Assessing the recommendations of the coalition for a realistic foreign policy in their January 2005 statement in the Economist.

“Americans should be deeply concerned that we are so unpopular in the region inasmuch as it makes it harder, rather than easier, for us to achieve our major national security objectives in the Middle East”.[1]

In The Economist’s first edition of 2005, the coalition for a realistic foreign policy (‘the coalition’ hereafter) published a statement criticizing the Bush administration’s Middle East policy.[2] According to the signatories, the continued Israeli-Palestinian stalemate jeopardizes America’s two key regional objectives: defeating Al Qaeda and preserving access to oil. They criticize President George Bush Jr’s unreserved support for Israeli expansion and occupation. The support arouses Arab and Muslim hostility, which both plays into the hands of Bin Laden and discourages potential regional allies from cooperating with the United States. In addition, US aid to Israel has imposed an excessive diplomatic and financial burden since the 1970s, and has not delivered ether regional peace or promoted a perception of America as an honest broker. The coalition further criticizes Bush for applying pressure only on the Palestinians, and recommends that the US commit itself to ‘a clear and equitable final status’ of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The forty signatories of the coalition statement include eminent American academics, diplomats, a general, liberals and conservatives. Theirs criticisms and recommendations amount to a call for the United States to reevaluate its longstanding special relationship with Israel. In a necessarily narrow treatment of the very broad range of issues the coalition statement raises, this paper will examine the evolution of the special relationship to determine on what basis it was established and developed, what strategic benefits and liabilities it entailed for the United States, to what extent this relationship has contributed to the problem of terrorism, and whether the US should now reconsider its unreserved support for Israel. Accordingly, this study will focus on historical and strategic aspects of the issue from an American perspective, though not entirely without reference to domestic politics. Since the coalition does not address the issue of whether their recommendations are politically feasible in the United States, that question will not be addressed here.

The American strategic perspective on Israel shifted by degrees during the Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon presidencies. It is important to note that at the very outset American support for Israel was not based on strategic concerns or realist thinking. Truman’s support for Zionist ambitions in Palestine was chiefly motivated by his need to carry the Jewish vote in New York to win the election. Quite aside from strategic considerations in the Middle East, Truman’s pro-Zionism put him at odds with Britain, his chief strategic partner. In September 1945, British Prime Minister Attlee felt it necessary to write to Truman warning him that his support of a further 100,000 Jewish refugees entering Britain’s highly unstable Mandate in Palestine ‘could not fail to do serious harm to relations between our two countries’.[3] Two days later, he reminded Truman of the pledges made by Roosevelt and Churchill to the Arabs that no bold decisions regarding the future of Palestine would be taken without consultation. ‘It would be very unwise to break these solemn pledges and so set aflame the whole Middle East’.[4] Though he holds off for some time, this is exactly what Truman proceeds to do. In 1946, he broke with the British position, and endorsed the Anglo-American Commission findings which recommend the removal of the 1939 White Paper limit on Jewish immigration. This decision also defied strategic logic in the Middle East. In 1943, five years before recognizing Israel, Truman had chaired a Presidential committee that reported on the need to develop foreign oil sources. He must have been aware that American interests would logically become tied to the Arab nations. By 1945 the State Department had recognized that the region would be ‘a stupendous source of strategic power’ in the post WW2 era.[5] Secretary of State Stettinus advised Truman that ‘the question in Palestine … involves questions which go far beyond the plight of the Jews of Europe. … This subject is one that should be approached with a view to the long-range interests of this country’.[6] He and his colleagues at the State Department feared that Zionist sympathizers would pressure Truman to adopt a policy they viewed as unrealistic.[7] Secretary of Defense Forrestal and the joint chiefs of staff agreed with this realist analysis: ‘forty million Arabs are going to push four hundred thousand Jews into the sea. And that’s all there is too it. Oil – that’s the side we ought to be on’.[8] This point was proven by a decision by Arab leaders, taken in Syria in June 1946, to attack British and US interests in the region if they backed away from their commitments to respect Arab rights in Palestine. Yet in the context of the domestic sympathy aroused by the holocaust, and his own election prospects, Truman was under huge political pressure to support Zionist ambitions. He was not personally a committed Zionist, as this entry in his diary from 1 June 1945 suggests: ‘The Jews claim God almighty picked ‘em out for special privilege. Well I’m sure he had better judgment. Fact is I never thought God picked any favorite’.[9] The President explained his decision in bold political terms: ‘I have to answer to hundreds of thousands who are anxious for the success of Zionism. I do not have hundreds of thousands of Arabs among my constituents’.[10] Thus, the foundation of the special relationship relied on a short term political calculus rather than long term strategic logic.

The strategic importance of this decision must have been apparent. Britain’s experience had already shown that the Israeli-Arab dispute demanded hard headed realism rather than self-defeating commitments to both parties. As early as 1921, one year before the League of Nation’s official approval of the Mandate in July 1922, the pro-Zionist British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel had been forced to limit Jewish immigration. The following year Bonar-Law’s White Paper attempted to water down the Balfour Declaration. This was followed by a second similar attempt with the Passfield White Paper in 1930. Only in 1939 on the eve of WW2 did Britain finally release an unequivocal White Paper that recognized the inconsistencies of Balfour’s commitment. Britain realized that with manpower stretched in the European and Far Eastern theatres, she would need to court Arab support to maintain security in the Middle East and North Africa with a minimum commitment of troops. The 17 May 1939 White Paper withdrew Britain’s commitments to Zionism in Palestine, while also reiterating that Palestine was not included in the 1915 McMahon correspondence’s commitments to the Arab people.[11] The British example should have proven that support of Zionist national aspirations was a critical strategic error. Yet Truman endorsed the Anglo American Committee’s report, which repeated the same blunder of irreconcilable commitments to both parties that had been at the heart of the Balfour Declaration.

Upon his election in 1953, Eisenhower was politically secure enough to steer his own course in foreign policy without overly concerning himself with the domestic Jewish vote. The US avoided making commitments to Tel Aviv during his first term. Secretary of State Dulles, afraid of intensifying the arms race and arousing Arab hostility by identifying the US with Israel, refused to sell arms to Israel even after Egypt announced a large Czechoslovak arms deal in 1956. Despite the American view that Nasser’s Egypt was facilitating the entry of Soviet influence into the Middle East, Israel had to buy weapons from the French. The US attitude towards Israel was particularly uncompromising during the Suez War. Eisenhower forced Israel to withdraw from captured Egyptian territory in Sharm ash-Sheikh and the Gaza Strip by threatening to cut off all public and private aid and seeking UN sanctions. Dulles had convinced Eisenhower of the absolute necessity of pushing Israel on the withdrawal by warning him that failure to do so could ‘jeopardize the entire Western influence in the Middle East, and the nations of that region would conclude that United States policy towards the area was, in the last instance, controlled by Jewish influence in the United States’.[12] However, the US strategic perspective on Israel changed in the latter years of the Eisenhower administration. One analysis suggests that as Egypt and Syria’s increasing Soviet leanings indicated that the US could not appeal to the Arab nations en masse, the administration dropped its plans for a multilateral Arab alliance in the region.[13] The alternative was a hub and spoke strategy of bi-lateral relationships with individual states in the region. Israel was considered a good strategic candidate, and events through 1957 made its cooperation essential to the US. A 1949 planning memorandum noted that Israel ‘has demonstrated by force of arms its right to be considered the military power next after Turkey in the Near and Middle East’.[14] It was also recognized that Israeli territory and airspace would be essential for any protracted military effort against Soviet aggression in the region. In 1957 Israel threatened to seize Jordan’s West Bank during a period of regional crisis and internal unrest in pro-Western Jordan. Eisenhower was forced to make an informal security guarantee in order to prevent Israel from exacerbating the situation.[15] In July 1958, Israel granted permission to US and British planes flying to Jordan to avert a further crisis threatening the pro-Western government. Tel Aviv’s decision to permit the over flights was viewed as defiance by the Kremlin. In Washington, it confirmed Israel as a viable strategic partner. Secretary Dulles now assured Ben-Gurion that, ‘Israel should be in a position to deter an attempt at aggression by indigenous forces, and we are repaired to examine the military implications with an open mind’.[16] In keeping with its hub and spoke strategy, the Eisenhower administration proceeded to groom ‘northern tier’ states, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan, along with Israel to contain Soviet influence.

Despite this apparent change of heart and the administration’s willingness to extend an informal guarantee of security, Eisenhower continued to refuse to sell arms to Israel. On 11 June 1959, the new American ambassador to Tel Aviv was briefed before his departure that a ‘very close relationship to Israel has to be carefully balanced by our attention to the Arab states. … It will be important for you to take no position that tends to identify you with [the] Israeli cause or interests’.[17] On the subject of economic aid, Ambassador Reid was told that political expediency demanded a level of aid, but ‘we are opposed as a matter of policy to supplying most categories of military equipment to Israel’. In 1960, Eisenhower personally told Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion that the US would not provide armaments because it intended to maintain an unpartisan position from which it could better resolve the Arab-Israeli dispute. The president advised him to deal with Britain, France and West Germany for arms.[18] Nonetheless, even though the US continued to deny armaments, the Israelis realized that there had been a change in the American strategic perspective in their favor. Ambassador Eban recalls the shifting relations on a personal level: ‘Dulles had been somewhat of an ogre … during most of his six years in office. By the time he retired he was regarded by Ben-Gurion and others as a friend’.[19] Thus, despite the origins of the special relationship in Truman’s immediate political necessity, Israel now began to enjoy a strategic understanding with the US based on US perceptions of strategic necessity.

Kennedy inherited this reasoning, and hoped that Israeli military superiority would create conditions of stability since its neighbors would not have the wherewithal to attack it. During his and Johnson’s presidency, the US developed a significant armament trade with Israel. There was a paradoxical logic to helping Israel become a regional Sparta state. If it could implement Jabotinski’s ‘iron wall’ defense against its Arab neighbors, US influence in Arab capitals might be improved. Since they could not extract concessions from Israel by force of arms, and since Soviet nuclear threats were cancelled out by American protection, the Arab nations would have to appeal to Washington to use its influence on Israel. Thus if the United States could influence Israeli behavior by becoming its intimate sponsor, it could offer Arab nations something beyond Moscow’s power. However, this would be dependent upon Israeli compliance, which, as Kennedy discovered over the nuclear issue, would not always be forthcoming.[20]

The 1967 and 1973 wars further solidified the special relationship. When Israel competently defeated Syrian, Egyptian, and Jordanian forces in the course of the Six Day War in 1967, both Washington and Moscow took note. Moscow seized the opportunity to further identify itself as sponsor of the Arab cause, breaking off relations with Tel Aviv following the war and reequipping the Arab nations. Washington was convinced by Israel’s military performance, and by the failure of its relationships with Jordan and Iraq (which had undergone two coups in the interim), that the strategic relationship with Israel was the most reliable of its regional partners. However, until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, US assistance remained comparatively low. As the war drew on, it became an intensive cold war proxy contest. The Soviets supplied almost 100,000 tones of military supplies to Egypt and Syria. US support to Israel surpassed this. When the Soviet’s threatened nuclear strikes, US nuclear forces were put on alert. The resulting peace deal, brokered between February and September 1975 by the US, committed America to supporting Israel if another ‘emergency situation’ arose, meeting its defense, energy and economic needs, and to supplying F-16 jet aircraft to the IAF.[21] Thus, the US was firmly committed to the Israeli relationship by the mid-seventies. Truman’s short term political considerations committed America, initially against its strategic interests, to the Zionist cause. Israel’s military strength and strategic position and the US’ difficulty in maintaining Arab alliances in the context of Arab nationalism and competing Soviets influence provided a basis for US cooperation with Israel. The strategic partnership was finally copper fastened by the intensifying cold war competition in the area, which culminated in the massive supplies by Moscow and Washington to their prospective clients.

Despite the apparent merits of American’s strategic partnership with Israel, the downside, as identified by the Department of State and Department of Defense in 1945, was the arousal of Arab and Muslim ire. American diplomatic support allowed Israel to steer a course in its foreign affairs that it could not have done independently. So long as the US stood resolutely at its side, Israel could afford isolation at the UN General Assembly, and could rely on the US veto to scuttle any attempts to curtail its actions at the Security Council. According to one observer, ‘the core of the problem has been in Washington, and remains there. At any point in the past twenty five years, the US could have … paved the way towards a meaningful political settlement’.[22] Even though West Bank and Gaza strip Palestinians enjoyed international media attention far beyond that enjoyed by Turkish Kurds or other oppressed populations, Israel could afford to treat them in a heavy handed manner. Not only has unreserved support for Israel promoted the idea that policymaking in Washington is indeed decided at the level of electoral politics and the Jewish lobby, but it also associated the US with aggressive Israeli foreign policy initiatives, the continuing plight of the Palestinians, and excited violent reaction against Israel and the US. Chief among the damaging Israeli policies facilitated by US support is the continued expansion-through-settlement. In the initial aftermath of the 1967 War, Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol signaled his willingness to trade all conquered lands in return for a peace settlement with Israel’s neighbors. When this overture was rejected by Damascus and Cairo, the ‘greater Israel’ concept of Israeli expansion adhered to by movements such as Gush Emunim and expansionist leaders such as Menachem Begin gathered momentum. By definition this was antithetical to a permanent settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Indeed, a cynical observer would conclude that since 1967, peace deals formalizing all existing Israeli borders would be less favorable to the expansion-minded policymakers than an informal, flexible situation in which superior Israeli military strength could press opportunistic advantages as they arose for slivers of extra territory (although the construction of the peace wall may suggest a change in policy). Certainly, the military strength and diplomatic confidence afforded by US patronage contributed to a tendency among some Israeli leaders to take an uncompromising approach in negotiations with Palestinians and Arab neighbors. Thanks to Washington’s support, Israel can endure a continuing Israeli-Palestinian stalemate, and does not necessarily have strong incentives to compromise in the search for peace. Furthermore, the Likud Party, a chief underwriter of the settler movement, today enjoys intimate ties to the Bush Jr administration.[23] Accordingly, the US remains associated with Israeli expansion and the plight of the Palestinians.

The Israeli-American partnership also puts the US in harms way by associating America with aggressive Israeli initiatives on a scale greater than bulldozing of homes and tough security measures in the occupied territories. When Shlomo Argov, the Israeli ambassador to London, was shot 3 June 1982, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin used the attack (though perpetrated by the anti-PLO Abu Nidal group) as a pretext to finally invade Lebanon and eradicate the PLO. The invasion’s objectives were officially limited to pushing the PLO back forty kilometres from the border. Yet by June 10, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) had swept through Lebanon and had mastery of rural areas. Cities and refugee camps were strongholds of resistance, and fighting was urban and brutal. Beirut endured a nine-week siege before the PLO troops evacuated. Massive daily aerial and artillery bombardment of the city, compounded by cut-off electricity, water, and other supplies, resulted in huge civilian loss of life. The human tragedy caused by the invasion prompted international condemnation, and traumatised Israelis at home, resulting in a record level of domestic protest.[24] American weaponry was used in civilian areas, and the results were broadcast around the globe. Throughout the crisis, the US defence of Israel at the UN and in Presidential statements was implacable. Jeane Kirkpatrick, the US Ambassador to the UN, was forced to make a series of public vetoes at the Security Council, prompting one observer to call her Israel’s best ever representative.[25] Throughout the fighting, President Reagan equivocated over condemning Israel, refusing to condemn Israeli when challenged to explain why the US continued to supply armaments to the IDF following its nine week barrage of Beirut.[26] In part this instance of unreserved support may be due to Secretary of State Haig’s view that the invasion was ‘a historical opportunity’ to deal with the PLO.[27] However, the Reagan administration may have also fallen prey to the rhetoric trap. Having committed itself to strategic partnership in the mid-1970s, it needed to avoid a public perception of Israeli belligerency and so maintained unreserved support for Israel as victim. Thus, America found itself associated an Israeli invasion which culminated in the Phalange (Israeli client) militia’s highly publicised massacres at the Sabra and Shatilla refugee camps.

While it is unlikely, as the coalition admits, that capitalist Arab governments will stop oil supplies to the US, there remain considerable risks arising from Arab and Muslim ire. The continued special relationship promotes popular anti-American fervor and creates major disincentives for regional governments to cooperate with America. This point was illustrated by Saddam Hussein’s use of the Palestinian issue to attempt to break apart the coalition facing him in the first Gulf War. In October 1990, he seized the opportunity to aggravate anti-Israeli, and thus anti-American, hostility among the Muslim and Arab coalition nations following the IDF shooting of two dozen Palestinians on Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Had this manoeuvre achieved its goal of separating the Arab and Muslim nations from the coalition, the hard won legitimacy of the US lead campaign might have been jeopardised.[28] While this attempt was not successful, it reveals the difficulty with which the US can maintain Arab support for any of its regional initiatives so long as it continues to support Israel, and Israel avoids a definitive and fair resolution of the Palestinian question.

The US also faces an additional threat as a result of the special relationship. The Munich Olympics and international airline hostage taking operations of the 1970s arose from the deep resentment of the reality and use of Israeli power, and dissatisfaction with the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The failure of conventional force against Israel is one reason why terrorism became a widely adopted tactic. In the 1990s, the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict contributed to the rise of a new wave of terrorism which also threatened the United States. Campaigns in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Saudi had failed to rally the umma to Ayman al-Zawahiri’s Islamist campaign. However, as one commentator argues, the failure of the Oslo process, the second intifada’s adoption of suicide tactics and tit-for-tat IDF incursions and assassinations provided a focus to rally supportive Muslims for a wider campaign against regional apostate regimes and American influence.[29] The apparent success of Hezbollah’s suicide bombing against the IDF’s presence in Southern Lebanon, a legacy of the 1982 invasion, had transplanted the Iranian revolution’s suicide tactic into the consciousness of the Palestinian fighters. It is no accident that Osama Bin Laden consistently cites US support for ‘Jewish and Zionist plans for expansion of what is called the Great Israel’ among his principle motives to for his war against American and Israeli ‘Jews and crusaders’ in successive interviews and statements.[30] The US – Israeli special relationship therefore not only makes it difficult for Arab and Muslim governments to cooperate with the US, not least in its ‘war on terror’, but it makes the US a target for the new wave of terror in the first place.

The close link between America and the Zionist entity is itself a curse for America. In addition to the high cost incurred by the US treasury as a result of this alliance, the strategic cost is also exorbitant because this close link has turned the attack against America into an attack against the Zionist entity and visa versa. This contributes to bringing the Islamic nation together and pushing it strongly to rally around the jihad enterprise.[31]

So said an Al Qaeda statement released in 2002. The coalition rightly asserts that President Bush’s ‘benign neglect’ towards Israeli settlement building and activities in the occupied territories, while continuing to support unreserved diplomatic and financial aid, has exacerbated the problem. Indeed, even within Israel the US is not viewed as an honest broker. A Pew Research poll conducted in 2003 among Israelis found that only 38 percent felt that US Middle East policy was fair, and 47 percent felt it was biased towards Israel.[32] Zbigniew Brzezinski, who participated in the Carter-Sadat-Begin talks in 1979, criticises the Bush administration’s first term position as a ‘self-destructive abandonment of any constructive American involvement in the promotion of the Israeli peace process’.[33] Washington continues to pay the financial and diplomatic costs of its support for Tel Aviv in the post cold war era, yet the strategic benefits that became apparent during the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations no longer seem relevant. This paper does not address the question of whether the recommendations of the coalition are politically feasible in the United States – to do so would take a lengthy study in itself, and the coalition statement itself avoided the issue. If America’s primary foreign policy objectives in the Middle East are indeed to eliminate the campaigns associated with Al Qaeda and foster Arab support, a necessary first step is to find an equitable permanent settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and abandon the guiding principle of unreserved support for Israeli policy. While there were tangible benefits to the special relationship during the cold war, Washington’s interests would now be better served by a more distanced relationship with Israel. The rise of Islamist militancy and the absence of cold war necessity put the logic of the special relationship and unreserved support for Israel in question. The US must become a credible honest broker in a renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace process. This is the first step towards an effective response to Islamist terrorism and fostering proper cooperative relationships in the Middle East.

[1] ‘Ending the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate will strengthen US national security’ (advertisement by the Coalition for a realistic foreign policy), The Economist (1-7 January 2005), p. 6; a copy of this document is appended to this paper.

[2] ibid.

[3] Attlee to Truman, 14 September 1945 in Foreign relations of the United States, 1945, viii.

[4] Attlee to Truman, 16 September 1945 in Foreign relations of the United States, 1945, viii.

[5] State Department memorandum, in Foreign relations of the United States, 1945, viii.

[6] Stettinus Jr to Truman, 18 April 1945 in Foreign relations of the United States, 1945, viii; see also J. H. Hess’ interview with Clark M. Clifford (13 April 1971, oralhist/cliford2.htm, accessed on 4 February 2005).

[7] See R. D. McKinzie’s interview with Edwin M. Wright, 26 July 1974 (online at, accessed on 20 November 2004). Wright describes the pressures within the Oval office and State Department from various sources of influence.

[8] Forrestal to Clifford, quoted in A. F. K. Organski, The $36 billion bargain (New York, 1990), p. 26.

[9] Truman’s diary entry 1 June 1945, in R. H. Ferrell, Off the record: the private papers of Harry S. Truman (New York, 1980), p. 41.

[10] Quoted in J. L. Ray, The future of American-Israel relations (Lexington, 1985), p. 7.

[11] White Paper, 17 May 1939, in W. Laqueur & B. Rubin (eds.), The Arab-Israeli reader (6th ed., New York, 2001), pp. 44-50; see also McMahon to Hussein Ibn Ali, 24 October 1915, in ibid., pp 11-2; and Balfour to Rothschild, 2 November 1917, ibid., p. 16.

[12] D. Eisenhower, The White House years: waging peace 1956-61 (London, 1966), p. 185; Ben-Gurion reacted furiously: ‘Here is a president who spends … his time playing bridge or golf. In the morning he reads a little sheet of paper … about what’s going on in the world – and of all things, he picks this issue to get totally involved in’, quoted in B. Morris, Righteous victims (London, 1999), p. 299.

[13] Ben-Zvi, A., Decade of transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the origins of the American-Israeli alliance (New York, 1998), pp 64-7.

[14] Quoted in M. J. Cohen, Fighting world war three from the Middle East: Allied contingency plans, 1945-1956 (London, 1997), p. 195.

[15] A. Eban, Personal witness (London, 1993), p. 322.

[16] Dulles to Ben-Gurion, 1 August 1958, Foreign relations of the United States 1958-1960, xiii, p. 78.

[17] Memorandum of conversation, Roundtree with Reid, 11 June 1959, Foreign relations of the United States, 1958-1960, xiii, p. 182.

[18] Memorandum of conversation, Eisenhower with Ben-Gurion, 10 March 1960, Foreign relations of the United States, 1958-1960, xiii, p. 288.

[19] A. Eban, An autobiography (London, 1978), p. 264.

[20] Kennedy found it necessary to threaten the Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that American-Israeli relations ‘could be seriously jeopardized’ if he were not more forthcoming about Israel’s nuclear program. Kennedy to Eshkol, 5 July 1967, National Security Archive, George Washington University (URL:, accessed on 5 February 2005).

[21] For a detailed account of the war and intensifying Soviet and US commitment, see B. Morris, Righteous victims (New York, 1999), pp 433-441.

[22] Author’s interview with Noam Chomsky, The Irish Times, 4 December 2002.

[23] George Bush’s recently publicized admiration for the ideas of hard-line Likud Minister Natan Sharansky is the latest in a series of publicized ideological ties between the administration and foreign policymakers and Likud, see ‘The odd couple’, The Economist, 5 -11 February 2005, p. 46; another other oft cited link is Richard Pearle and Douglas Feith’s ‘Clean break’ strategy paper written for Benjamin Netanyahu when he became Prime Minister in 1996; in 1989, CATO published a policy analysis outlining similar recommendations to the coalition for a realistic foreign policy 2005 statement, and explicitly cited neo conservative support as the impasse to a more rational Middle East policy, see L. T. Hadar, ‘Creating a US policy of constructive disengagement from the Middle East’, CATO policy analysis 125, 29 December 1989 (URL:, accessed 2 February 2005).

[24] S. N. Lehmam-Wilzig, Stiff-necked people, bottle-necked system: the evolution and roots of Israeli public protest, 1949-1986 (Indianapolis, 1990), p. 49.

[25] Quoted in S. M. Finger, ‘The Reagan-Kirkpatrick policies and the United Nations’, in Foreign Affairs (Winter, 1983 – 1984), p. 444.

[26] ‘Remarks and a question-and-answer session with reporters on federal tax legislation and the situation in Lebanon, August 13, 1982’, in Public papers of the president: Ronald Reagan, 1981-1988 (URL:, accessed on 10 February 2005).

[27] See A. M. Haig, Caveat: realism, Reagan and foreign policy (London, 1994), pp 317-18 for his views on the necessity of invasion. Despite his consistent denials, Haig probably did give the green light, according to author’s interview with unnamed Security Council diplomat (2002).

[28] See L. Freedman & E. Karsh, The Gulf conflict: 1990-1991 (updated ed., London, 1993).

[29] G. Kepel, The war for Muslim minds: Islam and the West (Cambridge, MA, 2004), p. 2, 100-3.

[30] The Palestinian theme is repeated in Bin Laden statements; see PBS Frontline interview with Osama Bin Laden, 1998; see also Osama Bin Laden, statement (October 2004, Al Arabiya); Osama Bin Laden, Message to US (18 October 2003, Al Jazeera); Osama Bin Laden, Letter to the American people, 2002, reproduced in Y. Fouda and N. Fielding, Masterminds of terror: the truth behind the most devastating terrorist attack the world has ever seen (New York, 2003), pp. 190-97; Peter Bergin’s interview with Osama Bin Laden, 1997 in P. Bergin, Holy war inc. (London, 2001), pp. 20-25; Robert Fisk’s interview with Osama Bin Laden, 1996 (URL:, accessed 1 February 2005); Nida’ul Islam interview with Osama Bin Laden, 1996 (URL:, accessed 1 February 2005).

[31] Al Qaeda statement “The US deception”, June 2002, quoted in Anonymous, Imperial hubris: why the West is loosing the war on terror (Washington, DC, 2004), p. 227.

[32] Trends 2005, (Pew Research Centre, 2005), p. 112.

[33] Author’s interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, 2004.

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