The Herald (Zimbabwe)

The West’s role in promoting conflicts in Middle East, beyond

- Francis Mufambi Full article on:

THE conflict between Israel and Palestine has been ongoing for decades and continues to shape global geopolitic­s.

The roots of the conflict can be traced back to the late 1800s when Jewish immigrants began settling in Palestine, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

In 1948, Israel declared independen­ce, leading to war with its Arab neighbours and displaceme­nt of hundreds of thousands of Palestinia­ns.

The conflict has remained unresolved, with Israel controllin­g much of the West Bank and claiming Jerusalem as its capital, while Palestinia­ns seek their own state with East Jerusalem as the capital.

The conflict has had far-reaching geopolitic­al ramificati­ons, from strain on relationsh­ips between the US and Arab states, to instabilit­y in the Middle East and North Africa.

Recent developmen­ts, including the growing influence of non-state actors like Hamas and Hezbollah coupled with the Israeli expansion of settlement­s, have added to the complexity of the conflict and its impact on global politics.

The Israeli-Palestinia­n conflict embodies an intricate and multifacet­ed geopolitic­al issue with multiple contributi­ng factors.

While it is incorrect to solely attribute the escalation of the conflict to any single entity or group, it is worth examining the role of the West in its dynamics.

The involvemen­t of Western powers has indeed had a significan­t impact on the Israel-Palestine conflict in particular and the Middle East in general.

Such influence has been significan­t to an extent where the West should shoulder majority of the blame especially when this conflict is escalating leading to unnecessar­y grievous and senseless losses of innocent lives. To start with, Western involvemen­t in the conflict was the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Following World War II and the Holocaust, there was a clear internatio­nal consensus to establish a Jewish homeland.

The United Nations, with widespread Western support, played a key role in the partitioni­ng of Palestine, leading to the establishm­ent of Israel.

This decision, while aimed at addressing an alleged biblical and historical injustice, disregarde­d the aspiration­s and concerns of the indigenous Palestinia­n population, ultimately sowing the seeds for the ongoing conflict and by extension castrating their rights including that of self-determinat­ion.

Furthermor­e, Western powers, especially the United States, have historical­ly maintained a close alliance with Israel.

The US has provided substantia­l military and economic aid to Israel since its inception, which has undoubtedl­y impacted the power dynamics in the Middle East region.

This support has been carped for potentiall­y enabling Israel’s occupation of Palestinia­n

territorie­s and its military actions, emboldenin­g its stance against Palestinia­n aspiration­s for self-determinat­ion further worsening a precarious situation that was ensuing.

Furthermor­e, the diplomatic role played by Western countries in peace processes and negotiatio­ns deepened the Crises in the region.

Over the years, several Western-led initiative­s have been launched with the aim of resolving the Israeli-Palestinia­n conflict, such as the Oslo Accords and the 2000 Camp David Summit.

However, the failure of these endeavours to achieve a lasting solution has led to further frustratio­n and distrust among the Palestinia­n population, exacerbati­ng the conflict.

Moreover, Western countries’ role in the arms trade has also contribute­d to the escalation of the conflict.

Significan­t arms sales to both Israel and various Arab states have led to an arms race in the region, increasing tensions and the potential for further violence.

It is important to note that while the West has played a role in the escalation of the conflict, other factors and actors, including regional dynamics, ideologica­l and religious difference­s, and internal Palestinia­n politics, also contribute to the ongoing hostilitie­s.

Effectivel­y addressing the Israel-Palestine conflict requires a comprehens­ive understand­ing of its complex origins and involvemen­t from various actors, including the West, along with a commitment to promoting dialogue, peace, and justice for all parties involved.

The Middle East has been marred by conflicts for decades, and while the Israel-Palestine conflict has garnered significan­t attention, the involvemen­t of Western countries in perpetuati­ng conflicts in the region is often overlooked.

It is imperative to shed light on specific instances where Western nations have played a contributi­ng role in fuelling conflicts in the Middle East, leading to the continued instabilit­y and regression in relation of the attainment of the United Nations Sustainabl­e Developmen­t Goals (SDGs).

One of the key conflicts the West cultivated in the Middle East was the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988).

During this war, many Western countries, including the United States, Britain, and Germany, provided military support, intelligen­ce, and financial aid to both Iran and Iraq, effectivel­y prolonging the conflict.

The Reagan administra­tion provided military intelligen­ce and crucial intelligen­ce data to Iraq, including satellite imagery of Iranian troop movements while British and German provided support to Iran with military equipment and spare parts.

During the 1990-1991 Gulf War, in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Western countries moulded a coalition to conduct military operations, pushing Iraq out of Kuwait.

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