Post Cold War

Category: Cold War, Iraq, Israel, Military, Wars
Last Updated: 04 Sep 2020
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Explain why the ending of the Cold War was not followed by a period of world peace and stability. The ending of the cold war did not leave any sign of hope for the world to live in peace and prosperity. Until this second, there are hundreds of men, women, and children being killed, injured, raped, and executed for various reasons, some of which may be legit while others are war-related objectives. The world, not sure if this is the right word for it now, has gone and still is through some very tremendous events in the last 17 years or so, starting off with the gulf war which shocked the world in one night, the Kosovo war, Al-Aqsa Intifada, the war in Afghanistan, war on terror and Iraq, the list can go on and on, some which remain in the books of history and some which are still written about in history books today as that they are ongoing conflicts and example would be the war on terror. To make this whole concept I just talked about more clearly, I will try to explain the reasons to why the ending of the Cold War was not followed by a period of world peace and stability, by talking about the gulf war and how one night changed the lives and situations of many nations, mainly Israel and Palestine and how the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) played a major role in this war, leading to the Palestinian Intifada and the current events that are happening right now.

The Gulf war was simply a conflict between Iraq and a coalition force from 35 nations authorized by the United Nations (UN) and led primarily by the United States in order to liberate Kuwait. [1] The Gulf War had two major impacts. First, the war was a catalyst for regional changes that started several years before the eruption of the crisis itself. The polarization of the Arab world was intensified by the invasion of an Arab state by another. Second, the war demonstrated which political terms existed in the Middle East at the time of the Iraqi invasion. On a rhetorical level, Saddam Hussein established a link between the Persian Gulf crisis and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, thus demonstrating the destabilizing effect of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Iraqi leader compared the Iraqi invasion with the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and demanded Israeli withdrawal before even considering a pullback from Kuwait. [2] During the Gulf War, the Israeli public took a step to the right, legitimizing the sanctions the Likud-government posed on the Palestinians. The sanctions were a result of two circumstances: the failure of the Palestinians - especially the PLO and the moderate political leaders in the West Bank - to condemn the Iraqi invasion; and the images of Palestinians cheering the Iraqi Scuds raining down on Tel Aviv. [3] Israel closed the borders between 'Israel-proper' and the occupied territories, preventing Palestinian workers from attending their jobs in Israel.

Despite an increase of nearly half a million in the Israeli population due to immigration from Russia between 1989 and 1991, the Israeli policy resulted in a reduction in the GDP and a deterioration of the economic situation activity (ibid. )[4]. For the Palestinians, an already difficult economic situation got worse. This resulted in a boomerang-effect for Israel, intensifying the level of conflict with the Palestinians With the outbreak of the intifada, the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict moved inside the occupied territories, and the Green-line was re-drawn. The broad mobilization of nearly all layers of Palestinian society in the earliest stages of the uprising strengthened national unity. This kind of communal uprising turned out to be more difficult for Israel to fight than the PLO-launched guerilla-attacks from Arab territory during the 1970s (Hunter 1991). Despite the optimism[5], the standard of living continued to deteriorate because of the mass-arrests, arbitrary detention, and curfews carried out by the Israeli security forces (IDF and the border police).

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While many would agree that the mentioned above can be directly linked to the events that are going right now in Palestine and that has gone on for the last couple of years, many would disagree, but if you want to look at it from a historical angle, it has a lot to do with the Gulf War. The end of the Cold War is the main point of reference in this analysis. However, important changes affecting the political situation in the Middle East started years before the Berlin-Wall was torn down, and the Soviet Empire crumbled. Therefore one might ask if the 'window of opportunity' would have 'opened' if the Cold War had continued. Would the locally initiated structural changes by themselves create momentum for peace? My answer is that the combined effects of changes at the extra-regional level (the end of the Cold War), the regional level (the Gulf War), and the local level (the intifada) in sum 'opened' the window and let groups in the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships willing and ready to negotiate peace inside. Ultimately, Israel was successful in containing the uprising. The Palestinians' force was inferior in relation to the well equipped and trained Israeli Defense Forces. However, the Intifada pinpointed numerous problems with the IDF's conduct in the operative and tactical fields, as well as the general problem of Israel's prolonged control of the West Bank and Gaza strip. These problems were noticed and widely criticized, both in international forums (in particular, when humanitarian questions were at stake), but also in Israeli public opinion, in which the Intifada had caused a split. [6]


  1. Abadi, Jacob (1994): "The Gulf War and Its Implications for Israel". Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Vol 17, No. 3 (55-78).
  2. Freedman, Robert. The Middle East after Iraq’s Invasion of Kuwait, University Press of Florida, 1993 (213-215)
  3. Walsh, Ben. Modern world history, John Murray, London, 2001
  4. Choueiri, Youssef M. (1997): Islamic fundamentalism -rev. ed. London: Pinter
  5. Kuper, Adam and Jessica Kuper (eds. ) (1996): The Social Science Encyclopedia (Second edition). London and New York: Routledge.
  6. Keddie, Nikki R. (1992): "The end of the Cold War and the Middle East". In Hogan (ed. ) The End of the Cold War. It's meaning and implications (151-161).
  7. Clarke, Richard. Against all enemies: Inside America’s war on terror, Free Press, 2004 (62-64)
  8. Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999, Knopf, 1999. p. 612

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