Don't play into Zionist hands/ Sobhi Ghandour

Achieving goal of a unified Arab state is the only way to thwart Israeli designs of fomenting sectarian strife

The Arab region is witnessing several political changes similar to those that followed the First World War. Among the key consequences of that war was the end of the Ottoman Empire, which was referred to as ‘the sick man of Europe', as well as European colonialism in the region.

Back then, Arabs bet on European powers to support their right to independence and the creation of a single unified Arab state. The era was referred to as the ‘Great Arab Revolt' (1916-1918). It was led by Sharif Hussain Bin Ali, Emir of Makkah, against the Ottomans in 1916 with support from Britain.

However, Arab aspirations for independence and unity did not coincide with the greedy designs of Britain and France, the era's colonial powers.

While accepting the principles of Arab independence laid down in the Hussain-McMahon Correspondence, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, signed by Britain, France and Russia in 1916, divided the supposed unified Arab state into three military zones.

As a result of this agreement, Palestine, East Jordan and Iraq came under the British mandate while Syria and Lebanon were put under the French mandate.

This is exactly what the status of Arabs was in the early 20th century. In contrast, the British government helped establish a "Jewish national home' in Palestine, through the Balfour Declaration which was made by then British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour.

What began as a legitimate Arab revolution with high aspirations ended up being controlled by European powers that utilised the revolt to further their own interests.

The Zionist movement made the best use of this revolt by creating an ‘Israeli state', but the single unified Arab state did not come into existence.

Today, the Arab region is seeing the downfall of the ‘sick official Arab system' in view of the growing global attention given to the Arab region and its resources, as well as of Israel's major impact on events happening in the region due to its influence on the US, the world's sole major power at present.

Vested interests

There are hectic attempts to internationalise domestic issues in the Arab region so as to once again bring Arab countries under a UN mandate, similar to what once prevailed in the first half of the 20th century. Libya has come under the UN Security Council's supervision and the direct trusteeship of the Nato alliance.

Sudan was and still is under international trusteeship, while attempts continue to internationalise internal crises in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.

Regretfully, there are painful events taking place within Arab societies, such as sectarian and ethnic divisions and the weak immunity of the Arab system to face such a challenge.

In Israel, there has been a non-stop endeavour for many decades to support the creation of sectarian and ethnic states in the Arab region. Israel has a rich record of creating sectarian and ethnic strife in Lebanon, Iraq and Sudan. And now, it has been attempting to create sectarian strife in Egypt — the recent arrest of an Israeli spy is clear evidence of what the Zionist entity is trying to do.

Even more, there are Israeli attempts to divide Egypt into three states, expel the Palestinians from Gaza to Sinai and divide all the Arab countries into small entities, similar to what happened in Sudan.

By dividing Arab countries along religious lines, Israel hopes that what happened after the Sykes-Picot Agreement will happen again: the new states will end up fighting each other to the point that they seek help from foreign powers. This will lead to forging alliances with Israel, just like it happened in Lebanon during the civil war.

While the Arabs will be busy fighting each other, the Hebrew state will continue to build colonies in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank and apply more pressure on Palestinians in the 1948 areas, in a bid to force out as much as it can from the other newly established or already existing states.

The most dangerous design by Israel is proposing Jordan as "an alternative home for the Palestinians". When the Arabs, as Israel wishes, involve in bloody battles, it would be the time to achieve its design by making Jordan the alternative home for the Palestinians.

What I have mentioned is not mere imagination, but are Israeli facts on the ground, especially in light of the radical right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nevertheless, what is happening now is different from what occurred in the past in terms of circumstances. The talk about resistance against Israel and challenging foreign domination is not a priority for many Arab groups and parties, some of which would not be embarrassed to demand foreign intervention.

The biggest problem now is American, European, Israeli, Turkish and Iranian designs on the Arab region and how to make the best use of the uprisings to further their own agendas.

The complete absence of an Arab strategy to maintain territorial integrity and preserve independent will and decision-making will serve these vested interests.

It is regretful that there is no national unification strategy in Arab countries where revolutions were victorious. So, how would it be in countries which are facing uprisings? Hopefully, both Arab rulers and citizens will realise the direction they are taking!



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