Good Essay On «the Arab Nationalism»

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Middle East, Muslim, Nation, Nationalism, Politics, Idea, Countries, War

Pages: 9

Words: 2475

Published: 2020/11/03

Arab nationalism is secular ideology that asserts the existence of a single Arab nation, united by a common culture and area of residence (the Arab world), and putting one of its main objectives the removal of foreign (primarily Western) political and cultural influence in the life of the Arabs. This ideology has been widely developed during the reign of Egyptian President Gamal Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s. This ideology has rapidly seized the minds of the Arabs in the Middle East getting more and more popular in different spheres of the society of the Arab world and has impacted course of the Cold War. However, the idea of Arab nationalism has also quickly turned into a fiasco. So let’s analyze the major aspects of this ideology and reasons of the fiasco.
The Arab nationalism is an ideological trend that has emerged in the early twentieth century. The formation of this ideology has occurred under the active influence of ideas of Arab Enlightenment. This Arab Enlightenment has developed mainly in two countries - Egypt and Syria that had a special trade-economic, historical, cultural and political status within the Ottoman Empire and has had directly cultural contacts with the major European countries.
During the second half of the nineteenth century the greatest thinkers such as al-Bustani, al-Tahtawi, etc have developed such concepts as "people", "homeland" and "Arabism". All these concepts were then fundamentally important for the development of the Arab national idea and have found in it an important place as the concepts of "Arab nation", "Arab homeland" with its distinct geographical features, "Arabism" as a unifying relationship of all Arabs.
National identity has become a form of group identity, fixing the real or imagined specific features of linguo-ethnical groups for which such unity and common historical destiny and interests, and sometimes also a same religion, perform a unifying function. At the same time belonging to a nation is placed above tribal, class, local patriotism; affirms the priority of national communications over traditional. Muslim patriotism usually has given way to the sense of belonging to other societies (tribal, clan, religious and racial). The national idea of industrial society has been designed to dominate them.
National consciousness of a new type was born on the soil of the new social relations that began to permeate the structure of traditional solidarity. Social groups, as you know, each driven by their own interests. These selfish interests divide them. However, in some circumstances there emerges a common interest that unites them. Nationalism as an ideology, and politics and psychology of the national question have formed the reaction of the population of the colonial and dependent countries to "humiliation and insult" as well as the aspirations and ideals, strategy and tactics, mood communities formed a nation or a nation becomes aware of itself.
Protest against the economic and legal inequality in the colonial and dependent countries was stronger than the inferiority complex suffered by socially active part of the society, and stimulated an awareness of its national interests. Arab nationalism was born in the early XX century as an ideological justification of cohesion of the Arab population of the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the fight against political despotism, for democratic freedoms, equality of opportunity for Arabs and Turks.
The concept of "Arabism" was the main ideological forerunner of the Arab national idea. The fact that the social consciousness of civilization centers that now constitutes "the Arab world", until the nineteenth century was not at all characteristic to identify itself with the Arabs in general, despite the fact that the ideologists could have had Arabic origin. It is the Syrian-Lebanese educators, introducing the concept of "Arabism", gave it the meaning and the value of which have now become recognized around the world, extending it to the entire Arab society. The expansion of the concept of "Arabs" to the concept of "Arabism" had the effect of emancipation concept of "Arab" from the term "Muslim". This separation itself primarily by Turks has been important in terms of the formation of national identity, when to formation of the national idea has left only one step.
This step was taken and the Syrian-Lebanese-Palestinian thinkers in 1905, when has emerged the concept of the "Arab nation". Very soon the idea of the Arab nationalism in those parameters that I have just mentioned above, especially in its geographical aspect, had gained the features of the nation-state project, which has been widely discussed in the circles of the political elite of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Arabia, and then became subject of еру negotiations that have conduct Arab and European envoys about the separation of this part of the Arab world from the Ottoman Empire and the creation on its territory of a single Arab state. There was also a national leader that was ready to personalize and implement this idea - the Sherif of Mecca, a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and the great-grandfather of the present king of Jordan. Moreover, during the First World War, the Arabs waged an armed struggle under the leadership of its national leader for the implementation of this idea, and the victorious struggle and seemingly supported by the great powers, especially Great Britain.
The strongest frustration have felt Arabs was caused by the outcome of the First World War, has expressed in the divide of Arab world between Great Britain and France was a serious turn in the content and direction of the Arab national idea and the fate of Arab nationalism. The idea of the Arab nation in connection with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the release of its former Arab anti-Turkish possessions has lost focus and began to take anti-colonial and anti-Western focus. However, despite the anti-Western orientation, the idea of the Arab nation among the ideologists of the main trends of Arab nationalism almost never reached xenophobia and rejection of all foreign things. Although pathos of ideological confrontation has led Arab nationalists to the rejection of all that is seen by them as an "imported ideologies", but this have not prevented them from developing certain provisions of the Arab national idea in line with the Arab heritage of the nineteenth century with strong accents of English and French liberal legal tradition.
A leading role in the development of Arab national idea in this period has played a prominent philosopher and political thinker Sati' al-Husri. In his keynote essay he has limited this term by two features: a common language and a common history. He has avoided open attack on Islam, he at the same time, has divided the concepts of "religion" and "nation", arguing that Islam cannot be regarded as a sign of the nation. He actively has opposed any attempts to synthesize pan-Arabism and pan-Islamism.
In the 1930sбon the Arab ideological and political arena appeared a number of prominent thinkers who made a significant contribution to the further development of the Arab national idea. Among them should be noted first of all, Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar. They sought to give the national idea more tactile in nature, connect it to the territorial and geographical environment, to the idea of the "Arab homeland." In this period was first emphasized the idea borrowed from Fichte national exclusiveness, but applied by the Arab nation, formulating it as "the great mission of the Arab nation." Aflaq and Bitar have turned this idea into their ideological and political credo that has become one of the most common slogans Ba'athism and Arab nationalism in general: the mission of Arab nationalism is sacred. The ideas of the second generation of Arab nationalists have formed the basis of the first real pan-Arab political project, what became of the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party and the Arab Socialist Party.
In the period between the two world wars, the Arab national idea took possession of the minds of not only the political elite, but also the "Arab streets" , and has become increasingly a political motivation to conduct at pan-Arab level. After World War II, during which was achieved independence of Syria and Lebanon, the Arab national idea becomes central to the ideology of the national liberation struggle and begins to take on the features of the pan-Arab political project. In 1947, Beirut was established Arab Baath Socialist Party (Al-Baath).
A powerful catalyst for political activity, based on the Arab national idea was the Arab defeat in the war with Israel in 1948. This defeat, as has written later the first president of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser made the greatest impact on Egyptian officers who participated in the war. The reason for the defeat they saw in the weakness and disunity of the Arab countries. The result was a defeat, along with the acquisition of Arab nationalism distinct anti-Israel direction the appearance of a socio-political motives have had Arab properties when in the ranks of "enemies of the Arab nation" along with external - were the United States, Israel and the USSR (until the second half of the 60s, when the Soviet Union broke off relations with Israel) began to include Arab rulers, the proponents of "local" - the Egyptian, Syrian and other nationalisms. All this has become the motivation of revolutionary internal changes in those countries where have ruled of "backward and treacherous regimes", particularly in Egypt, where already in 1952, Nasser made a revolution under the slogan of Arab nationalism.
Arab nationalism after World War II, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, became an important institution of the political struggle, and for a while became even dominant trend of political thought. The presence of a common imperialist danger, the Israeli annexationism, and the desire to unite their efforts to address the pressing issues of regional and pan-Arab values - all this gave great weight to Arab nationalism as a concept which may be used as the ideological basis of the reaction, and progressive activity.
In the constitutions of most Arab countries, is written that these countries belong to the unified Arab homeland, and their populations belong to the Arab nation. At the beginning of the XX century the expression "Arab countries", "Arab nation" was rarely used, but after the Second World War, they have flooded periodicals, journalism and scientific works. Nationalism in the Arab countries has developed in two directions: the predominantly Arab-Islamic and largely secularist basis. In addition, the uneven of economic and social development, political regimes and their ideological orientations have created conditions for the formation of the Arab nations within individual countries and the progressive differentiation of nationalist consciousness.
Along with Arab nationalism and its orbit in some countries there was a tendency of national particularism, reflecting the aspirations of some of the Arab peoples, each with its own "small home" in the Arab world, their individuality, and their regional interests.
Particularistic tendencies in the Arab nationalism were most pronounced in the field of economics and politics. They are found in the field of culture. In particular, at a workshop in Baghdad in 1979 on the role of education in the implementation of the idea of Arab unity chairman of the preparatory committee was forced to admit that the strategy of education in the Arab countries is a regional, and not an Arab national.
In the framework of such ideologies the special attention deserves the so-called "Algerian nationalism", the ideology of the Algerian revolution, which is a particularistic trend of Arab nationalism. By the time of the Algerian revolution in 1954 the idea of independence of Algeria firmly captured the public consciousness. Algerian nationalism in the Arab-Muslim has become the basis of a common ideological platform uniting various forces in the struggle against French colonialism. Later, in 1956, in the platform of the National Liberation Front (FLN), the goal of the uprising was defined as the achievement of independence and the revival of the Algerian state in the form of a democratic and social republic. Muslim Algerians have opposed themselves to the French-Christians that oppressed Muslims for 132 years. Later in the Algerian independence nationalism has become the ideology of strengthening the sovereignty and development of certain socialist perspective in politics and economics.
Finally, loudly declares itself Egyptian nationalism. As I have mentioned above the leader of Arab nationalism in Egypt was the President Nasser over. Nasser really attempted to create union with Syria in the framework of the United Arab Emirates, are also considered projects association with Libya and Tunisia. However, Egyptian nationalism has also particularly flourished after the death of Nasser, defending the originality and exclusivity of the Egyptian nation. A special and very important aspect is that since 1970s communication (and at the same time the opposition) of Arab nationalism with Islamism world, wherever the latter may have occurred.
Both Arab nationalism and Islamism have sought to unify disparate social classes, the first - dissolving them in a great "Arab unity", the second - unite them within a virtual "communities of the faithful." However, nationalism eventually split into two antagonistic camps: "progressive" (Nasser's Egypt, Baath in Syria and Iraq) and "conservative" (Arabian monarchy and Jordan). This "Arab Cold War" confrontation turned Israel into a single unifying factor, but also it was dealt a severe blow to the defeat in the Six Day War of June 1967. However, it is the nationalists and progressives, and especially Nasser were initiators of the war and the sacrifices of the greatest military humiliation have experienced its severe consequences.
The years of Nasser's reign were marked by attempts of successive incarnation’s Arab national idea. It has impacted the overwhelming support of the national liberation movement, resulting in most of the Arab countries gained independence, and the idea of Arab unity, which was interpreted as the need to create a united Arab state. Such attempts have been made, and the most striking of these was the creation in 1958 of the United Arab Republic, which included Egypt and Syria, and at first even included the Royal North Yemen. In fact, it was a much more ambitious project. Arab nationalists that were supported by the Egyptian intelligence services have planned implementation of pan-Arab upheavals in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and other countries. The motive of the war with Israel in Egypt in 1967 was the desire to liberate Palestine from the presence of the "Zionist entity", which fits perfectly into the logic of the pan-Arab conceptual scheme "one nation (Ummah) - a single homeland - a single state", in which the existence of Israel looked the main obstacle to the Arab national unity.
The failure of attempts to create a united Arab state, and then defeating Israel has caused an acute crisis of the concept of Arab national idea. As to the failure of the project of the UAR, the effect it was so large that has led to coup in Syria in 1961 that was made by Baathists. For nationalist movements in the Arab world, Syrian, Iraqi and other interests in real politics were higher than pan-Arab, and socio-political contradictions between the various trends of Arab nationalism - strong principles of Arab solidarity.
After the defeat in the 1967 war moral and political crisis has led to the defeat of the ideas of Arab socialism, at least in its Nasser's version. The war revealed the ineffectiveness of the political regime, built on its principles, which led not only to the collapse of the policy provided by Nasser as a socio-political regime (which happened shortly after coming to power of Anwar Sadat), but also to the self-dissolution of the largest pan-Arab organization Movement of Arab Nationalists. Whatever the interpretation of the events of those years, the defeat in the war laid a mine under the ideological foundation of nationalism; a vacuum, in which a few years later has invaded the idea of Islamism before had circulated only in certain circles "Muslim Brotherhood" in prisons and labor camps.
Thus, summarizing all the mentioned above it should be stated that the Arab nationalism has appeared as the response on the reign of the Ottoman Empire and the separation of the Middle East region between the French and the United Kingdom. Arabs as the majority of the Middle East was forced to create such ideology as Arab nationalism to create their own Arab states and protect their cultural identity. However, after the creation of independent states most of the Middle East Arab countries were united only by the idea of the destruction of the state of Israel. Thus, these countries were involved in the Cold War because of the importance of the Middle East region in the struggle between the superpowers. However, after the defeat in the Six-Day War the population of the Arab countries was disappointed at this ideology. Thus, the popularity of this ideology has gradually decreased in the next years.

Works Cited

Curtis, Michael. People and Politics in the Middle East. Piscataway: Transaction Publishers, 1971.
Dawisha, Adeed. "Requiem for Arab Nationalism." The Middle East Quarterly 2003: 25-41.
Fawcett, Louise. International Relations of the Middle East . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
George, Alan. Syria: Neither Bread nor Freedom. London: Zed Books., 2003.
Karsh, Efraim. Islamic Imperialism: A History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.
Mufti, Malik. Sovereign Creations: Pan-Arabism and Political Order in Syria and Iraq. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996.
Seale, Patrick. Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East. Iakland: University of California Press, 1990.
Sela, Avraham. The Continuum Political Encyclopedia of the Middle East. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2002.

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