Tagged: World Wars I and II
Which of the conflicts featured in the “100 Years of Conflict” lecture did you find to be the most interesting and why?
The conflict that I found the most interesting in the “100 Years of Conflict” lecture was The 1982 Operation Peace for Galilee. The reason it interested me so much is because this is a conflict I have never learned about. I had always assumed that the PLO was always in Israel, in the partitioned areas after WWII. I never knew that the PLO was in Jordan, Lebanon, or Tripoli until I started the Pathfinder program.
The intentions behind the operation seem nice to me, but the execution was abhorrent. Israel has a right to defend itself, undoubtedly, against Iranian backed terrorist groups in Lebanon at the time. That is why the invasion of southern Lebanon happened. However, installing a Pro-Israel Christian government in Lebanon seemed like a stretch to me. This led to a failed government in Lebanon, increased tensions with Israel, and a complete takeover of Lebanon by Syria. The one advantage to the conflict, it seems, is the exile of the PLO to Tripoli, which was temporary.
I was also super interested in the information on the Operation Peace for Galilee. It was fascinating to learn about how the PLO has historically been in more places than just the West Bank. I also didn’t realize how much the inner politics and population of one country can so drastically affect its neighbors, especially in a smaller region like the Near East.
Loved your comment!
Yes, I, too, found this very interesting. This defence course has shown me just how complex, nuanced, and entwined the Arab-Israeli conflict is. Having multiple actor states, as you mentioned, Lebanon and Jordan, to name two, leaves me wondering if this conflict will ever end. With many national actors and their motives under one umbrella of the PLO, how can Israel and its allies amend this situation with hostilities on all fronts? Can a ‘one size fits all’ problem be the solution, or will each country be a case-by-case scenario? How will Israel go about this, and at what expense?
In the class “100 years of Conflict” within the Near East, I found the most interesting was the period just post-World War One and the Arab revolt decades of the 1920s-1930s.
I find this era the most exciting and significant in the region. With the recent collapse of the Ottoman Empire port-Great War, how the European powers drew up the borders laid an essential road for the future of the Near East and its neighbours. Many ethnic communities were divided, and families split as new nations’ lands were established and created without considering the traditions and preexisting ways of life. As this was a time for many Arab majority communities in these regions to start a new national identity, this as a whol, can still be seen to this day.
In regards to the Arab revolts, I found this particularly interesting as this laid the groundwork for Israel’s military and defence; as we saw with the uprisings in 1935-1939, this helped form the Haganah. Much of the Jewish resistance from these decades aided in shaping the national identity of not just the Jewish state in 1948 but also the Israel Defence Forces created shortly after. As a whole, the aspect of Jewish defence from the earliest inceptions of this history is still enshrined in the national consciousness of the modern, thriving Israeli state, which I find to be most interesting.
I honestly never knew the history behind Lebanon. That may have to be the next course I take. While I believe the intentions of Israel were great, trying to install a pro-Israel Christian Government in Lebanon does not seem practical to me at all. I believe if that would’ve happened, it would have been a matter of time before another Arab power invaded, just as Syria did when Israel pulled out of southern Lebanon. I am curious to know your thoughts.
I have a master’s degree from a French school, and always found the continued French relationship to former colonies particularly interesting. Many of my cohort was from Lebanon, and almost exclusively – at least, the ones I met – Catholic. I did consulting at the time, connecting with Lebanese colleagues I had met in France while they were visiting home in Lebanon around the time of the fertilizer explosion in Beirut and the massive inflation and riots. From these conversations, I gleaned that Lebanon struggles today, but this course added in considerable context of a century of struggles.
I think this is a great perspective and I am glad this course filled some gaps for you. I think sometimes as history “nerds”, people like me often wonder what it was like to live in a time in which all of these conflicts were happening. What was the overall public opinion toward Israel like back then? How were the conflicts taught? Did the school systems seem impartial or take a side? These are all thoughts that are off the top of my head. For myself, I believe the Six-Day War, the War for Independence, and others were covered in maybe a paragraph of a chapter. I wish our systems were more in depth.
I have read many books on the Near East and its wars, but this course connected the dots into one clear picture, answering so many questions and, for the first time, giving me a solid understanding of the region. I, too, loved how Darren explained why the conflicts erupted, not just what happened in them. It was extremely insightful to delve into the motives behind each player. I concur with your assessment that this information should be more widespread.
It is also interesting to me how Israel believed that installing a pro-Israel Christian government in a Muslim majority country, like Lebanon, would be sufficient to bring about peace in Israel. I’m not surprised the operation failed and resulted in an increasingly fractured Lebanon. I agree with you that it was just a matter of time before another Arab nation would take over, especially because there were not enough pro-Israel supporters within Lebanon itself to sustain this initiative.