C. Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution
in the Middle East


Diplomatic History of the Middle East
Dr. Sami Musallam, Director of the Office of the President, Jericho

The subject of the diplomatic history of the Middle East is a very broad topic and in order to cover it adequately I would need much more time than allocated for this lecture; it could itself be the subject for a whole seminar. I want to concentrate here on the period after 1948, but let me give you a little information concerning what happened before 1948 and about the concept of the ‘Middle East’.

The concept of the Middle East or Near East is a Western concept, developed from the viewpoint of the British Foreign Office. If we look at the region from the viewpoint of the Indian Foreign Office, for example, we would say West Asia, not the Middle East. This is not only a geographical, but also a conceptual difference. Today, the Middle East - according to the British definition - contains the Arab Orient, Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and the Arab peninsula. North Africa is not included in this concept. The Near East encompasses the same territory but excludes Iran and Afghanistan. This geographic concept embraces the perception of the region being an island, isolated from its natural habitat, the Asian continent. It gives the impression that we are orientated towards the West. It is thus contradictory to the actual Arab-Islamic history where our political, religious, and cultural historical relations were at least balanced between the Mediterranean basin and the Asian continent. So, here I would rather use the concept that we are Asian and Mediterranean; this leaves us with the task of defining our relations with the Western World as well as with the Asian continent. For us, if we want to define the Middle East, it includes all the members of the Arab League, even the Comores. And I want to refer to this region in its Asian and Mediterranean context.

The most important event of diplomatic history in the Middle East before 1948 was the breaking up of the Ottoman Empire into three colonial imperial regions with France controlling North Africa, Syria and Lebanon, Great Britain assuming control over Egypt, Palestine, Iraq and the Arab peninsula and Italy controlling Libya. With the breaking up of the unified political system of Ottoman rule into tripartite domination, a process of development of regional parties and policies set in. Within the spheres of influence of the colonial powers there was still freedom of movement, so that, for example Moroccans could easily go to Syria and vice versa. From Ottoman rule to the colonial system, Arab unity thus was transferred to a lower, regional level. This, in addition to the intellectual and social developments, provides the background against which the diplomacy of the time has to be seen.

In order to understand the events before 1948, one has to take into account that the political decision-making process in the region’s countries was not independent but took place under the dictation of colonial or mandatory officials. There always existed, however, a local ruling elite of big families - such as the Hashemites, the Mohammed Ali-dynasty, the Wahhabites etc. - that had different political strategies. After the end of World War II, there was a rush of diplomatic activity under the rallying cry of independence, the struggle to shed the yoke of European domination in favor of Arab unity. But at the same time, a development concept other than that of Arab unity was propounded by a new generation of educated elites: the concept of social and economic development according to the Western, capitalist style. This happened as a function and a result of the higher level of education offered by private foreign and missionary schools, through collaboration with the occupation administrations and through mutual influences between Western and Arab thinkers. Incidentally, it was not a new phenomenon; since the mid 19th century, Western ideas had been translated and absorbed into Arab culture and thinking and constituted an important factor in the period of the ‘Arab awakening’.

For the post-1948 period, I want to make two generalizations that have been the driving force behind all diplomatic history in the Middle East. The first one is that all diplomatic activity has been related to the Palestine Question. The other side of this coin is Israel. Israeli policies in the Middle East have equally been the driving force (or the stumbling block, depending on how you want to see it) of diplomatic history in the region. The second generalization is that the concept of Arab unity and the struggle to arrive at it has, on the one hand, been a result of a common identity, whereas on the other, it has also been an answer to the Palestine Question. In every turning point in Middle Eastern history, Palestine was the reason for Arab political and diplomatic activity.

The 1948 nakba (the catastrophe) and the War of 1967 were not only catastrophes for the Palestinians; they were also Pan-Arab catastrophes, and the psychological and social ramifications of losing Palestine - the heart of the land mass that is called the Arab World, and the joining point between three continents - were felt by every man on the street in every Arab country. Moreover, as a result of the first nakba, the political movements in the Arab countries took independent courses, which led to a ‘mushrooming’ of Arab countries and a fragmentation of Arab unity into independent political systems, which developed different political courses. There was no unified vision or common plan of action regarding the Palestine Question, the question of Arab unity, the relations with the West or the East or the question of economic development, including the questions of whether the public or the private sector should dominate the economy, or if socialism, capitalism or state capitalism was the appropriate approach to development.

The Arab League was founded, in my opinion, as a ceiling - imposed by Great Britain, as the foreign dominating power - to absorb and limit Arab aspirations of unity. The British, as a preparation to their leaving the region, wanted to ensure that the Arab League would be the framework for Arab unity. Another example is the formation of the ICO (Islamic Conference Organization) in 1969. This organization was formed as an answer to the Palestine Question, and, more concretely, to the fire in Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to quell Nasserism, i.e., to ‘straight-jacket’ Pan-Arab feelings. The whole text of the ICO’s basic law is about Palestine and Jerusalem; all the bodies established were designed to further the issue of Jerusalem. Of course, today, these two organizations have changed in regard to their functions, their aspirations, and their results. Here, I am talking about the motivations that were behind their establishment; you will find these motivations reflected in the organizations’ early statements and resolutions.

For analytical purposes we may group the major topics in Middle Eastern diplomatic history since 1948 (the Palestinian nakba) according to ten titles or themes. These are, of course, not exclusive, but I think they can highlight events in the area and refresh the memories of students of Middle Eastern politics. The ten themes are as follows:

  1. inter-Arab feuds and unions;

  2. the water question;

  3. the tripartite invasion of Egypt (Suez Canal crisis);

  4. the War of 1967;

  5. the Lebanese Civil War beginning in 1976;

  6. the 1982 Israeli siege of Beirut and the departure of the PLO;

  7. the War of the Camps;

  8. the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq War;

  9. the second Gulf War;

  10. the Palestinian and Middle East peace process.

Thus, if we go through this period since 1948, we can and may elaborate upon these topics in more detail. For the sake of brevity, we will mention them in the form of points as follows:

The continuation of the 1948 War as the Pan-Arab nakba; the Palestinian refugee problem; the fragmentation of Arab unity into independent political systems and the development of these independent political units on independent courses; inter-Arab feuds because of the absence of a unified vision or plan of action on the Palestine problem, on Arab unity, on relations with the West (US) and the East (USSR) and on economic development.

The Non-Aligned Movement and its Five Principles of Bandung.

The development of the regional groupings: CENTO (Central Treaty Organization, encompassing Great Britain, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, and supported by the US, also known as the Baghdad Pact), SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization); demonstrations and counter-movement to CENTO in the Arab World.

Fedayyeen activities in Gaza; nationalization of the Suez Canal and tripartite aggression by the UK, France and Israel against Egypt.

Water question: Johnston Plan.

Lebanese issue of 1958, US landing and change of government and president in Lebanon.

Jordanization of the army in Jordan: Clubb Pasha affair; Suleiman Nabulsi government; change of government and the end of infant democratic movement in the Hashemite Union (as answer to the United Arab Republic).

Revolution in Iraq; repercussions in the Middle East: end of CENTO, apparent failure of US-Western diplomacy, and rising tide of Soviet diplomacy and presence; repression of Communist and Marxist ideological trends in the area despite improved relations between existing Arab regimes and USSR.

Arab Union: Egypt and Syria, and later Iraq and Yemen; the Aref brothers period.

Independence movements in North Africa: Morocco, Tunisia (1956) and Algerian revolution; popular sympathy, solidarity and anti-French feeling all over the Arab World; quiet Libyan independence under the Senusi dynasty.

Developments in the oil states: Gulf States under British protection and military presence; migration of Arab, and mainly Palestinian work-force to Gulf countries, first to Kuwait, then to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries; Oman closed to outside world; Saudi Arabia getting richer through oil, self-assertion in Arab politics; obstacle in face of spread of Nasserism; Saudi conflict with Abdul Nasser first politically, then militarily in North Yemen; change of monarchs in Saudi Arabia to alleviate political pressure and changing internal conditions and to face Arab (Abdul Nasser) criticism; South Yemen under British rule, war of resistance.

Breaking up of Egyptian-Syrian unity, Arab conciliation with the driving force of Abdul Nasser and Faisal, beginning of Arab meetings (summits) on a regular basis and, in 1964, formation of PLO by Arab Summit.

On the Palestinian scene: dispersion and refugee status; open and hidden ‘persecution’ of Palestinians everywhere; formation of Pan-Arab parties, such as PAM, Nasserism, PPS, Moslem Brotherhood, Communist parties and formation of an independent Palestinian line: Fateh; the establishment of the PLO as an answer by the Arab states to the independent political line of Fateh, in order to control the Palestinian liberation movement.

Diversion of Jordan water, tributaries.

The 1967 war, An-Naksa, has often been translated into saving Arab regimes and therefore into victory, but led to the loss of Arab self-esteem due to the devastating defeat; Fateh-Fedayyeen as the answer to An-Naksa; Battle of Al-Karameh and regaining of Arab self-esteem.

Palestine Question becomes central to UN activities; Security Council Resolution 242; formation of ICO.

In September 1970: Jordanian-Palestinian conflict; Arab-Israeli-American intervention on the side of Jordan.

1973: October War; important role of the UN Security Council; Resolution 338.

1974 Arab Summit: PLO recognized as sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people; increased PLO role on international scene and beginning of European acceptance of PLO.

Increased role of EEC (European Economic Community) in Middle East; discovery of oil as a strategic weapon; Arab Gulf countries experience economic boom; Euro-Arab dialogue as a function of the improved image of the PLO; the EEC Venice Declaration in support of Palestinian rights; the rising economic power of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries; demise of the Euro-Arab dialogue on the question of PLO chairmanship of the dialogue; European (and indirectly US) pressure on the PLO to accept Resolution 242; Beirut as a center of diplomatic activities.

The Lebanese Civil War leads to ethnic cleansing, family cleavages, organization of new parties, spread of militia activity and the breaking up of a functioning Lebanese administration; the PLO contributes to the unity of the country by protecting the economy and providing security; PLO-Syrian conflicts in 1976.

Inter-Arab pressures; Riyadh Conference; first official contacts between PLO and US administration, letter of thanks from then US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Chairman Arafat; international mediation efforts to solve the Middle East conflict, such as the Soviet-American statement (1978) and the American-Israeli counter-statement; continuous Israeli air raids on PLO camps in Lebanon; loss of Palestinian refugee camp in Tel Az-Zaatar; international sympathy for plight of Palestinians and condemnation of Lebanese militias and indirectly of the Syrian role.

Victory of Iranian Revolution hailed in the Middle East and condemned in the West; Iraq-Iran War with the Arab states on the side of Iraq and Western indirect help to Iraq; Iraqi perseverance and Iranian collapse; Khomeini’s statement of ‘myrrh to be drunk’; after the war: Iraq has great economic difficulties and is not able to repay its debts, which Kuwait refuses to pardon.

Efforts for peaceful conflict resolution after the October War such as the Palestinian National Council’s (PNC) Ten-Point Program and acceptance of Security Council Resolution 242; Geneva peace conference; Sadat’s invitation and unilateral move to make peace with Israel announced parallel to Egyptian-Libyan conflict and Egyptian threats to overrun Libya; Arafat’s conflict resolution methods to solve Egyptian-Libyan conflict; Sadat announces trip to Jerusalem in presence of Arafat; Arafat does not know of the initiative; problems on Palestinian scene; assassination of Sadat by extremist Islam-oriented soldiers.

Siege and war in Lebanon; Palestinian steadfastness; Israeli losses in the war and PLO departure from Lebanon to Tunis; Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Beirut and massacres in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps; with the PLO in Tunis, diplomatic activities shift to North Africa, coup d’état in PLO with Syrian help and siege of PLO in Tripoli; Israeli-Syrian collaboration against PLO/Arafat; indecisive decision from the Soviet side to support Arafat, but total support from the GDR (German Democratic Republic).

First Camps War waged by Amal against Palestinian refugee camps with support of Syria, Second Camps War with support of Syria; fall of Sabra and Shatila and of the PLO troops commander in Shatila, Ali Abu Tok; 6,000 Palestinian cadres imprisoned in Syrian jails; PLO receives international sympathy.

The Second Gulf War proves the victory of Arab economic power over Arab military power in the international alliance against Iraq led by the US; Arabs are split into two camps: the popular feeling is in favor of Iraq, the Arab official position against it; UN role and sanctions as function of US domination; defeat of Iraq; Arab rift remains: destruction of Arab solidarity and heavy price paid by PLO/Palestinian people for their solidarity with and hope in Iraq.

The peace process: the PLO adopts the 1988 Declaration of Independence; Bush initiative; Madrid Conference; talks in Washington and on the Oslo track leading to the Declaration of Principles (DoP) in 1993 and the Cairo Agreement in May 1994; return of the PLO to Palestine; Israeli withdrawal from Jericho area and the Gaza Strip, and re-deployment outside the major towns and villages of the West Bank; developments on the PNA side, such as elections, nation and state building, etc.


Question: Some people say, and one can also get the impression from what you have said, that wherever the PLO goes, it corrupts and destroys everything. How do you view this statement?

Answer: I have written an article on ‘Arab Leadership’, which will appear in one of PASSIA’s upcoming publications, that will answer your question. It also explains why there has always been conflict between the PLO and the Arab regimes. The PLO’s conception of authority has always been contradictory to that of the Arab regimes.

Furthermore, the founders of all the important movements that were embraced by the Arab masses, such as the Pan-Arab Movement or the religious fundamentalist movements, were Palestinians. Palestinians have also been in the highest echelons of the Arab parties, for example, in the (Syrian) Ba’ath Party. In fact, the regime in South Yemen was an offshoot of the Pan-Arab Movement, which evolved in the Mashreq region. Nasserism has been spread by Palestinians and Lebanese. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt, but the majority of its different groups developed in Jordan and Palestine, then moved to the Gulf. Fateh attracted so much popular support that the other organizations collapsed; the Ba’ath Party in Syria and Iraq, for example, existed only in name. All these movements felt that they had been robbed of their mass support by Fateh, and this is why there has always been conflict between Fateh and these movements.

Also, Arafat has always been accepted as a Palestinian and Arab leader, as a revolutionary leader in the region and the world, and as an international leader. Equally important, he was accepted by the masses as the only viable Muslim leader after the death of Abdul Nasser. Assad was not accepted as such; feeling this pressure, he converted in the 70’s to Sunni Islam hoping to become recognized. The other Arab leaders were also not accepted as leaders of the Muslim nation (umma).

Question: What about the role of the PLO in Lebanon?

Answer: In Lebanon, there has always been an intra-Lebanese problem, not a problem created by the PLO. The Lebanese community is split into different denominations; the distribution of positions in the state is done on a factional, religious basis. Now, with the rising number and influence of Muslims, the balance of power became disproportionate. The Palestinians, generally, are religious, but not extremist, and the Palestinian liberation movement is a secular movement. In Lebanon, the Lebanese joined the PLO organizations on all levels and many of them, whilst being trained by the PLO, developed secular ideas. But the main factor accounting for the loss of the political balance in Lebanon was the change in the demographic structure. This social fabric of the conflict is rarely discussed. The PLO acted as a unifying factor for the country and, through the presence of PLO troops all over Lebanon, actually prohibited the split of Lebanon. For example, the Lebanese banks and other social and economic institutions had been protected by the Palestinian Force 17; in the PLO controlled zones, one had no fear of being hijacked, etc. Thus, the PLO filled a political vacuum; this, however, was interpreted by some Lebanese forces, such as the Phalangists, as being Palestinian occupation of Lebanon.

Question: How do you see the current and future PLO-Jordan relation?

Answer: There has always been a PLO-Jordan love-hate relationship. The PLO, of course, is in favor of a Palestinian independent course. After independence, we should have a referendum on the nature of the Palestinian-Jordanian relation. Officially, the PNC has taken a decision in favor of a confederation with Jordan, and this decision is binding. But in order for there to be a confederation, there first have to be independent states: a Palestinian state, and a Jordanian state.

Question: What do you think about Palestinian diplomacy abroad?

Answer: I think that Palestinian diplomacy has improved a lot. Today, in the Western countries, the PNA does not have embassies, but according to Article 7 of the Cairo Agreement, is represented by the PLO, especially with regard to economic affairs. There are different levels of PLO representation abroad: quasi-diplomatic, diplomatic and information missions, the UN Representative of Palestine (since 1988) and representatives with observer status in all UN organizations. We have a wide net of representations in all continents. We are very well represented in all African, Asian and Islamic countries. We cover all the European countries without exception, the US and Canada. We have yet to upgrade our presence in central and southern American and Caribbean countries.

Question: What exactly did you mean when you said that the PLO was an answer to Fateh?

Answer: Fateh was formed in 1956 in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar by a number of Palestinians, mainly from the Gaza Strip, as a Palestinian organization with one goal: to liberate Palestine. Interference in Arab affairs was not its aim. But the Arab states did not like the idea of an underground independent movement not being under their control. The leaders of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan in particular wanted to control and lead the movement. They took the first opportunity that appeared and founded an Arab-led organization at the first Arab summit in Alexandria in 1964, namely the PLO. Since then, there has been an ongoing conflict between the Palestinians and the Arab regimes about the question of leadership in the liberation movement and on the Palestinian scene.

Security in the Middle East
Dr. Zakaria Al-Qaq, Director, IPCRI

I want to thank you, Mahdi, for inviting me to speak at PASSIA about security issues in the Middle East, although this is a very tough subject - speaking about security has never been easy in this region. It is a very complex issue. Today, I want to speak about the following dimensions of security: its historical or Arab context, the strategic aspects as an integral part of security analysis, and the issue of Palestinian security.

The Historical Context of Security

The present security layout in the Middle East began to develop in the region by 1918, when Sir Winston Churchill, then minister of the British colonies, began to draw up a configuration for the region and thereby created a state east of the River Jordan that was to function as a buffer state. The creation of this state sprang out of security concerns. It became the Emirate of East Jordan, then the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

During the early 1920’s, the Iraqi revolution broke out. When the revolt started, British leaders began to formulate the necessity of separating Iraq from Syria, in order to maintain the security balance in the whole region. In the 1950’s the CENTO pact was established between the US, Turkey, Israel, and Iran but without the involvement of any Arab state. Abdul Nasser strongly opposed this pact. Another approach to regional security was the Baghdad Pact, which included Iraq.

Before the Islamic revolution in Iran, the Shah - as far as the US was concerned - was the key to guaranteed regional security. Thus, the US was prepared to turn a blind eye to what the Shah was doing domestically, for example, concerning human rights issues. Ex-US President Carter is quoted as having said about the Shah: "We know he is a son of a bitch, but he was our son of a bitch." The Iranian revolution influenced other revolutionary movements in the region, such as the ones in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the idea of an Islamic economy appeared.

The dispute over who would be the future leader in the region led, eventually, to the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq War, which reflected on the structure of the whole region. With the rise of political Islam in the Shi’ite movement, a new security situation emerged. The Shi’ite leaders were not satisfied with ruling the religious dimension of life but wanted to dominate all its aspects, in accordance with their interpretation of Islam as both a religious and political system.

During the early years of the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was created, as I see it, as a defense pact. It claims to embrace all the countries adjacent to the Arab Gulf (or Persian Gulf), but in reality does not, as it excludes Iraq. This pact is primarily built on a military basis. It played an important role during the Second Gulf War, when Iraq was looking for access to the sea to allow it to export its oil.

Currently, there is no joint Arab security policy. It seems, however, that quite a big portion of the problems facing the Arab countries are positioned in the southern areas - for example, in Sudan, in Saudi Arabia, in Lebanon or in Yemen. The biggest challenge at the moment is that posed by the politics - and the potentially explosive outcome - of the blockade against Iraq.

Strategic Weapons

Nuclear weapons are used in the Middle East (as everywhere) as an element of a strategy of deterrence; their proliferation has been very restricted, and one of the reasons for this is the high cost of their development. It is not only nuclear weapons, however, but also the peaceful use of nuclear energy that poses a threat to the environment. In Dimona (Southern Israel), for example, there is evidence that the nuclear reactor is falling apart. Israel’s collective memory of the Holocaust has toyed with the brains of the Israeli people and led to a philosophy of war. The Israelis are obsessed with security. In the Israeli military strategy, traditional weapons are used in actual fighting whereas nuclear weapons are used for deterrence - with the hydrogen bomb being such a special kind of weapon. In the Second Gulf War, where only traditional weapons were used in fighting, the strategic weapons in the background were meant only as a deterrent: the preventive use of such weapons would only make sense if all the enemy’s nuclear weapons could be destroyed at once. Therefore, these modern weapons are a ‘last resort’. In many cases, such as during the Intifada, the close proximity of the enemy made their use impossible.

Israel opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the region; it has an interest in preventing a multi-polar nuclear system. The main danger of such a multi-polar system would be that in the case of an emergency, the fact that several states possessed nuclear weapons would make a nuclear attack more probable than in a situation in which only two superpowers had nuclear weapons, as it is easier for two states to come to a peaceful agreement than it is for several. But Israel also tries to maintain its superiority in the region by preventing other states from developing nuclear weapons. That is why, in 1981, Israel attacked a nuclear plant in Iraq. This preemptive strike was a model strike that completely and surgically obliterated the reactor, so as to set an example for the region.

During the Second Gulf War, there were clear signs from both the US and Israel that non-conventional arms would be the answer if Iraq made use of its arsenal of chemical weaponry. Saddam Hussein understood the message and only initiated some minor strikes against Israel without provoking a serious act of retaliation from the Israeli side.

Egypt succeeded during the War of Attrition in exhausting the Israeli army. In spite of the fact that it was clear that Israel had the nuclear capability to easily beat Egypt, it was unable to use it because such a step would not have been justified under any circumstances; such was the situation during the Lebanese Civil War and the Palestinian Intifada. Hence, the use of such weapons is extremely limited due to the large degree of harm they can inflict. The owning of such weapons does not give the state unlimited power as might be thought - it might not be able to use its weapons and be forced to stand helpless when confronted by guerrilla attacks. This has a lot to do with the difficulty in handling nuclear weapons in a region in which the spread of the nuclear fallout cannot be restricted to a specific area.

Nuclear weapons do not serve as a stabilizing factor because they encourage other states to try to obtain the same or even better weapon systems, which often provokes an arms race in the region. The Egyptian position concerning the nuclear nonproliferation treaty stems from these considerations.

The Middle East is in a transition phase. Some thinkers, especially Israeli thinkers such as Shai Feldman, characterize the concept of the New Middle East as one of a secular region with moderate, pragmatic leaders regulating their conflicts through negotiations. These moderate systems are led by the petit bourgeoisie, who are middle-class and growth oriented. Parts of this New Middle East include or will include Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, the PNA, Syria and Israel. They oppose the Old Middle East, where the fundamentalist regimes reign with an iron fist, such as in Iran, Iraq and Libya. There will be a battle between the Old and the New Middle East; if won by the Old Middle East, the whole region will return to a circle of suppression and terror.

But the fight between secular regimes and religious fundamentalism is also brewing in the New Middle East as the cases of Egypt, Jordan or Hamas in Palestine show. When talking about security in the Middle East, these conflicts, which relate to the nature of the New Middle East and its social-economic order, including the position of Israel, must be considered.

Another new factor in the region is the fear that with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the easy proliferation of nuclear material will be one of the upcoming major threats because it includes the danger of the development of nuclear armed Islamists, or the ‘Islamic bomb’. Pakistan, for example, tries to obtain nuclear weapons to deter India and as a means to enhance Pakistani leadership in the Islamic World.

Palestinian Security

My view is that the Oslo agreement was so heavily loaded with security items that many analysts would like to characterize it as a security agreement rather than a political one. The past few years have confirmed to us that it was one-sided rather than balanced between the two parties; the security relation between Israel and the Palestinians can safely be characterized as a relation of supremacy and subordination. The Oslo agreement emphasizes that the role of the Palestinian security forces is to act against all kinds of Palestinian violence and terrorism by arresting and trying every suspicious Palestinian, but that does not go beyond maintaining public order.

The most obvious characteristic of Palestinian security is its prolific nature. The number of security apparatuses is steadily increasing, and no one would like to have to take on the task of describing their individual functions. They also lack clear terms of reference, but it is well known that they are all linked to President Arafat. The main task of the Palestinian security apparatuses is to work as a police force and, in doing this, to resolve tribal problems and to pursue crimes related to drugs and prostitution. But they sometimes have to carry out ‘unfinished business’. For example, they are often obliged to deal with the large number of collaborators who used to work with Israel, the irony being that while many collaborators were forced to run to Israel for protection, others were recruited, in one way or another, to different Palestinian security organizations. This is because they already had vast experience in gathering information and are familiar with the terrain and the objectives, i.e., to keep the Palestinian opposition, whether secular or Islamic, subdued.

Another phenomenon concerns the large number of Fateh activities that have been recruited into certain security apparatuses, now to such an extent that practically every member of these organizations is also a member of Fateh. This strategy of recruitment led the majority of the Palestinians to view those activists who allowed themselves to be recruited as mere tools in the hands of the Authority, no longer able to play an active role in civil society. It is clear, therefore, that whether intentionally or unintentionally, the Fateh movement - by accepting the role of a police force - has lost its major role in civil society.

UN Peacekeeping and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Dr. Alan James

When the UN was established in 1945, the key players were the victorious states of World War II; only peace loving states were invited to join, and Germany and Japan were considered enemy states. The alliance was based on the assumption that the victorious states would continue to work together to guarantee peace and security in the world. The arrangements providing for the keeping or restoration of peace can be found in Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which is concerned with the peaceful settlement of disputes (through the means of mediation, good offices, arbitration, etc.) and Chapter VII, which allows for the use of force in case of a threat to or the breach of peace. These provisions could only have been effective if the victor states had, indeed, worked together towards peace, but this did not happen due to the developments in the global arena. The veto was used by the superpowers to prevent the implementation of Security Council decisions that were adverse to their policies. Thus, the veto became a symbol of the Cold War and the gap between the US and the Soviet Union. On the one hand, it prevented the UN from breaking apart, as each one of them was able to preserve its vital interests, on the other hand, peace enforcement and effective decisions in the security field were made impossible. There was only one exception to this when, during the Korean crisis, decisions were reached due to the Russian boycott of the Security Council. Consequently, the UN became mainly a forum for propaganda speeches and mutual denunciation.

This lecture will deal with the different instruments used in the context of peace and security. Here, peace-keeping, peace-enforcement and peace-implementation have to be distinguished. How did the concept of peace-keeping develop? During the 1956 Suez Crisis, the US and the Soviet Union found themselves in an uneasy alliance. They both thought that Britain and France were wrong and thus, they both put pressure on them to stop the aggression against Egypt. In this context, the idea was born that international forces might be needed to assist in maintaining peace. Thus, a UN emergency force was sent to Egypt (ca. 6,000 troops) to oversee the withdrawal of the British, French and Israeli troops that then stayed over ten years to watch the borders. The idea of ‘peacekeeping’ as a non-coercive means was born.

What are the means mentioned in the UN Charter to help keep the peace? Chapter VI offers assistance to parties who attempt to keep the peace. This assistance involves preventive measures or measures of peace-keeping, which are always impartial, non-threatening and non-coercive. If the parties are not willing to accept these measures, they cannot be implemented. Chapter VIII applies in cases of a threat to international peace and security and allows measures of peace-enforcement or peace-implementation. Peace-enforcement means that the UN engages as a partial and threatening force in a war or in warlike activities. This means that on the side of the states offering troops, there must be the willingness to use force and to accept possible casualties. Peace-implementation might also be threatening but it is impartial; it might include measures such as the watching of a buffer zone or the control of disarmament agreements.

What are the characteristics of peace-keeping?

The personnel involved are mainly military personnel, whether they act as a peace-keeping force or as observers.

The values or principles on which a peace-keeping mission is based are impartiality and non-aggressiveness.

The functions of a peace-keeping mission are to defuse a crisis, to keep the situation calm, or/and to help in settling the dispute. The conditions for such a mission include the existence of a cease-fire and the cooperation of the parties involved. Then, confidence building measures, such as buffer zones, disarmament or arms limitations, etc., can be applied. The idea is to restore trust among the conflicting parties through outside help.

In order for a peacekeeping mission to be successful, the context is important; there must be cooperation between the parties, the hosts, the authorizing body and the contributors (of troops and money).

The following list includes all peacekeeping missions that have taken place in the Arab-Israeli context:


principally 1948-73; from 1973 generally in a supplementary role (all Arab-Israeli borders)


1956-67 (Egypt-Israel)


1958 (Lebanon-Syria)


1973-79 (Egypt-Israel)


from 1974 (Israel-Syria)


from 1978 (Israel-Lebanon, PLO, Amal, Hizbullah)

Sinai Field mission

1976-82 (Egypt-Israel); US mission


1982 (Israel-PLO in Lebanon)


1982-84 (Lebanese Christian-Muslim militias)


from 1982 (Egypt-Israel), non-UN body

Nowadays, and especially after the missions to Somalia and Cambodia, there is a general disillusion with peacekeeping. It is not the concept that is wrong; the problem is that these missions can only function in an environment of cooperation and not against the will of the involved parties. In Somalia, for example, they have been employed in unsuitable situations, where these conditions did not exist. A good example of a successful peacekeeping mission is the one on the Golan Heights, which has prevented conflict ever since its installment.

The Role of the United States in the Middle East
Dr. Charles Hauss

First, participants were asked to say what came to mind when they thought about the US. The answers were as follows:



New World Order


peace sponsor

wealth / American dream





(no) culture






The focus of this lecture will be the US attitude towards the Middle East and especially the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But first, I want to mention two phenomena concerning changes in the US and in the global sphere; both have to do with the American dream. The first one is the victory of the idea of a free market or capitalism and therefore the widening gap between poor and rich, which is to be expected world-wide. And the second one is the spread of American (non) culture all over the world.

Concerning the role of the US in the Middle East, the following aspects seem important to me: the historical leaning of the US towards Israel, the decision-making process in the field of foreign policy, the question of influence and power of the US, the tension between values and interests, the changing role of the US in the Middle East, the role of a peace facilitator and attitudes towards Islam.

There are several reasons why the US has historically been pro-Israel. The most important ones are the appreciation of Israel’s democratic society and the horror of the Holocaust, which led to the belief that the Jews need a safe homeland, and that the US had to protect them in order to make up for the lack of help they received during the Third Reich. Another factor is the prevalence of Eurocentrism in the US society, which accepted Israelis but not Arabs as equals. Americans just did not see Palestinians and their problems and needs. With the passing of time, there has been, in general, a rising awareness about the Third World, but this has not changed the US position on Israel due to the intermingling of the conflict with the Cold War. The American fear of Communism as well as Pan-Arabism as a base for Communist expansion led to a search for stable and reliable allies in the region, and Israel was willing to be such an ally.

In conflict resolution, an intervening third party should be impartial. The US is not an impartial party, but biased towards Israel. The US also believes in the absolute necessity of constancy in the Middle East region. This is because the US is interested in easy access to oil and in stability in a region that has great strategic importance. With the Intifada, attitudes towards Israel started changing slightly and the Palestinian perspective came into view. And then, with the 1992 elections, more open-minded people came to the foreign office. The US remains a dishonest broker, but it has changed slightly for the better.

Before I come to the Jewish lobby in the US, I want to stress that in every society there are different groups that influence foreign policy, but also that to most of these groups domestic issues are more important than foreign policy questions. In order for the groups to get their point of view through, there is always a need for compromise. Jews make up about 4% of the American population. Most of them are not interested in Israel, but there is a small minority that cares passionately, is wealthy, well-educated, very well organized, for example in AIPAC (American Israeli Political Action Committee) or in the Association of Community Presidents, etc., and has a huge lobbying apparatus in Washington. The influence of this minority is, however, declining due to incidents such as the Intifada and the peace process and a widening split in the American Jewish community over Israeli politics.

Conflict Resolution and the Arab-Israeli Conflict
A Roundtable Discussion Moderated by Dr. Charles Hauss and Dr. Joel Peters

This session took the form of an open discussion, centering around the question of how the seminar (up to this point) had changed the participants’ perspective on the issues of conflict and diplomacy and the peace process. Participants were also asked if they had any new questions or input resulting from their conversations with friends and family over the weekend concerning the topics of the seminar.

Many participants stressed that the seminar had provided them with an entirely new insight into politics and had helped them to analyze political life better. They added that such concepts as conflict resolution (versus conflict management), the meaning and the different categories of conflict, the concept of ripeness, the role of mediators and the complexity of diplomacy had become far more transparent. The seminar had helped them to improve their understanding of news as reported by the media, as it had allowed them to become more familiar with the underlying concepts and political terminology. Moreover, the seminar had led to a deeper interest in the subjects tackled, and some participants stated their intention to delve even deeper into certain political issues to discover, for example, why the strategies of conflict resolution presented often do not work in reality or what really happened during the Gulf Crisis.

Concerning the Arab-Israeli peace process, it was repeatedly mentioned that its complexity had become more transparent and that a lot of new aspects and angles had been introduced. The understanding of negotiation processes in general and the role of the Palestinian negotiators in particular had been enhanced. The lack of preparedness of the Palestinian team came under harsh criticism: the lack of knowledge with regard to relevant technical data as well as the lack of negotiation skills and of an understanding of the principles of conflict-resolution was illustrated by various examples from the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and participants emphasized that these failings had undoubtedly contributed to the unequal positions of the two sides.

One factor mentioned as causing this unpreparedness of the Palestinian negotiating team was that it was pushed into the negotiations, into the ‘theater’ prepared by the Israelis after the Second Gulf War, without having been able to take the time to revise its long-lived strategy of armed struggle and to change its ideological into a more pragmatic and technical approach. But it was also stressed that there was no other way than following the Oslo path and embarking on further negotiations: the decision to engage in dialogue was considered as the only possible means to put an end to a situation, which had begun with the Palestinian rejection of the UN Partition Plan, whereby the Palestinians were constantly losing more ground. But in this respect, participants questioned why the Oslo agreements had been ratified by the Israeli parliament but not by a representative body on the Palestinian side. It was felt that an open decision-making process, according to which experts could go to the administration’s offices, be heard by decision makers and take part in negotiations, would help to enhance the Palestinian position.

Other points mentioned were that the seminar had helped the participants to comprehend the ‘Western mentality’ or the Western interpretation of political processes, and to understand the process of reaching UN resolutions as well as their meaning. Still, uneasiness remained with regard to the role of the UN Security Council and the position of the US on the Middle East, as illustrated by its latest veto relating to the issue of Jabal Abu Ghneim. When trying to find a solution for Jerusalem and communicating the idea of understanding the other side’s needs as a prerequisite for successful conflict resolution in conversations with friends, participants discovered that they encountered difficulties whilst explaining to others what they believed they had understood. They realized that there was still a lot of ‘homework’ and studying for them to do.

"Ripeness" and the Second Gulf War
Ailie Saunders, Head of the Middle East Program, RUSI, London

I want to look at the most recent Gulf crisis, or the Iraq-Kuwait war. We will try to apply the lessons that we have learned from ripeness in relation to the Arab-Israeli war to the Gulf crisis - which still has not been resolved. There are two main theories on ripeness, the one developed by Zartman and the other by Haass, concerning the right moment for the negotiation and resolution of a conflict. Now, I want to look at three major stages of the Gulf crisis, the first being the situation just prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the second the situation just prior to ‘Operation Desert Storm’, and the third the situation five years on. In going through the theoretical postulations and relating them to the three stages, you will see that there is a subtle shift taking place in the ripeness of the Gulf crisis and that today, we have moved somewhat closer to ripeness and to the possibility to find a solution than we were able to just a few years ago.

Zartman’s Theory on Ripeness

Zartman defines ripeness as a mutually hurting stalemate. This stalemate can be brought about through one of the following four processes:

the collapse of power structures governing original relations;

the elimination of other alternatives to conflict resolution;

the equalization of power between adversaries; or

the identification of a resolving formula.

Haass’s Theory on Ripeness

Whereas Zartman stresses the importance of power structures, Richard Haass focuses more on the agreement itself, on the conditions to reach the agreement and to make it work. In his view, there has to be the following:

a mutual perception of the need for an agreement;

the agreement has to contain compromises, but these have to allow the leadership to convince their constituencies;

shared acceptance of the negotiating procedure.

Now, when we look at the Iraq-Kuwait crisis just before the invasion, we find that the central players were Saddam Hussein and the Al-Sabah family, and the issue was that Kuwait was unwilling to cut back on the oil that it was producing at a time when Iraq felt itself to be in considerable economic difficulties. Iraq justified its threat to invade on the basis of self-defense, arguing that its sovereignty was being eroded by Kuwait’s oil policy and its negative repercussions for the Iraqi economy.

The situation, therefore, was not really a mutually hurting stalemate, because it did not hurt Kuwait, but Kuwait was militarily much weaker than Iraq. The stalemate, however, was hurting Iraq; it was not receiving the needed funds for reconstruction of the country, although militarily, it was quite strong. Were other alternatives for conflict resolution eliminated? No, because Iraq still retained the option - which it used - of invading Kuwait. Was the power between the adversaries equalized? No, as I said, Iraq was militarily much stronger. There was no identification of a resolving formula, no mutual perception of the need for an agreement. Moreover, there was no compromise and therefore, leaders could not convince their constituencies of any. There were some attempts to mediate between the two sides by the Europeans, the Russians and the US, which was doing two contradictory things: on the one hand, it was trying to convince Saddam Hussein that any military attack would meet with a serious response, although on the other, because no one thought at that stage that Hussein was really going to invade Kuwait, it was unable to be convincing about what the response might be.

If we look at the situation immediately prior to the ‘Desert Storm’ and apply the theories of Zartman and Haass again, we find an inversion of the power structure: Iraq was militarily weaker. But the mutually hurting stalemate was not reached. There was no perception of the need for an agreement because Iraq would not withdraw from Kuwait. There were, therefore, no compromises and the US and the coalition had to force Iraq out of Kuwait.

Two events that have occurred since ‘Operation Desert Storm’ relate directly to the Gulf crisis. One event took place in October 1994, when the US reacted to Iraqi deployment close to the Kuwaiti border. This had international support because of the perceived threat to the Kurds. By contrast, in 1996, the attack in the area of Arbil was a clear threat to the Kurds. But there was much less international support for US actions because there was minimal consultation with the allies, even the UK, as well as those in the Gulf. Iraqi actions were seen to be an internal affair, conducted with the support of one of the Kurdish groups, and not an external threat. In general, there was a feeling in the region that Hussein’s operation in the north did not merit the kind of US response it elicited. In addition, there was concern in the region that the US could possibly repeat policies it was conducting towards Iraq towards other countries in the region, such as Iran, which could have repercussions for the security of the Gulf states.

If we look at the situation that developed after Hussein’s incursion into the north, we find that the Gulf conflict has shifted in such a way that Zartman and Haass’s theories would shed a different light on the ripeness of the conflict. In part this has developed from the lack of support for US actions last autumn, which put the US in a weaker position. But at the same time the economic deterioration in Iraq, the incursions by the Iranians and Turks in the north, and problems within Hussein’s family, have shown an erosion of Hussein’s ability to maintain his power base, both internally and against external threats. What we seemed to have, therefore, was a mutually hurting stalemate. But the situation has changed, since the beginning of the year, following the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 986, which has enabled Saddam to gain access to more money.

In some ways, if we look at Zartman and Haass’s theories again, Hussein is now in a stronger position; there is less of a mutually hurting stalemate because he can export his oil but more of an equalization of political power structures. Does this bring us closer to resolving the conflict? Possibly, but not sufficiently. The US still insists that Iraq has to meet all the requirements as a prerequisite to the lifting of sanctions. So there is still no acceptance of the negotiating procedure or of how to formulate an alternative means of reintegrating Iraq into the international community. The problem is that there is not really anyone to mediate between the US and Iraq. There is no party that could offer a structural framework of set incentives for both parties. So, in this case we have to look for alternative forms of mediation; Malcolm Rifkind, for example, set up the idea of the ‘Organization for the Cooperation of the Middle East’, based on the idea of the OSCE, as a kind of inclusive talking shop that promotes dialogue and thus can be seen as a confidence building measure, but it does not offer solutions to the crisis. The problem is, there are no effective mediation techniques in such a situation and we are letting the situation drift, which is dangerous


Question: I would like to ask about the ongoing UN sanctions and the coalition against Iraq. Is Saddam Hussein still seen as a threat to peace in the region and in the world?

Answer: Yes, it is believed that he is still a threat. We have information that suggests he is a very unpredictable political leader and a very dangerous military player in the region, which he proved when he invaded Iran and Kuwait. He has not complied with the demands to destroy missiles in front of the UN inspection team, and there is still the issue of the biological and chemical weapon program. Iraq’s nuclear weapons program is alarming; before the Gulf War it was thought that Iraq might have nuclear weapons in about ten years, but it then became clear that it was more like three or four years. There is quite a lot of evidence to indicate that there are storehouses containing, for example, medical materials, that have not been distributed and are being withheld from the Iraqi people and given to key players in the political environment who are loyal to Hussein. Meanwhile, you could argue that by not complying with the UN resolutions during these five years, Iraq has lost about US$100 billion. All this suggests that Hussein is not de-prioritizing his military weapons program, particularly because he is still importing military weapons at a time when he should be devoting all resources to the economy. The fear now is that Resolution 986 enables him to divert even more money to the military program.

Question: What about his family, the two sons that he kicked out and shot and so on?

Answer: The political situation is not stable, but it is surprisingly resistant to pressures and shows few signs of weakening sufficiently for Saddam to be replaced. On the contrary, if anything, Saddam will be in a better position to reinforce his alliances under UN Security Council Resolution 986, because he will have additional funds he will be able to free up for his own purposes.

Question: Firstly, with regard to all this power that Iraq is supposed to have, maybe this raises the question of why the Gulf War even started. Secondly, Israel has nuclear power, so why didn’t people go to Israel and say, "Now, remove this and destroy that"? Thirdly, from where is Iraq importing arms? It is importing arms from the West, not only from the Soviet Union. These three questions make me wonder if it was really the invasion of Kuwait that led to the Gulf War; I think this is a fair question to ask. Maybe, the US also wanted to get rid of the nuclear capacities as a lesson, for example, for Iran, or for anyone in the region who was thinking of developing nuclear weapons.

Answer: No, because when the US was entering the war, it was still not known that Iraq was so close to having nuclear weapons. US relations with Iraq at that time were quite friendly. The problem is the complex security structure in the Gulf region. There are three main powers now: Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is necessary to maintain a balance between all three. There is a basic problem in arming one country in order to counterbalance the others and there is no political agreement on a security structure, a balance or an acknowledgment of leadership in order to deter future conflict.

Question: I think you did a good job in rephrasing the Gulf crisis in terms of it not being mainly an Iraqi-Kuwaiti conflict but rather an Iraqi-Western or Iraqi-American conflict, adding the factor of the US-Israeli relationship. Unfortunately, what I understood from you and also from many of the Western approaches to a solution, is that the best solution would be the ousting of Saddam Hussein. Because they say, looking at Zartman’s theory, that by ousting Saddam Hussein, there will be a collapse of power structures, there will be an equalization of powers between Iraq and Kuwait and there will be the possibility for other solutions. Unfortunately, there has been no real attempt to try to solve this problem with the help of Saddam Hussein. I think he has learned his lesson very well, so we should return his sovereignty and allow him to rebuild his country. However, he should be told that if he attacks another state’s sovereignty again, he will suffer the same consequences as he did in 1991. This is the only way to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people and to end this conflict. The problem is that the West is single-minded in its thinking.

Answer: No, I think that is part of the problem. It is not single-minded. There is a division of opinion in the Western sphere: France, Britain and the US all have different approaches. Even in the US, there are different opinions, but the US in general does not believe that Hussein has changed. So therefore, the only way the Americans can see a resolution to the conflict is to remove Saddam Hussein or to make him comply. Other people like the French are completely the opposite. They say that he has met most of the conditions. We are never going to get rid of him and therefore, we should work with him politically and try to contain the worst of the military dangers. So, this approach aims at limiting the damage he can do to other people.

Question: I think instead of limiting the military import we should stop the export of weapons by those countries that have the power over the development and production of weapons. This is the only way to stop war, not only in the region but in the whole world. The problem is that this does not meet with the interests of those countries because a large proportion of their GNP relies on the export of weapons.

Question: I want to comment on what Saddam Hussein did before the Second Gulf War in 1990. He was ready to destroy all his biological and chemical weapons and even renounce his nuclear program if Israel was willing to do the same. Although the Americans welcomed the move, they still preferred military action against Iraq.

Peace-Enforcement in the Gulf Crisis
Ailie Saunders

In the Gulf Crisis, in a period of four months only, 12 resolutions according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter were adopted. There have been several reasons for this massive increase in Security Council resolutions. The end of the Cold war brought a spirit of cooperation and thus the possibility for resolutions to be passed without one of the superpowers using its veto. The US pushed for UN authorization of the use of force in order to gather domestic support for its envisioned actions against Iraq. The other powers wanted to prevent unilateral US actions and to set a framework within which they could control these actions. With the ongoing crisis, it became a self-propelling process; an ever-increasing number of resolutions needed to be passed to qualify the ones taken earlier.

During the crisis, three kinds of resolutions were passed, relating to the fields of sanctions, the use of force or the question of humanitarian relief. Concerning sanctions, the first resolutions passed were Resolutions 660 and 661, which blocked funds and banned trade except for medical supplies and food shipments for humanitarian purposes. But it soon became clear that there was an enforcement problem at the Iranian and Turkish borders. Resolution 665 furthermore called for naval enforcement of the embargo and Resolution 670 for an air embargo. But the effect of the sanctions remained negligible; and the sanctions were exploited successfully by Saddam Hussein in propaganda to unite his people. After fighting began, there was a shift in the sanctions. Resolution 687 called for compliance with new demands, in particular the elimination of long-range missiles and weapons of mass destruction, before sanctions could be lifted. Resolutions 706 and 712 allowed oil exports in case of compliance with Resolution 687, but was rejected by Iraq. In 1995, a new food-for-oil agreement was negotiated under French mediation; the basis for the current oil-for-food resolution, 986. In general, there were four main objectives of the sanctions: initially, to put pressure on Iraq to leave Kuwait, and to allow for the transfer of humanitarian supplies; then, after the Gulf War, to act as leverage for Iraq to fulfill the requirements of all the other resolutions, in particular those regarding the prevention of Iraq’s access to materials for its weapons programs. At the same time, UN Security Council Resolution 986 established a mechanism to relieve the long-term suffering of the Iraqi people, which at the same time enabled some contribution towards UN costs.

Security Council Resolution 660 laid the basis not only for sanctions but also for the use of military force according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter. It considered Iraq’s actions as a threat to international peace and security according to Article 39 of the UN Charter. Resolution 678 authorized the use of ‘all necessary means’ against Iraq. It remained ambiguous and vague, however, in order to prevent a veto. With this resolution, the way for legitimate action under the provisions of Chapter VII was open and a military force under UN legitimization could be sent into the area. It remained unclear for a long time, however, what the final objectives of this mission would be. Resolution 687 laid out the future setting, calling for the control of weapons, the demarcation of borders and the payment of compensation.

In the humanitarian field, Resolutions 664 and 667 related to the hostage crisis, Resolution 674 to compensation payments and Resolution 688 to the installation of a no-flight-zone in order to safeguard the Kurds from military harassment as well as humanitarian relief for the Kurdish population. This resolution also laid the groundwork for the later military intervention by the US.

Assessing the success and scope of the UN resolutions concerning the Gulf crisis, you can see that, in the course of the events, a shift in the approach of the resolutions from deterrence to actual military action became visible. Sanctions proved to be an inefficient way to achieve original goals, i.e., to get Iraq out of Kuwait and then to enforce its compliance with the other resolutions. Most resolutions were kept ambiguous in order to gather UN support and to prevent the use of the veto. The resolutions in the humanitarian field had only a very limited scope; here, a supplementary cohesive policy should have been developed. Humanitarian concerns were, however, used to justify the use of military force.


Question: What happened to the Iraqi representative to the UN during the Gulf Crisis? Was he suspended? And what were the effects of the sanctions against Iraq on the members of the coalition?

Answer: No, the Iraqi representative was not suspended; in fact, he was very active during this period lobbying for his country’s cause in the UN organizations and forums.

The sanctions brought economic problems, mainly for Jordan and Turkey. The Gulf States offered some compensation but were not very successful in really relieving the problems. For the other parties involved, the sanctions mainly meant a re-deploying of their resources, which did not have a dramatic effect on their economies.

Question: Is it true that the vast amount of resolutions passed during the Gulf Crisis belittle the standing of the Security Council?

Answer: No, the Council gave the legal authorization for the actions to be taken, but it is still a political organ. There were so many resolutions due to the reasons I have already mentioned; as I said, most of the resolutions were developments of earlier resolutions.

Question: Can we consider the first resolution that the Security Council passed to allow the use of force against Iraq a declaration of war? How many such declarations of war has the UN announced during its history?

Answer: De jure, this is not a declaration of war; de facto, however it amounts to a declaration of war if you want it to. During UN history, there have only been the resolutions sanctioning military intervention in the case of Korea in 1950 and in the Gulf in 1991/92. However, about half a dozen other sanctions have been enforced militarily.

Question: Why and how did the concepts of peacekeeping and peace-implementing emerge as they are not explicitly foreseen in the UN Charter?

Answer: Only in rare cases is peace-enforcement according to Chapter VII of the UN Charter possible. Not only has there to be a consensus in the Security Council, which has for a long time been hindered by the Cold War, but also it has to be a clear case of country ‘A’ invading country ‘B’. In Bosnia, for example, the situation was not so clear. The problem is that such a force can only be used for certain purposes, such as to ensure borders or oversee a cease-fire; to ensure the safe repatriation of refugees or the fairness of elections is simply too difficult a task. Furthermore, there was no effective peace enforcement due to the fear of casualties on the side of the Council members.

Question: Is there a peacekeeping force stationed in Kuwait today?

Answer: At the moment, there is a UN force at the border between Kuwait and Iraq and there are US forces deployed in Saudi Arabia.

Question: You said the veto protects minorities, but doesn’t it lead to a bad image of the Security Council?

Answer: To make this clear, the veto protects the minority position in the Security Council. For about 30 years, it mainly protected the Soviet Union and, I would say, it thus prevented the break-up of the UN organization during the Cold War.

The Gulf Crisis Five Years On: Third Party Disputes as Catalysts to Conflict Resolution
Ailie Saunders

Talking about third party intervention, you first need to be clear about how narrowly or broadly you define this. In the case of the Gulf Crisis or the current situation in the Gulf, I want to look at it in a broader sense because there is a whole range of players that have an impact on the dispute, the differences or the conflict. I want to look at the third parties involved and their relations with the disputing party or with one another. So, what we have to do in the beginning is to find out who the central players are. This can be very confusing. We have Iraq on the one hand, but who do we have on the other? The UN or the US? It must be acknowledged that, whether you like it or not, the only other effective main player at the moment is the US.

Let us have a look at the several categories of third parties that are involved in the conflict. The first one is countries. So, if you look at third party players as countries that have disputes with the players or with another third party involved in the conflict, who would you come up with? Countries that have a role in the conflict today are Jordan, Turkey (being in dispute with the US), France, Russia, China, Iran, Gulf countries, Israel, PLO and Saudi Arabia. All these players are affecting the dispute; they all have an impact on the US or on Iraq. In addition to that, there are institutions involved, such

as the UN Security Council, the Arab League, OPEC and the EU.

The third point I want to look at relates to the different conflicts that are taking place in the Gulf region today. In Iraq, we can speak about social protracted conflict between the different groups. Other social protracted conflicts include the one between the Saudi opposition and the King, the Kurdish conflict (involving KDP, PKK, PUK), and the conflict between the Turkish Islamists and the secular government. And talking about security, the Arab-Israeli conflict is important, too.

Let us look at the Gulf Crisis from the different angles. There have been some disputes among third parties and the main players that served as catalysts to conflict resolution; others, however, are impediments to the solution of the conflict. Among recent disputes that served as catalysts to resolve one of the many crises with Saddam, was the French problem with the US and its intervention in northern Iraq last year. This enabled the French to step in as more objective mediators with the Iraqis to persuade them to step down from continuing a confrontational stance with the US. Later they were able to persuade the Iraqis that it was in their best interests to accept the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 986, because there would be no quick fix to the lifting of sanctions and therefore no alternative in the short-term to agreeing to the oil-for-food deal. Another incident when a third party dispute may have helped in at least drawing attention to an unresolved problem in Iraq, was that between the KDP and the PUK. The KDP, by inviting Saddam to move into the north, highlighted weaknesses in US policy towards northern Iraq and invigorated a more concerted effort by all parties to pressure the Kurds to reach a cease-fire.

But there are also disputes that act as impediments to conflict resolution. An example of this is the scope that the dispute between the Kurds in northern Iraq has given to the involvement of outside players such as Turkey and Iran, which have not contributed to the resolution of Kurdish differences. More generally, the differences in policy between the French and the US may serve to divide the coalition partners and therefore weaken any cohesive policy towards Iraq, enabling Saddam Hussein to play one party off against another. Another conflict that has undermined the US position in the region is the targeting of US forces in the Gulf by extremist elements, using bombings as a means of voicing their opposition to the Western presence. Any reduction of the US presence in the region, in the light of such bombings, could have an impact on the US ability to protect against any further attacks by Iraq, against Kuwait or Saudi Arabia.

You might put some of these events in different categories. There are no hard and fast rules about the roles of third parties. When you enter a conflict as a third party trying to contribute to the resolution of a dispute, you should take into account the following factors before diving in: the objectives of the main parties involved in the conflict; the interests and motivations of the parties involved and of those who may become involved; the ability of third parties to have an influence on the problem; the timing of the conflict, i.e., whether it is nearing the stage of ripeness, and the people who should be involved if the third parties are impeding rather than contributing to the resolution of a problem.

The main roles of a third party in a conflict should be to calm the crisis, to resolve deadlocks, i.e., to move intractable issues in a mutually hurting stalemate, and maybe even to help in resolving the conflict.

What are the main objectives in trying to resolve the Gulf conflict? The problem is that we, and by that I mean the international community, are not absolutely sure what some of our main objectives are. Are we trying to get the Iraqis to comply with the UN resolutions? Does that actually resolve the issue of the threat to Iraq’s neighbors? Or is the only remedy to encourage Hussein’s overthrow, by suggesting that sanctions will never be lifted while Hussein is in place, as seems to be the thinking of the Americans? Sad-dam still is a military threat to the region; no one can actually judge what he will do next, whom he is going to attack. He is not reliable; one cannot trust him. Thus, we have two major options or possible scenarios for the Gulf, one with and one without Saddam Hussein. What are the main threats in either case and who could serve as a mediator?

Scenario 1: In this scenario, Saddam Hussein stays as the Iraqi leader, and therefore, because we cannot read his intentions, the potential threat to Iraq’s neighbors remains. Thus, the main policy will be to try to keep him to comply with the resolutions, and that is likely to entail some kind of US pressure. But at the same time, it may not be beneficial in the long run to isolate Saddam Hussein. So we have to find means of assimilating him back into regional politics, irrespective of how little the Americans and the British like the idea. Now, who are the players that you can influence? You will have to work on Kuwait and on the GCC here to get Saddam Hussein back into regional politics. Or, you could try to integrate Iraq in a security agreement connected with the Arab-Israeli conflict, try to incorporate it in a kind of political institution similar to the Syrian track of the peace negotiations, so that it will be included somehow in a regional peace agreement with Israel. Another idea, that no one likes, is Malcolm Rifkind’s idea of the OCME (Organization for Cooperation in the Middle East), but again that also depends on influencing the GCC for it to be considered credible. The people within the Israeli-Arab dispute that could do this part best would be the Palestinians and the Jordanians. So, this scenario encompasses a parallel process according to which Iraq would gain international confidence by abiding by UN resolutions on the one hand, while it would be assimilated into the region on the other.

Scenario 2: Saddam Hussein disappears somehow. We assume that he does not have a reliable successor, that there is a pretty anarchical situation. The threat remains because all the weaponry is still in place. The US will not interfere in anything close to a civil war. It is probable then, that there will be a fragmentation or cantonization of Iraq with the Kurds dominating the North and the Shiites dominating the South, with Iran and Turkey pulling the strings. The Russians and the EU may influence Iran, while the US, the EU and NATO may influence Turkey. In this case it is not clear, however, if the third parties will be impediments or catalysts for conflict resolution.

Foreign Policy and Diplomacy of New / Small States
Miljan Majhen, Counselor, Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia, Tel Aviv

I will talk about Slovenia as an example of a new small state. I only want to give a brief lecture providing you with some facts about Slovenia’s geographic setting and its recent history, and then would like to invite you to ask me questions about my country. Slovenia lies in Central Europe; its neighboring states are Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. It covers an area of about 20,000 square kilometers and has a population of about two million people. It is the most developed as well as the most Western and export oriented part of former Yugoslavia.

Slovenia has traditionally been the most open and democratic part of Yugoslavia. The main reason for the split was the heightening Serbian nationalism from the beginning of the 80’s and the anti-democratic attitude of the Serbian regime. Tensions rose to a peak in 1989. In May 1989, intellectuals issued a declaration in which they called for independence. In April 1990, the first democratic elections in Slovenia since World War II were held. The opposition parties gained 55% of the votes in these elections.

As a federal republic, the Yugoslavian constitution always gave great authority to the republics. There were only a few areas of common policy, such as foreign policy, the military and currency. Slovenia proposed to upgrade the constitution and to transform Yugoslavia into a confederation, but this was rejected by the Serbian side. In 1990, a referendum for independence was held in Slovenia, in which 89% of the eligible voters participated and 90% of the votes were in favor of independence. Thus, on 25 June 1991, independence was declared. A ten-day war followed with the Yugoslavian army trying to close the border whilst being fought by the Slovenian militia and police. The EU troika came to Croatia and mediated an agreement with the Yugoslavian republic. On 8 July, a three-month postponement of independence and the withdrawal of Yugoslavian troops was agreed upon; thus, independence became a reality on 8 October 1991.

The first aim of foreign policy then was to obtain recognition from other states. In 1991, Slovenia was already recognized by ten countries. In 1992, there was a wave of recognition and Slovenia was able to enter several important international organizations such as the CSCE, the WHO and the UN. The current most important foreign policy aims are to become a member of the EU and of NATO, in addition to ensuring official recognition of our borders with neighboring states. In this respect, negotiations on non-defined points are presently going on with Croatia. In order to build Slovenia’s foreign policy, it was first necessary to build its foreign policy institutions. The foreign ministry was developed out of the former Slovenian agency that was responsible for cooperation with the neighboring regions. In June 1991, the Law of Foreign Affairs was enacted.

Slovenia today has about 40 missions all over the world, including over 30 embassies, six consulates and three missions at the UN. The large number of missions is due to the perceived need for friendly relations with the countries of the world, and the need to communicate and pursue personal relations. In this, the neighboring states, the US, the EU member states, and the permanent members of the Security Council have priority, and an attempt is made to have representations in each of the continents. In 1994, an embassy was opened in Israel. Since then, trade between Israel and Slovenia has developed from a volume of US$ 2 million to US$ 45-50 million. But the huge number of missions also entails a lot of infrastructure problems: salaries, cars, equipment, communication systems and rents all have to be financed.

In order to enter the Slovenian foreign service one must possess a high school diploma, be fluent in two world languages and be no more than 30 years of age at the time of admission. In 1996, the union of diplomats in Slovenia was founded. Its aims are to protect the profession and to get rid of political influence. The professionalism in diplomacy should always be conserved. Therefore, in Slovenia, diplomats are not allowed to have a politically influential position. Diplomats have to work for their government; they cannot be neutral because they have to obey the orders of the government. But they should not be political appointees.

Slovenia is proud of its post-independence achievements: it has become a member of important global organizations, and its GDP has risen to about US$10,000 per capita. It has become an associated member of the EU and filed an application for full membership. It is cooperating with NATO in the frame of ‘Partnership for Peace’. It has become a member of EFTA and CEFTA. The EU is its main trade partner, and 70% of its trade is with EU member countries.


Question: What is the role of the ‘new bloc’ of the Eastern European countries in the European structure?

Answer: There remains a curtain between East and West in Europe when you look at the economic level. The former members of the Warsaw Pact wish to join the EU and NATO; they are struggling for the values and freedoms of the Western World, such as democracy. The actual problem is that the economic gap between West and East is widening as there is no ‘Marshall Plan’ to help the Eastern European countries in improving their situation.

Question: You said that former Yugoslavia had already been a federal state. Was this helpful in Slovenia’s strife for independence?

Answer: In former Yugoslavia, there had been six republics and two autonomous areas. Yes, this was very helpful in the dissolution process. But still, a lot of work had to be done, such as building up a new, stable currency.

Question: Has Slovenia recognized Palestine?

Answer: Actually, the PNA has never asked to be recognized by Slovenia. Thus, this has not happened yet. Palestinians traveling to Slovenia still need a visa.

Question: Why does Slovenia have an embassy in Israel? How big is the share of Israel in Slovenia’s overall trade?

Answer: Israel is a politically important state in the Middle East. It also has a developed high tech industry, a field in which Slovenia is especially interested.

Question: Where did the funds needed to build up the new nation come from?

Answer: There was an enormous level of economic development. In 1990, the GDP was about US$8,000 per capita, but this dropped to US$6,000 at the time of Slovenia’s independence because approximately 40% of its trade - the part that had been conducted within Yugoslavia - had been lost. The GDP has now risen to more than US$10,000. Slovenia’s main sources of income are services (57% of GDP) and industry (37%). Agriculture contributes less than 5% to the GDP.

Question: It would be good if states like yours could help persuade Israel that new states are not dangerous.

Answer: Yes, but it is obvious that new states as such do not present a danger.

Question: What were the real reasons for Slovenia’s declaration of independence?

Answer: The base was the gap in the state of development in democracy and in the economic field between Slovenia and the other republics. In the 1980’s, Serbian nationalism rose; Milosevic tried systematically to suppress democratic developments. He feared Slovenia’s openness towards the West, e.g., its open borders with Italy. Slovenia feared that with rising Serbian nationalism it would lose its independence, for example in the cultural field. Slovenia has had its own language for centuries and has always placed great importance on education and culture, books being the most precious item in the country.

Question: You talked about the institutions that you had to build in the field of foreign policy. In more general terms, what is more important, to have the state first and then to build the institutions or the other way around?

Answer: This is a little bit like the question concerning the egg and the chicken. You cannot see this in an exclusive manner. You need both in order to become a state; you need to build the societal base and you need the international recognition.

Question: What were the sources of self-confidence the Slovenians were drawing upon when they declared independence? What kind of advice could you give to a people striving for a state, striving for independence?

Answer: Each nation looks for its identity. Now, the Palestinian case is very different from the Slovenian one and so I do not really want to give advice. I think, in Slovenia, we were quite successful in avoiding bloodshed, for example, in comparison with Bosnia, where about 200,000 people have been killed while one million refugees have been forced out of their homes. National identity should be sought without hurting others.

Question: How did your president come to power?

Answer: Slovenia is a parliamentary democracy. In the 1990 elections, 90 members of parliament were elected for the first time. Then, we had elections in 1992 and again in 1996. The prime minister is the head of the government; the president is elected directly by the people, but he performs only representative functions. Currently, five of the members of parliament are women.

Question: How have your relations with Yugoslavia developed?

Answer: We have been recognized by Croatia, Macedonia, and Bosnia-Hercegowina and have normal relations with these states of the former federation. The recognition by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia took place in 1996, but we have not yet established diplomatic relations. However, business and trade is taking place; business relations have been established by businessmen themselves.

Question: What is the main difficulty in your job as a diplomat?

Answer: A difficulty that I face here is that there is no Slovenian community. This has, of course, its good sides - there is no interference or special demands - and its bad sides, such as feeling lonesome from time to time. Up to now, I have been very busy setting up the embassy and getting settled myself.

Question: I have two rather unrelated questions. What has been the Slovenian role in the Bosnian war? And what has been the role of women in the struggle for independence?

Answer: Slovenia has been eager not to play a role in the Bosnian conflict. It has no will to interfere in this development.

Women participated in the referendum and participate in elections the same way as men do. In Slovenia, women constitute half of the work force; they have equal rights and receive the same pay, but this also poses serious problems. Nowadays, for example, the birth rate is only 1.8 children per family, which is not enough to maintain the present population figure.

Question: You said that Slovenia has accepted all the international agreements of former Yugoslavia. What about trade agreements with other countries?

Answer: Actually, with regard to trade, we were in a lucky position because we were ready to deliver. Thus, for example, concerning trade with the EU, we received almost the totality of the quotas formerly reserved for Yugoslavia.

Question: Can Tito be seen as the common denominator in Yugoslavia?

Answer: Yugoslavia was first established after World War I, then became the Yugoslavian republic under Communist rule after World War II. Often, it is assumed that Tito’s greatest achievement was to create brotherhood between the republics, but in reality, it was force rather than skillful engineering that held these peoples together; sometimes, the cost of this was death.

Question: In your eyes, what is the difference between a diplomat and a politician?

Answer: This is a very difficult question. Let me tell you the difference between a diplomat and a soldier instead: the soldier gives his life for his country whereas the diplomat gives his liver for his country.

Question: Why have you become a diplomat?

Answer: It has something to do destiny. For a long time, I worked in governmental institutions in Slovenia. When independence came, the government needed people that spoke foreign languages, had experience abroad and in various fields and were open-minded.

Question: As a diplomat, do you enjoy a lot of privileges?

Answer: I do enjoy diplomatic privileges; these are necessary in order to be able to fulfill the job. But to be frank, a businessman belonging to a successful company enjoys many more privileges and earns far more money than I do.

Wrap-up of the Seminar
Moderated by Dr. Joel Peters

In the first round, the participants were asked to assess the seminar and comment on the importance of the subjects discussed and their practical applicability in daily life. The participants’ contributions were as follows:

In my workplace, Israelis and Palestinians get together, and there are often problems between them. I think I can apply some of the techniques and ideas on conflict resolution discussed in this seminar to overcome these obstacles.

Through the practical exercises in the seminar, I found out that conflict resolution is much more difficult than I had expected after reading the reading material. I learned a lot during the exercises and discussions.

I found the subject of the seminar very interesting. I am now thinking about changing my future plans in order to work in or study more about this field.

During the seminar, I found out that I did not know as much about negotiations and conflict resolution as I had thought I would in the beginning. Now, I think, I have a more systematic approach and I understand more about the underlying principles of negotiations.

During the seminar, it became evident to me, that we, the Palestinians, always use the notion of ‘conflict’, but we do not have a clear concept of this term. Now, I am better informed as to what it is all about.

As a professional trainer, it is very important for me to understand the concepts taught in the seminar: the negotiation process, techniques and skills of negotiations, etc., in order to be able to teach them to others.

For me, the most interesting aspect of the seminar was that I was able to get to know a lot of people, especially young Palestinians from all over the country, and to understand how they think.

The setting of the seminar was unique. I appreciated the fact that there was a lot of room for discussions and practical exercises.

I hope to become involved in the negotiations on Jerusalem and to be able to help the Palestinian people. The tools I learned in the seminar will be useful in this. But I still need to find out about how to break a deadlock and how to remove obstacles in negotiations.

I found it very useful that, in the seminar, we always learned about different approaches towards a problem. Actually, my future career plans have changed due to the seminar.

I have already done an evaluation of the seminar on my own. I found that the information provided was excellent and, through the active learning techniques used, my learning and thinking capacities have developed. I found it very positive that we were able to establish close contact with the lecturers and discuss all kinds of subjects with them. During this seminar, I have experienced conflict resolution as a process; it was a ‘living experience’ of the subject.

I really have lived the experience of this seminar. For the last two weeks, I have ‘lived’ the subject and I have had long discussions about the topics at home and with friends. I found the seminar excellent; it provided me with a different perception of reality. It might well be a turning point as I have now started to ask myself again: what will I do with my life? I have become very interested in the subject, and I want to explore it further.

I got to know a lot of new people. I have learned that it is possible to have a firm stand and still listen to others. I have also learned that I need to ask myself a lot of questions, that I have to think things over and to listen to different opinions. The seminar has also enhanced my self-esteem. Here, we had the opportunity to express ourselves freely; this was an entirely different learning experience from the one at university.

I benefited from the seminar mainly in two fields: first, I made new friends, all of whom have a high level of education, and second, I now understand the importance of diplomacy. This is very important for us as a people, for whom the conflict is so close. We are in need of tools in order to analyze the conflict, to find solutions, and to prepare ourselves for negotiations.

I actually had a hard time during the seminar; I spent every night thinking things over. I found it very interesting to meet people, such as Ron Pundik and Sami Musallam, who talked to us about the unofficial, the inside view. I also discovered that I need to read more. There is still another aspect: the seminar made me very hopeful with regard to Palestinian women. For me, it was the first time I had met such well-educated, intelligent, and politically aware women. This gives me hope for the future.

I think after the seminar, I will be more professional in my work and use a more academic approach. I now have a better understanding of what is happening around me, the meaning of terms used in the newspapers, etc.

For me, this has been one of the longest study sessions. There was pressure to work hard. In our spare time, in the hotel, we were re-thinking everything, and we often discussed certain issues for many hours. I found it very important to exchange standpoints and arguments.

Dr. Joel Peters then gave a brief summary of the seminar: The study field of negotiations, conflict resolution and diplomacy is a rather new science, but it is about one of the oldest professions, which can be traced back as far as Peleponesian Wars. It is the complexity of the modern world that has created the need for a new approach to international relations, of which diplomacy is the master mechanism. At one level, and this is the classical one, they take place between the leaders of the world and the states’ official representatives, the diplomats. At another level, the relations are far more heterogeneous and other agencies come into play: NGOs, other ministries, private individuals, etc. There are many sorts of different levels of diplomacy.

Also, the notions of conflict, conflict resolution and security have changed. We now have a different concept of security, which not only relates to what you might call ‘hard security’, but also to other concepts related to the society, the environment, migration, the type of regime, etc. Today, the legalistic definition of sovereignty, a 350-year-old concept, is no longer adequate. The idea of total autonomy or national separateness is no longer applicable in the era of the internet. We need to think about new concepts, and we need to think about creative mechanisms to overcome the practical problems of negotiations: to overcome deadlocks, to bridge gaps, to resolve conflicts, etc. We should not forget that we have to include the societal and personal level in order to resolve conflicts between peoples and states.

In the past two weeks, our views and opinions have been challenged on a daily basis by the incidents in the political field. These incidents highlight the complexity of the process, the different levels involved, the signals diplomacy can send and the different dimensions of conflict. We should not forget that already in 1993, we had a serious deadlock in Washington where it looked as if the peace process had come to an end. But at the same time, the Oslo negotiations were going on. Conflict resolution takes place at different levels and involves different actors.

Negotiations are a process of learning. Therefore, the questions concerning missed opportunities, as to whether, already at this or that point of time, the Palestinians should have accepted this or that solution, are somewhat irrelevant. And, with all that is happening at the moment, we should bear in mind that it is not the headlines of the day that are the most critical issues. Conflict resolution is a learning process at an individual, societal, and international level.

In conclusion, let me just say, in one sentence, that this has been a very good seminar and the credit for this success lies with the efforts of all the participants. You have all been prepared to challenge ideas, respond when challenged by difficult and at times painful questions and above all work together as a group.