Arab Disunity Essay

Published: 2020-02-19 06:30:13
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The Arab-Israeli tensions are a modern conflict, and a consequence of the two World Wars and collapse of British imperialism. The development and notion of Zionism in the 20th century, and massacres and scrutiny faced by Jews in Europe played a significant role in the formation of the Jewish State of Israel, which is the focal point of the conflict. Between 1948 and 1973, the Arabs and the Jews participated in several conflicts due to religious and territorial reasons. The disunity among the Arab countries, which openly opposed the formation of a Jewish homeland, played a significant role in their failures in the conflicts.

However, the international condemnation of the Arabs due to sympathy for the Jews also played a significant role in the Arab failure in relation to Israel. This essay will focus on the following conflicts: the 1948 Independence war, the 1967 war and the 1973 war. The 1948 was the war of Independence after which the Jewish State of Israel was established. It occurred following the end of British mandate, and the withdrawal of foreign forces and government from the region.

The Arab disunity was very evident during the 1948 war, as the Arab nations had various, contradicting personal agendas. There was a clear lack of trust, and each Arab country including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon with each individual country aiming to capitalize and annex the area of conflict. Despite the formation of the Arab League in 1945, and a clear mutual goal to force the Jews out of Palestine; there was divisions among the Arabs. The Arabs had unanimously declared jihad against the State of Israel and vowed to fight for every inch of land. Despite the ceasefire in early 1948, the fighting commenced later the same year.

The Arab population was significantly larger than the Jewish population, and had the militarily and physical advantage, with better weapons and population outnumbering the Jews roughly 40 million to 650,000, according the 20th Century History Course Companion by Oxford. But the lack of leadership and a unified plan of the Arabs resulted to the stationing of an army, which was significantly weaker than the Jews.

Furthermore, the motivation for the Jews as that they were basically fighting for their survival whereas the Arabs were only motivated by personal gain. Additionally, the Jewish army consisted of veterans of the Second World War and managed to attain superior weapons in the form of tanks. Therefore when the individual Arab armies attacked due to a lack of a unified command; with the Egyptians from the West, the Saudis from the North East they were easily overpowered. This war clearly indicated the Arab disunity, and highlighted the various conflicting agendas of the Arab countries.

There was no united front and the Jews capitalized with strong leadership and military tactics, and managed to form the State of Israel with relative ease in the context of the conditions. The two decades following the 1948 war had two significant changes; the first being several changes in leadership in the Arab world, thus reigniting Arab nationalism, and the second being the economic development of Israel. Following Suez Crisis of 1954, the relations between Israel and Egypt had deteriorated further.

Prior to the war, there were tensions between Egypt, Syria and Jordan, however an Israeli attack on Syrian jets in 1967 reunited the Arab countries. The false information provided by the Soviets to the Arabs about the mobilization of Israel sparked the Arab-Israeli conflict. However, contrary to the statement, the superior Israeli military tactics and strategy were key factors rather than Arab disunity. Israel launched a preemptive strike on Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq, which effectively destroyed its weapons.

This military tactic had been designed years prior, in the case of an Arab attack thus showing the Israeli militarily tactic superiority. As mentioned in the previous war, the Arab nations did not have a joint military plan thus losing several territories including Jerusalem. This was considered a humiliating loss to the Arab cause, and significantly impacted the Arab morale. Israel had easily defeated four of its largest threats, however it can be argued this was largely due the preemptive strike on the air forces of the Arab nations, rather the Arab disunity.

This war displayed the Israeli tactical and military superiority, and further displayed the role of America in the development of Israel. However, there was a minor element of Arab disunity due to tensions prior to the war but it did not play a significant role. The 1973 war was a limited war initiated by the new leader of Egypt Anwar Sadat against Israel. Sadat had also attempted to reduce the influence of the Cold War, which had been an element during the 1967 conflict, by removing Russian officials from Egypt and repairing relations with America.

This war yet contradicts the statement, as Egypt and Syria had a joint military offensive strike on Israel on Yom Kippur, the Jewish holy day, and had managed to complete a successful ground offensive as well. However as the war progressed, the Israeli counterattack had begun to get more effective and managed to force the Egyptian and Syrian forces to retreat from Sinai and Golan, which were Israeli territories. The two sides were at a stalemate and the Arab allies; Egypt and Syria were united militarily and diplomatically which is contradictory to the statement and contrary the situation in the 1943 war.

The looming threat of an oil embargo by the Arab countries, which was a military strategy used efficiently before, resulted to the intervention of foreign entities. Henry Kissinger, an American diplomat, stepped in for Nixon to negotiate an armistice which was eventually successful with the Arabs accepting the armistice. This was a shorter war, and with the foundation being the Arabs being on the offensive. However it contradicts the statement, as this was the first war that the Arab countries had a joint military venture, and continued to do so during the war.

Furthermore, this was a minor success for the Arab countries despite the stalemate and armistice as it strengthened Egypt and Syrias position in the Middle East however it did not yield a territorial gain. Hence, Arab disunity was not evident with the exception of the fact that only two Arab countries participated in the 1973 war. To conclude, Arab disunity played a significant role in the 1948 war which was arguably the most important. The Arabs had the definitive advantage in the 1948 war, however with the lack of a joint military front and strategy against Israel, it was defeated.

The personal agendas, which contradicted each other, resulted to an Arab disunity and underestimation of the Jews, which allowed the State of Israel to be established despite all odds. However, in the conflicts following 1948, there was an element of Arab disunity, but it played a minor role and was not a key determinant of the wars or failure. Therefore, Arab failures can be considered to be a consequence of Arab disunity in the 1948 war, which reshaped the Middle East and provided Israel and Jews the upper hand over the Arabs conflicts following 1948.

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