Sunday, November 29, 2009

2. Political Consequences

Arab nationalism is the strongest political force in the Arab world. It grew up in secret societies under Ottoman rule, came out into the open in the Arab Revolt of World War I, and has been the major factor in the independence movement in the Arab world ever since. The independence of all the Arab states in the Near East throws into high relief the continuing mandatory status of Palestine, Because of the strong ties between the various Arab states, political developments in any one country are of vital concern to Arabs everywhere- Palestinian independence is, consequently, the major aim not only of the Palestinian Arabs but also of Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Transjordanians, Egyptians, and Saudi Arabians. It would be political suicide for any Arab government to ignore this situation.

The signing of the Arab League Pact in March 1945 was a victory for the Arab nationalists in that it hastened the day when they could form their own bloc in relation to the other great powers of the world.

The Arab nationalist movement in Palestine has been as active as in any other Arab country. The uprisings of 1929 and 1936 demonstrated the strength of this movement. A stamp commemorating the signing of the Arab League Pact in 1945 appeared in Egypt showing a cluster of flags of country members, one of which was a white flag Inscribed "Palestine." Palestine has been represented at meetings of the Arab League, first by independent individuals and then by the representatives of the new Arab Higher Committee, formed in 1945. At the conference of the Political Committee of the Arab League in October 1947 it is significant that the Mufti, as Chairman of the Arab Higher Committee. played a leading role. Although the Arab Higher Committee and the Arab League. have differed as to the advisability of testifying before UNSCOP, the members of the League are in complete accord over the injustice of partition to the Palestinian Arabs.

The ultimate aim of Arab nationalism is to preserve and enrich the Arab heritage, while the political aims are the independence of all Arab lands and the establishment of some degree of unity among them. The nationalists regard Palestine as the chief stumbling block to the achievement of their political aims. Despite the fact that Arabs and Jews have lived peaceably side by side, determination to make Palestine an independent Arab country is strong in all of the Arab states, from the more educated and ambitious classes down to the poorest and most politically naive peasants. Arab national fervor is so explosive and pervasive a force that Arab government officials who recognize the political implications involved in flouting a UN decision will nevertheless have to oppose any decision for partition or run the risk of losing face.

(2) Religious Pressure.

The Arab governments are probably as greatly influenced by religious pressures as they are by nationalist pressures. The Arabs are capable of a religious fanaticism which when coupled with political aspirations is an extremely powerful force. Whether or not the Arab governments are capable of guiding this force is difficult to judge. It is very possible that certain religious organizations will take the initiative in organizing Arab resistance in Palestine.

The Ikhwan al Muslimin (Moslem Brotherhood), with headquarters in Egypt, is an organization of young Moslems founded for the purpose of orienting Arab society in accordance with Islamic ideologies. Branches of the Ikhwan have been formed in Syria and Lebanon, and one of the most active branches is in Palestine. The Ikhwan regards Westernization as a dangerous threat to Islam and would oppose any political encroachment of Zionism on Palestine with religious fanaticism, should a "Jihad," or Holy War, be declared, the Ikhwan would be the spearhead of any "crusade." The Grand Mufti, as head of the Moslem Supreme Council, can count on the unanimous support of all members of the Ikhwan, who are assured of entrance into Paradise if they die on the field of battle.

(3) Tribal Pressure.

The tribes of the Arab countries are a powerful element in the political and military pattern, of the Middle East. The tribe is a group of related families under the leadership of a chief (sheikh) which may be joined in a confederacy with other tribes under a paramount sheikh. The economic basis of tribal life is pastoral nomadism involving periodic migrations to seek pasturage for camels, sheep, and horses, The nomad (Beduin) population of Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, and Saudi Arabia has been estimated at 2,500,000.

The conditions of Beduin life have developed a hardy type of fighting man, not only imbued with a warlike tradition (combining religious fanaticism with an enthusiastic devotion to looting, plundering, and raiding) but also trained in the use of small arms and the methods of desert warfare.

Large stipends have been paid annually to the tribes of the Near East by whatever power wished to have their support, whether that power was British, French, or the local Arab government. Since the Arab governments now pay the stipends, they could rely on the tribes within their regions. The tribes would doubtless join the crusade, not only for reasons o' Arab patriotism but also for plunder, the assurance of additional stipends, and the thrill of battle. The Syrian Defense Minister stated on 9 October that as the Arabs marched into Palestine they "would be buttressed by 100,000 loot-seeking Beduin described as `mine fodder'."

The dramatic meeting of 500 Kurdish and Arab tribal sheikhs at Hllla in Iraq in October passed a resolution for a Holy War to defend Palestine. Although Prime Minister Saleh Jabr took the initiative in organizing this meeting, it is significant that the Arab and Kurdish leaders (many of whom are hostile to each other) consented to meet and to agree to a common program.

b. Probable Attitudes of Arab Governments.

(1) Toward a Jewish Sate.

The Arabs violently oppose the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine because they believe that Palestine is an integral part of the Arab world. In addition, they fear that the Jews will consolidate their position through unlimited immigration and that they will attempt to expand until they become a threat to the newly won independence of each of the other Arab countries. They believe that not only politically but also culturally the Jewish state threatens the continued development of the Islamic-Arab civilization. For these reasons, the Arab governments will not consider any compromise, and they categorically reject any scheme which would set up a Jewish state in Palestine. The meetings of the Political Committee of the Arab League in Lebanon crystallized this feeling of unanimity. In a note, which represents the views of all the Arab states. the Committee stated, "The Arab governments, themselves, shall not be able to restrain the feelings of their nationals revolting against the oppression falling on them, nor shall they stand with folded arms before a danger threatening all the Arab countries, but rather will they be compelled to take every decisive action which will guarantee resistance to the aggression and the restoration of justice." In addition, leaders in all the Arab states have stated their determination to resist.

1. Toward the UN.
The Arab governments are embittered by the UNSCOP majority report, which they feel was not arrived at Impartially. Speeches made before Zionist groups by the Guatemalan member of UNSOOP, following the return of the committee, have convinced the Arabs that certain members of UNSCOP had made up their minds on the question before the committee undertook its task.

However, the Arab governments are reluctant to break with the UN. At the meeting of the Political Committee of the Arab League in Cairo following the formation of UNSCOP, the Arab states were not willing to follow the lead of the Arab Higher Committee in boycotting the hearings. The Arab governments supported the Mufti in refusing to give testimony within the frontiers of Palestine, but they all presented testimony to UNSCOP subsequently in Beirut.

The Arab governments realize the debt they owe to the UN. The raising of the question of the evacuation of foreign troops from Syria and Lebanon in the UN led to a speedy and satisfactory settlement among the French, British, and Levant States. Egypt has had an opportunity to air its views on the evacuation of British troops from Egypt and its claims to the Sudan. The UN has provided a medium for the immediate recognition and participation in world affairs of the young Arab states. Although the Arab states are adamant in their determination to make Palestine an Arab state, they will probably avoid a complete rupture with the UN should partition be imposed.

2. Toward the US and UK.

Since the Balfour Declaration the British have been the target of Arab political feeling in Palestine. The recommendation for the partition of Palestine as contained in the Peel Report of 1937 resulted in serious anti-British demonstrations by the Arabs. After the dissolution of the first Arab higher Committee In 1937, the arrest of Arab political leaders, and the escape of the Mufti and others across the border. the Arabs were convinced that Britain was crushing all hopes of Arab political Independence in Palestine. Although the Arabs welcomed the White Paper of 1939, they have continued to criticize the British for permitting Jewish immigration on a limited scale and for refusing to disarm the Jewish underground. As a result, however, of the UK's announced decision to terminate the mandate and to withdraw both its troops and administration from Palestine and its refusal to implement by force any settlement not acceptable to both the Arabs and the Jews, British prestige in the Arab world has definitely improved.

US prestige, on the other hand, has steadily decreased with each new indication that the US supports the Zionists. The good will enjoyed by the US at the time of the Roosevelt-Ibn Saud Conference and following US hacking of Lebanese and Syrian claims for Independence was short lived as a result of President Truman's support of Jewish immigration to Palestine and the Anglo-American Committee report.

After the publication of the Anglo-American Committee report, Arab popular feeling expressed itself in the bombing of the US Legation at Beirut and In the attempt to burn the USIS office in that city. The Arab governments' official attitudes were made known at the Bludan Conference. in which the US bore the brunt of the attacks. British-sponsored newspapers in the Levant States placed the responsibility for the Anglo-American Committee's findings on the US, indicating that the UK members of the Committee could only follow the recommendations of the US members, Gradually, within the last two years. the blame for the Palestine situation has passim from the UK to the US.

Because of long-standing cultural ties between the US and the Arab world, the friendly role that the US played in the achievement of Syrian and Lebanese independence, the partial dependence of certain Arab states on oil royalties from US companies, and the promise of increased royalties In the future, the Arab states would like to maintain friendly relations with the US. The Arab governments realize that without US financial aid and technical assistance, they will be unable to carry through the extensive projects that are needed if the standard of living is to be raised above its present subsistence level. little of this development will be possible, however, if the US supports a Jewish state in Palestine.

c. Probable Actions of Arab Governments

1. Against Palestine.
In the event of the partition of Palestine, it is unlikely that the Arab governments will openly proclaim war against the Jews. Pressure from the Arab people for an open declaration of war will be strong, but the governments doubtless realize that such a step in defiance of a decision passed by the UN would seriously jeopardize the Arab position in the UN. However, it is probable that large numbers of Arabs from the surrounding countries will join the Arabs residing within Palestine for the war against Zionism. These Arabs will be loosely organized under national leaders and tribal sheikhs. Volunteers will leave the armies, and ammunition and military equipment will find their way from the Arab armies to the resistance movement. The Arab governments though not officially endorsing such action, will doubtless allow it to continue.

2. Against Jews in Arab Lands.

Before the enunciation of the Balfour Declaration is 1917, the Jews in the Near East fared as well as other minority groups throughout the world. Since 1917, however, they have had to bear the brunt of Arab antagonism to the development of political Zionism in Palestine. In the event of partition, the lives of the trillion Jews throughout the Arab world (including Palestine) will be Imperiled. The lower element In the population would look forward to attacks on Jewish quarters because of the excellent opportunity for Iooting----as illustrated at the time of the Baghdad revolt in 1941 when the Jewish quarter was attacked, A representative of the Jewish Agency has stated that in the event of partition the 400,000 Jews in the Arab states outside Palestine may have to be sacrificed in the interest of the Jewish community as a whole.

3. Against the US and UK.
The Bludan Conference of 1946 established a course of procedure,' to be followed by the Arab states in the event that the recommendations of the Anglo-American Committee should be implemented. Following the publication of the UNSCOP report and the speech of Secretary Marshall before UNCA, the Arab League Political Committee met and decided in general terms to apply the Bludan recommendations if partition were voted by the UN. However, in the discussions on the manner In which these recommendations should be applied, there was considerable disagreement in the Political Committee. Some of the Arab governments refused to consider a break in diplomatic relations with the Western powers, and others refused to cancel oil concessions. Nevertheless., there is complete unanimity among the Arab states as regards aim. They are all unalterably opposed to the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. Whether or not they now agree on retaliatory measures against the US is beside the point; In time US interests will be seriously affected, if not by the decisions of the Arab governments, certainly by the instability and hostility which will inevitably be aroused in the Arab world.

The bombing of the American Consulate General in Jerusalem on 13 October is evidence of the Arab resentment against US support of the majority plan. This action was reported to have been taken by the newly formed Arab terrorist group which calls itself "the Jihad." Whatever the official position of the Arab governments may be, attacks on US property, installations, and personnel by irresponsible groups or individuals can be expected.

d. Aims of Jewish State.

In spite of increasing tension and hostilities between various factions in the Jewish community, it can be expected that all Jewish groups in Palestine will join forces against the Arabs in defense of the newly formed Jewish state. The chief aims of the Jewish government will be organisation of defense and increased immigration.

Territorial Ambitions.
In the long run no Zionists in Palestine will be satisfied with the territorial arrangements of the partition settlement. Even the more conservative Zionists will hope to obtain the whole of the Nejeb, Western Galilee, the city of Jerusalem, and eventually all of Palestine. The extremists demand not only all of Palestine but Transjordan as well. They have stated that they will refuse to recognize the validity of any Jewish government which will settle for anything less, and will probably under-take aggressive action to achieve their ends.

Soliciting of Foreign Aid.
The Zionists will continue to wage a strong propaganda campaign in the US and in Europe. The "Injustice" of the proposed Jewish boundaries will be exaggerated, and the demand for more territory will be made as Jewish immigration floods the Jewish sector. In the chaos which will follow the implementation of partition, atrocities will undoubtedly be committed by Arab fanatics; such actions will be given wide publicity and will even be exaggerated by Jewish propaganda. The Arabs will be accused of aggression, whatever the actual circumstances may be. This propaganda campaign will doubtless continue to influence the US public, and the US Government may, consequently, be forced into actions which will further complicate and embitter Its relations with the entire Arab world.

The "secret" procedure decided on is reported to include the following provisions:

Not to give the US and UK or their local communities any new concessions, economic or otherwise.
Not to support US and UK special interests in any educational institution/
To institute a "moral boycott" against the US and UK.
To consider cancellation of any concession in the Arab world
To make a strong case of the Arab cause before the UN.

e. Attitude of the USSR.

The USSR's aims in Palestine are: (1) to end the British mandate and bring about the removal of British troops from the area; (2) to keep the situation unsettled; and (3) to take an active part in "maintaining order" in the country. The USSR has been highly successful in carrying out the first two aims— without any effort on its part. The accomplishment of the third aim would give the USSR a base in the heart of the Near East from which to disseminate propaganda, carry on subversive activities, and attempt to organize "democratic movements" in the Arab states.

By first recommending a bi-national state in Palestine, the USSR has made at least a gesture toward the Arabs. By supporting partition, the USSR has set ' itself up as the champion of minorities and has posed as a power attempting to find the "just solution" for Palestine. The USSR could now logically claim that Kurdistan should be set up as a Kurdish state and that Kars Province of Turkey should be joined to Soviet Armenia.

Meanwhile, the USSR has been actively but secretly assisting the Jews. In addition to reports that the USSR is assisting Jewish underground agents in Europe, large ships filled with illegal immigrants have been leaving the Rumanian port of Constanza- The British have watched with suspicion Soviet "lumber ships" leaving the Black Sea for Palestine which, the British claim, are carrying arms below decks to both the Jews and Arabs in Palestine.

In the event of Arab-Jewish hostilities, the USSR will continue to support the Jews and will probably also attempt covertly to aid the Arabs,

I. Effect on US Economic Interests in Near East, (1) oil.

If partition is to be implemented in Palestine, it appears unlikely that the Arab governments will initially cancel existing oil concessions. Such action would have the combined effect of alienating the US and cutting off future oil royalties. The subject of cancellation of oil contracts was discussed at the meeting of the Arab League Political Committee in Aley, Lebanon, in October 1947. The Saudi Arabian delegate, stating that the oil companies were private corporations and did not represent the US Government, opposed the Iraqi delegates stand that the contracts should be cancelled.

However, all oil installations and oil pipelines in the Near East would be endangered. Desert pipelines are vulnerable to attack by small Arab bands. which could cut the lines and disappear before they could be arrested. The Arab governments probably would not support such irresponsible action, but they would not be able to stop it. Operations outside the actual oil centers. such as Kirkuk and Dhahran, would be greatly hampered, and the oil companies would be forced to restrict production.

Although existing oil contracts will probably not be cancelled, it is possible that the Arab governments will refuse to enter into any new oil contracts with the US. The Syrian Government, for example, has already postponed ratification of the pipeline agreement with the Trans-Arabian Pipeline Company, Whatever their individual desires may be, pressure from the people as well as from the Arab League as a whole may prevent them from entering into any new concessions.

(2) Commerce.

In the event of partition US trade and commercial relations with the Arab world will be seriously affected. The establishment of an Arab boycott, even though only partially effective, would act as a brake on the slowly but steadily improving commercial relations between the US and the Arab states. Such a boycott would also serve as a bar to American participation in projects for the improvement of living standards, increased production, and expanded irrigation programs, many of which would otherwise include the employment of considerable American materials and technical skills. Even more important, perhaps, would be the general instability in the area. Such instability could be expected to reduce the size of US investments in the area as well as the returns from present or contemplated investments, thereby impairing the dollar-earning capacity of the area and its ability to purchase from the US.

It is unlikely that existing air agreements will be canceled, but the negotiation of new ones may well be delayed throughout the area. Other countries will be quick to take advantage of the inevitable deterioration of relations between the US and the Arab states.

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