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Question One

Mohammed Mosaddeq started campaigning for nationalization of the oil industry immediately after his election to parliament in 1944. At the time, its control was in the hands of Britons and the Soviet Union influence. With consistent efforts, his oil nationalization act got passed in 1951 in parliament. He got unprecedented support from the general public that made the Shah appoint him to the premiership position. The act essentially liberated Iranians from British and Russian foreign imperialism. It gave the Iranian government full rights to the discovery, exploration and use of oil reserves (Bashiriyeh, 2011). Alongside this, Mosaddeq propagated the ideology of social justice which advocated for taxation and more democratic approaches.

Nationalization of oil raised uproar from interested countries, and that led to moves occasioning a standstill of the oil industry. Abadan Oil Refineries, the biggest in the world then faced a crisis due to the fleeing of British technicians. Furthermore, it precipitated the Iranian economic crisis due to an embargo on oil exports (Bashiriyeh, 2011). Also, there were bans on exports to Iran. Eventually, it led to the overthrow of Mosaddeq from power and the installation of the Shah.

Nasser’s radical nationalism was as a result of the desire to gain full control of the Suez Canal from British control. Britain’s military base at the Suez Canal ensured their interests in cotton in Egypt. Moreover, the British saw it as a way of securing the gateway to Britain. Nasser initiated the building of the Aswan dam that was to bring a social revolution. Americans agreed to fund the project alongside the World Bank. His announcement of an arms deal with the Soviet Union in 1955 impelled America to cut its funding as a result. Nasser then opted to nationalize the Suez Canal to fight imperialism and further spread the idea of a possible United Arab Republic which gained a following all over.

Mosaddeq and Nasser’s cases are similar since they were all motivated by the desire for sovereignty. Also, in both cases, social revolutions were a key guide and they desired to assume a neutral position in the cold war. Different to Nasser, Mosaddeq fought against colonialism and was for human rights and democracy.


Question Two

A single inclusive Arab/Jew state is a difficult approach. Palestinian Arabs propose to have equal political rights as the Jews. On the other hand, Jews are adamant on granting equal rights. The differences in ideologies between Arabs and Jews also pose difficulties to coexistence. A one-state solution will face constant protests since there is no tolerance between the two groups. Arabs will face deprivation of basic rights as minorities, a situation they will not tolerate.

A two-state approach is likely to solve the Israeli-Arabian conflict because it will separate the Israelis from Arabs who face division by origin, culture, language and history. However a two-state solution looks attractive, its profile is very complex and so is the possible approach to dividing the state. First, the region that both sides claim to be their ancient land is a small area of about 10,000 square miles. Subdividing it further faces infrastructural limitation considering roads, sewages, and pipelines. Also, the Jews biblically trace their descent to Abraham and his promise supported by the positioning of the Israel and Judea kingdoms on the current site. Similarly, Palestinian Arabs trace their descent to Ishmael, the son of Abraham as their forefather and the promise of land to his descendants as well applies. Moreover, if a two-state solution is applied, the Arabs residing in Palestine and Gaza will be cut off from the access to water, and they will be impoverished. The historical perspective makes it difficult to justify the ideal group that should be occupying the land that makes it hard to implement a two-state approach. There is a little chance for the success of a two-state solution though it might take more time and consultative policy formulation.

Question Three

Before the Iraqi invasion, countries in the Middle East did not recognize demarcation of boundaries. There was uniformity all over the Arab world covering present-day states of Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Jordan. However, with distinctions in boundaries, it has led to the formation of the sovereign state of Lebanon. Over time, the Lebanon state has seen a transformation from political coups, protests from the public against governments, rampant discrimination in the era of sectarism and anarchy to embrace the ballot box and democratic values albeit for a short time. Lebanon saw war due to discrimination between Muslims and Christians. The minimizing tension between general and elitist views has gathered momentum for a stable Lebanon state that gives rights to all groups.

The Lebanese political model advocates for confessionalism that divides equally political power between Christians and Muslims at every political level. It provides for a Maronite Christian as the president while a Sunni Muslim serves premiership. It gives the position of the speaker in parliament to a Shiite Muslim. Representation in the legislature among Muslims and Christians is on a 50-50% basis. The parliament votes for the president who appoints a prime minister who in turn forms a cabinet. There is a unicameral National Assembly of 128 seats.

Lebanon stands as a key economic center for the Middle East. Its capital, Beirut sees foreign currency exchanges at the international level. It is also the center for militia movements especially Hezbollah. Also, it is the heart of movements in the Arab world and a major force on religious tolerance and the embrace of democratic ideals and campaigns on social freedoms. With the Syrian crisis, Lebanon is taking in most of the refugees and thus, it stands as a determinant of stability in Syria. Peace in the Middle East relies on the neutrality of Lebanon as it strives to be a benchmark for democracy.

Question Four

The main variable to which the Lebanese civil war of the 1980s can be attributed to include the economic status that considers the natural resources, the income level of the citizens. The distribution of the resources and exploitation had an implication on how the communities interrelated. It is noteworthy that the more stable an economy is, the more peaceable it becomes. It was no different in Lebanon where the sectarian redistribution of the resources triggered some levels of instability. The inequity in the resources, especially regarding the Shia and Sunni Muslims, also led to the violence. Therefore, for the Lebanese case, redistribution of resources was of impact on the political status as well and in turn led to a relapse into violence. In turn, the violence further became detrimental to the economy. It had an implication to how peace brokering was also carried out. A sustainable economy with a prosperous and stable environment is a good breeding ground for peace

Furthermore, the political state of Lebanon accelerated the civil war. There were political and military tensions in the state before the civil war breakout. The country faced intrastate conflict. Domestically, the tension was an outcome of the sectarian power-sharing challenges associated with the manner of power sharing and distributed between the Shia, Sunni and Maronites. In essence, this resulted to some extent to mistrust among these communities. Furthermore, the regional variable can be considered where the neighboring states contributed to the efforts of stabilizing of Lebanon.   

Having the right policies for the distribution of the resources goes a long way in ensuring that the communities represented are content. In cases where resources are equally distributed, the possibility of conflict being experienced are low. Redistribution of resources and empowering of the citizens increases the level of contentment. Furthermore, power control should not be centered on one community or a category of people. The neighboring countries also affect the peace and conflict resolution in cases of unrests

Question Five

The Iranian reforms that were brought about by Mohammed Reza Shah led to the revolution of 1979. These reforms aimed to modernize the Iranian economic structure as well as the infrastructural system. Key among them was an attempt by Shah to modernize the market system of the Iranian cities. Before this, the Iranian cities had bazaars that covered extensive parts of the Iranian cities. The reform was designed to have the city markets in the structure of the American markets and malls (Shadmehr, 2012). The reform favored industries and large scale sellers that were mostly foreign funded while locking out small-scale producers and sellers from the markets.

The bazaars also acted as places where the locals would catch up apart from engaging in trading activities. The changes in the market systems, therefore, reduced their possibility of the locals catching up. Furthermore, the reforms allowed and favored foreigners were entering into Iran. In addition to that, there was a plan to give workers a share of the industrial shares and enfranchise women. There were land reforms enforced where all people were allowed to acquire land. However, the disposed land the people got was land that was unsuitable for agriculture. Furthermore, the nation’s oil industry was nationalized too. The influx of foreigners caused an unrest among the locals who felt threatened by undesired competition from foreigners. The foreigners also were associated with Christianity, which to the locals was conflicting with the local religion which is Islam.

Political reforms were also evident where the political associations were all merged to a single party. This conglomerate of parties was expected to have all the government and university employees as members. Therefore, the citizens were limited in their membership to political parties. The appointed leaders too were scrutinized a lot by the shah’s secret police. The prime minister, for example, was under obligation to do all Shah’s orders that prompted some assassination attempts on Shah.

These reforms led to unrests whereby though to some extend well; they did not favor a retention of the existing traditions and cultural standards of the people. Particularly, the entry of foreigners was a threat to the cherished Islamic beliefs of the people (Shadmehr, 2012). Furthermore, people who were against any of the ideologies put in place underwent torture from the secret service. The people lacked an avenue of catching up since the develop markets were not favorable and it also alienated the local producers incapacitating them from trading in the city markets. All there led to the revolution of 1979.

Question Six

The motivation for the Iranian revolution of 1979 also lay in religious ideologies. The religion ended up intertwined with the state affairs as the outcome of a feeling by some nationalists that Mohammed Reza Shah repressed Islamists and people who inclined towards a politicized Islam. The population at large were also outraged due to this feeling that the government was oppressing them (Shadmehr, 2012).

In the 1960s and the 1970s, the Shia Muslim religion underwent massive interpretation whereby Islam got defined as a social religion. It this meant that then state and religion could not be separated.

It got viewed as a total political party with solutions to solve all the state's socio-political problems experienced. The influence of the interpretation involved the high ranking clergy who had a massive influence on the existing political state that was highly influenced by American ideologies of development. One of the key clergies deeply involved is Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini. Khomeini’s doctrine advocated for toppling over of illegitimate governments by high ranking clerical authorities known as Marja (Shadmehr, 2012).

Furthermore, the fact the nation had high influxes of Westerners was not taken lightly by the locals. Moreso, the local religion would be overtaken by the Western religion, which was Christianity. Religious innovation also played a major role in causing religion to become an ideology that caused the revolution. The reassessment of the religious ideologies existent before then provided an alternative approach to the political status of the time. As a result, there were other avenues that could be used to change the status quo for the citizens.

The system furthermore provided a multipronged way of dealing with executive, legislative as well as judicial issues that seemed not well addressed before. The religion provided a structured way of governance that was desirable to the residence. As a result, with religion providing such alternatives, the revolution was inevitable, and religion influenced it greatly.

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