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August 24, 1990 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-08-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Thousands of that country's
citizens have signed up to
fight under Saddam Hus-
sein's banner. Almost daily,
there are demonstrations in
the streets of Amman and
elsewhere. As a result, Jor-
dan has gone on full military
alert as King Hussein
struggles to keep his
citizenry under control.
The Hashemite monarch's
task is made even more
difficult by the majority Pa-
lestinian population there.
Throughout the Arab world,
the Palestinians have been
the most outspoken in sup-
port of Saddam Hussein and
in opposition to those who
side with the West. In Jor-
dan, however, the threat
they pose is to the regime
that rules them.
As it is, the Palestinians
have always looked upon
King Hussein as an
interloper and Jordan as
their birthright. To them,
Jordan is two-thirds of
Palestine. As much as their
leaders deny it in interna-
tional forums, they know
that Jordan was a consola-
tion prize given by the
British to the ousted leaders
of Arabia. They have long
dreamed of getting it back
from the Hashemites.
Twenty years ago, King
Hussein went to war against
the Palestinians to protect
his monarchy. Likely, he
will have to do so again. This
time, however, it is Saddam
Hussein who is rallying the
Palestinians in Jordan and
he is giving them powerful
allies: Jordan's non-
Palestinian poor.
Here, too, it will not
matter what is Saddam's
fate; these people want the
piece of pie he has promised
them.
Many of Israel's Arab
citizens are also siding with
Saddam Hussein. From
Arab members of Knesset to
the Arab man in the streets
of Kafr Cana, Saddam's
praises are sung. There also
are cries of anger against
Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak and all the others
who support the West's
supposed aggression against
Iraq.
As the threats grow, the
moderate regimes will begin
looking around for
scapegoats to deflect the
anger of the people. The first
will be the oil-rich
sheikhdoms. Cries of
"equitable distribution" and
"Arab land belongs to all
Arabs" will be heard in in-
creasing frequency, even-
tually forcing these
sheikhdoms to tow a more
pan-Arab line.
The moderate leaderships

will then turn their atten-
tions to the United States.
They will demand that
Washington be more "even-
handed" in its regional poli-
cies. By this, of course, they
will mean (among other
things) that the United
States will have to take their
side over Israel's. They will
argue that this is the only
way they can hold the
militants at bay.
If the United States does
not help them, they will say,
their countries, too, may be
led by Saddam Husseins and
then where will the Western
economies be?
The U.S. will be hard-
pressed to disagree with
such arguments. After all,
that is the justification it is
using for its role in the cur-
rent Gulf crisis.
It will be even more hard-
pressed to explain why it has
demanded that Iraq comply
with resolutions of the
United Nations Security
Council, but does not make a
similar demand of Israel.
The Arab world does not
want to hear that the situa-
tions differ. To them, it is ir-
relevant that Washington
already has brought about
Israeli withdrawal from the
bulk of territories it occupied
in 1967 and that this
technically fulfills the
specific resolutions to which
they refer.
Israel, meanwhile, can ex-
pect the unrest in the ter-
ritories to continue and,
possibly, to intensify. Those
who say even Israeli Arabs
cannot be trusted will find
new listeners. So will those
who say Jordan is Palestine
and that the way to resolve
the intifada is to "transfer"
West Bank Arabs to the
other side of the Jordan
River.
As for those who say that
Israel must talk with the Pa-
lestinians, and particularly
the PLO, they will find fewer
listeners. Indeed, some may
find it increasingly harder to
find any listeners at all.
Even if the unlikely
happened and peace broke
out between Israel and its
Arab neighbors, Israel no
longer can count on the so-
called "peace dividend."
Rather than diverting funds
from defense to other press-
ing needs, Israel will have to
remain fully mobilized and
forever modernized. Thanks
to the forces Saddam Hus-
sein has activated in the
Arab world, Israel would be
more foolhardy than ever to
rely on the goodwill of
moderate Arab leaders to
keep the peace.
Thus, the future is a grim
one for the Middle East.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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