnecessarily anger the Arabs. But Kissinger did not want to appear to desert Israel, which he thought might harden its position, so he had arms sent secretly, a policy publicly ratified by Nixon on October 9. While the airlift of equipment was still covert, U.S. planes flew directly to the Israeli troops in the occupied Sinai, a violation of Egypt's territory.(151)
Kissinger had another reason to accede to Israel's demand for an airlift. Although no one believed that Israel's survival was at risk, the surprisingly strong Arab showing panicked some Israelis. The Israeli ambassador to Washington warned that if the request for the airlift was denied, "we will have to draw very serious conclusions from all this." According to a historian sympathetic to Israel, "Kissinger. . . had long known that Israel possessed a very short nuclear option which it held as a weapon of last resort. . . . Suddenly . . . the scenario of an Israel feeling on the verge of destruction resorting in despair to nuclear weapons. . . assumed a grim actuality." Other reasons for the change in U.S. policy included domestic political considerations (the Israel lobby had become a powerful force) and a modest Soviet airlift to Syria. The multi-billion-dollar U.S. airlift was approved.(152)
Kissinger was instrumental in having three cease-fire resolutions, all favorable to the Israeli army's position, passed in the UN Security Council. The first was passed on October 22, after Kissinger went to Moscow. His failure to consult them before working with the Soviets so outraged the Israelis that Kissinger felt he had to placate them by allowing some "slippage" in the deadline.(153) "Slippage" became a major six-day offensive in which Israeli troops crossed the Suez Canal, blocked the roads from Cairo, and completed the encircling of Egypt's Third Army in the Sinai. When the offensive was over, Israel had reached the Gulf of Suez and occupied 1,600 square kilometers inside Egypt. According to Kissinger, Israel told him, untruthfully, that Egypt had launched an attack first, but he never publicly criticized his ally.(154)
The second cease-fire, which weakly called for a return to the first cease-fire lines, passed the Security Council on October 24. Sadat accepted it, but Israel refused to pull back, which left Egypt's beleaguered Third Army at its mercy. Israel violated the cease-fire within hours and continued closing in on that army. The Nixon administration again was silent. Sadat appealed to the Security Council for help, asking for U.S. and Soviet troops to intervene. The Soviets responded favorably to the idea, but Kissinger opposed it. "We had not worked for years to reduce the Soviet military presence in Egypt only to cooperate in reintroducing it as a result of a United Nations Resolution," Kissinger later wrote. "Nor would we participate in a joint force with the Soviets, which would legitimize their role in the area and strengthen radical elements."(155)
The Soviets then said they might send troops unilaterally. In response, late on October 24, the United States put its ground, sea, and air forces--conventional and nuclear--on worldwide alert. That brush with nuclear war demonstrated once again the grave danger posed by U.S. intervention in Middle Eastern affairs.(156)Meanwhile, Kissinger assured Israel that it would not be asked to return to the first cease-fire lines, and the airlift continued. Sadat ended the crisis by asking that a multinational force, without U.S. or Soviet troops, be sent to oversee the cease-fire. On October 25 the third UN resolution was passed, creating a peace-keeping force and again merely requesting a return to the October 22 lines.
Israel continued attacking Egyptian forces and forbidding the passage of food, water, or medicine to the trapped Third Army. Private pleas from Kissinger to Israel were rejected. The crisis ended with Sadat's offer of direct talks between the two nations' military officers about carrying out the UN resolutions. He asked for one delivery of nonmilitary supplies to the Third Army under UN and Red Cross supervision. Israel accepted, although it was bitter that the United States did not allow it to capture the Third Army and humiliate Egypt.(157)
One consequence of the mammoth U.S. arms shipments to Israel, and particularly the U.S. deliveries in the Sinai, was the OPEC oil embargo. The dollar price of oil had been rising since 1971, when Nixon stopped redeeming foreign governments' dollars for gold. Even before the war, Saudi Arabia had talked about linking oil to an Israeli-Palestinian settlement.(158)
On October 20 Saudi Arabia announced that it would sell no oil to the United States because of U.S. support for Israel. Saudi Arabia's average provision of oil to the United States came to 4 percent of American daily consumption. Iraq, Abu Dhabi, Algeria, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar followed the Saudi example. Nixon's price control program turned an inconvenience into a crisis, with long lines at gas stations and other disruptions of the economy. After the war, despite Kissinger's appeal, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia stood by his demand that Israel withdraw from all the occupied territories (including those taken in 1967) before the oil tap was turned on again. Kissinger threatened to retaliate while also promising that the United States would support the land-for-peace UN resolutions (Resolution 338, passed during the war, reiterated Resolution 242 of 1967). In December OPEC, at the bidding not of Arab countries but of Iran and Venezuela, quadrupled the price of oil to $11.65 a barrel. But shipments to Europe, which became more critical of Israel, were increased. Finally, on March 18, 1974, after Israel, Egypt, and Syria concluded disengagement agreements, and after prodding by Sadat, the Arab states ended the oil embargo. The Arabs placed no conditions on their action; the last export restrictions were removed on July 11. After the embargo, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait ended the concession system and ostensibly nationalized their oil industries. In fact, they entered into long-term contracts with the former concession owners.(159)
The costs to the United States of the Yom Kippur War were significant. As Kissinger calculated it, the war "cost us about $3 billion directly, about $10-15 billion indirectly. It increased our unemployment and contributed to the deepest recession we had in the postwar period."(160) The war was another demonstration of the bankruptcy of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Total support of Israel did not create stability; on the contrary, it further alienated the Arabs, pushed several Arab states closer to the Soviet Union, upset the U.S.-Soviet dĒtente (indeed, came close to igniting a nuclear confrontation), and loaded the OPEC oil weapon.
The Camp David Accords, 1978
"The Yom Kippur war," said Gen. Yitzhak Rabin, "was not fought by Egypt or Syria to threaten the existence of Israel. It was an all-out use of their military force to achieve a limited political goal. What Sadat wanted by crossing the canal was to change the political reality and, thereby, to start a political process from a point more favorable to him than the one that existed. In that respect, he succeeded."(161)
In the aftermath of the war, there was a movement toward settling the dispute between Israel and Egypt, at the expense of the Palestinians and an overall settlement. That approach suited the three major parties--Israel, Egypt, and the United States. Israel wanted to keep the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights (which it would annex in 1981), but it was not committed to holding the Sinai. Egypt wanted to move into the U.S. camp; Sadat was disillusioned with the Soviets' inability to guarantee the cease-- fires, and he wished the capital to modernize his country. Weary of war, he wished to normalize relations with Israel, regardless of what other compromises had to be made. And Kissinger continued to oppose a comprehensive settlement.(162)
In early 1974 Yitzhak Rabin, who was then prime minister, signed a disengagement agreement with Sadat. At the end of the year and early in 1975, Kissinger did more diplomatic shuttling in search of a further Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai. He found Sadat highly accommodating and Israel intransigent. In March President Gerald Ford lost his patience with Israel and announced a "reassessment" of U.S. policy. From March to September no new arms agreements with Israel were concluded. To protect Israel's position, 76 senators sent a letter, drafted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the chief American lobbying organization for the Jewish state, to Ford demanding that he declare that the United States "stands firmly with Israel" in future negotiations. The letter hardened Israel's position on the Sinai. Finally, in September, the parties reached an agreement on partial withdrawal, including the deployment of U.S. troops. The cost of the agreement to the United States was a list of wide-ranging secret commitments contained in a memorandum of understanding. It included military aid, an end to pressure for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, a promise to defend Israel if the Soviet Union went to war against it, and a pledge not to talk to the PLO until it recognized Israel and accepted relevant UN resolutions. The memorandum, an executive agreement, was never submitted to Congress. "In substance, the administration underwrote--politically, economically, and militarily--the Israeli-Egyptian agreement."(163) It would not be the last time.
Kissinger also worked out a disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria. President Hafez Assad of Syria was willing to normalize relations with Israel, but Israel was determined to hold on to the Golan Heights. The final agreement called only for withdrawal from land captured in the latest war. Kissinger commented that Assad's actions "bespoke a desire for accommodation." At that time the United States voted for a Security Council resolution condemning Israel for a big raid into Lebanon after a guerrilla action, but Israel's anger with the vote prompted a reversal. Washington pledged to support future raids against "terrorists," stating that it would "not consider such actions by Israel as violations of the cease-fire and [would] support them politically." The U.S. pledge was read at a public session of the Knesset, or Israeli parliament.(164) The "special relationship" apparently was the top priority as the Nixon and Ford administrations came to an end.
The year that Jimmy Carter became president, 1977, was the same in which Menachem Begin and his right-wing Likud coalition broke the ruling monopoly of the Israeli Labor party. Although the Laborites were as intransigent regarding the Palestinians,(165) the Likud, perhaps because of its overt actions, appeared more so. The government intensified the repression of the Palestinians on the West Bank and accelerated the building of settlements on their land, a policy that amounted to de facto annexation. Indeed, Begin's Herut party was committed to a Greater Israel (Eretz Israel) that stretched across the Jordan River. The United States condemned the West Bank settlements, calling them an obstacle to peace and illegal, but it never did anything about them, such as end the massive military and economic aid to Israel.(166)
The PLO, which at a 1974 Arab summit had been designated the sole representative of the Palestinians, was turning away from guerrilla activity and toward diplomacy. In November 1974 PLO chairman Yasser Arafat was invited to address the UN General Assembly, a first for the head of any nongovernment organization. (The United States and Israel voted against the invitation.) "I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter's gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand," Arafat said at the end of his address that called for a democratic state for Muslims, Jews, and Christians.(167) Many European countries opened contacts with the PLO and came to support the idea of an independent Palestinian state. Those events demonstrated the influence of the advocates of diplomacy over the advocates of violence within the PLO. Their continued influence would depend on the efficacy of diplo-macy.
Well into Carter's first year in office, the United States and the Soviet Union shifted gears from the Kissinger tenure and jointly outlined a plan for a comprehensive resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The plan included Israeli withdrawal from occupied Arab lands, a resolution of the Palestinian issue, normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states, and international guarantees provided at least in part by the United States and the Soviet Union. The point of the proposal was to revive the Geneva conference, which was convened but abruptly halted in late 1973, but neither PLO participation nor a U.S.- and Soviet-sponsored state was in the package. The Arab states welcomed the joint statement, and more significant, the PLO agreed to a unified Arab delegation, a major compromise on its demand for independent representation. Yet Israel rejected both a reconvention in Geneva and PLO participation.(168)
There was other evidence of a change in tone on the part of the Carter administration. In March 1978 Israel invaded Lebanon, ostensibly to retaliate against guerrilla attacks. The actual purpose, however, was to establish a "security zone" in southern Lebanon under the supervision of Israel's client, renegade Lebanese army officer Saad Haddad. Carter formally requested that Israel leave Lebanon, and the administration proposed a UN Security Council resolution to that effect. Israel withdrew in July, four months after a UN observation force arrived. But Israel continued to be active in southern Lebanon, even after it agreed to a U.S.- arranged cease-fire with the PLO. The PLO had observed the cease-fire for a year when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982.(169)
Carter was no less committed to the U.S.-Israeli relationship than his predecessors had been, but he did something none of them had done: he expressed concern for the Palestinians and their need for a homeland (not necessarily a state). That action earned him criticism from Israel's supporters and forced him to add heavy qualifications. For example, after meeting with Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, Carter promised never to force Israel to compromise by threatening to withhold or cut economic or military aid. He also promised to hold steadfastly to UN Resolutions 242 and 338 (the latter passed during the 1973 war), which do not mention the Palestinians. In effect, Carter allowed Israel to veto the joint U.S.-Soviet initiative. U.S. aid to Israel also continued to grow during his administration.(170)
The effort to move toward some kind of settlement received a boost on November 9, 1977, when Sadat dramatically announced that he was prepared to go to Jerusalem to talk peace. During his visit later that month, he addressed the Knesset, extended recognition to Israel, and offered a peace based on a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Arab- Palestinian dispute. Because it occurred without U.S. supervision, Sadat's initiative caught the Carter administration off balance, but soon the apprehension of U.S. officials turned to optimism.
That optimism did not last. In December, when Begin made a return trip to Egypt, the proposal he carried was not calculated to please Sadat. It called for a limited Egyptian military presence in the Sinai and Israeli retention of settlements and military airports there. Begin proposed an end to military rule of the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria, as the Likud called it) but continued Israeli responsibility for security. The Palestinians would be granted control over their own education, sanitation, and the like, and the residents would choose between Israeli and Jordanian citizenship. Israelis would be able to buy land on the West Bank, but the issue of sovereignty would be put off until a later date.(171)
The distance between Begin and Sadat induced Carter to involve himself in the negotiations, starting from a position closer to Sadat's than to Begin's. Carter was about to give up on Begin but then decided to bring him and Sadat to the presidential retreat at Camp David and personally manage the negotiations. Two agreements came out of the conference, a "Framework for Peace in the Middle East" and a "Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel."
The first framework, premised explicitly on UN Resolutions 242 and 338, stated that the inhabitants of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip should elect a self-governing authority that would replace the Israeli military government. During a five-year transition period, negotiations on the final status of the territories would begin among Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and elected representatives from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. (Arab Jerusalem and the West Bank Jewish settlements were not mentioned.) The Palestinian provisions were intentionally fuzzy, according to Carter's key adviser, William B. Quandt.(172) A peace treaty between Israel and Jordan would also be an objective of the negotiations. Other parts of the document dealt with pledges not to use force, each country's full recognition of the other, economic cooperation, and settlement of financial claims.
The second framework called for an Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty within three months and full implementation within three years. Among the principles the treaty would embody were Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai; restoration of Egyptian sovereignty (although much of the peninsula would be demilitarized); and freedom for Israeli vessels to pass through the Suez Canal, the Gulf of Suez, the Strait of Tiran, and the Gulf of Aqaba (the last two were proclaimed international waterways). UN forces would be stationed in the Sinai and in border areas.(173)
The two frameworks were not linked; thus the peace treaty with Egypt could be concluded before the fate of the Palestinians was settled. Sadat was so disturbed by the compromises asked of him that he nearly left the conference. The evening before the signing, two of his key advisers resigned, but Sadat stayed. One may reasonably ask if Carter bought the settlement with the taxpayers' credit card. Aid to Egypt was increased substantially, which made that nation the recipient of the second largest amount of U.S. foreign aid (Israel still received the largest amount). Egypt received $1.5 billion in military credit, $200 million in economic grants, and $100 million in economic loans. Israel got $3 billion to build new air fields to replace the ones in the Sinai. When one adds to that total the foreign aid promised by Carter through FY 1982, the Camp David accords cost U.S. taxpayers $17.5 billion.(174)
Signing an agreement was one thing; carrying it out proved to be another. While still in the United States, Begin announced that Israel retained the right to remain on the West Bank indefinitely and that a provision freezing West Bank settlements was only for three months. Carter said that, on the contrary, the freeze was for five years. But the supposed agreement on the freeze was oral; it was not put in the accords. Feeling that the Camp David agreement was in jeopardy, Carter intervened again. In early 1979 he induced Sadat and Begin to sign the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, which stipulated that negotiations on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were to begin within the month. Those talks were held, with U.S. involvement, but they came to naught. The Carter administration did not help matters when it reversed its UN vote against Israel's settlement policy, claiming the initial position was an "error."(175)
The Palestinians in the occupied territories opposed the Camp David accords. Several West Bank mayors denounced the accords as a means of perpetuating the occupation. The accords cost Sadat much Arab support. In March 1979 Egypt was suspended from the Arab League, and even the moderate Arab states accused Sadat of deserting them for a bilateral treaty with Israel. They also blamed the United States for driving a wedge into the Arab world. Some of the Arab states, including Syria and Iraq, moved closer to the Soviet Union. The Camp David accords eventually cost Sadat his life. In October 1981 Muslim fundamentalists assassinated him. In the words of Middle East analyst Robin Wright, "Sadat's historic trip to Jerusalem to promote Arab-Israeli peace in 1977, followed by the U.S.-orchestrated Camp David Treaty in 1979, was the ultimate sacrilege in the eyes of the militant fundamentalists."(176)
Historian George Lenczowski ironically summed up the Camp David accords this way: "If the United States' national interest demanded the strengthening of Israel at the expense of the Arabs by isolating Egypt from the Arab community and by leaving the issue of Palestine and related problems, such as the Golan Heights, vague and in suspension, then the objective was attained."(177)
The Lebanon War, 1982-83
Supporters of the Camp David accords may have thought that the Israeli-Egyptian peace would inspire Israel to seek peace with the rest of its adversaries. But the Begin regime viewed the matter differently: security on its west flank freed Israel to pursue its other objectives. One of those was the discrediting and destruction of the PLO, which, by June 1982, had observed its cease-fire with Israel for about a year and had been pursuing a diplomatic strategy. In that month Israel's ambassador to London, Shlomo Argov, was wounded in an assassination attempt. Israel declared that the PLO had violated the cease-fire, and on June 6, under the direction of Defense Minister Ariel Sharon, launched Operation Peace for Galilee--a massive invasion of Lebanon.
Actually, the PLO was not responsible for Argov's shooting; it was committed by a rival group of Arafat's al-Fatah led by Abu Nidal. Nevertheless, the time was opportune for Israel to accomplish two long-held goals. (The Falklands war between Great Britain and Argentina was distracting the world at that time.) Those objectives were the destruction of the PLO, whose turn to diplomacy was regarded as a threat to Israeli ends, and the establishment in Lebanon of Maronite rule that would recognize Israel's claim to Lebanese territory from the northern Israeli border to the Litani River.(178) Lebanon had been in turmoil and civil war for about a decade as the result of both internal and external problems. Lebanese fought Lebanese, the Muslims backed by Syrians, some Christians backed by Israelis. The presence of Palestinians, refugees from the 1948 and 1967 wars as well as PLO guerrillas, aggravated the indigenous problems, and the Israelis regularly inflicted brutal punishment from the air.(179)
Shortly after the invasion, Begin told the Knesset that it was for the limited purpose of clearing Palestinians from a 25-mile-deep strip along the Israel-Lebanon border. He did not tell the Israeli people that the objective was much more ambitious: to push the Palestinians to Beirut, then to force Syria, which had been in Lebanon since 1976, to withdraw, leaving the Palestinians unprotected. The plan backfired, however, because it ignited Arab hatred that transcended the intra-Arab rivalries.
The Israeli campaign included nine weeks of brutal ground attacks in southern Lebanon and ferocious bombing of Muslim West Beirut, with great loss of civilian life.(180) What role did the United States play in the war? The Reagan administration knew of the plans for an invasion as early as October 1981, when Begin confided in Secretary of State Alexander Haig at Sadat's funeral. Although Begin assured President Reagan in January 1982 that he would not invade, Israel's chief of military intelligence, Gen. Yehoshua Saguy, told Haig and Pentagon officials that the invasion was being considered. Haig got several other notices. The response Haig gave the Israelis was, "The United States will not support such an action. . . . [But] the United States would never tell Israel not to defend itself from attack, but any action she took must be in response to an internationally recognized provocation."(181)
According to two Israeli journalists, Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari, Haig went even further. At a meeting at which Sharon said, "No country has the right to tell another how best to protect its citizens," Haig "nodded his head." Sharon then indicated that the war might go beyond the narrow aim of removing the PLO military in the south. "How far will you go?" asked an American at the meeting. "As far as we have to go," Sharon said. Haig said he expected the Israeli action to be fast and efficient, like a lobotomy. As Schiff and Ya'ari later wrote:
Sharon was clearly pleased with the results of his meeting with Haig: the secretary had confirmed Israel's right, in principle, to respond to acts of terrorism as long as they were indisputable provocations on the part ofthe PLO. . . . To Sharon's way of thinking, Haig's response added up to American recognition that Israel would not turn the other cheek if sorely provoked and, more important, that such recognition could be construed as tacit agreement to a limited military operation. From Israel's standpoint, this was sufficient. Neither in the Yom Kippur War nor the Six-Day War before it had Israel enjoyed such heartening understanding from Washington. . . . [Sharon] returned to Israel with the tidings that Washington was not averse to an Israeli advance into Lebanon.(182)
When U.S. officials became concerned that Haig had been indiscreet, the White House had him send a clarifying letter to Begin. The letter sought to "impress upon you that absolute restraint is necessary" and noted that Reagan would be dispatching his envoy to help deal with the guerrilla activity. The Israeli officials, wrote Schiff and Ya'ari, "came away with the impression that the letter represented a cautious diplomatic maneuver--the formal expression of a reservation by which the Americans intended to cover themselves against liability in case Israel got into deeper trouble than it could handle."(183)
As the war raged in Lebanon, the Reagan administration's statements were mildly negative, but, at Haig's urging, the administration vetoed a UN Security Council resolu- tion condemning the invasion.(184) Haig was also responsible for the scrapping of a harsh letter to Begin demanding an unconditional Israeli withdrawal. However, Reagan did ask Begin to accept a cease-fire. At a June 30 press conference, Reagan agreed with Israel that the PLO should leave Lebanon, but in July he suspended shipment of cluster bombs to Israel because it "may have violated" the Arms Export Control Act. (The shipments were later resumed.) As the bombing of West Beirut continued, Reagan voiced his concern, but he did not threaten to cut off aid.
With the siege of Beirut continuing, the administration worked for a cease-fire. Finally, in mid-August the United States helped to arrange an agreement that included a PLO evacuation to other Arab countries overseen by a (non-UN) multinational force, including 800 U.S. Marines. The U.S. forces left after 17 days when the PLO evacuation was completed. U.S. policy then shifted toward restoration of the authority of Lebanon's government and removal of Syrian and Israeli troops.(185) That shift again demonstrated the blunt nature of U.S. foreign policy and obliviousness to subtleties. In the Arab world the presence of Israeli and Syrian forces in Lebanon was not seen as symmetrical because, among other reasons, Lebanon is an Arab country and the Arab League had sanctioned the Syrian entry. Thus, the U.S. policy was doomed from the start.
On August 23, 1982, the leader of the Lebanese Forces (the Maronite militias, including the Phalange),(186) Bashir Gemayel, was elected president of Lebanon. He opened discussions with Israel, seeking an alliance that would preserve the minority Maronites' dominance and rid the country of the Palestinians and Syrians. Begin and Sharon demanded that Israel's Lebanese client, Major Haddad, be named minister of defense. They also made other demands that indicated their designs on Lebanon. Before Gemayel could conclude an agreement, he was assassi-nated, perhaps by rival Christians. His brother Amin, who succeeded him, showed an interest in coming to terms with Syria.
Before Amin Gemayel's election, however, Israel violated the cease-fire and completed its occupation of West Beirut. Then, on September 16-18, the Lebanese Forces massacred Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps outside Beirut. According to the Israelis, 328 men, women, and children were killed, and almost 1,000 people were missing. Under the cease-fire pact, the United States had promised to protect the Palestinians. And Israel controlled the area. Indeed, the Israeli military commander had let the Lebanese Forces, seeking vengeance for the death of Bashir Gemayel, into the camps. Israeli soldiers illuminated the camps, facilitating the massacre, and readmitted Phalange forces when the Israelis knew the massacre was in progress.(187) The world reacted with horror to the atrocity, but the United States threatened to veto a UN resolution if it mentioned Israel.(188)
Because of the damage to U.S. credibility, the Reagan administration--at Lebanon's request--sent 1,800 Marines back into Lebanon on September 29 as part of a multinational force that included troops from Britain, France, and Italy. The force was initially to act as a peace-keeping buffer between the Israelis and everyone else. In that environment of civil disorder, bombings, and kidnappings, the mission of the U.S. Marines was unclear. They were harassed by the Israeli forces and opposed by other factions. Particularly ominous was the activity in the Bekaa Valley of Iranian guerrillas and Lebanese Shi'ites, such as the Hezbollah group, who were sympathetic to the Iranian regime. In April 1983 one of those groups, the Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut in which 46 people were killed.
In August Israel partially withdrew to the south, leaving the Marines in the crossfire between Lebanese factions and removing their reason for being there in the first place. The Marines suffered casualties from Druze artillery--although it is not clear that the shelling was intentional--and the U.S. Sixth Fleet off the coast countered by firing shells the weight of Volkswagens at Druze positions. U.S. aircraft flew bombing missions as well. The United States had clearly taken sides in the Lebanese civil war.
The consequences of U.S. intervention became all too apparent on October 23 when a truck filled with explosives entered the Marine headquarters at Beirut airport. The resulting blast killed 241 Marines. By February 1984 Reagan had abandoned the intervention in Lebanon and withdrawn the surviving Marines.(189)
Five months earlier, Secretary of State George Shultz (who had succeeded Haig in mid-1982) had pushed Amin Gemayel into a peace agreement with Israel under which Israel and Syria would withdraw simultaneously from Lebanon. Syria rejected the agreement, giving Israel grounds for remaining, and after the U.S. evacuation, Gemayel scrapped the agreement. Israel has remained in its self-proclaimed "security zone" in the south of Lebanon ever since. The Syrians also remained, finally consolidating their hold in 1990.
The United States came out of that tragedy with a firmer reputation as a partisan of the country that had inflicted so much suffering on Lebanon. In the aftermath, American citizens in Lebanon were taken hostage by Iranian-backed groups. Several of those hostages remain in captivity. The hostage taking, in turn, gave rise to the Iran-Contra affair. President Reagan defended his pro-Israel policy on the grounds that the United States had a vital interest in keeping Lebanon out of the Soviet bloc.(190) Thus, he followed in the dubious footsteps of his predecessors.
The Expanding U.S.-Israeli Security Relationship
The invasion of Lebanon was not the only occasion the Reagan administration had for giving aid and comfort to Israel. As Prime Minister Shamir put it, "This is the most friendly administration we have ever worked with."(191) Reagan himself had said that "the security of Israel is a principal objective of this Administration," and he wrote to Begin that "I am determined to see that Israel's qualitative edge is maintained."(192) Military and economic aid to Israel grew, and loans were occasionally forgiven.
The occasional difference between the Reagan administration's public and private positions regarding Israel was demonstrated in June 1981, when Israel destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad. In carrying out the attack, Israel used U.S.-made F-16 and F-15 fighters. Secretary Haig reported to Congress that the attack "may" have been a violation of the 1952 U.S.-Israel Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement. The United States officially condemned the strike, and Reagan suspended a scheduled delivery of four F-16 fighters to Israel. But a few days later he sounded more sympathetic to Israel's position. What was not known publicly at the time was that Israel had used satellite photographs provided by the CIA to plan the strike. Israel had almost unlimited access to such information under an intelligence-sharing agreement set up with the approval of CIA chief William Casey. Cooperation between U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies was nothing new, but it had rarely reached such levels.(193)
Also in 1981 the Reagan administration offered Israel a strategic cooperation agreement. Among other things, it set up a committee to arrange joint U.S.-Israeli military exercises, gave the U.S. Sixth Fleet use of Israeli ports, alowed the United States to store military supplies in Israel for the Central Command, provided for resumption of the shipment of cluster bombs to Israel, and called for a U.S.- Israeli free-trade agreement. The strategic agreement, which did not have to be submitted to the U.S. Senate, also promised increased military aid.(194) When Israel annexed the Golan Heights a few weeks later, Reagan re-sponded by putting the strategic agreement into "abeyance." In November 1983 it was reinstated.
The Reagan administration also gave sanction to Israel's policy on settlements in the West Bank. Despite the policy's illegality under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and contrary to the position of previous presidents, Reagan pronounced the policy "not illegal" shortly after he took office. That policy had resulted in the Israeli government's taking over more than half of the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem).
Although Secretary of State Shultz formulated a peace plan that, among other things, called for a freeze on settlements, the Reagan administration was also increasing aid that could free Israeli funds to build them. The plan proposed autonomy for the Palestinians after five years, in association with Jordan, but no independent state. The plan was vague about borders, but it reiterated support for UN Resolution 242's land-for-peace principle. The Reagan (Shultz) peace plan was issued nearly simultaneously with the Arab League's Fez plan of September 9, 1982, which called for a Palestinian state and implicitly recognized the existence of Israel. (A similar plan, the Fahd plan, had been previously proposed by Saudi Arabia.) Israel rejected the Reagan peace plan and announced that it would proceed to build 42 new settlements.
U.S. Response to the Intifada
Shultz tried to bring the Reagan peace plan back to life in January 1988, after the outbreak of the intifada, after the uprising against the Israeli occupation by rockthrowing Palestinians on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, and after the nightly television news clips of Israeli soldiers breaking the bones of Arab youths. Shultz sought a comprehensive solution, beginning with Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian negotiations later in the year. Again, UN Resolutions 242 and 338 would provide the basis for the negotiations on a transition and then a final settlement. A conference of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council would also be part of the process, albeit mostly ceremonial.
In March 1988 Prime Minister Shamir all but said no to the Shultz plan. Shamir opposed the international conference and said that Israel had discharged its Resolution 242 obligations when it returned the Sinai.(195) The PLO also turned down the proposal, objecting to the absence of Palestinian self-determination as a goal of the negotiations. Reagan nonetheless warmly greeted Shamir in Washington, and even before the visit Reagan had accelerated delivery of a shipment of 75 F-16 fighters. Reagan also reconfirmed the Strategic Cooperation Agreement of 1981. Moreover, his administration moved to close PLO offices in Washington and New York, the latter of which was the PLO's UN observer mission, on the grounds that the PLO was a terrorist organization. A federal court ruled that closing the UN mission violated the 1947 UN headquarters agreement.
But there were also currents running in the opposite direction. To Israel's dismay, Shultz met in late March with two Palestinian-Americans (Professors Edward Said and Ibrahim Abu Lughod) who were members of the Palestine National Council (a parliament in exile). Shamir said the meeting violated the U.S pledge to have no contact with the PLO. A few months later, Bassam Abu Sharif, a close aide to PLO chairman Arafat, published an article endorsing a two-- state solution; accepting the UN resolutions; and most significant, calling for negotiations with Israel. Attention was further shifted to the PLO when King Hussein of Jordan relinquished responsibility for the West Bank. Arafat him- self then spoke. "I am ready to meet at the United Nations with any Israeli representative. We set no preconditions for a meeting. . . . I extend to the Israelis the hand for peace negotiations," he told the European Parliament.(196) (He also broached the idea, anathema to Israel, of an Israeli withdrawal to the 1947 borders.) Shultz continued to oppose a separate Palestinian state.(197)
In November 1988 the Palestine National Council, meeting in Algiers, voted to accept UN Resolutions 242 and 338 and thus implicitly acknowledged Israel's existence and right to security. The council then declared an independent Palestinian state. Speaking at the December 1988 UN General Assembly session in Geneva, Arafat said the PLO wanted a comprehensive settlement that would respect every state's "right to exist in peace and security." He also noted that the Palestine National Council had "reaffirmed its rejection of terrorism in all its forms." Shultz said Arafat's statement did not meet U.S. conditions for official recognition as representative of the Palestinians. At a press conference the following day, Arafat essentially repeated what he had said the day before. The second time it was good enough for Shultz, who announced that the U.S. ambassador to Tunisia (where the PLO had been based since leaving Lebanon) would begin discussions with Arafat's organization.(198)
The low-level discussions over 18 months between the United States and the PLO signified no real change in U.S. policy. It was never clear what the discussions were to achieve. Nor did they represent an effort to get the Israeli government to meet with the PLO, despite the growing sentiment in Israel that that was necessary.(199) The matter became academic in 1990 when President Bush suspended rela tions with the PLO because he was dissatisfied with Arafat's response to an attempted attack on Israel by the Palestinian Liberation Front, which is represented in the PLO.(200)
The year before, Secretary of State James A. Baker III, as had come to be expected, had formulated yet another peace plan. But as he made clear before formally introducing his plan, the Bush administration's "goal all along has been to try to assist in the implementation of the Shamir initiative."(201) The Shamir plan of May 1989 calls for elections in the occupied territories to choose a Palestinian delegation to negotiations. The process is to produce a settlement on borders with Jordan. But Shamir's "basic premises" are essential to his initiative: no Palestinian state, no negotiations with the PLO or Palestinians affiliated with it, and no change in the status of the territories except according to the Israeli government's guidelines. The Palestinians will not go along with a plan that does not have PLO approval, which Shamir's does not. Baker stands behind Israel's insistence that it have a veto over its negotiation partners. "The United States understands that Israel will attend the dialogue only after a satisfactory list of Palestinians has been worked out," declared a State Department press release.(202) That policy was continued by the 1991 Baker initiative for a U.S.-Soviet Middle East conference. The Bush policy is consistent with past policy and bodes ill for resolution of the Palestinian question.
Interventions Involving Iran and Arab-Israeli Issues
The Carter Doctrine
The Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 led to an upsurge of U.S. intervention in the Middle East. Washington increasingly became a direct participant as the strategy of relying on regional surrogates became less viable after the Iranian revolution.
The Soviet invasion came a year and a half after the Afghani Communist party overthrew the republican government of Prime Minister Daoud Khan. Daoud had come to power in 1973 in a coup against his cousin, King Amanullah. Daoud destroyed the king's rigorous neutrality between the United States and the Soviet Union by moving closer to traditional adversaries (and U.S. allies) Pakistan and Iran. The shah of Iran provided massive aid and promised to build a railroad to the Iranian border that would reduce Afghanistan's reliance on the Soviet Union.
The indigenous communist takeover occurred after Daoud removed Communists from his cabinet and convened a meeting of religious and political leaders who approved a new constitution and elected him president for six years. The Soviet invasion was prompted by widespread discontent with the communist leader Hafizulla Amin, whose regime harshly violated tribal rights and customs.(203)
Although the invasion represented the Soviets' first direct use of force near the Middle East since World War II, some American observers saw it as the inauguration of a new communist aggressiveness. They regarded it not only as a way of saving the Communists in Afghanistan but also as a means of achieving the long-held Soviet objective of gaining a warm-water port. The Soviets' move into a country so close to the Persian Gulf was viewed as a violation of the U.S. sphere of influence. Thus, in his January 1980 State of the Union message, President Carter issued what came to be known as the Carter Doctrine, pledging to defend the gulf even if it meant going to war. "An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region," Carter said, "will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States. It will be repelled by use of any means necessary, including military force." Privately, the president said it was "the most serious international development that has occurred since I have been President."(204)
Carter's presidential doctrine had a new name, but that did not mean the contents were new. It had long been the U.S. position that war would be justified to protect U.S. interests in the gulf area. Three years earlier, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Henry Jackson (D-Wash.) had declared, "Threats to the continuous flow of oil through the Gulf would so endanger the Western and Japanese economies as to be grounds for general war."(205) In fact, U.S. efforts to strengthen the nation's defensive alliances and military capabilities in the region were begun before the Soviet invasion, because of the revolution in Iran. As Cyrus Vance, Carter's secretary of state, wrote, "The [Iranian] hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan simply accelerated measures already under way."(206)
To carry out the Carter Doctrine, the administration imposed sanctions against the Soviet Union, including a grain embargo and U.S. withdrawal from the 1980 Olympic games held in Moscow. It also established the Rapid Deployment Force (later joined with other forces to become the Central Command) and asked Congress to authorize registration for a military draft. Finally, it furnished military equipment to the Afghani resistance, a policy continued by the Reagan administration and formalized in the Reagan Doctrine. Carter's policies had the effect of drawing the United States closer to the authoritarian regime of President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan.
Thus, Carter followed in the footsteps of his predecessors in his determination to let nothing loosen the American grip on the Middle East. As had those of previous administrations, the measures he initiated enabled the U.S. government to gain new powers and military facilities.
The Iran-Iraq War
Iran and Iraq have been adversaries since at least the seventh century A.D. Their latest clash erupted when the Shi'ite Muslim leader the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran in 1979 and encouraged Iraq's majority Shi'ites to revolt against the secular Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein. Iraq responded by trying to incite the Arabs in Iran's Khuzistan province, an area long disputed by the two countries. At first border clashes grew out of mutual antagonism, and then, in September 1980, Iraq's army invaded Iran. Saddam hoped to establish himself as the Arab leader who put down the Persians and regained control of the disputed Shatt al-Arab waterway and islands held by Iran. Iraq made early gains in the war and then called for a cease-fire in December 1981. It was not until July 1988 that Iran finally agreed to a cease-fire; by that time Iran had partially reversed its fortunes and even threatened Basra, Iraq's second largest city.
When the war broke out, the United States declared its neutrality. But that did not stop the U.S. government from aiding Iraq's war effort to keep Iran, which had humiliated the United States in the hostage crisis, from prevailing. In fact, the American "tilt" toward Iraq began before the invasion. The Carter administration furnished Iraq, through Saudi Arabia, exaggerated reports of Iran's military weakness as a way of encouraging Saddam to invade. Author Dilip Hiro has written that according to then Iranian president Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, secret documents purchased by his government described "conversations in France between several deposed Iranian generals and politicians, Iraqi representatives and American and Israeli military experts."(207) President Carter's hope was that Iran's dire need for spare parts would force it to deal with the United States and free the 52 American hostages it still held. When the war began, the Carter administration criticized the invasion to "soften up" the Iranians. But the plan did not work because Iran turned to Vietnam for parts, which the U.S. military had left behind. The Reagan administration furnished the Iraqis with intelligence on Iranian troop concentrations and damage assessments of Iraqi attacks on Iran. After removing Iraq from the list of countries supporting terrorism, the administration began providing $500 million in annual commodity credits, which enabled the nearly bankrupt nation to obtain wheat and other food. The United States provided another $500 million in Export-Import Bank guarantees for an oil pipeline. Those measures gave Iraq critical support in the eyes of other potential lenders. With U.S. approval, American allies, such as France, armed Iraq with, among other things, Super Etendard fighters equipped with Exocet missiles. The Reagan administration also encouraged Arab financial assistance to Iraq and urged American allies to stop selling weapons to Iran.(208) In 1984 Reagan resumed diplomatic relations with Iraq.
Finally, in 1987, in response to attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf during the war, the United States escalated its involvement by agreeing to reflag 11 Kuwaiti oil tankers and to deploy a major force of warships in the gulf. President Reagan had turned down an earlier invitation to provide U.S. escort services for Kuwait's tankers but changed his mind when the Soviets offered their services. Reagan justified his policy as ensuring freedom of navigation, but the prime beneficiary was Iraq, which was bankrolled throughout the war by Kuwait, whose oil tankers the United States was pledging to protect. The United States also tilted toward Iraq diplomatically by supporting UN resolutions condemning Iran and demanding that it accept a cease-fire.(209)
Of course, U.S. involvement in the gulf was dangerous. Shortly after the reflagging, an Iraqi warplane attacked the USS Stark, killing 28 men. The Reagan administration accepted Iraq's claim that the attack was an error and its apology, but the president then blamed Iran for the tragedy. There were also clashes with Iran. A U.S. Navy helicopter damaged an Iranian warship in the fall of 1987, and when Iran struck a U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tanker with a Silkworm missile, U.S. naval forces destroyed two Iranian offshore drilling platforms. Several months later a U.S. frigate hit an Iranian mine and almost sank. In retaliation, the U.S. Navy destroyed two more oil platforms and sank six Iranian warships. The restrained nature of the U.S. response drew criticism of the Reagan administration from people, including former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who thought Iran was being treated too leniently. Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), for example, called for the mining of Iran's waters.(210) The tragedy of U.S. intervention reached a peak in July 1988, when the U.S. cruiser Vincennes downed a Ira nian commercial airliner, killing 290 civilians. (The crew said it had mistaken the airliner for a fighter plane during a battle with Iranian speedboats.) Two weeks later, Iran formally accepted a cease-fire with Iraq.
The importance of the de facto alliance between the United States and Iraq, which continued until shortly before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, cannot be overstated. By siding with Iraq against Iran, the United States granted legitimacy to Saddam Hussein as the world's guardian against Muslim fanaticism. His use of chemical weapons against Iran brought the mildest criticism because of who his victims were.(211) Moreover, the various forms of aid had a direct effect on Iraq's ability to hold out against Iran's long onslaught. At the end of the war, Saddam had a huge military establishment and believed that he was the savior of the Arab world. When Kuwait refused to forgive the large debt Saddam owed, he concluded that the Kuwaitis were ungrateful free riders who had taken him for granted. That conclusion explains, in part, Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.(212)
It is sobering to realize that some foreign policy experts urged Washington to support Saddam Hussein during the war against Iran on the grounds that an Iraqi victory was preferable to an Iranian one. Daniel Pipes and Laurie Mylroie, for example, wrote that "the fall of the existing regime in Iraq would enormously enhance Iranian influence, endanger the supply of oil, threaten pro-American regimes throughout the area, and upset the Arab-Israeli balance." They favored "other economic steps" to help Iraq in addition to the commodity and Ex-Im Bank credits. "Such measures," they wrote, "would assert U.S. confidence in Iraq's political viability and its ability to repay its debts after the war's end, and would encourage other countries--especially Iraq's Arab allies and European creditors--to continue financing Iraqi war efforts."(213)
Pipes and Mylroie anticipated the argument that a triumphant Saddam Hussein would be bad for American interests and responded:
But the Iranian revolution and seven years of bloody and inconclusive warfare have changed Iraq's view of its Arab neighbors, the United States, and even Israel. . . . Its leaders no longer consider the Palestinian issue their problem. [Its] allies have forced a degree of moderation on Iraq. . . . Iraq is now the de facto protector of the regional status quo.(214)
The consequences that Pipes and Mylroie feared from an Iranian victory have come as a result of Washington's backing Iraq. That typical backfire is not simply a hazard of foreign policymaking. It is inherent in the nature of war and lesser state conflict, in which the law of unintended consequences rules. Sheer hubris alone permits so-called experts to make pronouncements about how distant peoples' affairs should be managed and with exactly how much force.(215)
Unfortunately, the fresh example of the Iran-Iraq War has not deterred either the policymakers or their expert allies in the private sector. As if their support for Iraq had been a resounding success, they embraced Syria's Hafez Assad and Iran in the conflict with Iraq, blind to what effects that may have in coming years.
The New Gulf War
Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, underscored more than one irony of prior U.S. policy. U.S. aid to Saddam during his eight-year war with Iran is only one of those ironies.(216) Another is that although President Bush emphatically rejected Saddam's attempt to link the invasion to the plight of the Palestinians, Bush may yet face enormous Arab pressure to address that problem.
Bush offered several reasons for his response to Saddam's actions, a response that included the cobbling of an international coalition of nations. The initial military deployment was to deter an Iraqi attack on Saudi Arabia. Then, ostensibly to drive Iraq from Kuwait, Bush went to the United Nations to have an economic blockade, an act of war, imposed, although American ships were already in place. Vowing to usher in a "new world order," Bush declared that, in the first test of the post-cold-war world, unprovoked aggression and the toppling of a "legitimate" government (read: quasi-feudal monarchy) by a tyrant comparable to Hitler could not be tolerated. The Munich analogy was rolled out more than once. Although American intervention was lightly shrouded in the mantle of the United Nations and collective security, Bush made it clear that no country but the United States could have spearheaded the effort. Bush and other public officials, including Secretary Baker and Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, raised the less lofty issue of oil and the purported danger to the U.S. economy ("our way of life"), although that argument had been discredited early in the crisis.(217) When the specter of Iraq's controlling 40 percent of the proven oil reserves did not spook the American public, President Bush insisted that the intervention was not about oil but about aggression. He also defended his policy in terms of protecting the Americans held hostage by Saddam Hussein, although they were not taken hostage until after the policy was launched, and of the economic damage being inflicted on the fledgling democracies of Eastern Europe, although the rise in oil prices resulted from Bush's own embargo.
Two days after the November election, the president announced a doubling of the military deployment to provide an "offensive option." Faith in the blockade was abandoned. On Thanksgiving Day 1990 Bush added a new justification of the possible need for war: Saddam's apparent effort to develop nuclear weapons, which, Bush implied, would endanger the American people. The speech followed by days the publication of a New York Times opinion poll in which a majority of respondents had said that a nuclear threat was the one reason they would be willing to support military action against Iraq. Thus, in faithful Orwellian 1984 fashion, the official U.S. attitude toward a recent ally turned 180 degrees.
The hollowness of the Bush administration's reasons, particularly the highly selective stand against aggression, indicates that the president sees the Middle East as his predecessors saw it, as a U.S. sphere of influence in which rival interests may not compete. Saddam's offense did not lie in occupying a neighbor (partners Turkey, Syria, China, and the Soviet Union, as well as Israel, had done that), or in murdering "his own people" (China's leaders and Syria's Hafez Assad had done that), or in having nuclear weapons (several unsavory states have them and more are in the process of acquiring arsenals). Rather, his offense lay in upsetting the status quo in an area where the United States had vowed repeatedly to go to war, if necessary, to prevent adverse change. Bush's policy was a reaffirmation of U.S. claims in the Middle East, in case anyone thought that the end of the cold war made them obsolete. As he put it, the lesson of the war against Iraq is that "what we say goes."(218) Related reasons for the policy include the need for a new mission for a defense establishment threatened by the public's demands for a peace dividend; the desire to test new weapons; and the need to distract the public from troubling domestic issues, such as the exploding budget deficit and higher taxes.
One outcome of U.S. intervention has been immense Arab pressure on the United States to settle the Palestinian question, something that worries Israel. Bush's Arab coalition partners have a strong case when they argue that the United States cannot justify its double standard for Iraq and Israel. Unfortunately, few in the region will argue that Bush should disengage and let the parties solve the problem themselves. At best, Arab pressure may prompt him to change the nuances of U.S. intervention, but it is doubtful Bush will be willing or able to try to change the Shamir government's position on the occupied territories. Israel, for one thing, managed to rehabilitate its public image in the United States by its decision to stay out of the war.
The war against Iraq, though executed quickly and with light American casualties (let's not forget the death and destruction inflicted on Iraq), will have continuing unfortunate consequences, besides the massacre of Kurds and Shi'ites at Saddam's hands. It was a grotesquely logical denouement to 45 years of U.S. policy in the Middle East.(219)
It is easy to miss the forest for the trees. The forest in this case is a vast system set up to enable some Americans to manage events--the lives of others, that is--in the Middle East. Each of the U.S. policies and actions, in Iran and in the Arab-Israeli dispute, has been aimed at bringing about certain results, desired by U.S. policymakers, by regulating the behavior of others, sometimes through the application of force (directly or by proxy) and at other times through the application of money. The question never asked is, quo warranto? Who anointed the United States? The Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, and Carter doctrines command all the awe that presidential names and upper-case letters can evoke, but did those presidents have the consent of the people at whom those doctrines were directed? At best, they satisfied themselves with the proxy consent of autocratic rulers. That is a peculiar attitude for leaders of a democratic country.
U.S. policy by its very nature is never ending. Those whom the policy seeks to mold resist it, and change always upsets expectations. As John Bright asserted in assessing similar 19th-century British policies, "The balance of power is like perpetual motion, or any of those impossible things which some men are always racking their brains and spending their time and money to accomplish."(220)
Whether the United States was trying to keep the shah of Iran in power or trying to prevent the rise of Arab nationalism and nonalignment, its policy was a blunt instrument applied presumptuously to subtle and complicated prob lems. One journalist has likened it to playing pool with a 20-foot cue stick. It would have been a miracle had the result not been chronic turmoil. The impracticality of the policy would have been a stumbling block even if the United States had not been on the side of injustice. Unfortunately, critics of U.S. policy usually believe that U.S. power, influence, and money have merely been put to the wrong use. Critics of the pro-Israel policy, for example, often think that U.S. diplomacy should have been more evenhanded or should have tilted toward the Palestinians. Such critics fall short in their analyses. The real question is, what business do American elected officials have determining the fate of people in the Middle East? Those people do not exist for our convenience or for our energy security. The oil is not ours. Nor is it America's place to ensure justice in the region. Government in the United States was to be strictly limited by the Constitution. Its purpose was to guard the peace and security of the American people at home, not to extend American power hither and yon for grandiose schemes. John Quincy Adams expressed that distinction in his address of July 4, 1821: "America goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."
Reshaping the world was to be achieved only by example. As Sen. Robert A. Taft put it in 1951:
If we confine our activities to the field of moral leadership we shall be successful if our philosophy is sound and appeals to the people of the world. The trouble with those who advocate this [interventionist] policy is that they really do not confine themselves to moral leadership. They are inspired with the same kind of New Deal planned-control ideas abroad as recent Administrations have desired to endorse at home. In their hearts they want to force on these foreign peoples through the use of American money and even, perhaps, American arms the policies which moral leadership is able to advance only through the sound strength of its principles and the force of its persuasion. I do not think this moral leadership ideal justifies our engaging in any preventive war, or going to the defense of one country against another, or getting ourselves into a vulnerable fiscal and economic position at home which may invite war. I do not believe any policy which has behind it the threat of military force is justified as part of the basic foreign policy of the United States except to defend the liberty of our own people.(221)
A Conflict of Interest
Economist Ludwig von Mises identified three features of government intervention in the domestic economy: (1) unintended consequences, (2) negative consequences from the policymakers' standpoint, and (3) proliferation of new interventions as correctives for past interventions. The same applies in foreign policy. All foreign policies bring results not intended by those who author the policies. And some of those results are regretted by the policymakers. Further, the undesirable consequences are frequently grounds for further intervention.
The primary source of unintended consequences in foreign policy is the irresponsibility that attends the subsidization of client states. Elementary economics would teach that a subsidized agent will probably behave differently than one who must bear all the costs of his actions. Throughout the postwar period, Israel has been reasonably sure that it will be kept militarily superior to its Arab opponents, and that its treasury will be replenished, almost regardless of what it does. Even its "miscalculation" in the 1956 Suez intervention did not bring about a cutoff of U.S. aid. Such an arrangement makes irresponsibility inevitable. Conversely, the Palestinian conclusion that no compromise can possibly change the official U.S. attitude also is conducive to irresponsibility--and indiscriminate violence. A policy that helps to create, repress, and demoralize hundreds of thousands of refugees and second-class citizens will inevitably breed demagogues and their attendant horrors. Thus, U.S. policy in the Middle East has been complicitous in fostering recklessness and atrocities on all sides.
However, it is important to avoid naivetĒ. Not all consequences are unintended, and not all unintended consequences are regretted by the policymakers. Unexpected crises can serve their interests because they "necessitate" further intervention, confirm the warnings used to justify the policies to the people, and thus strengthen the consensus for the overall policy. For example, the appearance of growing Soviet influence in the Middle East, the result of policies followed by the U.S. government, need not have really upset the policymakers.(222) Egypt's turning to the Soviets for arms and financing of the High Aswan Dam in the 1950s was a convenient pretext for the intensification of policies that John Foster Dulles was already pursuing. Similarly, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan provided an occasion for the United States to flex its rhetorical muscles (the Carter Doctrine) and to establish the Central Command and draft registration. It has been noted that Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait saved the U.S. military budget from deep cuts by Congress. Thomas Paine recognized long ago that "taxes were not raised to carry on wars, . . . wars were raised to carry on taxes."(223)
On the other hand, apparent victories for U.S. policy can reasonably be reinterpreted as, in reality, setbacks for the policymakers because the victories might undermine the consensus. When Sadat expelled the Soviets from Egypt, it must have crossed the policymakers' minds that a few more "victories" like that could put them out of business. How long would the taxpayers put up with annual military budgets of hundreds of billions of dollars if they stopped believing in a Soviet threat? That is not to deny the existence of disagreements within the policymaking elite, or of hawkish and dovish wings in the establishment. Yet the essence of U.S.-Soviet rivalry in the Middle East (and elsewhere) may best be captured in the title of a book by the late Walter Karp on the relationship between Republicans and Democrats, Indispensable Enemies.(224)
Thus, much of the critical literature on U.S. foreign policy--the literature that says the policy has been self-defeating--is flawed. It implies that the policymakers have persisted irrationally in a course that is contrary to their interests. That is implausible. They undoubtedly followed the best course they could, given their objectives and contraints. A policy calculated to be truly pro-Palestinian or equitable to both the Arabs and the Israelis would have been inconsistent with the requirements of U.S. hegemony. In other words, if one accepts that U.S. political leaders should maintain a particular world order, then one is logically drawn to the sort of policy that has been pursued since World War II. A thorough rejection of those policies requires a rejection of the objectives they were designed to achieve.
The error too often committed in judging foreign policy is to identify the interests of the political and specially connected corporate leaders with the "national interest," or better, the interests of the people who constitute the United States. In fact, there is a conflict of interest between the politicized elite and the great bulk of the people. The Manchester school of Cobden and Bright recognized that clash between the "tax-payers" and the "tax-eaters." As Cobden, in calling for strict noninterventionism and complete free trade, put it:
Warlike governments can find resources [for war] only in the savings of merchants, manufacturers, farmers, and renters, and we appeal to them, in the name of humanity and their own interest, to refuse to lend their aid to a barbarous system which paralyzes trade, ruins industry, destroys capital, stops work, and waxes fat through the blood and the arms of their brothers.(225)
His contemporary, French economist FrĒdĒric Bastiat, added, "Political economy shows that, even if we consider only the victorious people, wars are always waged in the interest of the few at the expense of the many."(226)
The American people have not been well served by U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. They have been forced to pay billions of dollars to foreign governments, and that has cost them untold opportunities for better lives afforded by an undistorted consumer economy. Even when the foreign "aid" was used to buy American-made products, it was merely a politically contrived transfer from the taxpayers to politically connected corporate interests. U.S. policy has put the American people at risk of war several times, including the risk of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. American lives have been lost--in Israel's attack on the USS Liberty during the 1967 war, in Beirut, and through desperate acts of terrorism. The people have even gotten a bad deal on oil. The true cost of oil includes not only the per barrel or per gallon price but also the cost of the overgrown military establishment and foreign aid budget. That cost is hidden, because it is not overtly added to the price at the pump, but it is real all the same. That fact was recognized in a 1953 statement by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association, which said:
Although Middle East oil is so abundant that it can be developed at a fraction of the cost of our own, it is far from "cheap." On the contrary, Middle East oil may already be the most expensive in the world market today when consideration is given to the fact that vast amounts of public funds are spent on the defense mechanism which is intended largely to protect American interests in the Middle Eastern oil fields.(227)
The statement goes on to note that the real price would multiply immeasurably if the policy began costing American lives--a point that is even more relevant today.
How, in the absence of hegemonic U.S. policy, could Americans and their large capitalist economy have achieved energy security and prosperity? The answer is the free market, in which entrepreneurs earn profit by correctly anticipating consumer demand, as well as the uncertain future, and make provisions for both. The belief that government planning is necessary to provide for the people's energy needs is a species of what economist F. A. Hayek calls "the fatal conceit" and a failure to understand the nature of the market's self-regulating, spontaneous order. In other words, political and military noninterventionism in the Middle East would have cost the policy and corporate elites the chance to serve their special interests, but it would have left the people free to pursue their private complementary interests in the market's cooperative and competitive environment.(228)
To put it bluntly, a power- and privilege-seeking elite has profited at the expense of the people. Classical liberals have long warned that that was the danger inherent in foreign policy. In that area, above all others, the government can insist on the unquestioning faith of the people and dull their natural suspicion of government. In domestic affairs a leader who proposed massive spending or risky policies on the grounds that the rest of us do not have all the facts would be ridiculed. Yet that approach is standard in foreign policy. The result, as the classical liberals warned, has been government run amok.
In 1796 George Washington, in his farewell address, offered advice that now seems aimed directly at those who constructed the foreign policy we have suffered with for the past 45 years:
Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and exces sive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real Patriots, who may resist the intriegues [sic] of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.(229)
By any standard, the relationship between the United States and Israel has been extraordinary. Criticism of any other American ally does not cost a person an elective or appointed position in government. Criticism of any other American ally does not bring accusations of being a hater of the dominant religious group in the allied nation. Both of those things happen, almost routinely, to anyone who criticizes Israel. Elected U.S. officials who have cast a single vote against an Israeli position have seen major opposition mounted by Israel's American supporters. The rare journalist who points out unattractive facts about Israeli conduct is likely to be smeared as an anti-Semite. The chilling effect that has had on public debate is too obvious to need elaboration.(230)
As for the standard rejoinder that Israel has been the staunchest U.S. ally in the Middle East, one is reminded of the one-liner about lawyers: if we didn't have them, we wouldn't need them. The U.S. relationship with Israel produces the very adversaries that are pointed to as justifying the close relationship.
We have allowed our leaders to violate George Washington's sage advice, and it has cost us dearly. For Washington, "the Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible."(231) We must rediscover the wisdom of our first president.
After the first full-blown U.S. imperialist adventure, the Spanish-American War, classical liberal William Graham Sumner, surveying the results, concluded that, despite its military victory, the United States in fact had been conquered by Spain. By that he meant that the traditions of the American republic were being undermined by the imperial values of the Spanish Empire.
The question of imperialism is the question of whether we are going to give the lie to the origin of our own national existence by establishing a colonial system of the old Spanish type, even if we have to sacrifice our existing civil and political system to do it. I submit that it is a strange incongruity to utter grand platitudes about the blessings of liberty, etc., . . . and to begin by . . . throwing the Constitution into the gutter here at home. If you take away the Constitution, what is American liberty and all the rest? Nothing but a lot of phrases.(232)
Sumner feared for the future, as we all must.
Now what will hasten the day when our present advantages will wear out and when we shall come down to the conditions of the older and densely populated nations? The answer is: war, debt, taxation, diplomacy, a grand governmental system, pomp, glory, a big army and navy, lavish expenditure, political jobbery--in a word, imperialism. In the old days the democratic masses of this country, who knew little about our modern doctrines of social philosophy, had a sound instinct on these matters, and it is no small ground of political disquietude to see it decline. They resisted every appeal to their vanity in the way of pomp and glory which they knew must be paid for. They dreaded a public debt and a standing army.(233)
As we witness the jingoistic celebrations of the U.S. military's victory over Iraq, it is clear that great energy must now be directed to the revival of that "sound instinct." It is a matter of life and death--literally.
I wish to acknowledge my immeasurable intellectual debt to Leonard P. Liggio, Noam Chomsky, Rabbi Elmer Berger, and my grandfather, the late Samuel Richman.
1. President Bush had a similar reaction in 1989 when the United States invaded Panama. He dismissed previous U.S. support for Gen. Manuel Noriega as "just history."
2. The word "terrorism" is used here with a certain reluctance because of its invidious ideological taint. Terrorism, to judge by standard usage, is something only the adversaries of the United States and its allies can engage in. The conduct of American or allied personnel, no matter how violent, by definition cannot qualify as terrorism. For the sake of perspective, it is worth noting that the number of victims of what is usually thought of as Arab terrorism is minuscule compared with the number of civilian victims of the chief U.S. ally in the Middle East. Israel, whose conduct is never described as terrorism.
3. For a discussion of Western betrayal of the Arabs after World War I, see David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (New York: Avon Books, 1989); and George Lenczowski, The Middle East in World Affairs, 3d ed. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1962), pp. 67-98. Regarding Franklin Roosevelt's promises to the Arabs, see Richard H. Curtiss, A Changing Image: American Perceptions of the Arab-Israeli Dispute Washi- ngton: American Educational Trust, 1986). Roosevelt's record on Pales- tine was curious; one might even say cynical. Seven years before his meeting with Saudi king Ibn Saud in 1945, he said, regarding Britain's limits on Jewish immigration into Palestine: "I was at Versailles and I know that the British made no secret of the fact they promised Palestine to the Jews. Why are they now reneging on their promise?" Quoted in Peter Grose, Israel in the Mind of America (New York: Knopf, 1983), p. 134. But in 1945 Roosevelt assured the king that nothing would be done to Palestine without his being consulted. In the late 1930s, Roosevelt also came up with the idea of having the United States, Great Britain, France, and wealthy Western Jews finance the transfer of all the Pales- tinian Arabs to Iraq. The British responded that no amount of money would induce the Palestinians to move. Roosevelt raised the idea with Chaim Weizmann, the Zionist leader, who said things were not so simple, although neither man dismissed the idea. Grose, pp. 138-39.
4. Foreign Relations of the United States (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1945), vol. 8, p. 45.
5. For details on how that occurred, see Harvey O'Connor, World Crisis in Oil (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1962), pp. 271-365. The American concession in Saudi Arabia started with a grant by King Saud to Standard Oil of California, which took on Texaco as a partner to form Caltex Oil. O'Connor, p. 326. After World War II, Aramco (Arab-American Oil Co.) was owned by Standard Oil of New Jersey, Mobil, Socal (all Rockefeller companies), and Texaco. The cooperation between the U.S. government and the oil industry was often covert. In the 1950s the CIA agreed to subsidize, at taxpayers' expense of course, American oil firms so they could be assured of underbidding the Soviet Union on a Syrian oil refinery. Wilbur Crane Eveland, Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East (New York: W. W. Norton, 1980), p. 195.
6. The United States started moving in on French and British interests in Saudi Arabia during the war. Direct lend-lease aid to King Saud was Franklin Roosevelt's way of keeping American concessions from falling into British hands.
7. Michael B. Stoff, Oil War, and American Securitv: The Search for a National Policy on Foreign Oil, 1941-1947 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1980), p. 197ff.; Anthony Sampson, The Seven Sisters: The Great Oil Companies and the World They Shaped (New York: Viking, 1975), p. 101ff.
8. The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, chaired in 1977 by Sen. Henry Jackson, spelled that out in Access to Oil--The United States Relationship with Saudi Arabia and Iran (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1977). The report pointed out that "threats to the continuous flow of oil through the Gulf would so endanger the Western and Japanese economies as to be grounds for general war" (p. 83).
9. Ibid., p. 84.
10. Robert W. Tucker, "The Purposes of American Power," Foreiqn Affairs 59, no. 2 (Winter 1980-81): 253.
11. Ibid., p. 256. Years earlier, in 1944, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal had said:
The prestige and hence the influence of the United States is in part related to the wealth of the government and its nation in terms of oil resources, foreign as well as domestic. It is assumed, therefore, that the bargaining power of the United States in international conferences involving vital materials like oil and such problems as aviation, shipping, island bases, and international security agreements relating to the disposition of armed forces and facilities, will depend in some degree upon the retention by the United States of such oil resources.
Quoted in Leonard P. Liggio, "Oil and American Foreign Policy," Libertarian Review (July-August 1979): 65.
12. That was part of a global strategy that saw the Third World as a source of raw materials and a market for finished goods, but only under the direction of pro-American, even if brutal, rulers. The analysis of the cynical motives of the political leaders was first formulated by classical liberals--that is, advocates of free-market (as opposed to state) capitalism such as Thomas Paine, Charles Dunoyer, Charles Comte, Augustin Thierry, Richard Cobden, John Bright, Lysander Spooner, and Herbert Spencer. See E. K. Bramsted and K. J. Melhuish, eds., Western Liberalism: A History in Documents from Locke to Croce (London: Lonaman, 1978); Edmund Silberner, The Problem of War in Nineteenth Centurv Economic Thouaht (1947; New York: Garland Publishing, 1972). As Bright put it in 1859:
The more you examine this matter the more you will come to the conclusion which I have arrived at, that this foreign policy [of Britain's], . . . this excessive love for the "balance of power," is neither more nor less than a gigantic system of out-door relief for the aristocracy of Great Britain. . . . What are we to say of a nation which lives under a perpetual delusion that it is about to be attacked?
Quoted in Alan Bullock and Maurice Shock, eds., The Liberal Tradition (Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks, 1967), pp. 88-89.
For details on classical liberalism's class analysis, see Leonard P. Liggio, "Charles Dunoyer and French Classical Liberalism," and Ralph Raico, "Classical Liberal Exploitation Theory: A Comment on Professor Liggio's Paper, n Journal of Libertarian Studies 1, no. 3 (Summer 1977): 153-78, 179-83.
That class analysis was carried forward in 20th-century America by the critics of state power known as the Old Right, especially by such publicists as Albert Jay Nock, Felix Morley, John T. Flynn, and Frank Chodorov. For a sampling of that group's skeptical views on U.S. intervention, see Ronald Radosh, Prophets on the Right (New York: Free Life Editions, 1975). Especially significant is John T. Flynn, As We Go Marchina (1944; New York: Free Life Editions, 1973), wherein Flynn sounds much like Bright: "Thus militarism is the one great glamorous public-works project upon which a variety of elements in the community can be brought into agreement" (p. 207). See also Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy. the State (1935; New York: Free Life Editions, 1977); Garet Garrett, "The Rise of Empire," in The People's Pottage (Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers, 1965), pp. 171-74. For an extension of the liberal class analysis, see Walter E. Grinder and John Hagel III, "Toward a Theory of State Capitalism: Ultimate Decision-Making and Class Structure," Journal of Libertarian Studies 1, no. 1 (Winter 1977): 59-79.
In addition to oil, U.S. interests in the Middle East have included the large export markets and the market for construction services and arms. The repatriation of petrodollars has had much to do with the U.S. government's attitude toward rises in the price of oil. In 1976 Forbes published an article that pointed out that, regarding OPEC, American policymakers "were quite prepared to have U.S. motorists and businessmen--and those of the rest of the world--pay a bit more for oil in order to help the shah of Iran and the Saudis. . . . The State Department realized full well that they could not persuade Congress to tax Americans for that purpose. So they did it by the back door." "Don't Blame the Oil Companies; Blame the State Department: How the West Was Won," Forbes, April 15, 1976; quoted in Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendlv World (New York: Congdon & Weed, 1984), p. 194. Kwitny reported that the higher oil prices of the 1970s enabled America's gulf allies to increase military spending from $800 million a year to $4 billion a year by 1975 (p. 195).
13. Quoted in Michael B. Bishku, "The 1958 American Intervention in Lebanon: A Historical Assessment," American-Arab Affairs 31 (Winter 1989-90): 116-17.
14. Quoted in Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace: The Oriqins of the Cold War and the National Securitv State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978), p. 180.
15. The government's earliest interest in Middle Eastern oil began after World War I, when it pressured Great Britain to include American oil companies and urged the unenthusiastic American companies to, in the words of a Gulf Oil representative, "go out and get it." Sampson, p. 66. See generally, Daniel Yergin, The Prize: The Epic Ouest for Oil. Monev and Power (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991). On the Iranian concession, see Yergin, Shattered Peace, p. 181. The companies were Standard Vacuum Oil (Stanvac), an independent subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, and Socony-Vacuum. Standard Oil of New Jersey had been denied an Iranian concession in 1940. Sinclair Oil later joined the effort. See Stoff, pp. 101, 103.
16. Quoted in Yergin, Shattered Peace, p. 181.
17. Stoff, p. 62ff. The degree of Thornburg's continuing intimacy with Socal and Texaco was apparently not known at first; when it came to light in 1943, though, he was asked to resign. Nevertheless, the government and the oil companies continued to work closely together. Thornburg was not the only Socal official in the government. Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes's assistant was Ralph Davies, a former Socal senior vice president. Ickes refused Davies's offer to cut all ties with Socal, believing that oil company men should not be penalized for going into the government. A third Socal executive, James Terry Duce, served with the Petroleum Administration for War. Stoff, p. 18ff. The presence of Standard Oil or Rockefeller family associates in the State Department over the years is worth noting. They have included four former secretaries of state, Charles Evans Hughes, John Foster Dulles (both Standard Oil attorneys), Dean Rusk (president of the Rockefeller Foundation), and Henry Kissinger. Nelson Rockefeller held a State Department post during the war. See Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Rockefellers: An American Dvnastv (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976).
18. Stoff, p. 76ff. The sale was favored by Secretary of the Interior Ickes but frowned on by his frequent rival, Secretary of State Hull. Socal and Texaco did not like the idea either, believing it injected the government too deeply into "private enterprise." During the negotiations, Ickes suspended consideration of the companies' request for government financing of an Arabian oil refinery in an effort to put pressure on them. The companies' devotion to private enterprise had its limits. The Petroleum Reserves Corporation tried to get into the oil pipeline business, but broad-based opposition forced it to retreat. The corporation faded away after the war.
19. Stoff, p. 86. Ickes, a Bull Moose Progressive in the Theodore Roosevelt mold and an advocate of centralization, regarded oil as his domain, having administered the Oil Code early in the New Deal and served as petroleum coordinator for national defense beginning in May 1941. He became known as the Oil Czar.
20. Quoted in Noam Chomsky, Towards a New Cold War (New York: Pantheon, 1982), p. 311.
21. George Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East (Durham, N.C.: Duke Universitv Press, 1990), p. 8.
22. Quoted in Gabriel Rolko, The Politics of War: The World and United States Foreian Policv, 1943-1945 (1968; New York: Pantheon Books, 1990), p. 311.
23. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 10; Lenczowski, The Middle East in World Affairs, p. 195.
24. Harry S Truman, Memoirs of Harrv S Truman, vol. 2: Years of Trial and Hope (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1956), p. 95.
25. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 13. Lenczowski wrote that, after Truman's memoirs were published, Truman said he had made the threat. But some scholars are doubtful. See Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 298, n. 10. See also George Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran 1918-1948 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968).
26. He had been installed on the Peacock Throne by the British in 1941 when his father, who was neutral and on good terms with Germany during the war, had been forced to abdicate.
27. Joyce Kolko and Gabriel Rolko, The Limits of Power: The World and United States Foreian Policv 1945-1954 (New York: Harper & Row, 1972); for a revisionist view of the Truman Doctrine, see Stephen E. Ambrose, The Rise to Globalism: American Foreiqn Policv, 1938-1980 (New York: Penguin Books, 1980); and Yergin, Shattered Peace. For the text of the doctrine see Ralph H. Magnus, ed., Documents on the Middle East (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1969), pp. 66-67.
28. A 60-year concession was granted to British interests in 1901 by a previous ruler, Mozaffar ed-Din Shah; it excluded the northern provinces of Iran, traditionally under Russian influence. A new concession was granted by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1933. Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran, pp. 77, 80. Anglo-Iranian Oil feared the entry of independent oil companies. See Kwitny, p. 162.
29. Lenczowski, The Middle East in World Affairs, p. 205ff.
30. Actually, the cutoff of Iranian oil, caused by Iran's inability to produce it without Great Britain, was quickly made up by increased production from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. For details on how the Marshall Plan benefited the U.S. oil industry, see Tyler Cowen, "The Marshal Plan: Myths and Realities, n in Doug Bandow, ed., U.S. Aid to the Developing World: A Free Market Aaenda (Washington: Heritage Foundation, 1985), p. 72. On Soviet nonintervention, see Lenczowski, The Middle East in World Affairs, p. 209.
31. James A. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988), p. 72. Also see Barry Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience in Iran (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), p. 76ff. Rubin pointed out that the left wing of the National Front rejected an alliance with the Tudeh party. The CIA was concerned about increasing Soviet influence over the Tudeh and Mossadegh. That could have been expected once the United States joined the boycott. For a first-hand account, see Xermit Roosevelt, Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979), p. 119. It should be noted that Stalin died in March 1953.
32. Bill, p. 86.
33. C. M. "Monty" Woodhouse, primary British operative, quoted in Bill, p. 86.
34. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was later renamed British Petroleum; holders of its stock, besides the British government, included Shell Oil. It had exclusive marketing agreements with Standard Oil of New Jersey and Mobil. Kwitny, p. 162.
35. Kermit Roosevelt was a grandson of Theodore Roosevelt.
36. Schwarzkopf had organized the Iranian national police in 1941-48 and "was kept busy protecting the government against its enemies." Andrew Tully, The CIA (New York: William Morrow & Co., 1962), p. 94. During the Mossadegh crisis, Schwarzkopf reportedly arrived in Tehran with a bag containing "millions of dollars." Roosevelt, p. 147. He "took over as unofficial paymaster for the Mossadegh-Must-Go clique . . . and the word later was that in a period of a few days Schwarzkopf supervised the careful spending of more than ten million of CIA dollars. Mossadegh suddenly lost a great many supporters." Tully, p. 95. The United States also provided weapons. Schwarzkopf's son commanded the U.S. forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
37. Kwitny, p. 171. See Kwitny, pp. 152-77, for the text of a secret report written for the CIA detailing U.S. involvement in Mossadegh's overthrow. The report stresses that Mossadegh was an anti-communist who, instead of being opposed to the shah, simply wanted him to be a constitutional monarch.
38. Dwight D. Eisenhower, The White House Years: Mandate for Chanae, 1953-1956 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1963), p. 163; Bill, P- 93.
39. Kwitny, p. 161.
40. Quoted in Roosevelt, p. 148.
41. Tully, p. 98. Tully put Mossadegh's age at 79, but Mossadegh reportedly was born in 1880, making him 81 in 1961. Kwitny, p. 168.
42. The United States sought, as the State Department put it in 1944, "the preservation of the absolute position presently obtaining, and therefore vigilant protection of existing concessions in United States hands coupled with insistence upon the Open Door principle of equal opportunity for United States companies in new areas." Quoted in Kolko, p. 303.
43. Shortly before the beginning of the shah's downfall, President Carter visited Tehran and praised Iran as "an island of stability in one of the more troubled areas of the world." See Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 184-203.
44. Magnus, pp. 27, 40.
45. Jewish immigration had long been worrisome to Arabs because Zionist leaders had displayed a callous and presumptuous attitude toward the indigenous population. Theodore Herzl had written in his diary of "gently" expropriating Arab property and "try[ing] to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. . . . Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly." The Complete Diaries of Theodore Herzl (New York: Herzl Press and Thomas Yoseloff, 1960), vol. 1, p. 88; quoted in David Hirst, The Gun and the Olive Branch: The Roots of Violence in the Middle East (London: Faber and Faber, 1984), p. 18. A contemporary of Herzl's had spoken of a "land without a people, waiting for a people without a land." Israel Zangwill, "The Return to Palestine," New Liberal Review II, December 1901, p. 627; quoted in Hirst, p. 19. When a disciple of Herzl's, Max Nordau, went to Palestine and found Arabs there, he told Herzl, "I didn't know that--but then we are committing an injustice." Quoted in Hirst, p. 19. Although Chaim Weizmann, a leading Zionist, could tell the Arabs that their "legitimate rights" would not be violated, he could also tell a non-Arab audience in 1919:
We said we desired to create in Palestine such conditions, political, economic and administrative, that as the country is developed, we can pour in considerable numbers of immigrants, and finally establish such a society in Palestine that Palestine shall be as Jewish as England is English or America is American. . . . I hope that the Jewish frontiers of Palestine will be as great as Jewish energy for getting Palestine.
Chaim Weizmann: Excerpts from His Historic Statements Writings and Addresses (New York: Jewish Agency for Palestine, 1952), p. 48; quoted in Hirst, p. 40.
46. See Nadav Safran, Israel: The Embattled Allv (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1981), p. 23ff.; Hirst, p. 37ff. Paul Johnson called the Zionist (Irgun) attack on the Xing David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 "the prototype terrorist outrage for the decades to come. The first to imitate the new techniques were, naturally, the Arab terrorists: the future Palestine Liberation Organization was an illegitimate child of the Irgun." Paul Johnson, Modern Times (New York: Harper & Row, 1983), p. 483.
47. Walter Laqueur and Barry Rubin, eds., The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary HistorY of the Middle East Conflict (New York: Penguin Books, 1984), p. 79. Until the Biltmore Program, the precise objective of the Zionist movement was vague. The "national home for the Jewish people" specified in the Balfour Declaration was not necessarily to be a state. It is apparently not what the British had in mind, and some Zionists did not favor a Jewish state but rather a binational democracy. For example, in opposing the Biltmore Program, Judah Magnes, the first president of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said, "The slogan Jewish state or commonwealth is equivalent, in effect, to a declaration of war by the Jews on the Arabs." Quoted in Arthur A. Goren, ed., Dissenter in Zion (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982), p. 46. Some Jews opposed Zionism in all forms. See Thomas A. Kolsky, Jews against Zionism: The American Council for Judaism. 1942-1948 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990). Theodore Herzl's book The Jewish State (1896) called for "restoration of the Jewish State," although not necessarily in Palestine. See Evan M. Wilson, Decision on Palestine: How the U.S. Came to Recoanize Israel (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1979), p. 171. A former Israeli chief of military intelligence, Yehoshofat Harkabi, said in 1973 that "the Jews always considered that the land belonged to them, but in fact it belonged to the Arabs. I would go further: I would say the original source of this conflict lies with Israel, with the Jews--and you can quote me. The big problem, then, is not to start at the beginning, but [to] find out 'Where do we go from here?' n Quoted in Irene L. Gendzier's foreword to Noam Chomsky, Peace in the Middle East? (New York: Vintage Books, 1974), p. xvi.
48. Most of the land was bought by the Jewish National Fund to be held in "trust for the Jewish people," which included the Diaspora. Arabs were barred from using the land. See Edward W. Said, The Ouestion of Palestine (New York: Vintage, 1980), pp. 97-98. See also Abraham Granott, The Land System in Palestine (London: Eyre and Spottiswodde, 1952), p. 277; cited in Stephen P. Halbrook, "The Alienation of a Homeland: How Palestine Became Israel," Journal of Libertarian Studies 5, no. 4 (Fall 1981): 365. See also Hirst, p. 132. Many of the purchases were from absentee feudual landlords and thus are questionable by classical liberal standards for homesteading.
49. Truman, p. 133. Elsewhere, he wrote that "one of our main problems was that Palestine was not ours to dispose of" (p. 144).
50. Kolsky, p. 168.
51. Quoted in Wilson, p. 58. Actually, there were 500,000 Arab-Americans at the time.
52. Emmanuel Neumann, "Abba Hillel Silver, History Maker," American Zionist, February 5, 1953; quoted in Wilson, p. 58.
53. Truman, p. 158.
54. See Kolsky, p. 152. On January 1, 1939, on the eve of World War II, H. L. Mencken, for example, devoted his Baltimore Sun column to the plight of the Jews and the hypocrisy of those who expressed sympathy but never did anything. He stated his support for bringing the German Jews to the United States "by the first available ships." See Sheldon L. Richman, "Mr. Mencken and the Jews," American Scholar (Summer 1990): 407-11.
55. Wilson, p. 124. A small strip of the Negev was assigned to the Arabs .
56. Wilson, p. 125.
57. Sumner Welles, We Need Not Fail (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948), p. 63; quoted in Bernard Reich, Ouest for Peace: United States-Israel Relations and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1977), p. 51. Among the UN members pressured were Haiti, the Philippines, Liberia, France, Ethiopia, Paraguay, and Luxembourg. Only Greece withstood U.S. pressure and voted no on the partition resolution.
58. Wilson, p. 126. Truman in his memoirs denied there was official pressure.
59. Simha Flapan, The Birth of Israel: Mvths and Realities (New York: Pantheon Books, 1987), p. 123.
60. The Zionist leaders were overjoyed with the official recognition of their aspirations, although they were not happy with the allocation of land. They declined to specify the borders of the new state. Menachem Begin's minority party refused to accept the partition. See Wilson, pp. 115, 116; Hirst, p. 132ff; Flapan, p. 31ff. The Arabs favored a single state in which Jews would enjoy civil guarantees and municipal and cultural autonomy. See Safran, p. 40.
61. Stephen Green, Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with a Militant Israel (Brattleboro, Vt.: Amana Books, 1988), pp. 56-57.
62. Hirst, p. 124ff. The attack on Deir Yassin (which occurred even though the village had a peace treaty with its Jewish neighbors) was only the worst such action by Zionist forces including the mainstream Haganah and Palmach. Reports of the massacre panicked many Palestinian Arabs into fleeing from their homes. David Ben-Gurion was reported to have said that "without Deir Yassin there would be no Israel." Wilson, p. 140. The violence continued after Israel's declaration of independence. In September 1948 the Stern Gang, headed by the current Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Shamir, assassinated UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte in a Jewish-occupied part of Jerusalem. The Israeli government arrested members of the Stern Gang, but all were either released or granted amnesty. The U.S. government believed that the Israeli government had had a role in the assassination. Green, Takinq Sides, pp. 38-41.
63. Wilson, p. 142.
64. Quoted in John Snetsinger, Truman, the Jewish Vote and the Creation of Israel (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution Press, 1974), pp. 78-81.
65. Evan Wilson pointed out that though Israel cited the partition resolution as authority, in reality it required a 60-day period between the end of the mandate and the birth of the state. Wilson, p. 143. After the declaration, forces of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon reluctantly entered the Arab part of Palestine. When the fighting ended in 1949, and armistices were signed, Israel had enlarged its territory by 40 percent, including half of Jerusalem. Palestinian refugees numbering some 726,000 had fled their homes. The Israeli government expropriated the land and belongings of the Palestinians, who were arbitrarily defined as "absentees." For details on the deep divisions among the Arab countries and the Palestinians and their reluctance to make war on Israel, Transjordan's designs on the Arab part of Palestine, and the secret talks between Israeli and Arab leaders, see Flapan, pp. 121-52; and Avi Shlaim, Collusion across the Jordan (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988). On the refugees, see Tom Segev, 1949: The First Israelis (New York: Free Press, 1986), pp. 68-91; and Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refuaee Problem, 1947-1949 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989). In the succeeding years, Israel pressed forward on all fronts, attacking Arab villages, encroaching on demilitarized zones, making plans to divert precious water resources, and building settlements in disputed territory. Various laws were passed to deny so-called absentee Arab landowners their property. The old British emergency regulations, once denounced by Jews as Nazi-style laws, were enforced. Collective punishment was inflicted. Arab homes were blown up as punishment for the suspected acts of individuals. Arab residents of Israel were under military rule until 1966, and even after that they remained (and are today) second-class citizens in the Jewish state. See Said, particularly chap. 2, "Zionism from the Standpoint of Its Victims, n pp. 56-114. Any Jew, regardless of other citizenship, may emigrate to Israel and become a citizen. Arabs, however, are virtually barred from 92 percent of the land of Israel, which is held for the Jewish people (including those in the Diaspora) in perpetuity. For other details on that apartheid-type system, see Sheldon L. Richman, "Who is a 'Jew' Matters in Israel," Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 1990, p. 10.
66. Quoted in Alfred M. Lilienthal, What Price Israel? (Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1953), p. 67.
67. Wilson, pp. 148, 154.
68. Eisenhower "frequently discussed with the CIA and others possible ways of getting rid of the Egyptian leader." Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: The President (New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1984), vol. 2, p. 462. Kermit Roosevelt was assigned by John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles to "work with the British to bring down Nasser." Eveland, p. 248.
69. The United States sold arms to Israel, and U.S. financial aid had also facilitated Israeli purchases from France and other countries. Cheryl A. Rubenberg, Israel and the American National Interest: A Critical Examination (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), pp. 61-62. Because arms sales are controlled by the government, they have long been a factor in foreign relations. One can only speculate what U.S. foreign policy might have been like had the government allowed the principle of free trade to govern those sales.
70. Rubenberg, p. 53. Israel also did not like the pact because it strengthened Iraq. As compensation, Israel asked for membership in NATO and a defensive arrangement with the United States, both of which were denied.
71. Quoted in Eveland, p. 214.
72. Rubenberg, pp. 48-59. For the story of one such peace effort initiated by Nasser, see Elmore Jackson, Middle East Mission: The Storv of a Maior Bid for Peace in the Time of Nasser and Ben-Gurion (New York: W. W. Norton, 1983). Sharett continued his efforts to reach an accommodation with Egypt as foreign minister when Ben-Gurion returned as prime minister. Ben-Gurion was so opposed to peace with Egypt that in June 1956 he replaced Sharett with Golda Meir. When the Suez War began, Sharett wrote in his diary, "We are the aggressors!" Eveland, p. 239n, also pp. 155-61. Eveland, a CIA operative who long worked in the Middle East, commented, "No comparable opportunity to bring peace to the Middle East has since occurred" (p. 161). For details on Sharett's time in the government, see Livia Rokach, Israel's Sacred Terrorism: A Studv Based on Moshe Sharett's Personal Diary and Other Documents (Belmont, Mass.: Association of Arab-American University Graduates, 1986).
73. See Green, Takina Sides, pp. 107-14. Shimon Peres, the former prime minister who today leads the Labor party, was a principal in the affair. See also Safran, p. 351; Eveland, pp. 135-36.
74. Rubenberg, pp. 59-60.
75. Egypt's attempt was revealed by Israeli Arabist Ehud Ya'ari in Egypt and Fedaveen (Israel: Givat Haviva, 1975).
76. The United States and Britain had different and, in some respects, diametrically opposed objectives in the Middle East. See Eveland; Donald Neff, Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America into the Middle East in 1956 (Brattleboro, Vt.: Amana Books, 1988), passim.
77. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 44.
78. Rubenberg, p. 73. Eisenhower's threat, coming before an election, was extraordinary. The only time aid was certainly cut off was in 1953, when Israel refused to suspend a hydroelectric project on the Jordan River in the demilitarized zone between Israel and Syria. Rubenberg, p. 64.
79. Rubenberg, pp. 79, 82.
80. See, generally, Neff, Warriors at Suez. Early in 1956, Israel tried, unsuccessfully, to stop an American sale of 18 light tanks to Saudi Arabia. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 49. That was not the only U.S. activity in the region at the time; the CIA was financing an attempted coup in Syria. See Eveland, passim. The coup failed, and Syria turned to the Soviets for arms. For a first-hand sense of the hectic activity of U.S. operatives in the Middle East, see Miles Copeland, The Game of Nations (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969).
81. Quoted in Magnus, pp. 87, 91.
82. Bishku, p. 108; Eveland, p. 250.
83. Eveland, p. 240.
84. Eveland, p. 242.
85. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 54. The king was a recipient of CIA money from 1957 to 1977. Donald Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem: The Six Days That Changed the Middle East in 1967 (Brattleboro, Vt.: Amana Books, 1988), p. 43.
86. Ambrose, Eisenhower, p. 463. Pan-Arabism refers to the Arab nationalist movement that transcended national borders.
87. For details on the confessional system, see Sheldon L. Richman, "The United States in Lebanon: A Case for Disengagement," Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 35, April 3, 1984.
88. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 59; Bishku, p. 107; Eveland, p. 247ff.
89. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 59. Chamoun also had enemies among his fellow Maronites. Bishku, p. 100.
90. In 1961 Qassem claimed the entire territory of Kuwait. It had been a British protectorate until that year and had granted oil concessions to both British Petroleum and Gulf Oil.
91. Quoted in Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 60.
92. O'Connor, p. 312; Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 63. The Iraq Petroleum Company was owned by Standard of New Jersey, Socony, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch/Shell, Compagnie Francaise des Petroles, and the C. S. Gulbenkian estate.
93. Meanwhile, Great Britain was dispatching paratroopers to Jordan.
94. Eisenhower wrote that Nasser's conditions for a settlement, offered before the troops arrived, "were not wholly unreasonable." They included completion of Chamoun's term and amnesty for the rebels. Chamoun turned down that chance for a settlement. Eisenhower, White House Years, vol. 2: Waaina Peace 1956-1961 (New York: Doubleday, 1965), p. 268.
95. Eveland, p. 304; Bishku, p. 106. Chamoun loyalists, led by the right-wing Maronite Phalange, objected to the Karami cabinet, and the conflict was not defused until a new cabinet was formed on October 14. It included Pierre Gemayel, leader of the Phalange. That change helped protect an important aspect of the status quo and sowed the seeds of a later crisis.
96. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 63. Lenczowski and others nevertheless have defended the intervention on the grounds that Nasser's policies "often ran parallel to Soviet policies in the Middle East" (p. 63).
97. NSC 5820/1; quoted in Bishku, p. 119.
98. For that interpretation, see Safran, pp. 224-39, wherein he refers to "the radical nature of its [Israel's] enemies, their vastly superior resources, and its extremely vulnerable geostrategic position" (p. 226).
99. Kennett Love, Suez: The Twice-Fouqht War (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969), p. 677. Quoted in Hirst, p. 206.
100. When Saddam Hussein's occupation of Kuwait was compared with Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights, the standard response was that Israel obtained the territories in a defensive war. See John Law, "A New Improved War Myth, n Middle East International, July 12, 1991, pp. 19-20.
101. Rubenberg, p. 98; much of this discussion of the prelude to the 1967 war is based on her account. Guerrilla operations from Syria were conducted by al-Fatah, the Palestinian National Liberation Movement organized in 1957-58 and led by Yasser Arafat. (Al-Fatah later joined the Palestine Liberation Organization.) Like Egypt, Syria wished to have influence over the Palestinians. For details on how the Israelis encroached on the demilitarized zone, expelling Palestinians and destroying villages, see Hirst, p. 212. He has pointed out that UN observers believed the Syrians would not have shelled the Israelis from the Golan Heights had it not been for those provocations. As it was, between January and June 1967, no one was killed by the shelling. Only one Israeli was killed by al-Fatah. Hirst, pp. 214-15.
102. In October 1966 Israelis were killed in two guerrilla raids across the Syrian border. Israel appealed to the UN Security Council, but when the Soviet Union vetoed a resolution condemning the raids, Israel launched military operations against three West Bank towns. Because those towns were in Jordan, the operations were clearly unprovoked. Eighteen Jordanians were killed, 54 were wounded, and 140 homes and other structures, including a mosque, were destroyed. (The Security Council voted unanimously to condemn the Israeli raids.)
103. Nasser supported the Republicans in Yemen's civil war. President Johnson, fearing a threat to Saudi Arabia, aided the Royalists, a further source of friction between Egypt and the United States.
104. Alan Hart, Arafat: A Political Bioaraphv (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), p. 160ff.
105. Quoted in Hirst, p. 216.
107. Quoted in Ot (Israeli weekly), June 1, 1972; quoted in Hirst, p. 215. On the lack of a threat to Israel, see Rubenberg, p. 106; Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, p. 63.
108. Rubenberg, p. 108-9.
109. Quoted in Rubenberg, p. 109.
110. Quoted in Le Monde, February 29, 1968; quoted in Hirst, p. 211.
111. Quoted in Yitzhak Rabin, The Rabin Memoirs (Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1979), p. 75; quoted in Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 291, n. 32.
112. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 107. Hirst has written that Field Marshal Abdul Hakim Amer "apparently instructed his troops not to interfere with any Israeli ships, or any naval vessels or ships escorted by naval vessels" (p. 208).
113. Nasser was willing to submit the dispute to arbitration, but the atmosphere militated against a peaceful solution. Nasser took his action knowing that Israel had already indicated that it would be grounds for war. Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, p. 87. Nasser accepted UN Secretary General U Thant's May 25 proposals regarding the waterway. Rubenberg, p. 110.
114. Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, p. 205. Barbour is quoted in Green, Taking Sides, p. 219.
115. The request was made by Brody to Johnson staff members Larry Levinson and Ben Wattenberg. Green, Takina Sides, p. 219.
116. Rubenberg, pp. 121, 123. For the second time in 19 years, Palestinians, this time numbering 200,000 (one-fifth the population of the West Bank), were turned into refugees moving to Jordan. Even before the war ended, the Israelis began clearing Arab land on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. The Moghrabi Quarter, Beit Nuba, Imwas, and Yalu were among the neighborhoods and villages razed by Israeli bulldozers. Hirst, p. 225.
117. Green, Takinq Sides, pp. 148-79.
118. At various times the Israeli government said that the Dimona facility was a textile or desalination plant. The nuclear program was launched without the knowledge of the Israeli Knesset, and the existence of the reactor was not acknowledged until 1960. Mark Gaffney, Dimona: The Third Temple? The Story behind the Vanunu Revelation (Brattleboro, Vt.: Amana Books, 1989), p. 53.
119. Eveland, p. 325; Green, Takinq Sides, pp. 148-79. In general, see Gaffney's story of Mordechai Vanunu, the Dimona technician who told a British newspaper of Israel's nuclear capability. He later was abducted in Rome by Israeli agents, tried, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. See also Anthony Pearson, Conspiracy of Silence (London: Quartet Books, 1978). Pearson wrote that
elements in the CIA led by James Angleton had given the Israelis technicians and probably even material to set up their own nuclear plants and projects. This had been done . . . to facilitate a very necessary liaison between the rapidly developing Israeli intelligence service and the CIA. The liaison was based on an agreement . . . that Mossad would handle all CIA operations in the Middle East. (p. 27)
Green pointed out that the U.S. Defense Department, beginning in the late 1940s, provided money for defense projects to the Weizmann Institute, where research related to nuclear weapons was performed. He also spelled out the intimate relationship between NUMEC and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Although he wrote that a conclusive case demonstrating NUMEC's diversion of enriched uranium to Israel had not been made,"the circumstantial evidence" that the AEC played a direct role in the diversion "already is flat and overwhelming" (p. 179).
120. Quoted in London Sundav Times, October 12, 1986; quoted in Gaffney, p. 145.
121. Gaffney, p. 69.
122. Seymour M. Hersh, The Price of Power: Kissinaer in the Nixon White House (New York: Summit Books, 1983), p. 214n. Israel is said today to have 100 to 200 nuclear warheads. In general, see Hisham H. Ahmed, "Israel's Nuclear Option: Domestic, Regional and Global Implications," American-Arab Affairs 31 (Winter 1989-90): 70-86.
123. Rubenberg, p. 113. The first major U.S. arms agreement with Israel occurred in 1966. It involved A-4 Skyhawk planes and Sherman tanks, and it cost more than all other U.S. arms supplied since 1948. Green, Taking Sides, p. 175.
124. Rubenberg, p. 123. The United States argued that, if Israeli forces had to leave the Sinai, all forces, including the Egyptian, should have to leave. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 109.
125. Green, Takinq Sides, pp. 204-11. Green's principal source claims to have participated in the operation.
126. Quoted in William B. Quandt, Decades of Decision: American PolicY toward the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1967-1976 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 56-57.
127. Abba Eban, An Autobiography (New York: Random House, 1977), p. 385. Quoted in Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 291, n. 42.
128. On the connections among American Jews, Israel, and South Vietnam, see Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, pp. 80, 85. In Neff's words:
As the Vietnam war heated up and Johnson's popularity cooled, the Jewish American-Israeli connection became increasingly important to him. Administration officials spent considerable amounts of time trying to enlist Jewish American support for the war--which many Jews violently opposed-- by extending support to Israel. (p. 80)
129. There was a cost in American lives too from Israel's prolonged and brutal air and sea assault on June 8 on the USS Liberty, a virtually unarmed intelligence ship in the Mediterranean. Despite the ship's having clear markings and a flag flying, the Israelis claimed they did not know it was an American ship. Thirty-four crewmen were killed and more than 100 were injured. Even life rafts were shot up as sailors tried to leave the ship. The best explanation for the attack is that the ship would have picked up plans for an Israeli attack on Syria after the cease-fire and that the United States might pressure Israel to abandon the plans for fear of a Soviet response. Eveland has written that the Liberty had intercepted messages that "made it clear that Israel had never intended to limit its attack to Egypt" (p. 325). The United States, though, minimized the episode. And Israel warned the United States not to press the issue or it would expose details of CIA-Israeli cooperation. See James M. Ennes, Jr., Assault on the Libertv (New York: Random House, 1979); James Bamford, The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Aqencv (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982), pp. 217-29; Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, passim; Green, Takinq Sides, pp. 212-42. According to Green, the Joint Chiefs of Staff knew of the attack before it occurred but delayed sending the Libertv an order to move. For an explanation of the episode sympathetic to the Israelis, see Hirsh Goodman and Ze'ev Schiff, "The Attack on Liberty," Atlantic, September 1984, pp. 78-84. Also see letters to the editor by Ennes, Green, and others in the December 1984 issue of the Atlantic. Three authors have written that the LibertY was attacked because it had learned that Israel was "cooking" Egyptian transmissions to Jordan, changing them from reports of Israeli successes to Israeli losses and thereby encouraging King Hussein to get into the war. See Eveland, p. 325; Pearson, pp. 13-53; Richard Deacon, The Israeli Secret Service (New York: Taplinger, 1978), pp. 166-85.
130. Quoted in Rubenberg, p. 125.
131. Thomas G. Paterson, Meeting the Communist Threat: Truman to Reagan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 228.
132. Safran, p. 372; Rubenberg, pp. 91-92.
133. Safran, p. 576 (emphasis added).
134. Clyde R. Mark, "Israel-U.S. Foreign Assistance Facts," reprinted in the Conqressional Record, May 1, 1990, pp. 5420-5423; Israel: U.S. Foreian Assistance Facts, Congressional Research Service Issue Brief, undated.
135. Mark, p. 55422.
137. "Israel Retracts Pledge to U.S. on East Jerusalem Housing," New York Times, October 19, 1990.
138. Tom Bethell, "Getting Off the Dole," American Spectator, July 1990, pp. 9, 11.
139. For a detailed picture of the war and its prelude, see Donald Neff, Warriors aqainst Israel: How Israel Won the Battle to Become America's Allv (1973; Brattleboro, Vt.: Amana Books, 1988).
140. Quoted in Rubenberg, p. 134. As noted above, that position was not a new one for Nasser.
141. Rubenberg, pp. 133-34. The PLO at that time rejected Resolution 242 because it did not acknowledge Palestinian self-determination and referred only to "refugees." Rubenberg, p. 146.
142. Rubenberg, p. 148; Neff, Warriors aqainst Israel, p. 59.
143. Henry A. Kissinger, White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), pp. 354, 1289 (emphasis in original). Kissinger also said that he was reluctant to press Israel because "brutally" demonstrating its dependence on the United States would have broken "Israel's back psychologically and destroy[ed] the essence of state." Quoted in Neff, Warriors against Israel, p. 307. Kissinger also felt constrained by the pro-Israeli lobby, or, as he put it, "the prevailing domestic situation." Quoted in Rubenberg, p. 174. Nixon at times was more perceptive than Kissinger. In a memorandum to Kissinger, Nixon said that, because of the 1967 war, the Soviets "became the Arabs' friend and the U.S. their enemy. Long range this is what serves their [the Soviets'] interest." Quoted in Neff, Warriors aqainst Israel, p. 31. Joseph Sisco, undersecretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, was involved in discussions with the Soviets about achieving a separate Israeli-Egyptian peace.
144. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 116-19. See also Earl C. Ravenal, Large-Scale Foreiqn Policv Change: The Nixon Doctrine as Historv and Portent (Berkeley, Calif.: Institute of International Studies, 1989).
145. Henry A. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval (Boston: Little, Brown, 1982), p. 196.
146. Neff, Warriors against Israel, p. 73ff.
147. Ibid., p. 35ff.; Rubenberg, pp. 136-37. Contrary to what Nixon and Kissinger seemed to believe, the Soviets were urging restraint on Syria and others. Hersh, p. 241.
148. Rubenberg, p. 155; Neff, Warriors aqainst Israel, pp. 69-70, 72.
149. Quoted in Rubenberg, . 157.
150. Rissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 471.
151. Stephen Green, Living by the Sword: America and Israel in the Middle East (Brattleboro, Vt.: Amana Books, 1988), p. 97.
152. Safran, p. 483. See also Rubenberg, pp. 163-65. Journalist Jack Anderson reported in 1980 that a Pentagon document confirmed that Israel discussed using nuclear weapons with the United States when it was within hours of running out of conventional arms and the United States furnished the weapons to prevent that. Washinqton Post, March 10, 1980. The subject is also discussed in Robert E. Harkavy, The Spectre of a Middle East Holocaust: The Strategic and Diplomatic Implications of the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program, Monograph Series in World Affairs, vol. 14, book 4 (University of Denver, 1977).
153. "In Israel, to gain their support, I had indicated that I would understand if there was a few hours of 'slippage' in the cease-fire deadline," Kissinger wrote in Years of UPheaval (p. 569). Safran has written that "the secretary's remarks in their [the Israeli military leaders'] presence and in that context could only be taken by them as an invitation to disregard the cease-fire and go on to try to destroy the Egyptian forces." Safran, p. 492. Israeli officials were angry at the cease-fire agreement with the Soviets also because it reaffirmed UN Resolution 242, passed after the 1967 war, which Israel opposed. Safran, p. 491.
154. Rubenberg, p. 170.
155. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 579.
156. Kissinger and other administration officials made the decision about the worldwide alert without the knowledge of Nixon, who was distraught from the impending impeachment and asleep. Neff, Warriors aqainst Israel, p. 284. "We had just run the risk of war with the Soviet Union," Kissinger wrote. Kissinger, Years of UPheaval, p. 602; quoted in Rubenberg, p. 172. The consequences for detente were obvious. See Neff, Warriors against Israel, pp. 282-89.
157. Rubenberg, pp. 172-73.
158. Rubenberg, p. 158.
159. Sampson, p. 302, and Yergin, The Prize, passim.
160. Quoted in Rubenberg, p. 173.
161. Quoted in Neff, Warriors against Israel, p. 306.
162. Arafat, perhaps seeing the handwriting on the wall, communicated This willingness to enter the peace process but was barred by Kissinger. It was at that time that some Palestinians in al-Fatah began talking of a two-state solution, with a Palestinian state on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. They were rebuffed by Israel and the United States and then denounced by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine for capitulating. The move toward adoption of a two-state solution began at the Palestine National Council meeting in June 1974 and was formalized into a program in 1977. In 1976 the UN Security Council considered a resolution, supported by the Arabs and formulated by the PLO, that called for a two-state solution based on the pre-June 1967 borders. It included international guarantees for the "territorial integrity" of all states in the region. Israel opposed the resolution, and the United States vetoed it. The exclusion of the Palestinians and al-Fatah's turn to diplomacy stimulated renewed guerrilla activity against Israel by radical groups. Israel retaliated with attacks in Lebanon. It is important to note that Jordan also was willing to sacrifice the Palestinians. In discussing his desire for settlement, King Hussein told Kissinger that he feared a Palestinian state on the West Bank. Rubenberg, pp. 183-84. On December 21, 1973, after great difficulty, the United States and the Soviet Union convened a conference in Geneva, under UN auspices, with Israel, Egypt, and Jordan. Syria refused to attend, and the Palestinians, at Israel's insistence, were not permitted to attend. After opening statements, the conference was recessed indefinitely. Rubenberg, pp. 177-80.
163. Rubenberg, pp. 182, 206-9; Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 148-52.
164. Rubenberg, p. 187.
165. In 1969 Laborite prime minister Golda Meir said there was no such thing as the Palestinian people, and her successor, Yitzhak Rabin, said Israel would not negotiate "with any Palestinian element." Quoted in Rubenberg, p. 199.
166. Lenczowski has written that Carter did threaten to cut off military aid when Israel entered Lebanon in September 1977; Begin then withdrew Israeli forces. Lenczowski, American Presidents in the Middle East, p. 168.
167. Hirst, p. 335.
168. Rubenberg, pp. 201-2, 212. American supporters of Israel severely criticized the joint proposal as, in the words of one Jewish organization, "an abandonment of America's historic commitment to the security and survival of Israel." Rubenberg, p. 212. Jewish Democrats boycotted a fund-raising dinner featuring the president.
169. Rubenberg, p. 204. On PLO observance of the cease-fire, see Shulamit Har Even, "A War Based on Lies," Ha'aretz, June 30, 1982; reprinted in Palestine/Israel Bulletin, September 1982.
170. Rubenberg, pp. 211-13. See also Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 158-70.
171. Ibid., pp. 165-66.
172. Rubenberg, pp. 234-35.
173. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 176-77.
174. Alfred M. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection II: What Price Peace? (Brunswick, N.J.: North American, 1982), pp. 714-15. In general, see William B. Quandt, Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics tWashington: Brookings Institution, 1986).
175. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 180-81.
176. Robin Wright, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Fundamentalism (New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1986), p. 180.
177. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 183.
178. Sandra Mackey, Lebanon: Death of a Nation (New York: Congdon & Weed, 1989), p. 174ff.; Jonathan C. Randal, Goinq All the Way: Christian Warlords. Israeli Adventurers and the War in Lebanon (New York: Vintage Books, 1984). Israel remains in southern Lebanon to this day. See "Israel to Retain 'Security Zone' in Lebanon," New York Times, November 9, 1990.
179. See Sheldon L. Richman, "The United States in Lebanon."
180. The air strikes made use of building-penetrating bombs and phosphorus bombs, which caused horrible burns. By late June the Lebanese police estimated that 10,000 people had been killed; the Lebanese daily An-Nahar said the toll was almost 18,000, 90 percent of whom were civilians. But the worst bombing was yet to come. Neither hospitals nor orphanages were spared. Food, water, and fuel were denied the half-million city residents. By August 31, over 19,000 people were believed killed, over 30,000 wounded--mostly civilians--although those figures are almost certainly underestimates. Israel said it lost 446 soldiers. See Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 218.
181. Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Caveat: Realism Reaaan, and Foreian Policy (New York: Macmillan, 1984), pp. 326, 327.
182. Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'ari, Israel's Lebanon War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984), pp. 73-74.
183. Ibid., pp. 74-76.
184. The United States has usually voted with Israel in the United Nations and has used its veto many times, even against resolutions regarding Israel's handling of the intifada. The vote in October 1990 to condemn Israel for the massacre of Palestinians at the Temple Mount was the first U.S. vote against Israel in nine years.
185. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 221-22.
186. The Phalange party is a paramilitary organization founded in thep 1930s, with some fascist inspiration, by Bashir and Amin Gemayel's father, Pierre. It is a defender of established Christian power in Lebanon.
187. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 222. The Israelis had brutally bombed the camps before this episode. Lenczowski, pp. 222-23. Those facts came out of Israel's Kahan Commission report, although the commission, despite strong evidence, did not accept the view that Israelis at a high level had planned and helped commit the massacre .
188. Rubenberg, p. 314.
189. A former agent of the Israeli Mossad (intelligence agency) has written that the agency withheld important information from the United States that might have prevented the attack. See Victor Ostrovsky, Bv Wav of Deception: The Makina and Unmakina of a Mossad Officer (New York: St. Martin' 5 Press , 1990 ) .
190. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 224.
191. Quoted in Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 254-55.
193. Bob Woodward, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA. 1981-1987 (New York: Simon & Schuster), pp. 160-61. Joseph E. Persico, in Casev: From the OSS to the CIA (New York: Viking, 1990), has reported that the United States traded the intelligence about Osirak in return for Israeli acquiescence in the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. The cooperation between Israel and the United States was not close enough for Jonathan Jay Polland, who was convicted for giving Israel classified infomation. See Wolf Blitzer, Territorv of Lies (New York: Harper & Row, 1989). For details on Israeli cooperation in the Iran-Contra operation, see Jonathan Marshall et al., The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reaaan Era (Boston: South End Press, 1987), pp. 167-86.
194. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 261.
195. In November 1990 Shamir reiterated that Israel would not give up the occupied territories because they were needed for Jewish immigrants. See "Shamir Wants Immigrants to Fill Occupied Territories," Washinqton Times, November 19, 1990. Most of those immigrants are coming from the Soviet Union, thanks to a deal between Israel and the United States that severely restricted the number of Soviet Jews who could emigrate to the United States.
196. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 275.
198. Contrary to the standard view, Arafat did not acquiesce to Shultz's dictional demands regarding terrorism and Israel's "right to exist." Regarding Arafat's supposed "overnight conversion" between the UN meeting and the press conference, see Nabeel Abraham, "The Conversion of Chairman Arafat," American-Arab Affairs 32 (Winter 1989-90): 53-69.
199. See Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel's Fateful Hour (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), in which the former chief of Israeli military intelligence makes a case for negotiations leading to an independent Palestinian state.
200. President Bush acknowledged that "the PLO has disassociated itself from the attack, and issued a statement condemning attacks against civilians in principle." But, Bush said, the PLO response was not suffi- cient because of Arafat's failure to provide "a credible accounting" of the incident or to discipline Palestine Liberation Front leader Abu Abbas. See "Text of Remarks on PLO by President George Bush," AmericanArab Affairs 33 (Summer 1990): 165-66.
201. Quoted in Thomas Friedman, "Shamir Faulted on Mideast Remarks," New York Times, October 19, 1989, p. A3.
202. Reprinted in American-Arab Affairs 31 (Winter 1989-90): 133. Egypt has proposed that the Palestinaian delegation include deportees from the territories, but Shamir has rejected the proposal on the grounds that it would give the PLO a back-door role.
203. Edward R. Giradet, Afghanistan: The Soviet War (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1985), pp. 100-2, 111.
204. Quoted in Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, p. 206.
205. Quoted in U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Access to Oil--The United States Relationships with Saudi Arabia and Iran (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1977).
206. Cyrus Vance, Hard Choices: Critical Years in American Foreiqn Policy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983), p. 370.
207. Dilip Hiro, The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Militarv Conflict (New York: Routledge, 1991), p. 71.
208. Crisis in the Gulf: Reprints from Middle East Report (Washington: Middle East Research & Information Project, undated), p. 38. As noted, the United States also traded arms to Iran in hopes of recovering hos- tages held in Lebanon. The arms included TOW anti-tank missiles and Hawk surface-to-air missiles.
209. Sheldon L. Richman, "Where Angels Fear to Tread: The United States and the Persian Gulf Conflict," Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 90, September 9, 1987.
210. Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, pp. 249-50.
211. The alleged later use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds has been questioned by analysts at the U.S. Army War College. See Stephen C. Pelletier et al., Iraqi Power and U.S. Security in the Middle East (Carlisle Barracks, Pa.: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 1990).
212. Joe Stork and Ann M. Lesch, "Why War? Background to the Crisis," Middle East Report (November-December 1990): 15.
213. Daniel Pipes and Laurie Mylroie, "Back Iraq," New Republic, April 27, 1987, p. 14.
214. Ibid., pp. 14-15 (emphasis added).
215. See Daniel Pipes, "U.S. War Aims," Washinqton Post, Outlook section, January 13, 1990, in which he advised that the United States use just enough force to win the war against Iraq, but not so much that the United States loses the peace.
216. For a revealing look at U.S. policymakers' realpolitik in the gulf, including the selling out of the Kurds, see Christopher Hitchens, "Why We Are Stuck in the Sand, n Harper's, January 1991, pp. 70-75, 78. For evidence that the United States may have had a hand in provocative Kuwaiti policies before the Iraqi invasion and that President Bush worked to prevent an Arab solution to the crisis once the invasion had occurred, see Michael Emery, "How the U.S. Avoided Peace," Village Voice, March 5, 1991, pp. 22-27.
217. David R. Henderson, "Sorry Saddam, Oil Embargoes Don't Hurt the U.S.," Wall Street Journal, August 29, 1990. Henderson argued that, even under the worst assumptions, Saddam's control of Kuwaiti and Saudi oil could do the U.S. economy only slight damage. See also David R. Henderson, "Do We Need to Go to War for Oil?" Cato Institute Foreign Policy Briefing no. 4, October 24, 1990.
218. "Bush: Iraq Won't Decide Time of Ground War," Washinqton Post, February 2, 1991, p. Al.
219. See Christopher Layne and Ted Galen Carpenter, "Arabian Nightmares: Washington's Persian Gulf Entanglement," Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 142, November 9, 1990; and Christopher Layne, "Why the Gulf War Was Not in the National Interest," Atlantic, July 1991, pp. 55-81.
220. Quoted in Bullock and Shock, p. 88.
221. Robert A. Taft, A Foreiqn Policv for Americans (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1951), pp. 17-18.
222. I say "appearance" because it is doubtful that the Soviets ever had the kind of influence in the Middle East that the ideological cold warriors believed. Aspirations aside, the natural barriers to such influence--Islam for one--were always formidable. The Afghanistan debacle is empirical evidence of that fact. There is evidence that the Soviet "threat" was always more a rationalization than a rationale. See Eveland, passim; Jonathan Steele, Soviet Power (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983). PP. 180-81.
223. Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791; N w York: Penguin Books, 1985), p. 77.
224. Walter Karp, Indispensable Enemies (New York: Saturday Review Press, 1973).
225. Quoted in Silberner, p. 62.
226. Quoted in Silberner, p. 94. In Silberner's words:
Opposition to bellicism is an integral part of [classical] liberal theory. The liberals are not satisfied with denouncing war of aggression as a crime against economic laws properly understood. They do not limit themselves to pointing out the economic senselessness of war. . . . They also assert that they have found in free trade the best possible solution to the problem of war: some assume, implicitly or explicitly, that freedom of commerce will eliminate all or nearly all wars . . .; others, more moderate, that it will substantially reduce the risk of war. (p. 282)
227. Quoted in Liggio, p. 69. Earl C. Ravenal has estimated that, today, U.S. military preparations for the Middle East are costing $180 to $280 a barrel. See Earl C. Ravenal, "The Case for Adjustment," Foreian Policv 81 (Winter 1990-91): 9.
228. For a discussion of how the market can provide energy security even during times of turmoil in the Middle East, see Richman, "Where Angels Fear to Tread," pp. 7-15.
229. Quoted in Felix Gilbert, To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Earlv American Foreiqn Policy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1961), pp. 144-45.
230. On the problems associated with criticizing Israel, see Paul Findley, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby (Westport, Conn.: Lawrence Hill, 1985); Edward Tivnan, The Lobbv: Jewish Political Power and American Foreiqn Policv (New York: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1987).
231. Quoted in Gilbert, p. 145 (emphasis in Gilbert's text).
232. William Graham Sumner, The Conquest of the United States by Spain and Other Essays (1899; Chicago: Gateway/Regnery, undated), p. 155.
233. Ibid., pp. 164-65
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