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CONFLICTS AND NATIONS

How did Israel become a country?

European Jews, who had been persecuted for centuries in Europe, began to emigrate to the area we know as Palestine in the late-nineteenth century. These new immigrants purchased land and set up communities in the vast desert and coastal areas. This area, which was under British administration, began to see a new influx of European Jews in the early part of the twentieth century. After World War I, the United Kingdom issued the Balfour Declaration, which accepted the establishment of a Jewish state in present-day Palestine. At the time, Palestine was not comprised of countries, but was merely a collection of territories ruled by colonial powers such as the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

After World War II, hundreds of thousands of European Jews emigrated to the region, enough to cause the Arab community to revolt and riot against them. At this time, nearly 33 percent of all people in Palestine were Jewish. Jewish paramilitary groups increasingly fought against British occupying forces. The United Nations recognized Jerusalem as an international city for both Arabs and Jews, and it approved an interim plan to divide Palestine into Arab and Jewish states. The Jewish authorities accepted the plan, but new Arab countries that formed after World War I and World

What was the Persian Gulf War?

In late 1990, Iraq attacked Kuwait, claiming that it was Iraq's long-lost nineteenth province. A coalition of countries, led by the United States, fought against Iraq. The land war lasted a mere 100 hours (the air war began January 17, 1991, and ended, along with the land war, on February 28) and Kuwait was liberated from Iraq in February 1991. Most of Kuwait was destroyed, especially oil facilities, by Iraq's "scorched earth" policy.

War II did not. One day before the British mandate of control over the Palestine region expired in May 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed.

What is the Gaza Strip?

This area of land along the Mediterranean Sea at the border of Israel and Egypt was part of Egypt until it was captured by Israel for a brief period in 1956 and 1957 and then permanently in the 1967 war. The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel agreed to Palestinian self-rule in the Strip in 1994.

How has the West Bank caused conflict?

The West Bank, which refers to the western bank of the Jordan River, was supposed to become part of an independent Palestine at the same time Israel became a state. However, Arab attacks following the United Nations' 1947 proclamation of Israeli and Palestinian statehood led Israel to take over the West Bank when Israel became an independent state in 1948. Following a 1950 truce, Jordan occupied the West Bank, but Israel retook the land during the 1967 war against its Arab neighbors. Peace talks in the late 1980s led to an agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) for limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank.

Which member of the United Nations could not serve on the Security Council?

In order to sit on one of the four rotating spots on the nine-member Security Council, a member of the United Nations must also be a member of one of five regional groups. Israel was not eligible until 2000 because of its hostile relations with Arab nations.

Why is Cyprus divided?

The island of Cyprus, part of the European Union, is located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It became independent from the United Kingdom in 1960. In 1974, a coup occurred that overthrew the president. Turkey invaded the island and succeeded in taking control of its northern half. This became the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not internationally recognized as an independent country. Southern Cyprus remained an independent country—the Republic of Cyprus. Currently, a U.N. peacekeeping force of 938 soldiers monitors the ceasefire line between the two areas.

When did the Iraq War begin?

The war, which has been called the Second Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom, began on March 20, 2003. Although President George W. Bush proclaimed the end of the war aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, declaring the "mission accomplished," the war was still being waged five years later and with no end in sight.

Why did the United States invade Iraq?

The administration under President George W. Bush claimed that Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, was a threat to the region because it believed that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and biological weapons. This was later proven false by many investigators from both the U.S. and United Nations. The weapons programs had stopped at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991. The Bush administration also claimed that Iraq was somehow responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the president repeated these claims in the news media for many years. These allegations have also been proven false; there was never a connection between the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and the country of Iraq.

How many people have been killed during the U.S. war with Iraq?

Numbers and methods used to compute the statistics of dead and wounded in Iraq vary considerably, from a high of over 1.2 million people (Opinion Research Business), which is more than the Rwanda genocide, to a low of 654,000 people (Lancet Survey). As of 2008, over 4,000 Americans have lost their lives in Iraq since the war began.

How much money have U.S. taxpayers spent on the war in Iraq?

The war in Iraq has cost the U.S. economy nearly $2 trillion.

The United States has been increasingly involved in military actions in the Middle East, including an ongoing invasion of Iraq. U.S. Army humvees are seen here at a military camp in Iraq.

The United States has been increasingly involved in military actions in the Middle East, including an ongoing invasion of Iraq. U.S. Army humvees are seen here at a military camp in Iraq.

What nationalities were the 9/11 terrorists?

Out of the 19 terrorists who participated in the 9/11 attacks, 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia, two were from the United Arab Emirates, one was from Yemen, and one was from Morocco.

Who is Osama bin Laden?

Osama bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian militant and the leader of the terrorist organization Al Qaeda (the Base in Arabic). Al Qaeda is a Sunni Muslim organization that was created from veterans of the struggle against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Bin Laden is the son of a wealthy Saudi Arabian family, who made their fortune in the Saudi civil construction business. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia, moved to Sudan, and now is alleged to live in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is thought to be the mastermind behind the attacks on the World Trade Cen ter in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia.

Bin Laden used his personal wealth to fund mujadeen insurgents in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, and he organized bombings against various American interests, including the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. He demands the end of foreign influence in Muslim countries and the creation of a new Muslim caliphate. He has been waging a jihad ("holy war," although many Muslims say this is a misuse of the term) to achieve his aims through violence and the killing of both civilians and military personnel. Bin Laden is on the FBI's most wanted list. A reward of $25 million for information leading to his arrest has been offered.

 
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