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Arabism and Islamism
Bernard Lewis Ph.D., Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus, Princeton University, in his book The Arabs in History (1993), wrote the following:
West', Islam and Islamism,
Pan-Arabism is a movement for unification among the Arab peoples and nations of the Middle East. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism. Pan-Arabism has tended to be both secular, socialist, and against Western influence.
Pan-Arabism was first pressed by Sherif Hussein ibn Ali, the Sherif of Mecca, who sought independence from the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of a unified state of Arabia. In 1915-16, the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence resulted in an agreement between Britain and the Arab world that if the Arabs successfully revolted against the Ottomans, Britain would support claims for Arab independence. In 1916, however, the Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France determined that crucial parts of the Middle East would be divided between those powers and not given to Arab self-rule; when Turkey surrendered in 1918, Britain refused to keep to the letter of its arrangments with Hussein and the two nations assumed guardianship of several newly-created states. The promised "Arabia" (later Saudi Arabia) was formed in the less valuable south. Additionally, Britain used the Balfour Declaration of 1917 as reason to administer Palestine as a British Mandate, which it became in 1920. As a result, early ideals of pan-Arabism were not realized and instead began a period of British and French domination of the Arab world. cont'd..
Pan-Arabism is the general term for the modern movement for political unification among the Arab nations of the Middle East. Since the Ottoman Turks rose to power in the 14th cent., there have been stirrings among Arabs for reunification as a means of reestablishing Arab political power. At the start of World War I, France and Great Britain, seeking allies against the German-Turkish alliance, encouraged the cause of Arab nationalism under the leadership of the Hashemite Sherif Husayn ibn Ali , a descendant of Muhammad. As ruler of Mecca and a religious leader of Islam, he had great influence in the Arab world, an influence that continued with his two sons, Abdullah and Faisal ( Faisal I of Iraq). From the 1930s, hostility toward Zionist aims in Palestine was a major rallying point for Arab nationalists. The movement found official expression after World War II in the Arab League and in such unification attempts as the Arab Federation (1958) of Iraq and Jordan, the United Arab Republic , the Arab Union (1958), the United Arab Emirates , and the Arab Maghreb Union (see under Maghreb ). The principal instrument of Pan-Arabism in the early 1960s was the Ba'ath party , which was active in most Arab states, notably Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen. Gamal Abdal Nasser of Egypt, who was not a Ba'athist, expressed similar ideals of Arab unity and socialism.
The defeat of the Arabs in the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 and the death (1970) of Nasser set back the cause of Pan-Arabism. In the early 1970s, a projected merger between Egypt and Libya came to nought. However, during and following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, the Arab states showed new cohesion in their use of oil as a major economic and political weapon in international affairs. This cohesion was fractured by the signing of the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel and by the Iran-Iraq War . Pan-Arabist rhetoric was used by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in an attempt to stir opposition the UN coalition forces during the Persian Gulf War , but many Arab nations joined the anti-Iraq coalition.
See G. Antonius, The Arab Awakening (1946, repr. 1965); H. a Faris, ed.,
Arab Nationalism and the Future of the Arab World (1986); B. Pridham,
ed., The Arab Gulf and the Arab World (1988).
Arabs, name originally applied to the Semitic peoples of the Arabian Peninsula. It now refers to those persons whose primary language is Arabic. They constitute most of the population of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the West Bank, and Yemen; Arab communities are also found elsewhere in the world. The term does not usually include Arabic-speaking Jews (found chiefly in North Africa and formerly also in Yemen and Iraq), Kurds, Berbers, Copts, and Druze, but it does include Arabic-speaking Christians (chiefly found in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan). Socially, the Arabs are divided into two groups: the settled Arab [fellahin=villagers, or hadar=townspeople] and the nomadic Bedouin.
of the term Arab is unclear, and the meaning of the word has changed several
times through history. Some Arab scholars have equated Joktan (Gen. 10.25)
with the ancient Arab patriarch Qahtan whose tribe is thought to have
originated in S Arabia. The Assyrian inscriptions (9th cent. B.C.) referred
to nomadic peoples inhabiting the far north of the Arabian Peninsula;
the sedentary population in the south of the peninsula was not called
Arab. In classical times the term was extended to the whole of the Arabian
Peninsula and to all the desert areas of the Middle East, and in the Middle
Ages the Arabs came to be called Saracens.
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