This essay addresses the Palestine question within a European context. After reflecting on why Palestine has been widely embraced as a "universal cause," the author explores its relationship to the "Jewish question" in the changed context following World War II: Whereas prior to the war it was the Jews who were perceived as a threat to European civilization, today it is the Muslim immigrants who have the scapegoat role. Also discussed are philosemitism (and its manifestations in the West) and anti-Semitism (as it relates to the Arab world), and how these phenomena have been impacted by the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The essay concludes with "utopian musings" on possibilities for a future Palestinian-Israeli peace.
Since the eastward expansion of NATO dashed Moscow's early hopes of being integrated into the West, Russia has pursued an independent foreign policy focused mainly on Central Asia and the Middle East, including "rogue" states shunned by Washington. Among Russia's advantages are tens of thousands of Arabic-speaking former Soviet experts and a growing regional anti-Americanism. At the same time, Russian Muslims are becoming more assertive. Russia's dependence on the West for economic aid, however, sharply limits its margin of maneuver.
This essay argues that the Gulf War, far from instituting a new regional order, has contributed to an imbalance in the region that could lead to further instability. A crumbling social fabric in Iraq, Kurdish fighting in the north, an intensification of the Kurdish war in Turkey, "impoverishment" of the Gulf dynasties, rising militarization of the region, and a reversal of the democratization trends of the beginning of the decade are all part of the harvest of the war. Even the Arab-Israeli peace process, a cornerstone of the new order envisaged by President Bush, in the long run can only lead, by its increasingly manifest unfairness, to further instability.