THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT AND UNITED STATES GEO-STRATEGIC AND ECONOMIC INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE-EAST

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THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT AND UNITED STATES GEO-STRATEGIC AND ECONOMIC INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE-EAST

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Conflict is an inescapable phenomenon of human life both at the interpersonal or international level.1 The prevalence of conflict, its management and prevention are therefore critical areas of international relations.  Conflict comes in varied forms.  They could be interstate, arising from perennial disagreements between States; intra-state civil conflicts which may come in varying degrees such as inter-ethnic conflicts; religious conflicts induced by ecclesiastical rivalries; conflict due to ideological incompatibilities amongst others.  Some notable crises in human history includes those between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, the Croats and Serbs in former Yugoslavia, the African National Congress and the Apartheid regime in South Africa, Rwandan crisis between the Hutus and Tutsis; the Biafran Separatist Movement in Nigeria, Israeli – Palestinian Conflict which is the focus of this research, to mention a few.

The allusion of the English Philosopher – Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679) in his work “Leviathan” to an anarchic state of nature where the dominant individual interest is self-preservation, is an apt description of the international system.

Extrapolating to the international domain, Hobbessian theorizing is accentuated by the very absence of a hierarchical structure of government in the international arena to check the eccentricity of States whose actions in the guise of national interest replicates a state of nature.  This is in contrast with what obtains in the domestic arena where Municipal law is invoked in case of an infraction.     Hobbessian prescriptions that, “power be centrally and absolutely controlled, that is, a “unitary state” is however inconceivable in the international system.

Scholars of international relations are of the opinion that the Concept of State Sovereignty which is an outcrop of the idealism orchestrated by the Westphalian Settlement, promotes the culture of anarchism in the international system.  This is against the backdrop of the “free-wheeling irresponsibility” of Sovereign States.  Many writers are of the view that Sovereignty in contemporary international relations is an anachronism, as it is akin to absolutism.

 

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