Published:  12:51 AM, 28 November 2017

The enemy of an enemy is not necessarily a friend

 The enemy of an enemy is not necessarily a friend

For the sake of simplicity we may assume 3 individuals-A, B, C.  We further assume that B is hostile to both A and C.  From this antecedence if one draws conclusion that both A and C are friends since B is their common enemy, then the conclusion will be logically fallacious. Because there may be 3 possibilities-- friendship (between A and C), hostility and indifference (ie. neither hostility nor friendship exists). All of the possibilities to a large extent depend on their common interest which may or may not be conflicting.

The Middle East seems to be the most suitable example to test our hypothesis. A hasty glance at the historical background  behind the creation of Israel  reveals the fact that conflict and confrontation  between the Zionist movement  and the Arab residents of Palestine began to intensify  after 1880s when immigration of European Jews  to Palestine started rising. Still after that  Palestine  continued  to remain a  Muslim  majority  state  till May 1948 when Israel  was created as an independent  Jewish   homeland in Palestine  (apropos  the Balfour declaration in 1917). In the wake of creation of Israel   the world witnessed a series of Arab- Israel clashes followed by some important historical events since the debutant war in 1948 (outcome: the newly born state Israel strengthened its foothold with armistice under UN.

The remainder of Palestine was held  by Egypt having Gaza strip, Jordan   having the West Bank and East  Jerusalem  and  Syria holding a small part in the north),the  2nd war in 1956 (outcome: ceasefire came into effect under UN.  Suez canal was returned to Egypt.  US emerged as the champion to dominate the region.),the  3rd war  in 1967 (outcome: Israel captured Sinai Peninsula and Gaza strip of Egypt, West Bank and  East Jerusalem from  Jordan  and Golan Heights from Syria ) and the  4th war in 1973 (outcome:

Egypt and Syria regained  a portion of their territory lost  before).  Much to the surprise of the Muslim world only after 4 years President Anwar Sadat of Egypt came to the Arab enemy's homeland at Jerusalem in 1977 and delivered a speech in the Israeli parliament. The Camp David Accord between Egypt and Israel was signed in March, 1979 establishing diplomatic relation   in January, 1980.

The Sinai Peninsula was given back to Egypt.  In exchange Israel got guarantee from Egypt for the freedom of passage through Suez and other nearby waterways. Egypt placed its own interest on the top of everything and the fate of Palestine as well as Jerusalem was deliberately set aside and excluded from the peace treaty.  Consequently, all   Arab countries broke diplomatic relations with Egypt which was expelled from the Arab League (from 1980 till 1989).

Jordan   also danced to the same tune as Egypt did and recognized Israel in 1994 Turkey was the  1st  Muslim  country to recognize Israel  followed by Iran which maintained close ties (1948-1979) with its present bitterest enemy Israel  until  the Iranian revolution  and the fall of Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. The 'diplomatic pulse' among the Arab nations themselves depicted unpredictable fluctuations, particularly after the 2nd world war.

The dramatic change of diplomatic  relation with Israel  is quite discernible  in case of Iran and Egypt, both  distinctly lying at the opposite poles from each other  pertaining to the principles of  Islamic Ummah  and liberating the occupied homeland of the Palestinians.  The bold  leap 'from  friendship to enmity '  with Israel,  following the fall of the USA  backed Pahlavi  dynasty in 1979, was  rightly and appreciatively  demonstrated  by Iran as a positive counterblast to the  Israeli  occupation of  Palestine which was welcomed by the Muslim world.  Whereas,  Egypt,  through  recognizing  the Muslim world's  common  enemy  Israel,  leapt out of fear 'from enmity to friendship floor' -a  game, which looked  absolutely heinous and  cowardly.

Through recognizing Israel in 1994 Jordan   also became the' bird of same feather' as Egypt.  Both Egypt and Jordan    degraded into a ridicule and rift in the Arab world and proved themselves 'frail and empty vessel that sounds much'.  Egypt regained Sinai from Israel not by military strength but by obeying what Israel dictated to do. Whereas Syria, with its head held high, never recognized the existence of Israel in exchange of its Golan Heights lost to Israel. Recently KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) called for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territory   which aroused bitter reaction from Israel. However, KSA's stand against Israel seemingly appeased the Muslim world.

Like most   Arab countries Kuwait also strongly opposes normalizing ties with Israel.  Following the USA-UK invasion of Saddam's Iraq in 2003, diplomats stood overenthusiastic to improve relationship between Iraq and Israel. But the then Iraqi PM outright rejected the proposal.  Out of 192 member countries of UN only 35, including North Korea-a  non-Muslim  country,  do not at present recognize Israel.  Notable among the Muslim majority countries not recognizing Israel are Iran, KSA , Iraq and Kuwait.  Since Israel is their common enemy we need to examine and evaluate the present status of the relationship among the 4 Muslim majority countries themselves.
(To be continued)

The writer is a former General Manager, Credit Information Bureau, Bangladesh Bank

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