Submission To The United Nations Independent Commission Of Inquiry On The 2014 Gaza Conflict

21st February 2015
BY Colonel Richard Kemp CBE
Geneva, 20 February 2015

I was a Colonel in the British Infantry. Much of my 29 years’ military service was spent countering terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Macedonia. I was Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan in 2003. I fought in the 1990-91 Gulf War and commanded British troops in Bosnia with the UN Protection Force and in Cyprus with the UN Force.

From 2002 – 2005 I was seconded to the UK Cabinet Office working on intelligence relating to international and domestic terrorism. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad were among the extremist groups that I monitored and assessed in this role, and I had access to all secret intelligence available to the UK on these and other Palestinian extremist groups.

The Middle East: Battle Lines Are Drawn

In the last decade, the Middle East has been living through a political convulsion of historic proportions.
Regimes that once appeared immovable have been destroyed or have receded. New forces have risen up and are making war over the ruins.

The result of the effective eclipse in recent years of the states of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon has been the emergence of a large and chaotic conflict in the contiguous area once covered by those states. The failure to develop coherent state-loyal national identities in the areas in question has meant that once central authority disappears, a political-military competition based on forces assembled according to ethnic and sectarian identity emerges. A sectarian conflict is as a result now raging between the Iraq-Iran border and the Mediterranean. This dynamic of conflict has now extended to Yemen.

In this maelstrom, the Iranians and their clients have emerged as the single most formidable alliance. It appears that Iran intends to replace the US as the hegemonic power in the Persian Gulf region. The Sunni Arab states of the Gulf are worried by this and are seeking to resist the Iranian advance. The result is growing instability.

What are the reasons behind Iranian success? What are the particular advantages enjoyed by the Iranians and their proxies in this contest? What explains the belated but determined Saudi-led Sunni reaction to the Iranians’ advances? And what are the likely implications of the achievement of a nuclear deal and the imminent lifting of sanctions on Iran on Iranian actions in the region?

The Chaos of a Perfect Storm

The Middle East is in the midst of a stormy period of upheaval. The process began in Iran, after the revolution there gave birth to a Shi’ite dynamic that even now influences the entire region. This dynamic brought together radical Islamic forces that had smoldered under the surface since the collapse of the last caliphate, the Ottoman Empire. Radical Islam, in its several different forms, views Islamic governance as the solution to the ills of the region and to the weakness of the Muslims in the world, and as a preferred alternative to the modern world order of nation states. When the British and the French divided up the region a hundred years ago – according to their needs – they created artificial states, some of which have now ceased to exist, and some of which are facing collapse. Various forces that seemed to have disappeared, as a result of repression by the dictatorial regimes ruling the region’s states, have resurfaced. In many areas, one’s family, tribe, ethnic community, and religion have once more become the chief loci of identity and power, eclipsing the state.

Major General (Ret.) Yaakov Amidror is the Ann and Greg Rosshandler Senior Fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and a senior fellow at JINSA’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy. He has served as National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister, head of the National Security Council, commander of the IDF Military Colleges, and head of the research division of the IDF Intelligence Corps.

The Myth of Israel as a Colonialist Entity

An Instrument of Political Warfare to Delegitimize the Jewish State

While modern Israel was born in the aftermath of the British Mandate for Palestine, which called for a Jewish national home, its roots preceded the arrival of the British to the Middle East. In that sense Britain was not Israel’s mother-country, like France was for Algeria. Indeed, the Jews were already re-establishing their presence independently in their land well before the British and French dismantled the Ottoman Empire.

As time went on, it became clear that the British Empire was not the handmaiden of Israel’s re-birth, but rather its main obstacle. The accusation that Israel has colonialist roots because of its connection to the British Mandate is ironic, since most of the Arab states owe their origins to the entry and domination of the European powers.

War & Peace – Talk Delivered by Nobel Laureate, Robert Aumann

The talk was presented at SIGNAL’s China-Israel Symposium Sept. 9, 2011

Thus begins the Advanced Information announcement of the 2005 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, awarded for Game Theory Analysis of Conflict and Cooperation. So it is appropriate to devote this lecture to one of the most pressing and profound issues that confront humanity: that of War and Peace.

Robert Aumann at SIGNAL's Symposium

Robert Aumann at SIGNAL’s Symposium

I would like to suggest that we should perhaps change direction in our efforts to bring about world peace. Up to now all the effort has been put into resolving specific conflicts: India–Pakistan, North–South Ireland, various African wars, Balkan wars, Russia–Chechnya, Israel–Arab, etc., etc. I’d like to suggest that we should shift emphasis and study war in general.

Let me make a comparison. There are two approaches to cancer. One is clinical. You have, say, breast cancer. What should you do? Surgery? Radiation? Chemotherapy? Which chemotherapy? How much radiation? Do you cut out the lymph nodes? The answers are based on clinical tests, simply on what works best. You treat each case on its own, using your best information. And your aim is to cure the disease, or to ameliorate it, in the specific patient before you.

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