The Talking Cure: How It Might Help in the Middle East to End Nuclear Threats





Mr. Lambers is the author of The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (2004). He is a writer for the History News Service.

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Everyone realizes that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a grave threat to the Middle East. But even a resolution to the Iranian nuclear dispute won't remove the vicious cycle of hostility and arms buildups in the region. Only by establishing confidence-building measures among all nations in the Middle East can this be achieved.

In an area filled with animosities this idea may seem hopelessly idealistic, yet the Cold War enemies, the United States and the Soviet Union, learned to build confidence and trust. A key step for the Americans and Soviets was the 1986 Stockholm Conference, which sought to reduce tensions in Europe. The Conference produced agreement on the advance notification of military exercises by the Soviet Union, the United States, Canada and thirty-two European nations. Military maneuvers exceeding a certain size could be observed by each nation. These were major breakthroughs with regard to on-site inspection into the Soviet Union--an idea the Soviets had been rejecting for decades.

The Stockholm breakthrough set the stage for nuclear arms reductions at a time of great peril. In Eastern Europe, the Soviets had stationed SS-20 missiles that could unleash multiple nuclear warheads against U.S. allies. The United States placed its Pershing II nuclear missiles in West Germany during 1983 to counter the Soviet missile threat. These new, powerful and deadly accurate weapons sent fear rippling throughout Europe.

In the Middle East today, the growing missile capability of Iran, Syria, and Israel is causing alarm. As it was during the Cold War, arms control is necessary to confront this threat. But this can only be achieved through enhanced cooperation and trust throughout the Middle East.

Think of what such cooperation would mean for the new government of Iraq, which is surrounded by heavily armed nations. The Iraqi people could devote their resources to health care, food and science instead of armaments to counter external threats. Iraq is more likely to thrive in a region reliant on trust rather than the sword. But for this to become a reality, there must be an accumulation of goodwill. Like the Soviet-American negotiations during the Cold War, it will be a daunting task.

President Reagan stated the policy -- "trust but verify" -- when the Soviets and Americans agreed to eliminate their nuclear missiles in Europe during 1987. Without the establishment of on-site inspection at Stockholm, there could have been no such landmark nuclear arms reductions. "Trust but verify" would be an integral part of a Middle East peace process and could take root in an agreement similar to Stockholm's.

Establishing on-site inspection would lead to arms control treaties verified by members of each Middle Eastern state. These actions would rein in the region's growing missile capability and rid the area of weapons of mass destruction. Such a long-term goal is clearly in the best interests of Iraq and other nations in the region. But a gradual process to build trust must precede it.

There's basis for hope. During the 1990s, a group of Middle Eastern nations, including Israel, agreed to notify each other in advance of military exercises and invite representatives to inspect these maneuvers. These agreements were never implemented because talks broke down owing to the controversy over Israel's own nuclear capability. These talks should resume by adopting the Stockholm model. They should focus solely on confidence-building measures involving all Middle East nations and including mandatory inspection for relevant military exercises.

Until trust is established between all nations in the Middle East, such as that achieved to end the Cold War, a Middle East peace will remain elusive. The new Iraq government and its neighbors will continue to dwell in a region full of suspicions and heavy armaments. A hostile future will await them.


This piece was distributed for non-exclusive use by the History News Service, an informal syndicate of professional historians who seek to improve the public's understanding of current events by setting these events in their historical contexts. The article may be republished as long as both the author and the History News Service are clearly credited.


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Becky Soto - 4/8/2009

What are nuclear weapons when Israel has the Almighty God on their side. The war of 1973, they had only two tanks, God threw the other countries into confusion, that's how Israel escaped that war! Find out about the war to come, in Ezekiel 38-39 in the Bible. Russia, Lybia, Ethiopia, Iran, & Turkey!! When God wins that war, Israel will know that He is God!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"Land with no people for a people with no land."


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Moshe:
"Land with no people for a people with no land."


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr. Friedman
There is no reason for me to become angry at what you had to say; I have often encountered much worse. Although your posts are replete with half-truths, outright fabrications and intentional disinformation it has the semi redeeming quality of politeness.
Back to what you posted; I find your following statement to be based on one of two mutually exclusive basis:
-a: total ignorance or
-b: Intentional, conscious disinformation of the general reader.

" And, in fact, Islam is on the more aggressive side, as religions go, with respect to other religious traditions, including rule by people in such other traditions, for reasons I have already cited."

As a matter of theology, history and practice you would know that Islam is the ONLY monotheistic religion that recognizes the DIVINE inspiration of both Judaism and Christianity. As such, ISLAM is not only the LEAST aggressive but, objectively, is the most conciliatory of the three monotheistic religions.
I do not believe that your statement springs from ignorance !
Equally note worthy is your following statement:

"Examined historically: the Jihad mythology, which employs the notion of the dar al-Islam and the dar al-harb, has been the excuse for a lot of war. And those wars led to the creation of humongous empires. Which is to say, politically speaking, Islam has been very successful in spreading itself and its rule over others."

It is the nature of all dogmas, religious ( except in the case of via the mother's blood, which is not our subject for now) and nonreligious alike, to spread "the word", preach, proselytize their creed ; that is ultimately their "raison d'etre" or they would fail their primary mission to convert others to the "truth" and, selfishly, keep it to themselves!

Islam is no exception to that.

However it is your insistence on a single, unique interpretation of the multifaceted term "jihad", a consciously maligned concept with great anti Arab/Moslem i.e pro Zionist connotations, that deprives your allegation of any objectivity!
"Jihad", when it comes to propagation of the faith, ranges from "al kalima al hassanah" ( the good word)to military conquest re the nonadherents of a "Book" which, in a historical perspective, was the least violent in a time of violence if we recall how, say, South America was converted to Christianity or how Spain was deIslamized!
It is of paramount importance for the objective observer to note , and correctly interpret, how a country like, say, Egypt converted to Islam and , simultaneously, retained a sizable Christian minority; no coercion was used although the conquest of Egypt was a "jihadist" campaign!

Finally to the main point of your post:

"As it relates to our world, I think that Islam, as it was classically understood, provides its own cause and is a central motivating factor - likely one of the main factors - for a large number of the very, very many disputes which Islamic peoples have with non-Muslims. Again, such may not be the only cause but it is nearly always lurking in the background and plays a substantial, if not the most important, role. "

Is that not a perverted interpretation of historical fact in which roles are reversed and the victim is blamed and the aggressor exonerated?
The recent quarrels Moslems had, and in some cases still have, with nonMoslems fall under two main categories:
-a:Inter- confessional, inter -communal disputes: these have been politically, non violently, resolved as in the case of the Moslem/Hindu dispute by the nonviolent separation of the two communities by the establishment of India and Pakistan! Residues of the conflict remain in Kashmir but the bulk of the problem was politically resolved.
-b:inter-nations conflicts in which one party colonized, subjugated and pillaged the other, through colonialism and imperialism as in the case of Western powers re Arab and Moslem countries in the near past and the UK and USA in Iraq recently and outright racist colonialism as for Israel in Palestine, with the aggressor wanting that subjugation and pillaging to continue !
Wherever a colonialist power, the erstwhile enemy, abandoned its colonialist designs the conflict seized to exist as for Holland in Indonesia or Italy in Libya.
All other conflicts are no more than frictions between diverse cultural entities and are neither different nor worse that the Catholic/Protestant confrontation in Ireland!

And to your conclusion:

"Such is even the case regarding the Arab Israeli dispute where, in particular, the rallying cry for groups such as Hamas - which will not likely ever reach a final compromise settlement, only a hudna (in the traditional Muslim sense) - comes from religion. I note that groups such as Hamas make the same distinctions that I have noted."

It is now increasingly appreciated that once the racist/colonialist Zionist conquest of Palestine has been progressively unmasked by and to neutral observers for what it really is the Zionist movement has endeavored to reclassify, rebaptise if you wish, the conflict as an Arab/Moslem-Judeo/Christian confrontation aiming to rally Christendom to its Zionist cause.
With President Bush ,the neocons and fundamentalist Christians in the USA it has achieved some success but main stream Christianity have resisted and are rejecting this Zionist plan as best seen in their united opposition to the conquest of Iraq and expansionist Israeli designs.
Your plans for a united Zionist/Christian front against the Arab/Moslem world will not work!
The Arab/Palestinian-Israeli conflict was , still is ,over the colonialist/racist Zionist conquest of Palestine which led to the displacement and dispossession of the indigenous Palestinian people, both Moslems and Christians,and supplanting them by aliens chosen on a rscist basis.


[ Reply ]


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
In your post #59810, May 2 /05 you asked :

"Has Israel ever threatened to use nuclear weapons against anyone? ."

To which my reply was (#60157):

"Did the USA threaten to use the A bomb before doing so on Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the third that failed to explode?"

So your comment in reply:

"I am not sure I see your point" coming after your assertion that:"There was a war and the custom in war is not to tell the enemy what weapons will be used and when."(#60158) is really a repudiation of your original stand!
Do you see my point now? I bet you still do not!
When it comes to Israel you have a queerly selective eye sight.Typical!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
In an earlier post"Re: Trust (#60186)
by omar ibrahim baker on May 8, 2005 at 7:07 AM"
I have written:
"Mr. Friedman
There is no reason for me to become angry at what you had to say; I have often encountered much worse. Although your posts are replete with half-truths, outright fabrications and intentional disinformation it has the semi redeeming quality of politeness."
However reading your last post(#60200) with such gems as :
-"If the Palestinian side behaved like civilized people, rather than barbarians," and
-"they will continue to live like dogs. "
I have to rethink my note about "...the semi redeeming quality of politeness."
It is perfectly understandable that to you, the confirmed Zionist,peole who resent being denied the right to Self Determination and the forced demographic compostion of their homeland by aliens, who insist on their Right to Return to their native country and to repossess their legitimate possessions and strugle against occupation by a Racist regime shall be described as "barbarians" who deserve to"...continue to live like dogs."
That is truly the moral standard that gave birth to Israel and that you uphold as a "civilized" person!





omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Moshe
In your post #59857 you requested:"Perhaps if you could provide some evidence for this defamatory claim, it would be helpful." in support of my statement that:
"it is the utter disrespect that Zionism has for others and its unending campaign of deception and disinformation; a progressively bankrupt policy by the way !"

"Land with no people for a people with no land." is the evidence for the "...unending campaign of deception and disinformation;.."!

Was it not that the Zionist slogan, or battle cry, that rallied Jewish and other colonialists for the conquest of Palestine?
Or is it that you till believe that it was, still is, "land with no people"?



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman and Mr Moshe
Now that that slogan has paid off you disown it.Typical!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

In an article entitled :"The Talking Cure: How It Might Help in the Middle East to End Nuclear Threats" Mr Lambers stressed his concern over :"the growing missile capability of Iran, Syria, and Israel " and except for a short reference to :"...the controversy over Israel's own nuclear capability." , brought in almost as an after thought, had nothing to say despite the title he chose:"...Middle East to End Nuclear Threats"!


It is this kind of analysis that makes such efforts not only ridiculous but equally suspicious to us !

Missiles are the only deterent the Arabs and Iran have against Israel's awesome aresenal reputed to hoard 200-250 nuclear bombs on top of the missiles Mr Lambers is worried about .And it is not because of the missiles destructive potential but because they are present in both camps...!
To follow Mr Lambers inane logic the Middle East should be a " missile free area " and not " a nuclear free area" as the title of his post would suggest...leading to an undeterable Israel!
Mr Lambers better retitle his piece to to be taken seriously by at least one party to the conflict, the Arabs and Iran, and to avoid further ridicule as a "peace loving" strategic thinker!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Having allowed 80-90% of your post to demonstrate WHY Israel SHOULD HAVE a nuclear arsenal you start your post by the absurd statement:"One. Experts are not sure that Israel has nuclear arms. They could not possibly be sure because none have inspected. It is merely assumed based on Mordechai Vanunu. Perhaps Vanunu is part of an elaborate ruse. "
Really you should know better than start with such an inane declaration as:"Experts are not sure that Israel has nuclear arms. "; if you hope to be taken seriously!
However it is not that you do not know, or do not share in the universal knowledge, that Israel is nuclearly armed to the teeth (Dimona Vananu etc), it is the utter disrespect that Zionism has for others and its unending campaign of deception and disinformation; a progressively bankrupt policy by the way !


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Kindly indicate the link, the source, of your quotation above.With so many words flying around these days you never know who said what and why he said it...
One question: do you read books about Islam by Moslem authors; the majority of so called Orientalists are far from objective most of the time ....


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
In your infinite erudition in and on Islam you have come up with a dazzling two pronged conclusion:


"And Islam, in its core ideology,cannot accept:
A)any non-Muslim country as legitimate
B)but, most especially, a non-Muslim country in land deemed to be in the center of the dar al-Islam."

Re (A) pray tell me how did come to that verdict.

Do you really mean to say that to Islam , say, Sweeden is not a legitimate country/nation/state inspite of the fact that it is populated by the indigenous Sweedish people/nation and is living within a system chosen and adopted by same .
It seems to me you are developing your own "Islamist" theology for you to bring it down later with your devastating logic and erudition!
Are not you really replicating the absurd myth of the "Christian blood" needed for a certain Jewish religious service for exactly the same reason but for a different objective; to demonize Islam the same way that "blood" myth was used to demonize Judaism ?
But people are so much more knowledgable now ..it will not work!
However your master stroke was:
(B):"but,(can not accept) most especially, a non-Muslim country in land deemed to be in the center of the dar al-Islam." in which you failed to add the operative qualification "alien and forced"!
Had your statement read:
"B)but ( can not accept), most especially, a non-Muslim (or any Alien nation forced on ) a land deemed to be in the center of the dar al-Islam." it would be a correct statement, as for Israel in Palestine!

Your statement would be then of universal applicability.

I can not Imagine the American people "accepting" a ,say, Bengali or Viet Namese nation forced on American soil displacing and dispossessing its indigenous inhabitants...can you ?!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Did the USA threaten to use the A bomb before doing so on Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the third that failed to explode?


N. Friedman - 5/11/2005

Omar,

People, such as the Palestinian Arabs, who blow themselves up in order to kill as many civilians as they can have chosen to be barbarians. The society which supports and legitimizes that behavior has chosen to be a barbarian society.

That same Palstinian Arab people who now, by their choice, behave like barbarians - and that is being polite -, but who no doubt also have many virtues and talents, might instead choose someday to build a brilliant society. At present, however, these talented people, believing in cosmic justice, have opted for barbarism. As barbarians, they can rot and likely will continue to rot.

People cannot choose both barbarism and civilization. The Palestinian Arabs have chosen barbarism.


N. Friedman - 5/8/2005

Note: I was not advocating expelling anyone. I was merely reacting to Omar's comment that suggests that he advocates eternal war to destroy Israel.


N. Friedman - 5/8/2005

Omar,

If you define Israel's existence as war, then I see your point. Otherwise, Israel has no war against Iran. So your analogy is crazy.

Iran is a great distance from Israel and there is exactly no chance - unless Iran starts a fight against Israel - that Israel would start a fight with Iran. So, in fact, your point means - unless you do not understand your own words - that you think that Iran is at war with Israel or that Iran ought to start a fight with Israel.

In reality, Israel has a war with Palestinians, not with any other Arabs or Muslims - unless you are saying that Palestinians are the same people as any and all other Arabs and Muslims -.

If the Palestinian side behaved like civilized people, rather than barbarians, the dispute could have settled in ten seconds. But the Palestinians want revenge, not to make a life for themselves and as long as revenge is most important, they will continue to live like dogs. Frankly, they deserve worse than what the Israelis have offered them. They deserve to be expelled. But that would not be civilized and the Israelis are, like me, civilized. But, if we go by justice, the Palestinians should be expelled for being barbarians.


N. Friedman - 5/7/2005

Omar,

America, so far as I know, used the bomb without advanced warning. There was a war and the custom in war is not to tell the enemy what weapons will be used and when.

I am not aware of a third bomb that failed to explode. I am not sure it matters. What is your source for the assertion.

You will note that prior to using the bomb, the US had already destroyed numerous cities in Japan. The casualty numbers were extraordinarily high. It is not clear that the destroyed cities and their dead much cared whether the bombs were incindiary or nuclear.

I am not sure I see your point, in any event. Israel was in two major wars since the time Israel supposed obtained the bomb. Israel did not threaten to use nuclear weapons during the war - at least as far as I know - and did not use such weapons and, in the 1973 war, Israel was on the defensive and might have lost. Since that time, Israel has never threatened to use nuclear weapons.

On the other hand, were the Arab side to use the Bomb on Israel, Israel would use whatever weapons it may have. Assuming, as I do, that Arab regimes are not all suicidally stupid - although, sometimes it seems like some of them really are -, the fact is that, if they decided to obtain and use weapons against Israel, they have to take into account the likelihood that Israel will retaliate and turn the Arab regions into glass. I suspect that such a worry helps keep the peace - unless the Arabs are too stupid to understand the theory called Mutually Assured Destruction -.

On the third hand, I do not believe that any Arab regime believes that Israel will use nuclear weapons unless attacked. In fact, I do not believe that any government on Earth, even in the Arab and Muslim regions, believes such to be the case.

My theory is this: Israel is considered a bad splinter - as one Pakistani has put it - in the Muslim world. Muslim regimes all know that they can cover agressive foreign policy actions and decisions by claiming, as Iran has, that they plan to use the bomb on Israel or, as many Arab countries claim, that whatever agressive act is taken was done so because of Israel (whether or not true). Which is to say, Israel serves as a good cover story for whatever policies Muslim states want to pursue for their own purposes.



N. Friedman - 5/6/2005

Omar,

You might read MJ Akbar's Shade of Swords. It is an excellent although non-technical history of Islamic civilization. I might add, Akbar's interpretation of Islamic society is not particularly different from that taken by the non-Muslims I have read. He, you will note, views Jihad, in the manner of offensive war, as central to Islam and its history. He calls Jihad the signature tune of the religion.

I might further add, the very most negative treatment of Islam I have ever read is by Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq in his fascinating book Why I am not a Muslim.

By contrast, the most endearing book about Islam I have ever had in my hand - apart from pure apologies such as those written by Esposito - was written by Jewish Islamicist Ignaz Goldhizer. In fact, historically and prior to the unfortunate events in the Middle East, Jewish scholars were rather fair - perhaps too fair - to Islamic history and Islam (as religious mythology), especially compared with Christians, perhaps because Islam is so very close to Judaism and Jews sympathizes with the unfair criticism made about Muslims which, at the same time, were overlooked entirely about Christianity. Goldhizer, you will note, was the first non-Muslim ever to attend al-Azhar as a student.

So, I would not make to much about scholarship by the religion of a scholar.


N. Friedman - 5/6/2005

Omar,

I do not have the link. It is, however, genuine Ibn Khaldun.

Regarding my reading: I have read Muslim authors. I like, in particular, MJ Akbar.


N. Friedman - 5/5/2005

Arnold,

Let me correct my last remark: I meant to say that Israel ought to be rather low on the list of concerns when it comes to nuclear offenders.



N. Friedman - 5/5/2005

Arnold,

I am certainly not angry with you. I merely note that Israel ought be rather low on the list of nuclear offenders.


Arnold Shcherban - 5/4/2005

The general answer to all your angry investigations:
no country should have them!


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/4/2005

Omar,
You have a rather circular logic. First you accuse Zionists of having a slogan that it never officially had. Then, you say it is typical that modern Zionists disown this slogan once it has paid off.

With this logic, I could accuse Palestinians of ANYTHING and then, if denied, simply call it typical.

Of course, numerous quotes can be taken from people on every side of every conflict to support every claim. But the idea that Zionists believed that Israel was "a land without a people for a people without a land" is simlpy not true. Herzl never made such a claim in any of his books on the subject, nor was it ever used as one of the justifications for a Jewish state.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/4/2005

As usual, Mr. Friedman, you have expressed my thoughts exactly.

However, Omar does confirm for me the belief that most anti-Zionists base their views on inaccurate information, rather than a different interpretation of the facts.

In other words, Omar, I do not believe you are being malicious or “have it out” for Israel, so to speak. You are merely basing your opinion on factually incorrect data. If I believed that early settlers were, in fact, “colonialists” bent on “the conquest of Palestine,” I might think the same thing. However, since studying the conflict, I now know better to accept such simplistic answers to what, in fact, is a far more complicated history.

I would highly recommend the following site, where you may explore some of the more common “myths” about the conflict. If you consider it bias, by all means, you may confirm everything you see by credible news agencies and scholarly history books on the subject.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths/mftoc.html


N. Friedman - 5/4/2005

Omar,

The statement was one statement by one person. Other early Zionists said very, very different things. In any event, the statement is not representative of the view of most Israelis.


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Arnold,

I constantly hear this talk about Israel being "armed to the teeth" with nuclear weapons. How do you know your statement is true?

How about some evidence, other than Mr. Vanunu's say so and people who extrapolate from what he says, that such is the case. How do you know Vanunu is not an Israeli agent? Is our evidence about Israel stronger than it was regarding Iraq? or Iran?

And, if true: has Israel ever threatened to use such weapons and, in fact, has Israel even acknowledged having them? And, since, according to the statements, Israel had the weapons in the 1960's yet engaged in large scale wars in which losing would have meant the end of Israel yet Israel neither threatened to use them nor used them, why are you concerned? And is that not strong evidence that Israel is actually playing an elaborate ruse?

Do you really think that if Israel had no nuclear arms, Iran would not pursue them - assuming that is what Iran is doing -? Can you imagine that a country might pursue such weapons in order to become a more powerful country?


It seems to me that if, in fact, Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, Iran is doing so to gain leverage among its actual neighbors - all of whom object to Shi'a power -. Claiming that such weapons are needed because of Israel is likely used as a disarming cover story so that the various Sunni countries in the region cannot object too vociferously. And, since Israel has never threatened to use such weapons in circumstances where other countries might well use them, likely the other countries in the region which toy with the idea of nuclear weapons merely use Israel as a cover story in order to deflect attention. Am I wrong?

Do you oppose France having nuclear arms? What about Russia? What about the US? Who, if anyone, should have them? And, if the US or France or Britain or India or Pakistan or China can have them, why can't Israel and Iran?

In any event, if Israel has them, they have been the most careful about not threatening and not using them, despite being the only country on Earth who's existence is said to be illegitimate by a substantial number of countries - all of them being near to Israel -? And they are the only country which, if they have them, nearly lost a war of annihilation (i.e. in 1973) but did not even threaten to use them to end the fighting.

If you were Israel, would you give up nuclear weapons with countries like Iran and Iraq and Egypt (which has, to note, used nerve gas in its wars, despite signing treaties not to do so) within striking distance?


Arnold Shcherban - 5/3/2005

Mr. Simon,
Israel is already armed with nukes over its teeth, as I specifically emphasized earlier! Don't pretend you are not aware of that...


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Omar,

Before you are angered by my comments and think me anti-Muslim - which I am not -, please note my general view of religion and not merely of Islam:

I treat Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism (and all the rest of them) as being no different from Greek myths. These myths help give meaning to people's lives. On the other hand, the relation between believers in one religion and other religions and cultures is, particularly for monotheistic religions, inherently troubled.

Islam is not an exception to the noted problem with other religions. And, in fact, Islam is on the more agressive side, as religions go, with respect to other religious traditions, inclucing rule by people in such other traditions, for reasons I have already cited.

Examined historically: the Jihad mythology, which employs the notion of the dar al-Islam and the dar al-harb, has been the excuse for a lot of war. And those wars led to the creation of humongous empires. Which is to say, politically speaking, Islam has been very successful in spreading itself and its rule over others.

My view, which others may differ from, is that religions - and not only Islam - are themselves causal agents. By that I mean: I think religion is its own phenomena and cannot always be reduced to politics and/or economics.

As it relates to our world, I think that Islam, as it was classically understood, provides its own cause and is a central motivating factor - likely one of the main factors - for a large number of the very, very many disputes which Islamic peoples have with non-Muslims. Again, such may not be the only cause but it is nearly always lurking in the background and plays a substantial, if not the most important, role.

Such is even the case regarding the Arab Israeli dispute where, in particular, the rallying cry for groups such as Hamas - which will not likely ever reach a final compromise settlement, only a hudna (in the traditional Muslim sense) - comes from religion. I note that groups such as Hamas make the same distinctions that I have noted.



Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/3/2005

Please forgive me, Omar, but I am not really sure what phrase means in the context of your post.

Are you suggesting that Zionists believe this? If so, why do you think that? Also, which land? The region, Israel proper, or the territories?

Perhaps you could clarify your quote for me.


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Omar,

I found online these quotes of Ibn Khaldun. They do not dissemble regarding the issue:

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Therefore, caliphate and royal authority are united (in Islam), so that the person in charge can devote the available strength to both of them (religion and politics) at the same time.

The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense. It has thus come about that the person in charge of religious affairs (in other religious groups) is not concerned with power politics at all. (Among them) royal authority comes to those who have it, by accident and in some way that has nothing to do with religion. It comes to them as the necessary result of group feeling, which by its very nature seeks to obtain royal authority, as we have mentioned before, and not because they are under obligation to gain power over other nations, as is the case with Islam. They are merely required to establish their religion among their own (people).

This is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority for about four hundred years. Their only concern was to establish their religion (1:473).

Thereafter, there were dissensions among the Christians with regard to their religion and to Christology. They split into groups and sects, which secured the support of the various Christian rulers against each other. At different times there appeared different sects. Finally, these sects crystallized into three groups, which constitute the (Christian) sects. Others have no significance. These are the Melchites, the Jacobites, and the Nestorians. We do not think that we should blacken the pages of this book with discussion of their dogmas of unbelief. In general, they are well known. All of them are unbelief. This is clearly stated in the noble Qur'an. (To) discuss or argue those things with them is not up to us. It is (for them to choose between) conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death (1: 480).


I think they are close enough even if they do not quite mention the dar al-harb and the dar al-Islam.


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Omar,

In fact, I meant what I wrote. What I wrote is based on what appears in numerous books of first rate scholarship regarding Islam including Bernard Lewis' The Political Language of Islam and Bat Ye'or's The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam. I might add that the same point appears in Ibn Khaldun's famous book Al-Muqaddimah (and Khaldun is considered the greatest of all Muslim historians/sociologist and, in fact, among the greatest of all historians from any culture period). It also appears in numerous books of Muslim theology that I have read.

Further, such information can be found online on websites maintained by self-proclaimed Muslims to teach about Islam. Must I find them for you?


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Mr. Simon,

very true point.


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Adam,

As usual, thank you for your kind words. By the way, I also agree entirely with your post.


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Adam,

You have to let such statements from Omar pass by. Sometimes: He knows not what he says.


N. Friedman - 5/3/2005

Mr. Simon,

That is the crazy intellectual climate we live in - white is black and red is really green -.


E. Simon - 5/3/2005

Your readers might want to contrast Israel's history against Iran's behavior in this regard. Not only of making unprovoked threats but having a history of carrying out atrocities that weren't even explicitly threatened on an individual basis. Given this history and in light of the current spotlight on Iran which forms the backdrop for provoking the current debate, how anyone could choose to harp on Israel is unfathomable.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/3/2005

I agree completely with Mr. Friedman's points. The real reason no one objects to the French or British having nuclear weapons is that there is no real threat it will ever use them. Similarly, there is no real threat that Israel would use them unless its existence was at stake. It did not use them when expelled from Lebanon, nor did it use them during a campaign of terror on its soil. In 1991 it did not use them when hit with missiles from Iraq, nor has it used them against Syria or Iran. Furthermore, during no time in Israeli history did it even THREATEN to use them, which is far more than can be said of us (in 1964, nuking Vietnam was considered by the candidate for president of the United States). When Israel starts behaving erratically, making unprovoked threats to its neighbors, and waving its bomb around like a prized flag, then I will join the anti-Israeli nukes bandwagon. Until that time, I have no more problem with them than I do with France or Britain having it.

North Korea, however, has a long history of selling anything it makes to terrorists, and Iran has a very long history of threatening rhetoric, not from the fringes of society, but from the country’s most influential ruling clerics

(http://www.iran-press-service.com/articles_2001/dec_2001/rafsanjani_nuke_threats_141201.htm)

Besides all of those points already mentioned, I am curious why so many people are so eager to see the number of nuclear-armed states increase? I am curious to see if those same people support any kind of gun control in this country. The NRA likes to say that so long as anyone can have guns, everyone should have guns. I do not agree with that logic and I do not agree with the logic that says, so long as some have nuclear weapons, we are wrong to try and stop anyone from having them. And since no country (other than S. Africa) has ever given up “the bomb” upon having it, why on earth would we not do everything in our power to prevent the most dangerous weapon ever devised by the mind of man to spread?


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/3/2005

"it is the utter disrespect that Zionism has for others and its unending campaign of deception and disinformation; a progressively bankrupt policy by the way !"

To say the least, I disagree. Perhaps if you could provide some evidence for this defamatory claim, it would be helpful.


E. Simon - 5/3/2005

Only arming Israel with nukes ensures that Iran's "aggressive stance" against Israel would become, as you say, "suicidal" should it carry out what it says it wants to and regularly does already on a smaller scale. You're basically, although not knowing it, making the argument in favor of Israel's supposed possession of nuclear arms.


N. Friedman - 5/2/2005

Arnold,

Now you are making a real argument. However, I note: in the Middle East, most of the various states are widely viewed as creations of the West and illegitimate. Such thinking is, within the context of Middle Eastern history, a correct view. So, your assertion that we were not attacked by Iraq, while true, may say less than you think - at least to those from the Middle East-.

Your other comment,that the hijackers were Saudi - or at least most of them - is also only partially true. The leaders of the attacks were mostly people from Germany, as were many of the others involved. So, the Saudi connection is not as simple as it might appear. Which is why the Jihad has as much to do with Europe's poor record of integrating immigrants than it does with the Saudis. And, on top of that, Europe is likely the real aim of the current Jihad, even more so than the US. Which is to say, the Jihadis have a better chance of forcing their will on the more pliant Europeans than on the US.

I have reiterated that I do not support the Iraq adventure. I think it is logically flawed. The goal, if we really want to help the Middle East, would be to support the millions of oppressed minorities. We should assume that one cause of the problems - likely the main cause - is the ideological inequality that abides in the Muslim regions: where Christians, animists and every other non-Muslim group is oppressed and under constant threat.



Arnold Shcherban - 5/2/2005

Don't you just love when people, especially in attempt to scare the others go nuts in their analogies: like comparing the threat to the world posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq or Iran or North Korea with the respective
of Nazi Germany, in complete disregard of the totally different geo-political situations, military disposition of forces and technologies in the 1930s and now.
God forbid, but I solemnly swear to eat my hat, if any of the Arab contries (not terrorist groups) will unprovokingly attack Israel (not mentioning the US or UK) even using conventional weaponry over the next 10 years, whether that country will possess nuclear weapons or not.
(And the same thing in regard to North Korea).

How gullible one to be to get fooled twice in row by the same nuclear swindle?
The issue, as it always has been with US strategists, is
not nuclear weapons, and the threat those countries create obtaining the weapons, but regime change!
Now, I'm not trying to say that I'm against any regime change, but it should be done by the people or political elite of the respective nations.
And we have recent and very recent, plus undeniable, proof that national populus is quite capable to mostly peacefully change or improve any regime, totalitarian or otherwise: Soviet Union (evil empire, right?), Hungary, Poland, Chechoslovakia, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, China, Vietnam, etc. Do I have also remind you about the opposite examples, like organized by CIA's overthrow in the 1953 the basically democratically elected regime in Iran and establishing brutal Shah's regime that later
led to the desperate popular revolution and the unprecendented before wave of hatred and anti-Western, anti-Israeli terrorism? Do I have to also remind you about the wholesale support given by the West to the hated all over Arab/Muslim world the Saudis regime - the support contributed in no small measure to the current wave of Muslim terrorism?

Recall how many 9/11 highjackers were Saudis, and not a single Iraqi, not mentioning that their ring leader OBL himself is/was doing it primarily out of his hatred towards the native country's regime. However, Iraq, not
Saudi Arabia was invaded and Iraqi's not Saudis regime
was changed. The latter I argue would have been much more beneficial for Israel and eventually for the West, since
Hussein's regime would fall not more than year after that
(given smart covert cooperation with Iraqi opposition), not mentioning significantly deflating the danger of the new big terrorist acts (no matter whether Saudis planned or not to obtain military nuclear technology.)
Forget democracy, shemocracy. Give significant majority of folks (not just to the elite) good life in economic sense and they will have no desire to part with it.
That's always been and remains bottom line and core of the discussed problem.


N. Friedman - 5/2/2005

Arnold,

I did not say Iran would use them. However, those who make threats occassional do what is threatened.

I can give you a list of historical events which involved rather crazy governments - like that in Iran - doing terrible things that were threatened. However, the ones which come quickest to mind involve Germany's attempt to conquer all of Europe and to eradicate all Jews on the European continent.


Arnold Shcherban - 5/2/2005

And I threatened yesterday to commit socialist revolution
in the US in three years.
Would you take me seriously... putting me in jail or perhaps bombing my house?
Iran do have agressive stance towards Israel, but only
crazy himself can entertain a thought that Iranian goverment and nation as a whole are suicidal.


N. Friedman - 5/2/2005

Omar,

Has Israel ever threatened to use nuclear weapons against anyone? The only threats coming from the region come from Iran. Their leader promised to annihilate Israel with such weapons.


N. Friedman - 5/2/2005

Omar,

Why should we trust what Mordechai Vanunu says?

If Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program which even France and Russia thought it had, why are you so sure that Israel has such a program?

Again: I would not be surprised to learn that Israel has nuclear weapons. But, as we learned from Iraq, such things are simply not known until they are known first hand. And, again, the experts - American, British, French, German and Russia - all knew that Iraq had a program. The experts were all wrong.


N. Friedman - 5/2/2005

Arnold,

Two points:

One. Experts are not sure that Israel has nuclear arms. They could not possibly be sure because none have inspected. It is merely assumed based on Mordechai Vanunu. Perhaps Vanunu is part of an elaborate ruse.

Two. Israel, if it has such arms, has not used or even threatened ever to use them. Iran, by contrast, which does not have them has already threatened to use them against, (guess whom?) Israel.

Israel, which is the only state on Earth which is told it has no right to exist has more need for nuclear weapons than any nation I know of needs - if any nation does -. The threat against Israel is real and has deep roots not only in Arab ideology but also in Muslim ideology. Which is to say, pan-Arabism, Ba'athism and Nassarism all make anti-Zionism central to their ideology. And Islam, in its core ideology, cannot accept any non-Muslim country as legitimate but, most especially, a non-Muslim country in land deemed to be in the center of the dar al-Islam.

So, to the extent that a country is Islamist in outlook or pan-Arab in outlook, that nation buys into the ideology that posits Israel's annihilation.

Which is to say: there is real reason why people do not speak of Israel's nuclear force - if it has one -. The reason is that such force, or, to be more exact, the threat that the force exists serves as a substantial deterrent to war.


Two.


Arnold Shcherban - 5/1/2005

Every party in the Middle East is responsible for its
share of the "evil" deeds. Weighing those shares is hardly the way to achieve trust and peace in this region
or any other for that matter.
However, there is one outstanding piece of information
that is not only missing, but seems never get mentioned
in any more or less wide and serious political or strategical discussion of the nuclear disarmament issue -
Israel's nuclear arsenal and potential.
Incidentally or not, it is exactly this arsenal that's never been acknowledged by Israel itself (in sharp difference with Pakistan's respective one) and the one that the most nuclear military experts
in the world are certain about (in sharp difference with the respective one of Iran).
Moreover, at the most accurate and reasonable (though admittedly not guaranteed) estimates of the amount of the Israel's nuclear arsenal places onto at the fourth(!) position in the world after the US, Russia, England and China.
Why would Israel, all the peril of its situation considered, create and maintain such a HUGE WMD arsenal, already having the best (by far) equipped, trained and capable military in the region?
Does it prepare to fight China or France?

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