the start of the second Intifada in Palestine, we have seen the
collapse of imperialism’s Plan B for the region. Plan A had been simply
to allow Israel to hold on to the territories it occupied in 1967.
Following the first Intifada, it became clear that this approach was
not viable, and a new plan “B” was adopted.
This Plan B proposed the establishment
of something that could be presented as a Palestinian state – alongside
the state of Israel. We know that it would have been nothing of the
sort: the proposed Palestinian state would have had NO control of its
own borders or airspace, NO armed forces, been unable to absorb the
Palestinian refugees, and crucially, have had NO control of its water
resources. But this Plan B has been the position of the imperialists,
supported verbally by most Arab regimes and the Israeli government for
the last several years.
Now this approach has collapsed and it
appears that imperialism has no fall-back plan, instead reverting to a
revised version of Plan A which gives Israel carte blanche in the
Background and Perspectives
In the past, imperialism – in its own
interests – divided the Arab world into separate states with no
material historical, geographical, economic or social basis. Following
the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Britain and
France rushed to stake their claims in the Middle East. Having
encouraged nationalist risings against the Turks, they then made it
clear that they had no intention of honouring their promises, or even
of observing US President Wilson’s famous “Nineteen Principles”. Thus
imperialism chose to dissociate the peoples of the region from its
natural resources, and has fostered the development of local military
or feudal leaderships with no local legitimacy and no reason to act in
the interests of their subjects.
Some of these states were established
in order to limit the independence of potentially powerful neighbours.
Thus Kuwait was established in order to deny sea access to Iraq, a
country with vast oil reserves. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia was ringed by a
chain of feudal monarchies with strong defence ties with Britain.
Others, notably Lebanon, were established on a spurious religio-ethnic
basis, in order to deepen the confessionalism of the Middle East and
undermine the appeal of Arab unity.
There can be no solution for the
problems of the Arab world, including the many national minorities, in
the framework of this division. The exploitation of the resources of
the region for the benefit of the peoples of the region and the free
development of the national minorities can only be achieved within the
context of a united Middle East. This, and not any romantic support for
the ideas of Arab nationalism, is why we call for the establishment of
a socialist federation of the Middle East. This is not an abstract
demand, but the necessary condition for the liberation of the peoples
of the region, including the national minorities. More………………………..