Arabic version here
In 1982, a foreign policy white paper appeared in a fairly obscure Israeli quarterly, which informally became known as the Oded Yinon Plan. That much wouldn’t have been too momentous, except that the author certainly wasn’t a run-of-the-mill policy wonk. Oded Yinon held a high post in the Israeli foreign ministry, and also seems to have been close to Ariel Sharon. More to the point, his far-flung agenda bore a remarkable resemblance to the future of the Middle East, and in particular, the last two decades of the USA’s fine messes therein. It seems that either some very influential people liked his ideas, or he’s a better fortune teller than Nostradamus.
This originally appeared in Kivunim (Directions), a defunct periodical once published by the World Zionist Organization. Since the original document is in Hebrew, it might have escaped notice abroad. It did receive exposure because the peace activist Israel Shahak was kind enough to provide a translation of “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties.”
The document has a tame beginning. Basically, it starts out saying that it’s a time of change, rationalism and humanism are falling out of fashion, and resources are becoming scarcer. This is expected to worsen because of overpopulation:
In a world in which there are four billion human beings and economic and energy resources which do not grow proportionally to meet the needs of mankind, it is unrealistic to expect to fulfill the main requirement of Western Society, i.e., the wish and aspiration for boundless consumption. The view that ethics plays no part in determining the direction Man takes, but rather his material needs do — that view is becoming prevalent today as we see a world in which nearly all values are disappearing.
I might be reading too much into it at this point, but the above seems to imply that countries will have to grab what they can while the grabbing is good. A footnote describes anticipated overpopulation, curiously ending with “According to Justin Blackwelder, U.S. Census Office chief, the world population will not reach 6 billion because of hunger.” By now, this figure has been surpassed and certainly isn’t projected to reverse course any time soon.
Then it discusses the situation with the Soviet Union, which kids these days might consider dated. For example:
The view which promises liberty and freedom to mankind seems absurd in light of the sad fact that three fourths of the human race lives under totalitarian regimes. The views concerning equality and social justice have been transformed by socialism and especially by Communism into a laughing stock.
Actually, the pinkos are still up to that much. They’re not in the Kremlin anymore, but they’ve infected the universities, the MSM newsrooms, the big foundations, and so forth.
The Middle East is a rough neighborhood
More discussion of geopolitics follows, about how the USSR plans to dominate the Third World and its resources. Then the discussion turns to the Arab world, the main subject of this foreign policy whitepaper.
In the long run, this world will be unable to exist within its present framework in the areas around us without having to go through genuine revolutionary changes.
This concern for their Muslim friends seems a bit reminiscent of Barbara Spectre’s statement that Europe will not survive without their help in transitioning to multiculturalism.
The Moslem Arab World is built like a temporary house of cards put together by foreigners (France and Britain in the Nineteen Twenties), without the wishes and desires of the inhabitants having been taken into account.
There’s much that one could say about the British arbitrarily monkeying with borders without consulting the locals. Still, before that, the populations in these countries weren’t happily independent; they were subjects living under the far-flung Ottoman Empire. On the other hand:
It was arbitrarily divided into 19 states, all made of combinations of minorities and ethnic groups which are hostile to one another, so that every Arab Moslem state nowadays faces ethnic social destruction from within, and in some a civil war is already raging.
Oded Yinon does have a point with that one; diversity really is a mess. He notes that these countries have powerful military forces, but are otherwise fairly dysfunctional. He gives a country-by-country rundown on all that: Arabs versus Berbers, Muslims versus Christians, Sunnis versus Shi’ites, and so forth.
A sad and very stormy situation surrounds Israel and creates challenges for it, problems, risks but also far-reaching opportunities for the first time since 1967. Chances are that opportunities missed at that time will become achievable in the Eighties to an extent and along dimensions which we cannot even imagine today.
Now that’s pretty evocative, isn’t it? Particularly, he regrets that after the Six-Day War, they didn’t give Jordan away to the Palestinians of the West Bank. (Later in the document, he makes it clear that the purpose of that is so Israel can expel all the rest of the original inhabitants still living west of the Jordan River.) Doing so “would have neutralized the Palestinian problem which we nowadays face,” and here we have the document’s major theme. Specifically, the idea is that the Israelis should arbitrarily monkey with borders without consulting the locals.
Now, let’s pause to consider what the motives might be. Does this initiative come from the goodness of their hearts, to help out Israel’s neighbors and encourage them to gerrymander their borders more sensibly for better national cohesion? Alternatively, is it subversively to encourage the breakup of large and militarily powerful rivals? I’ll leave that up to the reader to decide.
First up, the author recommends taking over the Sinai Peninsula again, since it has much-needed oil reserves. The author regrets that the government gave back the territory during a peace agreement, but anticipates that the opportunity will arrive shortly to get in another war with Egypt. I’ll add that it also would serve as a buffer zone along the Egyptian front. Strategic depth always has been a problem, since Israel is a country the size of New Jersey that chronically has bad relations with its neighbors. Surely there are some historic ties to the Sinai as well, since this is where the ancient Hebrews wandered in the desert for forty years after somebody dropped a quarter in the sand.
American aid is guaranteed only for a short while, for the terms of the peace and the weakening of the U.S. both at home and abroad will bring about a reduction in aid.
This refers to Jimmy Carter greasing the palms of both Israel and Egypt to remain at peace with each other. The USA wasn’t involved in the Six-Day War (the high point of the border dispute), other than Israel trying to sink the USS Liberty. All told, paying tribute money to both sides must surely be the most absurd protection racket in world history. The author expected that peace with Egypt would collapse shortly. This is one prediction that did not come true, probably because American taxpayers are still forking over the billions in Dane Geld year after year.
Some further discussion goes on about Egypt, sounding a bit Machiavellian and perhaps somewhat over-analyzed. (There are places in the document fairly reminiscent of armchair generalship seen in some circles of the Dissident Right given to long bull sessions. The difference is that Oded Yinon had influence in his government, and was better able to promote rearranging the world to his liking than our couch Clausewitzes and sofa Caesars.) Now we come to the main theme of promoting destabilization, envisioning interesting times for other neighboring countries too:
Breaking Egypt down territorially into distinct geographical regions is the political aim of Israel in the Nineteen Eighties on its Western front.
Egypt is divided and torn apart into many foci of authority. If Egypt falls apart, countries like Libya, Sudan or even the more distant states will not continue to exist in their present form and will join the downfall and dissolution of Egypt. The vision of a Christian Coptic State in Upper Egypt alongside a number of weak states with very localized power and without a centralized government as to date, is the key to a historical development which was only set back by the peace agreement but which seems inevitable in the long run.
Again, war has not resumed between Egypt and Israel. However, the Arab Spring partially managed to advance the objectives named above. Egypt’s government did collapse, and Libya underwent a violent revolution, among other events. These two countries didn’t undergo internal secessions, but Sudan actually did indeed break into two countries the following year, and later came close to splintering further.
To obtain this outcome, Israel didn’t have to launch any far-flung “wars of liberation” or some such. Instead, the Arab Spring was encouraged by the US State Department under Cupcake, and also the usual suspects in the Deep State. For one item, this included military intervention in Libya on Obama’s orders. Lasting over a month, this technically violated the War Powers Act, but nobody raised much of a fuss about that. Note well, I wouldn’t shed a single tear for Muammar Gadhafi even if someone rubbed my face with raw onions, but whether or not taking him out was our problem is another matter.
On a side note, Obama probably had some mixed feelings about going along with all this. In his younger days, he might’ve considered outside interventions like that to be imperialism, and might’ve had a postcolonial gripe about it. All told, the rhetoric backing the Arab Spring was that these people were just like us and only wanted democracy and a bourgeois lifestyle so they can afford color TVs and cheeseburgers. When the dust settled, the actual result was the strengthening of Muslim fundamentalism. This was the same miscalculation that Bush the Younger had made previously while spreading democracy one bomb at a time; it turned out that the locals didn’t want us around after all. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Other hornet nests to kick
Then the document discusses some other neighboring countries on the agenda:
Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target.
Shortly after publication, Israel did indeed invade Lebanon. This is a rare instance in which they actually got their own hands dirty. More about Iraq follows later, of course.
Finally, regarding Syria — the last remaining item mentioned as “Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front” — their civil war continues even now. ISIS is one of the primary troublemakers; they began with outside support, much like their Al Qaeda predecessors, and likewise ended up biting the hand that fed them. The Syrian mess, and also the destabilization of Libya, enabled the so-called “refugee crisis” in Europe. We may ascertain that this provided an opportunity to fulfill a secondary objective in other nations targeted for destruction, from the actions of certain NGOs assisting these illegal aliens such as (among other things) conveniently being there on the beaches to hand out literature on where to apply for welfare.
Then the Oded-Yinon Plan goes into some more detail about the expected outcome. More over-analysis and armchair generalship occurs:
Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon, so that there will be a Shi’ite Alawi state along its coast, a Sunni state in the Aleppo area, another Sunni state in Damascus hostile to its northern neighbor, and the Druzes who will set up a state, maybe even in our Golan, and certainly in the Hauran and in northern Jordan. This state of affairs will be the guarantee for peace and security in the area in the long run, and that aim is already within our reach today.
That much hasn’t happened yet, but certainly not for lack of trying. In this prognostication, it’s easy to imagine the author drawing on a map of neighboring countries, placing new borders where he thinks they belong, and picturing the destinies of millions of people in other countries.
President Bush, we need a favor
The Oded Yinon Plan gets better yet:
Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon.
In the end, the Iran-Iraq war didn’t resume, and other Arabs didn’t do the job either. Somehow this country “guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets” became America’s problem. Things started to get a little urgent in 1990, when Saddam Hussein announced the anticipated development of nuclear weapons which could target Israel. (Bad move!) When Iraq invaded Kuwait, this became the perfect opportunity to take them out. Shortly before, the Iraqis had consulted American officials and were told that we wouldn’t have any interest in the matter. However, it turns out that they were about to walk into a trap. The USA put the asshole dictator of Iraq on target, who (rather embarrassing in retrospect) had been an ally until then.
Bush the Elder set out to come to the rescue of Q8. If there were any calls from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem to the Presidential batphone which inspired his sudden case of moral indignation, history doesn’t record this. Still, I’d bet a paycheck that there was at least a friendly word from some (((Cabinet members))) or at least (((lobbyists))). Q8 is on the other side of the world, is smaller than New Jersey, and had no defensive alliance with the USA. Still, the public was told that it had been conquered by The Next Hitler. (Of course, such a comparison is rather unkind to the former German chancellor, but that’s pretty much boilerplate lately.) The neocon Washington insiders and opinion columnists — Israel’s “amen corner” as Pat Buchanan put it — started agitating for war.
To give Desert Shield the imprimatur of International Opinion, a very far-flung coalition was assembled to liberate Q8’s oppressed sheiks. Throughout, Bush the Elder — who was so Deep State that it hurts — made a few speeches praising the New World Order. (This NWO stuff went over about as badly with the public as the Michael Jackson Daycare Center or the Jeffrey Epstein Refuge For Wayward Girls.) The war began, and with victory in his grasp, the President suddenly called it off. If we really had to make Iraq our problem, then Bush the Elder should’ve finished the job, installed a more cooperative asshole dictator, and gotten out of Dodge. (It’s my turn to play armchair general, dammit. . .) As for Saddam Hussein, he could’ve avoided all the trouble if he’d seen the writing on the wall and given back Q8, or at least kept his big yap shut about his WMD program earlier.
For the next decade, keeping the Iraqis cooperative was left to the bungling cookie pushers in the United Nations, with American forces standing by to provide the muscle. That involved Inspector Clouseau getting punked for years while searching for WMDs, the oil-for-food program that got diverted straight into rearming Iraq’s military with the collusion of corrupt UN officials, the USA catching the blame for Iraq’s starving kids who obviously weren’t benefiting from the oil-for-food program, repeated aggravated mopery with the no-fly-zones, and all the rest of the clown show, with Saddam thumbing his nose all the while as he was living it up in dozens of his palaces. Cupcake and her sidekick Bill Clinton left well enough alone for the most part during their watch. The situation was a recurring irritation, but they had bigger fish to fry.
Eventually, the neocon “chicken hawks” in Washington were beating the drums of war again. Bush the Younger ended up drawing the short straw, stuck with taking out the obstreperous Iraqi asshole dictator and dealing with the mess that followed. This time, International Opinion was incensed — shocked, shocked! It became an opportunity to boost anti-Americanism and for Leftists to trash the Right in general, even though some of us weren’t on board with all that. Bush the Younger became one of the world’s most hated figures. Still, it seems strange that the MSM was pouring buckets of venom on him nonstop. I figure the guy was just following orders.
All told, winning the war turned out to be easy, but winning the peace was another matter entirely. After Iraq’s central government was deposed, the country fell apart into warring factions, not so different from what the Oded Yinon Plan had predicted. The successor government became effectively a failed state barely propped up by American military force. Once more, the USA missed the opportunity to install a more cooperative asshole dictator and be done with it. Therefore, the spit-in-your-eye war just kept dragging on. This also became a bonanza for certain logistics contractors to make a fortune on profiteering. For just one item, fuel had to be shipped all the way to the front and sold to the military for a tidy markup, when the war machine’s enormous fuel consumption could’ve been sourced locally for perhaps a quarter of the cost.
As for Saddam Hussein, once again, he’d blown an opportunity to get out while the getting was good. If he’d played his cards right, he and his sociopathic brats would’ve accepted the offer of exile. Then he could’ve enjoyed his ill-gotten billions squirreled away in foreign bank accounts, telling his indignant tales of woe to any journalist who cared to listen, and plotted to regain power while sipping cognac on the French Riviera. Instead, he stuck it out for the “mother of all battles” and eventually got a necktie party; meanwhile, Uday and Qusay are dead-ay. All told, I won’t shed any tears for Saddam Hussein, but whether it was America’s job to deal with him is looking rather iffy in hindsight. The most charitable spin one could put on the interminably extended Gulf War is that the USA got lassoed into a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation.
This took place during the larger context of the War On Terror and that silly “Axis of Evil” business. This unfortunately became an excuse for massive security theater. This includes an unconstitutional domestic spying system far exceeding that of Stasi and the KGB — quite an embarrassment for the freest country in the world, right? The neocons were still rattling their sabers and itching for American soldiers to take out Iran and Syria for them too. The problem is that the USA already was overextended in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the federal budget was hemorrhaging money.
During this time, Leftists got a curious idea that the USA was doing this for cheap oil, but where was it? For years after, gasoline prices were the highest they’ve ever been up until 2008. Maybe cheap oil wasn’t the real reason! Senator Fritz Holdings apparently didn’t think so; according to his remarks in 2003:
I am not on the Intelligence Committee. I was not privy to any kind of intelligence but I knew we had a lot of intelligence. The truth is, I thought the Israeli intelligence was really furnishing all of this information and that we were going in this time for our little friend Israel. Instead of them being blamed, we could finish up what Desert Storm had left undone; namely, getting rid of Saddam and getting rid of nuclear [arms] at the same time.
I voted for the resolution. I was misled. Now we hear that this is not Vietnam. I read my friends Tom Friedman and Paul Krugman. They say this is not a Vietnam.
The heck it is not.
I have nothing further to add.
But wait! There’s more!
The following item in the Oded Yinon Plan is a little more ambitious; specifically, divvying up the heartland of the Arab world itself:
The entire Arabian peninsula is a natural candidate for dissolution due to internal and external pressures, and the matter is inevitable especially in Saudi Arabia.
It doesn’t exactly say specifically what Israel should do to cause this disruption abroad, but we can leave that one up to our imagination. Then the author proposes, in effect, that Jordan will go the way of Carthage, and that its remains should be given to the Palestinians.
Whether in war or under conditions of peace, emigration from the territories and economic demographic freeze in them, are the guarantees for the coming change on both banks of the river, and we ought to be active in order to accelerate this process in the nearest future.
This means that afterward, the Palestinians can be ethnically cleansed from the West Bank. (That hardly seems to be the sort of thing that would win hearts and minds.) It emphasizes that the Palestinians will never have peace or a homeland until they pull up stakes and go to Jordan. Obviously, such an arrangement would involve taking over their remaining homeland on the West Bank and annexing it to Israel. This idea of rather questionable taste would be the equivalent of the USA plotting to take over Mexico so that we’d have a place to exile the American Indians after throwing them out of their reservations.
Genuine coexistence and peace will reign over the land only when the Arabs understand that without Jewish rule between the Jordan and the sea they will have neither existence nor security.
Some more irredentist discussion follows. The author stresses the need for expansionism.
Wrapping things up, Oded Yinon pessimistically predicts that “the West led by the U.S. is unable to withstand the global pressures of the USSR throughout the world,” so Israel eventually will have to go it alone. (This shows recognition that the USA has been propping up Israel, but there seem to be some odd omissions. Why not recommend supporting American efforts in fighting the spread of Marxism? Why not warn that it would be dangerous to risk alienating their number one ally?) Moreover, Israel might become the final refuge for the Jews:
We cannot assume that U.S. Jews, and the communities of Europe and Latin America will continue to exist in the present form in the future.
The footnote to that references a few articles claiming a tremendous increase in anti-Semitism recently. (It’s the sort of thing that surely would’ve gone well with donation drives for those tricky “watchdog” outfits, scaring senior citizens into cutting them a check to prevent the next Shoah. However, I don’t recall any such uptick in tensions during the early 1980s.) This gloomy prediction did not come to pass; Jewish communities abroad are doing quite well, except in certain European countries overrun by Muslim migrants — and whose brilliant idea was that, pray tell? We’d all be getting along so much better if only the Zionist strategists would quit outsmarting themselves.
Much of the Oded Yinon Plan reads like “For Israel’s future security, we need civil wars in this, that, and these other countries.” Destabilizing nations is, of course, practically a technology among some circles, a craft that might be described as destructive social engineering or malicious applied sociology. The document doesn’t spell out how to ensure that the desired sequence of events will happen. Lebanon already was a mess by then. However, what were the odds that the rest of Israel’s neighbors were certain to collapse promptly and conveniently like a chain of dominoes, without any outside intervention? (If that really was considered to be inevitable, then there wouldn’t be much to discuss!) The English translation ends with commentary by Israel Shahak, which has speculations about the subject.
To make a long story short, he says that according to custom, specific military details on how to carry out these sorts of things are discussed behind closed doors. Practically speaking, he estimated that the Israeli military wouldn’t be able to maintain order in vast occupied territories while taking on the Middle East. (I agree; that effectively would be like starting a World War singlehandedly.) Instead, they probably would arrange for a system of small puppet governments ruled by opportunists with no ties to the communities. It turns out that in actual history, the USA ended up supplying most of the muscle on these far-flung military adventures.
Shahak indicates that the author had to publish the plan to generate support among the government’s top echelons and the less astute middle ranks of the command structure. Word-of-mouth alone wouldn’t do for a plan of this importance. However, I’ll add that it’s obvious that putting all this in writing and hiding it in plain sight was risky. This is so even if it was a Hebrew-language quarterly that might have had its greatest appeal with Israeli policy wonks. After all, grandiose plans to foment civil wars in neighboring counties make for some pretty damaging stuff. Still, “security by obscurity” might have worked, if Shakak hadn’t translated it.
He speculates that any potential blowback was likely considered to be limited. Arabs tend to be preoccupied with unfounded conspiratorial stories more than they are with actual dirt. (I would have to say that’s also true for people who are a little too preoccupied with overrated 18th-century subversives when there’s plenty of modern skullduggery needing exposure. Call me a cynic, but I have to wonder how much Illuminati stuff is disinformation meant to distract from more serious concerns.) He notes further that Americans only get their news about the region through Israel Firsters in the MSM and the Jerusalem Post. Therefore, an information blockade is maintained.
And so it came to pass, for the most part. History didn’t turn out exactly as the Oded Yinon Plan predicted. That’s hardly surprising, since even the best-laid plans eventually run into the “fog of war” problem and random stochastic factors. (For those who imagine that things get scripted down to minute detail and always come off without a hitch, that’s not exactly how it works.) Still, there’s certainly more than a passing resemblance to actual events. Much of that was facilitated by the cooperation of the United States government.
First, there was the mess in Lebanon, and even at this early date, the USA got sucked into it with fatal results. Then came the Gulf War, which went into extended overtime. That rolled into the War on Terror, an odd conflict that could stretch on indefinitely since it doesn’t have a definable victory condition. Most recently was the Arab Spring, the consequences of which are still ongoing in Syria. It’s quite remarkable that events pretty similar to these were foretold in an obscure policy article from 1982 — what a coinkydink!
All told, we can draw two possible conclusions from this. The first is that the author had some high-level connections in the Israeli government, they in turn knew some people and could get their neocon buddies and Israel Firsters in Washington to beat the drums of war as necessary, our Cabinet looked a lot like their Knesset (and still does), and the rest is history. The other possible conclusion is that Oded Yinon had a pretty good crystal ball on his desk, a high fidelity tarot deck, or maybe even a magic seer stone from some forgotten vault in downtown Salt Lake City. More seriously, it’s not too hard to connect the dots about all this. Also, remember that it’s not a “conspiracy theory” when they’ve been saying exactly what they intend to do.
What’s next? Syria is still in the crosshairs at the moment. Saudi Arabia hasn’t undergone one of those scripted “Color Revolutions” yet, one of the few agenda items that haven’t occurred at least partially by now. Time will tell; if the neocons eventually start beating the drums of war about the Saudis, it might not be too surprising. However, if they try to get us to kick sand in the faces of their geopolitical rivals yet again, there’s just one problem. We’ve figured out who has been setting us up, and we’ve had quite enough of being played for chumps already. Other than that, it’s time to change course on this dodgy strategy.
Israel’s siege mentality is at least understandable. They have little strategic depth, their neighbors don’t like them (it’s not too difficult to see why), and running the Palestinians off of their own land somehow failed to win hearts and minds. However, the results from a couple of decades of neocon interventions haven’t been encouraging. After all the wars and destabilization, Israel didn’t acquire smaller and more docile neighbors as hoped. Instead, this merely encouraged terrorism, the growth of enemy paramilitary forces, and radical Muslim fundamentalism. The lesson they need to take away from this is that kicking a nest of hornets doesn’t destroy the hornets; it just makes them mad. It’s time to stop doing that. Instead of repeating past mistakes, their top strategists could put their heads together to figure out how to get along with their neighbors.
Moreover, these shenanigans aren’t going over well in the USA, and more people are aware of the situation than some might think. It’s a bad idea for the Israeli government to alienate their number one ally and benefactor by overdoing the “let’s you and him fight” gambit and otherwise playing us for chumps. They need to stop doing that too. People notice things like that. These neocon spit-in-your-eye wars worsened the USA’s reputation according to International Opinion, wasted trillions of dollars that the budget doesn’t have, and cost thousands of American lives. From now on, if the Israelis want to pick fights with their neighbors, they can send their own citizens off to war. Americans have more than enough domestic problems that need addressing. For one thing, régime change begins at home.
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