Cheeseburger Gothic

Stalin's Hammer: Cairo. More thoughts on post-Transition Israel

Posted May 23, 2014 into Books by John Birmingham

We had a discussion a while back on the fate of Israel post Transition. Yesterdays massive traffic inflow for the Abbott blog saw a lot of readers go back through the archive and one left a long comment on that entry that deserves to be read more widely than it would as an afterthought to a long dead entry.

Not sure who wrote this, but here t'is:

This thread is way old but I just wanted to throw in my two cents since it got me thinking: tl;dr version is basically that there'd be an Israel though it might not have quite the same borders as in the original timeline.

To make a long story short, basically by the 1930s the Jews of the Mandate had all the essentials of a state (gov't, self-defense, economy) so the question to ask here is what would prevent them from becoming independent in the altered circumstances of the new timeline? The Soviets probably conquered outright Iran which means all the various Arab armies that would have invaded have other things to worry about. (I can't figure the Soviets conquering the entire Middle East; just holding the extra territory you have them conquer in Europe and Asia leaves them extremely overextended.)

That leaves on four major players on the ground in the Mandate itself: Britain, Palestinian Arabs, Israelis, and the Hashemites of Jordan. With the Soviets grabbing territory deeper into the Mediterranean the British would probably strip the Mandate of every troop it had to reenforce its hold on Egypt, Cyprus, and Crete. As for Jordan, they and their army were still basically under British control (they didn't become independent before 1946) and if the Soviets have Iran the Jordanians would probably have to send all their troops east to reenforce Iraq where there was after all another Hashemite monarchy in control. They could even have turned north to try and take Damascus which is territory that Britain originally promised the Hashemites anyway but had to renege on because of the French who aren't an issue in the altered timeline. That leaves the Israelis and Palestinians. The problem for the Palestinians is that their leadership was basically the Mufti of Jerusalem who spent the war in Berlin and is probably radioactive vapor in the new timeline. Plus the Palestinians had spent the late 1930s unsuccessfully revolting against Britain and eliminating all potential competitors to the Mufti. So basically they are in worse shape to revolt and put together a Palestinian state than they would have been in the original timeline. That leaves the Israelis who have a government, the core of an army, and with the Holocaust aborted, have a much larger population to count on in the long run.

About the only thing that would change is borders; the British would want Egypt and Transjordan to be linked so would probably push to have the Negev kept out of Israeli hands (something that was kicked around in the 1950s of the mainstream timeline as part of peace proposals). I'd guess that Britain would keep the Negev but give Israel territory from the Sinai adjacent to what is the Gaza Strip in the mainstream timeline.

By the 1940s the ability to outright prevent Israel from coming into being becomes something very difficult to prevent and with all the other chaos and changes going on in the altered timeline, what makes it important to any major power to stop them from being independent?

21 Responses to ‘Stalin's Hammer: Cairo. More thoughts on post-Transition Israel’

Simon asserts...

Posted May 23, 2014
I don't think soviets will have that many troops in asia, because their presence in japan will probably speed up the sino-soviet split. Thing about China is that they are, and probably always have been more nationalist than communist and soviet expansion in asia would automatically be seen as threat to their sovereignty.

Respond to this comment

BigWillieStyle mutters...

Posted May 23, 2014

Way too thinky for me.

OT. On a brighter note, you got mentioned in Miranda Devine's haughty blog over at the Death Star. 'Cos of your sweary rant at Toned Abs yesterday. I think Miranda may have accused you of hijacking MH370, and the Fukushima meltdown. May or may not have questioned whether you and Pol Pot have ever been seen in the same room together.

Lulu mumbles...

Posted May 23, 2014
Did she place him on the grassy knoll as well?

Respond to this thread

NBlob mumbles...

Posted May 23, 2014

Test


Test


123


test

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23, 2014


Yesterday's "In Conversation With Rirchard Fidler" (One of my favourite podcasts) was a conversation about Israel with a proud Zionist. As per usual <STRONG>With Both Sides Of The Debate</STRONG> there was lots of retrospective redefining and 20 20 hindsight and I didn't get to hear it all live (podcasting FTW), but one interesting observation that I thought had relevance here was; the gravestones from the UK armies that took Israel from the Ottomon tell an interesting story, many, even most of them are empire troops. A large % Australian & Kiwis.

Respond to this thread

Chaz swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 23, 2014

I'd say the with the uptime knowledge the Zionists would push to annex the west bank and push over the Golan heights and also into southern Lebanon.

They'd want to secure the water rights of the river Jordan and also to give Eretz Israel a bit more strategic depth. The question is would they forcibly remove the Palestinians or learn from the mistakes in the uptimers history books?

The true Zionists would want to cleanse the new areas of Palestinians (in order to avoid any future infatadas however the realists would (maybe) try and fold them into Israeli society. Personally I think the former more likely than the latter.

So I'd postulate the northern edge of Israel at around Sidon (excellent port) and heading east as far as Nawa in Syria and maybe straight down to Dara before stopping the line at Jordan's border.




Respond to this comment

Analog Penetration asserts...

Posted May 23, 2014
One question I have is - when's the next installment coming out JB?

Respond to this comment

Propnut is gonna tell you...

Posted May 23, 2014

In terms of British strategy for N.Africa & M.E, they would have replicated the strategy that Malta must be held at all cost, not Crete! Malta as history shows us is/was the key to control of the Med, and the base from which axis supply to N.Africa were disrupted. (the Brits, U Class sub did an amazing job in sinking Rommels much needed supplies, - a little known aspect of sub warfare, along with the RAF). Malta was also the base for the invasion of Sicly and inturn the invasion of Europe via Italy (not so soft underbelly). Malta is also basically the half waypoint between the Gib and Alex and also requried as a refueling spot for aircraft enroute to egypt.



Respond to this comment

HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted May 23, 2014
Prop, I'm wondering if Stalin doesn't make Malta MOLTEN? or very nearly it. The Ruskies will have a much more advanced tech tree, i guess o the west to so its an interesting one. I would imagine , if like you say the decide oits of strategic value. Then it would be defended quite well. GOOD ENOUGH for a nuke or close too...hmmmm

Respond to this comment

S.M. Stirling swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 24, 2014
Probably Israel is bigger, what with more Jews surviving and equally eager to get out of Europe, and probably they go the whole hog on getting rid of the Palestinians.

The (unpalatable but true) lesson of the past 150 years is that "population exchange", done thoroughly, genuinely -solves- problems. Vide Yugoslavia, Turkey-Greece, Cyprus, the eastern Germans, Poland, etc. Admittedly this is on the basis of the old Russian saying that if people cause you a problem, you should remember that no people equals no problem.

Attempts at forcing coexistance on populations who hate each other usually just pushes the problems down the road at best.

It's the triumph of hope over experience.

Respond to this comment

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted May 24, 2014
The first question was put to me by my Grandmother along time ago.
Now I understand it.
Do you remember What the Russians did when one of their own was kidnapped in Lebanon?

Respond to this comment

Chaz puts forth...

Posted May 25, 2014

Dino, absolutely.

Allegedly the same sort of threat was made against Julian Assange hence the reason he is now a stooge for Putin

Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted May 25, 2014
Chaz,
I no little of Julian. I met him once I think, long ago.
I have read that he is a millionare. I have read that he is supported by Murdoch and the Rothchilds. His unsuccessful attempted at an alliance with Cryptome(look them up) is telling. It is a media circus and those who have chosen to support him lack any creduality the ethos espouses.
Bradley Manning. How is he/she? Chelsea? Is that you?

Respond to this thread

A Little Late swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 25, 2014
re: Malta; Britain would definitely want to hold it but they wouldn't have to scratch troops out to do it with the US army in south Italy. With Crete and Cyprus they need get troops from somewhere to hold the islands both to block Soviet advances further south than Greece and Turkey and protect Egypt. The idea is that if the British have to hold anything in the eastern Mediterranean it would be Suez and most approaches to it at all cost.

re: "Population Exchange"; In the circumstances under discussion, which is an altered timeline where the involved factions have gained some knowledge of what was supposed to be the future, I'd say that both sides would see the fight as an absolute zero-sum game where you either have to go big or go home so to speak. The fight would be much bloodier and the victory much more clear cut than in the original timeline.

Again I think that Israel is likely to win independence but with different borders. I also think that the region would probably be more peaceful in the aftermath, that is there wouldn't be any Arab-Israeli wars or conflict because all the actors who would be involved in that have more serious issues to deal with like the Soviets or don't have the independence they had in the mainstream timeline to do as they like. (There's no way that Egypt is anything but firmly in British hands even if it remains formally independent because control of Suez is too important to risk on the chance that someone like Nasser could take power).

The question in the altered Middle East around Israel seems to me to actually be how it would fit into the region. The Arabs still would be hostile even if they can't do anything about it but does the west have the luxury to indulge them this time around and leave Israel hanging outside the existing power systems? Or would the Western powers be happier to see Israel as an isolationist Mideast Switzerland instead?

(This also got me thinking about the alternate Germany. For instance in the mainstream timeline German reparations and eventually weapons deals helped Israel out immensely in the 1950s. But what does Germany look like in the altered timeline? Did denazification end up being "stop calling yourselves Nazis and don't talk about the Jews anymore"? What would relations look like?)

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted May 25, 2014
The German sub they gave the Israelis a few years ago(reparations from Germany only stopped a few years ago then Syria then Ukraine) that got sunk then the use of nukes- there a few videos, the flash and the double detonation in this one is pretty clear-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLZ-qktlYtw

Respond to this thread

S.M. Stirling mutters...

Posted May 26, 2014
Actually, I'd expect a series of "pre-emptive strikes" across the world as the news from the future sank in -- just like Stalin, the people who know they'd lose out if events unfold as they did in our history aren't going to go quietly.

They're the ones with the most incentive to kick the applecart over. They now know that they've got nothing to lose by radicalism and risks and nothing to gain by being reasonable.

It's also obvious that history -can- be changed.

Dozens of governments and groups would set out to kill all their enemies while they still have the chance. I wouldn't like to be a black South African or a North African Arab, for example.

Or a Chechen. Stalin killed half of them in our history; I doubt any at all would survive in the new timeline. In fact, he'd probably kill everyone in the Caucasus except the Armenians and Georgians, and go on a similar rampage in Central Asia.

Respond to this comment

Dirk has opinions thus...

Posted May 28, 2014
An option would be that Israel, Lebanon, Lybia, (Trans)Jordan, Syria and Egypt would form the southern axis of Nato.
All leaders there also have 20-20 hindsight, and know the problems arise from being in the wrong camp. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer would be a great credo in this.

Respond to this comment

Chrisb has opinions thus...

Posted May 28, 2014
One might hope that being able to see the results so many years after might convince all but the most deluded Zionists that Israel - grouping most of the Jews in a Crusader kingdom that could last about as long as the original, i.e. until the Arabs got their shit together - was from the beginning a really terrible idea. Probably not, but the idea that all the non-final-solution populations would rush to a different cauldron also seems misguided. Surely a more accepting America would be the first, second and third choice?
As for the white south africans preemptively killing the blacks, remember that it was a white South African who said "I'd rather be murdered in my bed than have to make it." Which is why we still have Irish, by the way, despite Cromwell.

Respond to this comment

Guy mutters...

Posted May 28, 2014

It's worth remembering that in OTL, many Israelis in 1948 were hard-line socialists who thought Stalin was a great man. In the alternative timeline that belief might have been shaken. However, the US and Britain would certainly be keen to keep the Arabs onside as a bulwark against the Soviet threat, and a newly born Israel would not help the Allied cause. Perhaps the Soviets would be the ones helping Israel with the West supporting the Arabs?

Respond to this comment

S.M. Stirling mutters...

Posted May 29, 2014
Chrisb: "Arabs getting their shit together"... as in what, contemporary Syria? Egypt? Iraq? The Sudan? Gaza, for Ghu's sake?

The term is an oxymoron. The only time Arabs aren't spontaneously killing each other -en masse- is when some iron-fisted tyrant nationalizes and monopolizes the process, which is natural in societies characterized by zero social trust, amoral familialism and murderous paranoia.

It ain't an accident that the main instances of chemical warfare in the past generation have been by Arab governments against their own populations.

The Arab world is a gigantic cauldron of dysfunction, and the reasons are deep-cultural and ineradicable, not subject to change by the day-to-day contingencies of politics and history.

Or to put it in short form: in any of an infinite variety of timelines, they're both fucked up and totally fucked.

Respond to this comment

A Little Late asserts...

Posted May 30, 2014
re: "pre-emptive strikes": I agree that the new timeline would be very bloody; the original losers of history wouldn't want to just lie down and die while at the same time the other side wouldn't want to lose out this time around either. If there was anything lacking from the first installment of the sequel, its a sense of hate and rage at the uptimers over how much worse history has become. Using Harry as a POV character has its pluses especially in that his royal status gives him a bit of protective celebrity but you don't get a sense of how a lot of people around him who are now on the wrong side of a much different border would really hate them.

(Also for future installments I'd really suggest that some maps be included; it would help to give a sense of just how different the new timeline looks.)

re: Immigration to post-Transition Israel: So far we don't actually have any evidence in the story that any of the western powers altered their immigration policies following the altered end of WW2. Even in our own history, immigration remained fairly restricted until the 1960s. Europe would be awash in refugees (and in fact the first installment of Stalin's Hammer suggest that this is still the case even a decade after the end of the war) but how likely is that to convince Congress to lower immigration quotas? What exactly is going to change the position of the Roosevelt administration and whoever ended up following him (Dewey? Truman? Marshall?) in this new timeline?

Their aren't likely to be many options open besides Israel for a larger surviving East European Jewry to go to. Now thats not to say that the entire larger surviving population of Jewish Eastern Europe would just pick up for Israel. Some might stay behind and some might head west but overall if immigration quotas didn't come down after the Holocaust, whats going to make them come down in a timeline where the Holocaust was aborted? (Plus Israel wouldn't just have an expanded European population to pick from but also the same Middle Eastern Jews that immigrated en mass in the mainstream timeline, probably with a much larger share of Persian Jews assuming the Soviets outright took over Iran.)

re: Soviets and Israel: I doubt that whatever Israel does form in the altered timeline would be pro-Soviet. The Jewish leadership in the Mandate isn't different in the new timeline, they just have more information about the future. Ben-Gurion and his government in the mainstream timeline were consistently committed to keeping the communist party out of all coalition governments that he formed. Why would that change here?

As for the Arabs and the West, the United States and Britain would probably want to have some sort of a Middle Eastern NATO (I think thats what Eisenhower had in mind in the mainstream timeline) if there are actually any independent Arabs states besides Saudi Arabia in the new timeline. The question again is whether the creation of Israel could be stopped in the new timeline and what happens if it isn't. I don't think it could be short of a massive troop commitment on the part of Britain and with the Soviets on the move everywhere, how are they going to swing that? The story hints that they aren't able to do that; how would civil war level fighting in the Mandate be able to break out and sustain itself in 1944 if the British have enough troops on the ground to nip it in the bud? Its possible that later on, once the war and post-war scene is settled that they could do something but by that time there'd be an Israel on the ground. So then the question is what to do about it. The US and Britain could settle on Israel as a Mideast Switzerland, a neutral territory where the two sides in the Cold War can intrigue against each other over coffee in the oceanside cafes without trying to lean the country one way or the other. Or they could actively force the Arab states who now have much more of a constrained playing field to maneuver in to accept the situation as it is and be part of an alliance with Israel in it. There is also the possibility that the expanded Soviet borders crushes decolonization completely so that what the Arabs want isn't particularly a major concern either. Most Arab states didn't become independent till after WW2; who's to say that they are independent at all here? Its not even just the situation with the Soviets that can effect that but also the knowledge of the future. Given that the trilogy started with an armada heading off to battle a Caliphate, who from the future would recommend that the Mideast region be allowed to develop without a heavy hand to steer things along to a different conclusion?

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Stalin's Hammer: Cairo. More thoughts on post-Transition Israel'

Follow along with RSS