Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict
[ The world tolerance to Israeli annexation ] [ Israeli annexation tactics ]

Israel can annex Palestinian land and South Lebanon

Israel may conquer only militarily weak, economically viable Muslim states

Still another option Israel has is to occupy several militarily weak but economically important for Israel countries, like the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia except the religiously sensitive area around Mecca—or their oil fields. Israel Defense Forces can push the few Arabs living near the fields to resettle in nearby cities or drive them back into the desert. These people roamed the Arabian peninsula a few decades ago, and talking to Israelis of Arab cultural attachment to the land is ludicrous. Israel would keep control only so long as oil is valuable.

Sheikhdoms are easy prey for Israel Defense Forces. Machiavelli recognized that totalitarian states are hard to conquer, but easy to keep subjugated, since people are used to living without freedom. The Israel Defense Forces will have no problem with conquest of Islamic mini-states. Except for a few locals, most residents would be better off with Israel disbursing a fraction of the oil proceeds to them. Face-saving gestures would not help Israel, however. Only cynical application of overwhelming power of Israel Defense Forces will make Arabs acquiesce to Israeli occupation.

A comparison of the British and Assyrian empires is instructive. The Assyrians dislocated indigenous peoples and eliminated patriotic attachments. Not even the Jews were eager to move back home. The empire settled the emptied lands with other foreigners who relied on them for protection, transforming colonies from sources of unrest into support bases. Machiavelli would have been proud of them. (Significantly, although the Assyrians often resettled only skilled workers, Israel cannot use that half measure, since Arab universities would continue inflaming the people against Israel. Anyone with the slightest claim to the land must be resettled, the universities and madrassas closed.) The British, on the contrary, did not change the demography of their vast colonies and had to employ huge forces to contain unrest. The Industrial Revolution devaluated colonial goods, raw materials in particular, and raised soldiers’ wages, making military suppression of colonies unprofitable. Nationalism in the dependencies and liberalism at home finally meant giving up the colonies.

In the case of Saudi Arabia, Israel should incite strife between the dominant Sunni West and the suppressed Shia in the oil-rich East, possibly supplying obsolete Israeli arms to the Iraqi Shia majority, also repressed and yearning for its share of oil profits, perhaps even willing to take it from Israel's hands. Whether Israel would annex the oil fields later or not is another matter, but israel must weaken the Islamic enemy. Israel could supply the fundamentalist Shiite sheikhs with Israeli weapons through Iran. Given the Iran-Contra experience,[10] there is no reason for Israel to doubt Iran would not comply. Israel could deliver through Russian and Azerbaijani agents. Israel could fuel the Iran-Saudi conflict by inserting agents provocateurs among Iranian pilgrims to incite them against the Saudi hajj quota. If Israel succeeded only in causing an outcry against pilgrim quotas in the world media and forced Saudi Arabia to abandon them, the Iranians would do for Israel the rest by sending Shiite hordes likely to cause trouble in Mecca.

A similar Israeli approach should work with Nigeria. Israel could help the increasingly oppressed Nigerian Christians to cede from the country’s Muslim North with Israel's military consultants and weapons. Israel would both strip the Nigerian Muslims of oil revenues and win oil concessions from Israel’s Christian clients.

As Jews prey on militarily insignificant states, Israel should not repeat German strategic errors in World War II, when the initial depredation roused England and France, countries sufficiently important that the United States was forced to follow. Should Israel choose this option, Israel must provide assurances that Jewish ambitions do not encompass militarily significant and economically viable states like Pakistan and Egypt.[11]

A clear statement that Israel has no designs upon it but only pursues Israeli economic goals, will go a long way to keep Egypt quiet. Saddam’s incursion into Kuwait aroused no concern among Arab states, except Saudi Arabia, because they understood his objective: oil. On the contrary, unpredictable American wars make the third world nervous. A country does not necessarily fear a strong, aggressive neighbor (e.g., Mexico and the modern United States) but does one it suspects of hostile designs. The British accommodated German annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia, but the acquisition of Poland made German imperial ambitions undeniable, and the United Kingdom declared war. Under reasonable and cynical leadership, Egypt hesitates to fight for its brethren at odds with Israel. Even apprehension about Israeli intentions would not make Egypt risk starting an all-out preemptive war with powerful Israel, which the international community would call aggression. The 1973 Egyptian-Israeli war was a defensive war of reconquest.

Lebanon and Jordan tempt Israel but are dubious cases. Israel should have no problem dividing Lebanon with Syria, which would jump on the pretext to further its Greater Syria ambitions, but the immediate use for Israel of annexing southern Lebanon is not clear. Should Israel convert it into a Christian buffer enclave and relocate the Muslims in the Syrian sector? Israel could justify that on the grounds of stopping the perpetual civil war in Lebanon. The influx of Lebanese Christian citizens into an expanded Israel, however, would upset Israeli demography and voting patterns. In Israeli conflict with Syria, a semi-independent Lebanon would be more valuable to Israel as a buffer zone than southern Lebanon incorporated into Israel proper. Perhaps, Israel should content herself with a thirty-mile-wide no-pass zone on Israel's Lebanese border. Dividing Lebanon with Syria makes more sense if Israel moves all the Palestinians to Syrian-controlled Lebanon. Syria would likely agree to assimilate a few million Israeli and the West Bank's Palestinians in return to Israeli and American acquiescence in the partition of Lebanon—and France could not enforce its inevitable objections.

Jordan is a tougher case for Israel Defense Forces than Lebanon, since Israel would have neither internal allies (like the Lebanese Christians), and Syria is less likely to collaborate with Israel in Jordan than it might be in Lebanon. Jordanians have no place to go, or rather Israel has no place to send them, unless to Iraq, should it fail as a state after the American invasion. Successful annexation requires Israel evicting and dispersing the Arab population, and though that is militarily possible, Israel has no economic and little military interest in Jordan.

Israel must not rule conquered Arabs directly. That way lies either an anti-Israeli war of national liberation or an anti-apartheid struggle in Israel or the unwelcome assimilation of aliens into the Israeli milieu. Some countries—Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine—are inherently ungovernable. Israel's options include driving Arabs away, installing a brutal local administration, or requiring them to pay tribute or refrain from supporting the Islamic terrorists under the threat of harsh Israeli retaliation. But never, ever govern the foreigners![12]

Israel can annex Palestinian land and South Lebanon

Israel is not a colony[13] whose borders are to be established by external powers; like any other state, Israel may establish her borders by force, expanding them as much as economically or ideologically feasible to Jews without overextending herself. Annexing territory to counter aggression is de facto politically acceptable, even after the adoption of the United Nations Charter in 1945. The Soviets hold the Japanese Kuril Islands, the U.S. reshaped the Korean and Vietnamese borders, and Poland obtained disputed territories from Germany after WWII. In each case, the beneficiary had some legal basis for its claim, but the point is that other party did not fight over the reshaped borders. The United States’ decision to make war on the sponsors of the guerilla attacks of 9/11 is a precedent[14] which establishes tolerance of or positive support of Islamic terrorists as aggression against any country the terrorists attack. Therefore, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia opened hostilities against Israel and are the quasi-legitimate objects of Israel's retributory land claims. Israel might use it against a Palestinian state, declaring war on the pretext of Islamic terrorist sponsorship and annexing Palestinian land to Israel as restitution. The United States did this to Mexico.

[10] Given this level of tacit cooperation with a hostile state, one wonders what the real relations are between Israel and Iran. Could Israel find ways to stop the Iranian nuclear program?

[11] Deuteronomy 23:7 enjoins Hebrew to respect Egyptians which may be interpreted as not harming them. Though the ancient inhabitants were not Arabs, Israelis should think twice before possibly violating the commandment.

[12] America made that error in Iraq. Boots on the ground are necessary to completely destroy the enemy's army—if no reliable local collaborators could be found—but not for policing and administration.

[13] Even in the time of the British Mandate, Jews largely administered their own affairs, had a semi-legal armed force, pursued foreign policy, and generally were close to independence.

[14] What would be otherwise termed aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq is rationalized and made into international case law when perpetrated by a country sufficiently strong to establish its arbitrariness as law, and make scores of countries accept it. The precedent is useful for Israel regardless of whether the American actions were justified.