Pan-Arabism

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Pan-Arabism,

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 ArabsArabs,
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
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 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 AliHusayn ibn Ali
, 1856–1931, Arab political and religious leader. In 1908 he succeeded as grand sherif of Mecca and thus became ruler of the Hejaz under the Ottoman Empire.
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, 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 (Abdullah IAbdullah I
(Abdullah ibn Husayn) , 1882–1951, king of Jordan (1946–51), b. Mecca; son of Husayn ibn Ali of the Hashemite family. During World War I, Abdullah, with British support, led Arab revolts against Turkish rule.
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 of Jordan) and Faisal (Faisal IFaisal I
or Faysal I
, 1885–1933, king of Iraq (1921–33). The third son of Husayn ibn Ali, sherif of Mecca, he is also called Faisal ibn Husayn. Faisal was educated in Constantinople and later sat in the Ottoman parliament as deputy for Jidda.
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 of Iraq). From the 1930s, hostility toward Zionist aims in PalestinePalestine
, historic region on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, at various times comprising parts of modern Israel, the West Bank and Gaza (recognized internationally by nations as independent Palestine), Jordan, and Egypt; also known as the Holy Land.
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 was a major rallying point for Arab nationalists.

The movement found official expression after World War II in the Arab LeagueArab League,
popular name for the League of Arab States,
formed in 1945 in an attempt to give political expression to the Arab nations. The original charter members were Egypt, Iraq, Jordan (then known as Transjordan), Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.
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 and in such unification attempts as the Arab Federation (1958) of Iraq and Jordan, the United Arab RepublicUnited Arab Republic,
political union (1958–61) of Egypt and Syria. The capital was Cairo. The two countries were merged (1958) into a single unit comprising the Southern (Egypt) and the Northern (Syria) Regions, with Gamal Abdal Nasser as president.
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, the Arab Union (1958), the United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates,
federation of sheikhdoms (2005 est. pop. 2,563,000), c.30,000 sq mi (77,700 sq km), SE Arabia, on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The federation, commonly known as the UAE, consists of seven sheikhdoms: Abu Dhabi (territorially the largest of the
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, and the Arab Maghreb Union (see under MaghrebMaghreb
or Magrib
[Arab.,=the West], Arabic term for NW Africa. It is generally applied to all of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia but actually pertains only to the area of the three countries between the high ranges of the Atlas Mts. and the Mediterranean Sea.
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). The principal instrument of Pan-Arabism in the early 1960s was the Ba'ath partyBa'ath party
, Arab political party, in Syria and in Iraq. Its main ideological objectives are secularism, socialism, and pan-Arab unionism. Founded in Damascus in 1941 and reformed, with the name Ba'ath, in the early 1950s, it rapidly achieved political power in Syria.
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, which was active in most Arab states, notably Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen. Gamal Abdal NasserNasser, Gamal Abdal
, 1918–70, Egyptian army officer and political leader, first president of the republic of Egypt (1956–70). A revolutionary since youth, he was wounded by the police and expelled (1935) from secondary school in Cairo for leading an anti-British
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 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 accordsCamp David accords,
popular name for the peace treaty forged in 1978 between Israel and Egypt at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. The official agreement was signed on Mar. 26, 1979, in Washington, D.C.
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 between Egypt and Israel and by the Iran-Iraq WarIran-Iraq War,
1980–88, protracted military conflict between Iran and Iraq. It officially began on Sept. 22, 1980, with an Iraqi land and air invasion of western Iran, although Iraqi spokespersons maintained that Iran had been engaging in artillery attacks on Iraqi towns
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. Pan-Arabist rhetoric was used by Iraqi President Saddam HusseinHussein, Saddam
, 1937–2006, Iraqi political leader. A member of the Ba'ath party, he fled Iraq after participating (1959) in an assassination attempt on the country's prime minister; in Egypt he attended law school.
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 in an attempt to stir opposition the UN coalition forces during the Persian Gulf WarPersian Gulf Wars,
two conflicts involving Iraq and U.S.-led coalitions in the late 20th and early 21st cent.

The First Persian Gulf War, also known as the Gulf War, Jan.–Feb.
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, but many Arab nations joined the anti-Iraq coalition.

Bibliography

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).

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