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Cover International Relations of the Middle East

12. The Arab–Israeli Conflict  

Charles Smith

This chapter discusses different aspects of the Arab–Israeli conflict over time — military, political, and economic. The first two decades of the Arab–Israeli conflict, often marked by armed hostilities, were notable for Arab refusal to recognize Israel's existence. Since the 1967 war, Arab states, specifically Syria and Saudi Arabia, have displayed willingness to recognize Israel, and two, Egypt and Jordan, have signed peace treaties; Yasser Arafat recognized Israel's right to exist in the 1993 Oslo agreement. In this regard, most Arab states have adopted a realist approach to the Arab–Israeli conflict, seeking coexistence based in part on acceptance of Israel's military supremacy. In contrast, Israel appears to insist on security through regional domination, coupled with retention of the West Bank as Greater Israel.


Cover International Relations Since 1945

14. Détente in Decline, 1977–9  

This chapter examines the decline of détente during the period 1977–9. Détente suffered in part from being identified with Richard Nixon. After 1973, conservatives increasingly questioned détente, felt that the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) benefited the Soviet Union most, and were disturbed by an apparent pattern of communist adventurism abroad, in the 1973 Middle East War, Angola, and South-East Asia. The chapter first considers détente and policy-making during the time of Jimmy Carter before discussing the conflict in the Middle East, in particular the Lebanon Civil War, and the Camp David summit of 1978 that resulted in an Egyptian–Israel peace treaty. It then analyses the Ogaden conflict of 1977–8, the ‘normalization’ of Sino-American relations, and the Sino-Vietnamese War. It concludes with an assessment of the SALT II treaty.