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Related to Pan-Arabism: Balfour Declaration, intifada


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 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 (Abdullah I of Jordan) 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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Pan-Arabism was an important ideology of the past, but Pan-Islamism is a much more potent force than Pan-Arabism ever was.
Ikes Gamble is notably silent on the ideology that has rivaled Nasser's pan-Arabism in the Middle East in the past 60 years: political Islam.
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The second thing I said and reiterated, the King stated, is that our country and state has taken the advantage of its sons, because its sons serve now, in all domains, though we thank our Muslim and Arab brothers and the others, who worked with us, noting that some of them have chosen to remain here amongst, and we say to them welcome to the land of Islam and Pan-Arabism.
(1) Incidentally, the sixties were another cornerstone era for the Middle East--if only for Egypt, strategically situated at the crossroads of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula--and Lynch's book offers the possibility to observe a move, both historical and geographical, from Pan-Africanism to Pan-Arabism.
It is a fact that pan-Arabism no longer exists as a strong ideology, nor even as a feeling.
The 21 chapters they include explore US policy towards the region from the Woodrow Wilson era to the "Arab Spring." Historically oriented chapters discuss the King-Crane Commission and US policy towards the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, US policy towards Iran during the Mussadiq era, the United States and the Baghdad Pact (which formed a Middle East version of NATO), the 1957 American-Syrian crisis, US approaches to Nasser and pan-Arabism, and Cold War politics in the Middle East.
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"Despite the difficulties of pan-Arabism, one factor that brings everyone together is the language and the culture that goes with it is very important", he explained.
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According to The Guardian, Libya's minority Berber community, which had faced persecution under Gaddafi's pan-Arabism policies, now fear an Islamist takeover.

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