How imperialism fostered zionism

by Pete Brown

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Subheads:
1. Britain's division of Palestine
2. The Arab Revolt
3. al-Nakba (the catastrophe)

The US becomes top dog
1. Oil and military strategy
2. The Suez conspiracy
3. Israel's pre-emptive strike

Conclusion: The big dog and its tail

1. Britain's division of Palestine

. Israel was established as a settler-colonial outpost of European capitalism, fostered in particular by British imperialism. Theodore Herzl, the father of the zionist movement, sold the idea of a Jewish Homeland in Palestine to the British on the basis that it would stand as "a rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism. " (Herzl, The Jewish State, chapter 2)

. The zionists began colonizing Palestine in the early days of the 20th century, when Palestine was part of the province of Syria inside the Ottoman Empire. Most of the zionist immigrants in those days were poor Jewish peasants and workers from Russia escaping tsarist pogroms. There were also some immigrants from Western Europe, including skilled workers and small-time capitalists. Money for the zionist project was provided by some big-time magnates of finance capital such as the Rothschilds, the barons of French banking.

. At this time, prior to World War I, Palestine was ruled by the Turkish Ottomans. But even then Britain had much influence in the area. The British had already taken over Egypt (with the Suez Canal) and Kuwait, and British merchants had gained concessions from the Ottomans for trade with Palestine. Along with their allies France and Russia, the British were licking their chops at the prospects of dismembering the Ottoman Empire. During World War I the British supported an Arab uprising against the Ottomans, promising the Arabs independence after the war if they helped Britain defeat Turkey. At the same time the British officially adopted the zionist movement, issuing the Balfour Declaration in 1917. This asserted Britain's goal to assist in developing a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. While organizing Arab troops to fight the Ottomans, the British also used a Jewish Legion to take over Palestine.

. After the war Britain played a duplicitous game, promising eventual independence to the Palestinian Arabs while at the same time encouraging Jewish immigration into Palestine and allowing the zionists to set up the Jewish Agency to run their affairs separately from the Arabs. This Agency was a quasi-state organization. In the 1920s the zionists advanced their political and economic interests apart from, and often contrary to, the interests of the Palestinian Arabs. Far from trying to integrate with the native population, the zionists directed Jewish immigrants to segregate themselves and to boycott Arab products, even to buy imported goods of the same kind as locally available goods produced by Arabs (even though the imports cost more). Jewish capitalists were encouraged to hire only Jewish labor. This directive was not universally followed -- some Arabs were employed by Jewish capital -- but the Jewish trade union federation, Histadrut, did exclude Arabs from membership. The British overlords helped the zionists in their economic endeavors, lowering tariffs on goods being imported by zionist enterprises while maintaining high tariffs on goods purchased by Arab businesses. This was the "divide and rule" policy practiced by Britain in other colonies as well, such as India and Rwanda. The British developed a privileged minority to administer the country's affairs and dominate the majority.

. Arab Palestinians demanded that the British prepare to leave and to grant them independence. Preparatory to that, the British were supposed to be setting up democratic organs of self-rule. The zionist settlers already had their Jewish Agency, but the Arabs demanded a single governing agency for all residents of Palestine. The British refused, but after Arab rebellions in the late 20s they offered that the Arabs could have their own quasi-government, an Arab Agency corresponding to the Jewish Agency. But the Arabs refused, fearing that would mean recognizing the zionist settlers' right to maintain a separate government.

. Britain's plan for Palestine was to try and maintain it as a single state but with two autonomous ethnic communities somewhat like the way Lebanon was divided into religious groups. This way the zionists could maintain independence and consolidate their power, but on the state level they would be in a constant tug of war with the Arabs; such a situation would prevent either community from becoming very powerful and would require each of them to depend on Britain as a neutral mediating power. The British saw this as the way to guarantee their own long-term influence in the area.

2. The Arab Revolt

. After the rise of Nazism in Germany tens of thousands of emigrants poured into Palestine. Germans of Jewish descent were faced with the need to either flee Germany or face rapidly increasing repression, which culminated in the Holocaust. Immigration into other Western nations such as Britain and America was controlled, and for many ordinary working class Jews the route to Palestine was their only means of escape. Given the zionist project, however, this created a crisis situation in Palestine and led to the Arab Revolt of 1936-39.

. Frustrated by the British refusal to move toward democratic governance and self-rule for Palestine, the Arabs formed their own quasi-government agency, the Arab High Command. This was not a democratic institution, being mainly a collection of upper-class Arab notables, but it was a first attempt at Palestinian political organization. The High Command took control of the Arabs' general strike and boycott of British goods which broke out in the spring of 1936. The strike had three basic demands against the British: 1) an end to, or limitation of, Jewish immigration into Palestine; 2) limitation of land sales, whereby land in Arab hands was being transferred to the zionists; 3) setting up democratic governance structures for all of Palestine in preparation for independence.

. The British settled the general strike after six months by setting up a special commission to study the Arabs' demands. After a year the commission issued its report, but it was not at all favorable to the Arabs. The worst thing about it was that the British proposed a partition of Palestine into two states, a Jewish state and an Arab state (with the British remaining in a buffer area in between). A Jewish state is exactly what the zionists had been hoping and planning for all along; their only complaint was that the partition plan did not grant them all of Palestine. The more rabid zionist trends advocated rejecting the British plan, insisting on all or nothing. But the mainstream zionist leaders such as David Ben-Gurion decided to accept the plan, reasoning that half a loaf is better than none, and once established in their own state they would figure out how to take over the rest of Palestine later. In follow-up discussions on implementation of the plan, the zionist and British leaders tried to calculate the number of Arabs that would accept "voluntary transfer" out of the Jewish state and how many it would be necessary to "forcibly transfer" out.

. Meanwhile the Arab residents of Palestine refused to accept partition, and publication of the British proposals resulted in a renewal of the Arab Revolt. But this time, instead of just strikes and boycotts the revolt took the form of armed uprisings, especially in the countryside. Local guerrilla bands were formed in many Arab villages, and the British and their zionist military allies were hard pressed to maintain control. The Arab guerrilla bands operated independently of the Arab High Command, although apparently the High Command did provide weapons to some of them, smuggled in from neighboring Arab countries. The High Command itself was suppressed by the British, its members either arrested or forced into exile. At its peak, in the period August-October 1938, the revolt's fighters controlled about two-thirds of Palestine, including some of the major cities such as Jaffa, Gaza, and the Old City of Jerusalem (East Jerusalem).

. Eventually, in 1939, the British were able to suppress the uprising. But meanwhile they had formed a new commission to make a second review of the Arabs' demands and to issue a new set of proposals. Conceding to the pressure of the Arab Revolt, the new British proposals placed some limits on land sales and rather strict limits on new immigration. As to political structure, the British backtracked from partition into two states, going back to favoring one state with two autonomous communities. Each community, Jewish and Arab, would have equal representation in the national government (although the Arabs were a majority nationally).

. The zionists were angry at the British for giving up on partition and an independent Jewish state. But the British insisted that, with war against Nazi Germany looming closer every day, they had to do something to conciliate the Arabs, both those in Palestine and in other countries. Otherwise they faced the possibility of losing the Mideast, and perhaps the entire war, to the Nazis.

. The zionist mainstream began planning their own fight for independence. Meanwhile the more extreme zionists of the Stern gang looked to deals with Hitler and Mussolini, and continued to fight Britain throughout the war. While the mass of world Jewry wanted to oppose the Hitlerites, various zionist leaders had looked for deals with the fascist regimes during the 30s. But eventually most zionists saw no choice but to accept the political reality of what the Germans were doing, and they sided with the British during the war.

. As the colonial master of the Mideast, Britain was widely hated among the Arabs. In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood, a fundamentalist religious group, and some upper-class political parties were optimistic about seeing Britain defeated by Germany. There was also an openly fascist split from the Muslim Brotherhood called Young Egypt which extolled Mussolini and agitated for Britain's defeat. Even the king of Egypt, whose father had been put on the throne by the British, refused to endorse a pro-British cabinet in 1942 until British marines put a gun to his head.

. On the other hand leftist Arab political groupings, including the communists, looked towards the masses in their agitation against British imperialism. They saw the need for a fight against fascism, and they opposed the backward influence of the fundamentalist religious groups. But the influence of Stalinist views on the fight against fascism (as expressed in the Seventh Congress of the CI) and of the period of the Nazi-Soviet pact caused confusion about how to fight fascism while remaining independent of Western imperialism. In any case, the left eventually sided with Britain in World War II.

. The British commission's 1939 proposals had backtracked on partition but also made the promise that Britain would withdraw entirely from Palestine within ten years. This gave the zionists hope that they could go ahead and implement their own plans for partition and a Jewish state at that time. So during the war most zionists supported Britain, and the British were able to recruit another Jewish Legion for service in Europe as well as in Palestine. At the same time the zionists prepared to fight for Israeli independence in the post-war years.

3. al-Nakba (the catastrophe)

. The British withdrew from Palestine in 1948. The old colonial masters were still not enthused about partition, but the ethnic autonomy plan they favored was rejected by both zionists and Arabs. The zionists insisted on a wholly independent Jewish state with a majority Jewish population. They refused to be under the control of a government shared with Palestinian Arabs. And to back this up armed zionist gangs had opened up a terrorist war against Arab and British targets. For their part the Arabs still insisted on a democratic, unitary state for all of Palestine. The zionists gained the support of the United States and Soviet Union for partition, and the British eventually agreed to a partition plan drawn up by the United Nations. This plan amounted to a settler-colonial land grab backed by the imperialist powers in control of the UN.

. But even for the small portion of Palestine left to the Arabs by this plan there would be no self-determination and national independence for the Palestinian Arabs. The British had made sure of that. While the zionists had been able to develop their own separate economy and state structures -- including armed militias -- under British authority, the Palestinian Arabs were practically bereft of political or military organization. The Arab High Command was suppressed and Arab guerrilla fighters killed, imprisoned or dispersed. The UN formally endorsed independence for the Palestinian Arabs, but clearly any portion of Palestine not grabbed by the zionists was destined to be dominated by Palestine's neighboring Arab states, especially Jordan and Egypt. These were semi-colonial monarchies with regimes still largely controlled by the British.

. The 1948 partition was the historic catastrophe (al Nakba) for the Palestinian Arabs. Hundreds of thousands were driven out of their homes and forced into exile. Six hundred fifty Palestinian villages were depopulated and demolished. On the zionist side, the establishment of Israel in 1948 is regarded as a miraculous victory of a tiny group of brave pioneers against the murderous hordes of Arabs who attacked and tried to destroy the nascent state. Allegedly Israel all by itself won a great victory against the Arab states -- Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq -- which attacked it to try and prevent partition. But to understand this "miracle", it is necessary to understand the imperialist domination of the Mideast.

. Israel had the backing of all the major imperialist powers. As a result it was able to purchase arms from Western arms dealers as well as from Soviet-bloc countries. On the other hand an arms embargo against the Arab countries was enforced. At this time Britain was the main arms supplier for the Arab states, and Britain kept strict control over what sorts of arms were sold to these regimes. Once the war started, Britain cut off arms sales altogether. This by itself was a major cause of the Arab armies being stopped, since they soon ran out of ammunition and could not get resupplied.

. The Arab states themselves were newly independent, quite weak, and largely controlled by reactionary feudal elements. The strongest army in the area was that of King Abdullah of Jordan, and he was chosen commander in chief of the allied Arab armies set to attack Israel. But Abdullah's army, the Arab Legion, was actually a British creation. In 1948 many of its officers, including its commanding general, were British army officers. Abdullah himself had never been a great enemy of zionism and in fact was willing to welcome zionist settlers into Jordan (for a price). And though Abdullah publicly opposed partition of Palestine, privately he accepted it. In secret negotiations with Israeli representative Golda Meir (later prime minister of Israel) shortly before the war, Abdullah promised that his troops would not attack across the UN partition line if Israeli troops would also respect that line. Meir agreed, and so when war did break out the fighting on Israel's eastern front was pretty much a sham. Abdullah's troops occupied the West Bank but did not try to go beyond it while Israeli troops established control over "Israel proper". One thing they could not agree on beforehand, however, was Jerusalem; Abdullah insisted that Jerusalem remain in Arab hands, while Meir demanded it for Israel. As a result actual fighting did take place there. Abdullah committed his troops there and did push the Israeli forces back from the Arab portion of the city before running out of ammunition, and so Old Jerusalem remained outside of Israel.

. The 1948 war ended with the destruction of Palestine and the Palestinian people's hopes for self-determination. The zionists took over central Palestine with most of its major cities and seaports. Palestine's westernmost portion, Gaza, came under Egyptian administration. Jordan took over the West Bank and a few years later formally annexed it along with the Old City of Jerusalem.

THE US BECOMES TOP DOG

1. Oil and military strategy

. Before World War II the dominant political and military power in the Mideast was Britain. Britain controlled the arms market in the area and directly controlled the military of newly emerging Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq. British oil companies first began oil exploration in the area, and by the mid-30s oil was being shipped from oil fields in Iraq via pipeline to the Mediterranean port of Haifa (in Palestine, now in Israel).

. But the US was also spreading imperialist tentacles in the area. In the late 30s Standard Oil (a US -based multinational) set up Aramco, the Arab-American Company, as a consortium with the Saudi monarchy to exploit the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. During the war President Roosevelt established personal relations with the king of Saudi Arabia which laid the basis for a long-lasting alliance.

. Aside from oil, the main importance of the Mideast to Western imperialist powers was its strategic location. During the war Britain re-imposed strict control over Egypt and based many troops there to fight off threats to the Suez Canal from the Nazis. Later the US and Britain together defeated and expelled the Nazi troops from North Africa. British and Free French forces took over Syria from the Vichy French who were allowing Syria to serve as a Nazi base. Britain, the US, and the Soviet Union occupied Iran to keep its oil resources and strategic locations out of the hands of the Nazis. Palestine was right in the center of these military moves, bordering Egypt on the west and Syria on the north.

. Despite the zionists' anger at Britain for limiting Jewish immigration and reneging on a Jewish state, they knew their interests for the most part coincided with Britain's, and they saw the need to support Britain against the Nazis. A Jewish Legion recruited by Britain helped maintain homeland defense in Palestine as well as serving in Europe. Certain ultra-zionist gangs refused to support Britain and instead began preparing to wage a terrorist war for independence, but for the most part the zionists supported Britain during the war. And during the war Arab-Israeli disputes were muted, as for Palestine it was a period of relative prosperity. The British bought war supplies from Palestine and stimulated employment in all sectors of the economy.

. After the war the major powers withdrew most of their forces, although Britain maintained bases around the Suez Canal and in Palestine. Britain also maintained direct military ties with Egypt, Jordan and Iraq, even though these countries were nominally independent. But Britain was crippled, financially and in manpower, from the war, and it began withdrawing from its colonial positions, leaving Palestine in 1948 and negotiating a new treaty with Egypt in 1954, after which it abandoned its bases around the Suez Canal.

. During this same period the influence of the US was rapidly expanding. Partly this was due to regional oil interests. American oil companies were busily exploiting resources in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Gulf emirates. (But oil companies from other Western countries were also involved; for example Britain and the US cooperated in developing Kuwait's oil. ) But in large part this was due to the globally dominating role of the U. S. among Western imperialist powers. Militarily and financially the US was much stronger than the old imperialist powers (Britain, France, Germany) and was leading the worldwide crusade against "communism" -- that is, against the Soviet Union and its state-capitalist political/economic system. By this time the Soviet Union had degenerated from a society working to develop socialism into a corrupt bourgeois society run by state-capitalist bureaucrats. Nonetheless it still represented a different system than the market capitalism promoted by American capitalists, and it maintained itself as a political and military rival to the US. Much of the political landscape in the postwar decades would be dominated by the Cold War between these two imperialist superpowers, the US and Soviet Union.

2. The Suez conspiracy

. The leading role of the US among Western imperialist powers was firmly established by the Suez crisis of 1956, when Israel, France, and Britain jointly attacked Egypt. In 1952 a coup overthrew the neo-colonial regime of King Faruq in Egypt and brought to power a group of military officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser espousing Arab nationalism and anti-colonialism. This meant a shift in Egypt's relations with Western imperialist powers. Britain was forced to renegotiate its treaty with Egypt, agreeing to withdraw all its troops by 1956. As soon as they were gone Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal and occupied it with his army.

. Meanwhile the French imperialists had come to regard Nasser as their major problem in the Mideast. The French were fighting to suppress the anti-colonial rebellion in Algeria; Nasser was giving radio speeches praising the Algerian freedom fighters, and the French suspected he was also providing them with arms.

. For their part the Israelis also regarded Nasser as their chief enemy. As the standard-bearer of Arab nationalism, Nasser gave demagogic speeches denouncing Israel and railing against colonialism. But what they were most worried about was Nasser's acquisition of Soviet armaments. The Soviet Union had been trying various ways to gain influence in the Middle East. Faced by a solid front of pro-Western semi-colonial regimes in the Arab countries after World War II, the Soviets had been among the first nations to declare for the partition of Palestine, hoping to gain Israel as a client state. The Soviets helped Israel gain independence by providing it with arms, breaking the British arms embargo on the area. But Israel had also gotten backing from the US, and while playing around with the Soviets remained solidly in the Western camp. In the early 1950s Israel's main arms supplier was France, which sent Israel the most up-to-date NATO tanks and jet fighter planes.

. With the rise of anti-Western Arab nationalism, the Soviet Union swung to supporting Nasser's regime against Israel. As the British withdrew from Egypt, the Soviets began building up Nasser's armed forces with tanks, fighter planes, artillery, etc. This broke through the Western powers' attempts to control the arms trade in the Mideast, and Israel perceived it as a serious threat. To answer this threat Israel's ruling Labor Party brought David Ben-Gurion out of retirement (replacing Moshe Sharett's "diplomatic" administration) to organize a government of war hawks planning a pre-emptive strike against Egypt.

. Thus each of these countries -- Britain, France, and Israel -- had their reasons for attacking Nasser. So they decided to work together to get rid of Nasser's regime. But they could not get the support of the US. The US was not concerned about the European powers maintaining their old-time colonial perquisites in the Middle East and North Africa. They did expect Egypt to remain in the Western orbit and keep the peace vis-a-vis Israel, but they thought this could be ensured through diplomatic, financial and subversive pressure rather than outright military attacks. The US was concerned about Nasser's acquisition of Soviet arms, and to punish him for that the US cut off funding for Nasser's High Aswan Dam project. But at this time the US had confidence that its economic power, its control of the IMF and World Bank, were sufficient to outbid the Soviets and control Nasser.

. France and Britain could not get the support of the US, Canada, or other NATO countries to attack Nasser. So together they concocted a scheme to try and make the attack look like a legitimate response to a crisis not of their own making. This is referred to by imperialist historians as the "Suez conspiracy" -- a conspiracy concocted behind the backs of the US, NATO and the UN. Israel was to play a key role in generating the crisis.

. The conspiracy was to work like this: first of all, Israeli general Moshe Dayan would use some of his fanatic right-wing officers such as Ariel Sharon to create a provocation on the border with Egypt. Then, citing "self defense" against Egyptian attacks, Israel would launch an attack through the Sinai Peninsula heading toward the Suez Canal. As they neared the canal Britain and France would express alarm about the danger to neutral international shipping. Declaring their humanitarian interest in safeguarding international commerce, the two European powers would then intervene in Egypt "to protect the canal. " Under cover of this intervention, with troops occupying key strategic points throughout Egypt, the British and French leaders figured it would then be easy to push over Nasser's regime.

3. Israel's pre-emptive strike

. The Israelis carried out their part of the conspiracy successfully. First, the Israelis built up a crescendo of complaints about "Arab terrorists" infiltrating Israeli territory from Gaza. Apparently some of these "terrorists" were actually Israeli army-men in costume. Israeli commandos then launched vicious reprisal raids into Gaza. Nasser then began moving some Egyptian troops in Sinai for defensive purposes, and the Israelis then launched their pre-emptive strike, saying it was necessary to prevent an Egyptian attack. The Israelis drove straight through Sinai towards the Canal.

. The British and French then landed troops to "protect the canal. " At this point the reality behind the costume drama began to show through. It was revealed, for instance, that the British and French invasion forces had left Cyprus even before the Israelis attacked across Sinai; so how could they be responding after the fact to that crisis? Secondly, the brutality of the British and French attack showed they were not coming in as "international humanitarians. " Egyptian troops and local militias did not simply surrender or scatter; they stood up to repel the invasion, and the British and French slaughtered them with air power. British propaganda portrayed Nasser as a Hitler they would "liberate Egypt" from, but events showed that the people of Egypt reserved their greatest hatred for their former colonial masters.

. Meanwhile the US was embarrassed and upset by the invasion. The US was trying to organize a worldwide crusade against the Soviet Union and for Western-style market capitalism, but here their allies were reviving the worst features of Western colonialism. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, where the US had deep oil interests and where the conservative monarchy was bitterly hostile to Nasser, public opinion was overwhelmingly sympathetic to Egypt, against the Western powers and Israel. The attack also made Western imperialism look bad in the eyes of people in India, Indonesia, Yugoslavia and other non-aligned countries where the US and Soviet Union were vying for influence.

. Hence the US was determined to force a withdrawal of the attacking forces from Egypt. It worked in the United Nations, co-operating with the Soviet Union on resolutions calling for a truce, a halt to troop advancements, and then a withdrawal of troops. And it worked through international financial organizations to put the pressure on Britain and France to withdraw. Britain's little war ended up nearly bankrupting the country, and it was only saved from a massive devaluation of the pound by a last-minute loan from the IMF (approved by the US), after it had begun withdrawing troops and promised to withdraw them all in short order.

. So Britain and France learned a bitter lesson, that they could not defy US imperialist leadership in the Middle East. They could not act unilaterally even in the areas of their old colonial possessions. Since then the dominant role of US imperialism in the Mideast has grown more pronounced, especially since the breakup of its major imperialist rival, the Soviet Union.

Conclusion: The big dog and its tail

. Even though US and Israeli interests often coincide in the Mideast, this is not always completely the case. In general Israel orients itself to working with the Western imperialist powers, especially the US. But sometimes there have been differences. The US did not support Israel's attack on Egypt in 1956 and pressured Israel to withdraw its troops from the Sinai Penninsula afterwards. During the 1960s Israel and the US grew very close, and the U. S. replaced France as Israel's most important arms supplier. But while the US supplied Israel with the most sophisticated sorts of conventional weapons, US policy still opposed Israel's acquisition of nuclear weapons, and this was a source of rancor between the two governments. The Kennedy and Johnson administrations sent weapons inspectors to Israel to try and confirm whether or not Israel was developing nuclear weapons, but the Israelis played a cat-and-mouse game with the inspectors and refused to divulge anything to them. Today most military analysts believe that Israel possesses some nukes, but the Israelis still refuse to confirm or deny their existence.

. During the late 60s and early 70s the US and Israel stood close together. Israel supported the US war of aggression in Vietnam, and the US backed Israel to the hilt during its wars of 1967 and 1973. But these were not just wars for the sake of Israel; the US was trying to fight off the influence of the Soviet Union in the Mideast, and these Arab/Israeli wars were in large part proxy wars between the US and Soviet Union.

. Besides the question of nuclear weapons, there have been other strains in the US-Israel relationship, including differences on how to deal with the Palestinians. But overall the two states have worked closely together, for example with the Camp David agreement in 1978 and the Oslo accords in 1993.

. But though the US and Israel are close, US policy in the Mideast is not simply driven by appeasing Israel. Israel plays a major role because of its pro-Western, pro-capitalist orientation, and its readiness to carry out military action at any time. But many Arab governments are also pro-Western and pro-capitalist, and have major resources such as oil and strategic locations that are important to US imperialism. Hence US policy is also driven by the need to maintain alliances with Arab regimes such as Saudi Arabia, the oil emirates, Jordan, etc. Egypt has been a recipient of huge amounts of foreign aid from the US, just like Israel, especially since the 1978 Camp David peace accords. Mubarak's regime is useful to the US not only because it has made peace with Israel but because it supports US policy throughout the Mideast and eastern Mediterranean areas and helps the US stamp out radical political trends. But while rewarding its friends such as Mubarak, the US is also busy working to undermine unfriendly Arab regimes (the notable recent example being Iraq).

. US policy in the Mideast is also driven by not only regional interests but by worldwide imperialist interests. The US guards the Persian Gulf area and insures the flow of oil to countries like Japan that are in need of imported oil. The US regards the Mideast as an area of its own strategic interests. It carries out wars and other sorts of aggression in the area not simply to defend Israel but to defend its own imperialist interests against rival bourgeois regimes (such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq, present-day Iran, etc. ) and threats coming from radical or revolutionary political trends. <>


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