v6n3_4_adegboyega - The Impact of Domestic Factors on...

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44 The Impact of Domestic Factors on Foreign Policy: Nigerian/Israeli Relations Terhemba N. Ambe-Uva* and Kasali M. Adegboyega ** “…the domestic structure is not irrelevant in any historical period. At a minimum, it determines the amount of social effect which can be devoted to foreign policy” (Kissinger 1969:504). Introduction Since 1960 when Nigeria became an independent state, its relation with Israel has generated “heated controversy” (Nereus, 1993:16). From the late 1970s, the controversy climaxed when late President Sadat of Egypt embarked on his bold peace initiatives in the Middle East (Olusola, 1986:438). It is worth mentioning that the events leading to the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 also contributed in no small measure. The consideration or adoption of the Arab-Israeli War in the Nigerian domestic milieu and politics further complicated the issue, elevating the debate to a stage of great suspicion and sentiment. The Debate on the Arab-Israeli conflict has not in any way helped clarify issues of great importance such as problems of underdevelopment, religious jingoism, ethnic fundamentalism and pervasive poverty which developing nations like Nigeria with a distorted
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45 and monolithic economy should aggressively address (Ayagi, 1990:15-22). The ethnic fragmentation and religious heterogeneity of the country has posed a great “dilemma” on the government’s decision to severe diplomatic ties with Israel due to mixed feelings among the country’s diametrically opposed religious structure. Aluko (1981: 83-95) argued that the Muslims felt that the move to break ties with Israel was not only timely but also desirable, whereas the Christians saw the move as a wrong foreign policy (FP) option. However, when the Nigerian government decided to renew diplomatic ties in 1992, the Muslim group vociferated over this policy decision, whereas the Christians saw it as a welcome idea. The paper demonstrates the interplay of domestic factors, which has necessitated a flux in the FP orientation of Nigeria towards Israel in the context of initial severance and later restoration of diplomatic ties with Israel. It argues that domestic factors as exemplified in the Nigerian-Israeli FP have been instrumental to cold and warm reception of the Nigerian government towards Israel. Divided into sections, the first conceptualizes the domestic structure (DS) and Nigeria’s FP; the second focuses on the domestic environment as they impact on Nigeria-Israel relations; and the third is a brief summary and conclusion.
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v6n3_4_adegboyega - The Impact of Domestic Factors on...

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