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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 8, 2007 / 24 Menachem-Av, 5767

Countries threatened with extinction

By Daniel Pipes


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Quiz time: Which Middle Eastern country disappeared from the map not long ago for more than six months?


Answer: Kuwait, which disappeared from August 1990 to February 1991, becoming Iraq's 19th province. This brutal conquest by Saddam Hussein culminated intermittent Iraqi claims going back to the 1930s. Restoring Kuwait's sovereignty required a huge American-led expeditionary force of more than half a million soldiers.


This history comes to mind because an Iranian spokesman recently enunciated a somewhat similar threat against Bahrain. Hossein Shariatmadari, an associate of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and editor of the daily newspaper Kayhan, published an op-ed on July 9 in which he claimed: "Bahrain is part of Iran's soil, having been separated from it through an illegal conspiracy [spawned] by ... Shah [Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, along with] the American and British governments." Referring to Bahrain's majority Shiite population, Mr. Shariatmadari went on to claim, without any proof: "The principal demand of the Bahraini people today is to return this province to its mother, Islamic Iran."


These comments, the Middle East Media and Research Institute (MEMRI) reports, "caused a storm in Bahrain," with protesters outside the Iranian Embassy, severe statements by the government, alarmed resolutions by both houses of parliament, and even a fatwa prescribing death for Bahrainis who should endorse this Iranian irredentism. Other Persian Gulf states joined in with equally scathing statements.


The subject is a sensitive one. Tehran's claims on Bahrain go back to 1958, when it declared the island to be Iran's 14th province, even apportioning it two seats in the national parliament. Although the shah formally recognized Bahrain's independence in 1970, claims such as Mr. Shariatmadari's have surfaced episodically and are reminiscent of periodic Iraqi claims to Kuwait before 1990.


So, Kuwait actually vanished down the Iraqi maw, and Bahrain could face a similar fate. Nor are they alone, as three other Middle East states are also threatened with extinction.

  • Jordan has always been precarious, perched between several larger, more powerful, and often aggressive states. In one memorable articulation of this fear, during the peak of the Kuwait crisis in November 1990, then-Crown Prince Hassan worried that his "small country of 3.5 million is on the brink of extinction."

  • Lebanon's independence has been in question since the state came into being in 1926 because its Syrian neighbor has never reconciled itself to losing Lebanon's territories. Damascus has variously expressed this reluctance cartographically (showing the boundary with Lebanon as "regional," not international), diplomatically (never opening a Syrian embassy in Beirut), and politically (more than three decades of dominating internal Lebanese affairs).

  • Israel's existence as a Jewish state was threatened the very day of its declaration of independence in 1948. Winning many rounds of war over the next decades brought it a certain deterrence and permanence, but a directionless electorate and inept leadership since 1992 means the country faces elevated threats to its existence comparable to those dating to before the 1967 war.


The existence of this quintet of endangered Middle Eastern states prompts several thoughts. First, their predicament points to the uniquely vicious, volatile, and high-stakes quality of political life in this region; so far as I know, there is no state outside the Middle East whose very survival is in doubt.


Second, this singular pattern results in part from a widespread problem of unsettled boundaries. With only a handful of exceptions — ironically, including two of Israel's international boundaries — most borders in the Middle East are neither delineated nor mutually agreed upon. This lower-grade revisionism feeds grander ambitions actually to eliminate a polity.


Third, this situation places Israel's quandary into perspective. However anomalous the threat of extinction in the world at large, it is banal in the immediate region. Israel's troubles may overwhelmingly be the best known of the group, with hundreds of times more press coverage and books than about the other four countries combined, but all five face a comparable threat. This context implies Israel's unsettled status continuing for a long time.


Finally, these deep, unresolved tensions throughout the Middle East point, once again, to the absurdity of seeing the Arab-Israeli conflict as the motor force of the entire region's problems. Each endangered state faces its own unique circumstances; none of them drives regional politics as a whole. Solving the Arab-Israeli conflict does no more than solve that specific conflict.

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JWR contributor Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum.

© 2005, Daniel Pipes