Arab nationalism

Arab nationalism

Overview
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world. Its central premise is that the peoples of the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 to the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, constitute one nation bound together by common linguistic, cultural, religious, and historical heritage. One of the primary goals of Arab nationalism is the end of Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 influence in the Arab World, seen as a "nemesis" of Arab strength, and the removal of those Arab governments considered to be dependent upon Western power.
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Encyclopedia
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world. Its central premise is that the peoples of the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, from the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 to the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, constitute one nation bound together by common linguistic, cultural, religious, and historical heritage. One of the primary goals of Arab nationalism is the end of Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 influence in the Arab World, seen as a "nemesis" of Arab strength, and the removal of those Arab governments considered to be dependent upon Western power. It rose to prominence with the weakening and defeat of the (non-Arab) Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in the early 20th century and declined after the defeat of the Arab armies in the Six Day War. Personalities and groups associated with Arab nationalism include Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

, the Arab Nationalist Movement
Arab Nationalist Movement
The Arab Nationalist Movement , also known as the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Harakiyyin, was a pan-Arab nationalist organization influential in much of the Arab world, most famously so within the Palestinian movement.-Origins & Ideology:The Arab Nationalist Movement had its origins in a...

, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

, the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party which came to power in Syria and Iraq for some years, and its founder Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq was a Syrian philosopher, who is credited with being the ideological founder of ba'athism, a hybrid of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.-Early life:...

. Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

 is a related concept, in as much as it calls for supranational communalism among the Arab states.

Ideology


Arab nationalists believe that the Arab nation had existed as a historical entity prior to the rise of nationalism in the 19th–20th century. The Arab nation was formed through the gradual establishment of Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 as the language of communication and with the advent of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as a religion and culture in the region. Both Arabic and Islam served as the pillars of the nation. According to writer Youssef Choueiri, Arab nationalism represents the "Arabs' consciousness of their specific characteristics as well as their endeavor to build a modern state capable of representing the common will of the nation and all its constituent parts."

Within the Arab nationalist movement are three differentiations: the Arab nation, Arab nationalism, and pan-Arab unity. Jamil al-Sayyid, a founder of the Arab nationalist Ba'ath party, claims the nation is the group of people who speak Arabic, inhabit the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, and who have a feeling of belonging to the same nation. Nationalism is the "sum total" of the characteristics and qualities exclusive to the Arab nation, whereas pan-Arab unity is the modern idea which stipulates that the separate Arab countries should unify to form a single state under one political system.

Local patriotism centered on individual Arab countries was incorporated into the framework of Arab nationalism starting in the 1920s. This was done by positioning the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

 as the homeland of the Semitic peoples (the Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

ites and Syriacs of the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and the Assyria
Assyria
Assyria was a Semitic Akkadian kingdom, extant as a nation state from the mid–23rd century BC to 608 BC centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia , that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. It was named for its original capital, the ancient city of Assur...

ns and Babylonians of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

) who migrated throughout the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 in ancient times or by associating the other pre-Islamic cultures, such as those of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

 and Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea and lies along the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. It is the easternmost projection of the African continent...

, into an evolving Arab identity.

The modern Arabic language actually has two distinct words which can be translated into English as "nationalism": qawmiyya قومية, derived from the word qawm (meaning "tribe, ethnic nationality"), and wataniyya وطنية, derived from the word watan (meaning "homeland, native country"). The word qawmiyya has been used to refer to pan-Arab nationalism, while wataniyya has been used to refer to patriotism at a more local level (sometimes disparaged as "regionalism" by those who consider pan-Arabism the only true form of Arab nationalism).

In the post-World War years, the concept of qawmiyya "gradually assumed a leftist coloration, calling for ... the creation of revolutionary Arab unity." Groups who subscribed to this point of view advocated opposition, violent and non-violent, against Israel and against Arabs who did not subscribe to this point of view. The person most identified with qawmiyya was Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

 of Egypt, who used both military and political power to spread his version of pan-Arab ideology throughout the Arab world. George Habash
George Habash
George Habash also known by his laqab "al-Hakim" was a Palestinian nationalist. Habash, a Palestinian Christian, founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which pioneered the hijacking of airplanes as a Middle East militant tactic...

, the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

, influenced Palestinian Arabs to accept a Nasserist approach to politics. While qawmiyya still remains a potent political force today, the death of Nasser and the Arab defeat in the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

 has weakened faith in this ideal. The current dominant ideology among Arab policy makers has shifted to wataniyya.

Origins


Throughout the late 19th century, beginning in the 1860s, a sense of loyalty to the "Fatherland" developed in intellectual circles based in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, but not necessarily an "Arab Fatherland". It developed from observance of the technological successes of Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 which they attributed to the prevailing of patriotism in those countries. During this period, a heavy influx of Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 missionaries and educators from Western countries provided what was termed the "Arab political revival", resulting in the establishment of secret societies within the empire.

In the 1860s, literature produced in the Mashreq (the Levant and Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

) which was under Ottoman control at the time, contained emotional intensity and strongly condemned the Ottoman Turks for "betraying Islam" and the Fatherland to the Christian West. In the view of Arab patriots, Islam had not always been in a "sorry state" and attributed the military triumphs and cultural glories of the Arabs to the advent of the religion, insisting that European modernism itself was of Islamic origin. The Arabs, on the other hand, had deviated from true Islam and thus suffered decline. The reforming Ottoman and Egyptian governments were blamed for the situation because they attempted to borrow Western practices from the Europeans that were seen as unnatural and corrupt. The Arab patriots' view was that the Islamic governments should revive true Islam that would in turn, pave way for the establishment of constitutional representative government and freedom which, though Islamic in origin, was manifested in the West at the time.

Arabism and regional patriotism (such as in Egypt or in the Levant) mixed and gained predominance over Ottomanism
Ottomanism
Ottomanism was a concept which developed prior to the First Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire. Its proponents believed that it could solve the social issues that the empire was facing. Ottomanism was highly affected by thinkers such as Montesquieu and Rousseau and the French Revolution. It...

 among some Arabs in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. Ibrahim al-Yazigi
Ibrahim Al-Yazigi
Ibrahim al-Yaziji was a Lebanese philologist, poet and journalist. He belonged to the Christian Catholic population in Lebanon...

, a Syrian Christian philosopher, called for the Arabs to "recover their lost ancient vitality and throw off the yoke of the Turks" in 1868. A secret society promoting this goal was formed in the late 1870s, with al-Yazigi as a member. The group placed placards in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 calling for a rebellion against the Ottomans. Meanwhile, other Lebanese and Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

-based notables, mostly Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s, formed similar secret movements, although they differed as Christian groups who disfavoured Arabism called for a completely independent Lebanon while the Muslim Arab societies generally promoted an autonomous Greater Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

 still under Ottoman rule.

By the beginning of the 20th century, groups of Muslim Arabs embraced an Arab nationalist "self-view" that would provide as the basis of the Arab nationalist ideology of the 20th century. This new version of Arab patriotism was directly influenced by the Islamic modernism and revivalism of Muhammad Abduh
Muhammad Abduh
Muhammad Abduh was an Egyptian jurist, religious scholar and liberal reformer, regarded as the founder of Islamic Modernism...

, the Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian Muslim scholar. Abduh believed the Arabs' Muslim ancestors bestowed "rationality on mankind and created the essentials of modernity," borrowed by the West. Thus, while Europe advanced from adopting the modernist ideals of true Islam, the Muslims failed, corrupting and abandoning true Islam. Abduh influenced modern Arab nationalism in particular, because the revival of true Islam's ancestors (who were Arabs) would also become the revival of Arab culture and the restoration of the Arab position as the leaders of the Islamic world. One of Abduh's followers, Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi
Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi
‘Abd al-Raḥman al-Kawākibī was a Syrian author and Pan-Islamic Arab solidarity supporter from Aleppo. He was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his time; however, his thoughts and writings continue to be relevant to the issues of Islamic identity and Pan-Arabism...

, openly declared that the Ottoman Empire should be both Turkish and Arab, with the latter exercising religious and cultural leadership.

Rise of modern Arab nationalism


In 1911, Muslim intellectuals and politicians from throughout the Levant formed al-Fatat
Al-fatat
Al-Fatat or the Young Arab Society was founded in 1911 by Arab nationalist, Izzat Darwaza .It was a secret Arab nationalist organization under the Ottoman Empire. Its aims were to gain independence and unity for various Arab nations then under the Ottoman rule. It found adherents in areas such as...

 ("the Young Arab Society"), a small Arab nationalist club, in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. Its stated aim was "raising the level of the Arab nation to the level of modern nations." In the first few years of its existence, al-Fatat called for greater autonomy within a unified Ottoman state rather than Arab independence from the empire. Al-Fatat hosted the Arab Congress of 1913
Arab Congress of 1913
The Arab Congress of 1913 met in a hall of the French Geographical Society at 184 Boulevard Saint-Germain from June 18–23 in Paris to discuss reforms to grant Arabs more autonomy under the Ottoman Empire...

 in Paris, the purpose of which was to discuss desired reforms with other dissenting individuals from the Arab world. They also requested that Arab conscripts to the Ottoman army not be required to serve in non-Arab regions except in time of war. However, as the Ottoman authorities cracked down on the organization's activities and members, al-Fatat went underground and demanded the complete independence and unity of the Arab provinces.

Nationalist individuals became more prominent during the waning years of Ottoman authority, but the idea of Arab nationalism had virtually no impact on the majority of Arabs as they considered themselves loyal subjects of the Ottoman Empire. The British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, for their part, incited the Sharif of Mecca
Sharif of Mecca
The Sharif of Mecca or Hejaz was the title of the former governors of Hejaz and a traditional steward of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

 to launch the Arab Revolt
Arab Revolt
The Arab Revolt was initiated by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.- Background :...

 during the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The Ottomans were defeated and the rebel forces, loyal to the Sharif's son Faysal ibn al-Husayn entered Damascus in 1918. By now, Faysal along with many Iraqi intellectuals and military officers had joined al-Fatat which would form the backbone of the newly-created Arab state that consisted of much of the Levant and the Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

.

Damascus became the coordinating center of the Arab nationalist movement as it was seen as the birthplace of the ideology, the seat of Faysal—the first Arab "sovereign" after nearly 400 years of Turkish suzerainty—and because the nationalists of the entire Mashreq region were familiar with it. Nonetheless, Jerusalem, Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, and Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 remained significant bases of support. Following the creation of Faysal's state, a serious tension within the Arab nationalist movement became visible; the conflict between the ideology's highest ideal of forming a single independent unit comprising all countries that shared the Arabic language and heritage, and the tendency to give precedence to local ambitions.

To further tensions, a rift formed between the older nationalist members of various Syrian urban-class families and the generally younger nationalists who became close to Faysal—his Hejazi troops, Iraqi and Syrian military officers, and Palestinian and Syrian intellectuals. The older guard was mainly represented by Rida Pasha al-Rikabi
Rida Pasha al-Rikabi
Rida Pasha al-Rikabi lived in Syria and Jordan. He was the Head of Government of Syria then the Prime Minister of Syria in 1920. He was also the Prime Minister of Jordan ....

, who served as Faysal's prime minister, while the younger guard did not have one particular leader. However, the youth within al-Fatat founded the Arab Independence Party
Independence Party (Palestine)
The Independence Party was an Arab nationalist party established on 13 August, 1932, in Palestine during the British mandate. Its origins lay in the Istiqlal movement associated with the short-lived Sharifian government in Damascus....

 ("al-Istiqlal") in February 1919. Its goal was to achieve unity and complete Arab independence. Prominent members included Izzat Darwaza
Izzat Darwaza
Muhammad 'Izzat Darwaza was a Palestinian politician, historian, and educator from Nablus. Early in his career, he worked as an Ottoman bureaucrat in Palestine and Lebanon. Darwaza had long been a sympathizer of Arab nationalism and became an activist of that cause following the Arab revolt...

 and Shukri al-Quwatli. Centered in Damascus with branches in various cities throughout the Levant, al-Istiqlal received political and financial support from Faysal, but relied on the inner circle of al-Fatat to survive.

During the war, Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 had been a major sponsor of Arab nationalist thought and ideology, primarily as a weapon to use against the power of the Ottoman Empire. Although the Arab forces were promised a state that included much of the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
The Fertile Crescent, nicknamed "The Cradle of Civilization" for the fact the first civilizations started there, is a crescent-shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia. The term was first used by University of Chicago...

 the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement
Sykes-Picot Agreement
The Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916 was a secret agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and France, with the assent of Imperial Russia, defining their respective spheres of influence and control in Western Asia after the expected downfall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I...

 between Britain and France provided for the territorial division of much of that region between the two imperial powers. During the inter-war years and the British Mandate period, when Arab lands were under French and British control, Arab nationalism became an important anti-imperial opposition movement against European rule.

Expansion of the movement



A number of Arab revolts against the European powers took place following the establishment of the British and French mandates. Resentment of British rule culminated in the Iraqi revolt
Iraqi revolt against the British
The Iraqi Revolt against the British , or the Great Iraqi Revolution of 1920, started in Baghdad in the summer of 1920 with mass demonstrations of both Sunni and Shia, including protests by embittered officers from the old Ottoman army, against the policies of British Acting Civil Commissioner Sir...

 of 1920. The uprising which was carried out by the urban population as well as the rural tribes of Iraq ended in 1921. The British drastically changed their policy in Iraq afterwards. Although the mandate was still in place officially, the British role was virtually reduced to an advisory one. In 1925, the Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 of southern Syria under the leadership of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash revolted against French rule. The revolt subsequently spread throughout Syria, particularly in Damascus where an uprising by the citizens took place. The French responded by systematically bombarding the city, resulting in thousands of deaths. The revolt was put down by the end of the year, but it is credited with forcing the French to take more steps to ensure Syrian independence. In Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, resentment of British hegemony led to wide-scale revolts across the country
Egyptian Revolution of 1919
The Egyptian Revolution of 1919 was a countrywide revolution against the British occupation of Egypt and Sudan. It was carried out by Egyptians and Sudanese from different walks of life in the wake of the British-ordered exile of revolutionary leader Saad Zaghlul, and other members of the Wafd...

 in 1919. As a result of three-year negotiations following the uprising, the British agreed to allow Egypt's official independence in 1922, but their military still held great influence in the country. It should also be noted that the political leaders of the Egyptian revolution espoused Egyptian nationalism
Egyptian nationalism
Egyptian nationalism is an ideology that rose to prominence in Egypt before the British occupation to Egypt.- History :It is first used to refer to the native officers’ movement, led by Col. Ahmad ‘Urâbî, against Egyptian government policies that favored officers of Turkish, Circassian , or other...

, rather than an Arab nationalist alternative.

The relative independence of Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 and North Yemen
North Yemen
North Yemen is a term currently used to designate the Yemen Arab Republic , its predecessor, the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen , and their predecessors that exercised sovereignty over the territory that is now the north-western part of the state of Yemen in southern Arabia.Neither state ever...

 encouraged Arab nationalists to put forward programs of action against colonial powers in the region. According to historian Youssef Choueiri, the "first public glimmerings" of a pan-Arab approach occurred in 1931, during the convention of a pan-Islamic conference in Jerusalem which highlighted Muslim fears of the increasing growth of Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 in Palestine. Arab delegates held a separate conference and for the first time delegates from North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula and the Fertile Crescent convened together to discuss Arab matters. A pan-Arabist
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

 covenant was proclaimed centering on three main articles:
  • The Arab countries form an integral and indivisible whole. Hence the Arab nation does not accept or recognize the divisions of whatever nature to which it has been subjected.
  • All efforts in every Arab country are to be directed towards the achievement of total independence within one single unity. Every endeavor which confines political activities to local or regional issues is to be fought against.
  • Since colonialism is, in all its forms and manifestations, incompatible with the dignity and paramount aims of the Arab nation, the Arab nation rejects it and will resist it with all the means at its disposal.


Plans for a near-future conference were made, but never came into play due to Faysal's death in 1933 (delegates chose Faysal of Iraq to be their patron and he agreed to provide moral and material support for the movement) and fierce British opposition. However, the Arab Independence Party was formed by Palestinian and Iraqi activists from al-Fatat as a direct result of the Jerusalem conference on 13 August 1932. Most of the AIP's activities were centered in the Palestinian political field, but the party also worked towards achieving Arab unity and solidarity as a means to strengthen Arab resistance against the British Mandate in Palestine and increased Jewish settlement occurring there. In August 1933, the League of Nationalist Action was founded in Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 by Western-educated professional civil service groups with the aims of creating a common Arab market and industrial base as well as the abolishment of customs barriers between the Arab countries. By proposing agrarian reforms to limit the power of landowners, abolishing what they considered "feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

" and promoting the growth of an industry, the LNA sought to undermine the absentee landlord
Absentee landlord
Absentee landlord is an economic term for a person who owns and rents out a profit-earning property, but does not live within the property's local economic region. This practice is problematic for that region because absentee landlords drain local wealth into their home country, particularly that...

s in the Levant who tended to encourage local nationalism and were open to working with European authorities or Jewish land purchasers. The LNA enjoyed popularity throughout the 1930s, but did not survive into the 1940s.

Following the killing of Palestinian Arab guerrilla leader, Izz al-Din al-Qassam, by British forces in Ya'bad
Ya'bad
Ya'bad is a Palestinian town in the northern West Bank, 20 kilometers west of Jenin in the Jenin Governorate. It is a major agricultural town with most of its land covered with olive groves and grain fields. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the town had a population of...

, Arab-Jewish tensions in Palestine were at a climax. Anti-Zionist sentiments reached a boiling point on 15 April 1936, when an armed group of Arabs killed a Jewish civilian after intercepting his car near the village of Bal'a
Bal'a
Bal'a is a Palestinian town in the Tulkarm Governorate, located approximately nine kilometers northeast of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank and three kilometers away from the highway connecting Tulkarm with Nablus....

. After Jews retaliated by killing two Arab farmers near Jaffa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

, this sparked an Arab revolt in Palestine. The AIP along with Palestinian notables selected popular leader and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is the Sunni Muslim cleric in charge of Jerusalem's Islamic holy places, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.-Ottoman era:...

, Hajj Amin al-Husayni to lead the uprising. The Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

 (AHC), a national committee bringing together Arab factions in Palestine, was established to coordinate the uprising. To protest Jewish immigration
Aliyah
Aliyah is the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel . It is a basic tenet of Zionist ideology. The opposite action, emigration from Israel, is referred to as yerida . The return to the Holy Land has been a Jewish aspiration since the Babylonian exile...

, a general strike
Palestinian general strike
The Palestinian general strike lasted from April–October 1936 in the British Mandate of Palestine and was part of the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine....

 was declared and a political, economic, and social boycott of Jews soon ensued. The events in Palestine followed similar anti-colonial activities in Egypt and Syria which helped inspire the uprising. In Egypt, week-long anti-British demonstrations resulted in the restoration of the Egyptian constitution while in Syria, a general strike held in January–February 1936 led to major negotiations on an independence deal with the French government. The British took a firm stance against the nationalist revolt in Palestine; the AHC was dissolved and al-Husayni was forced into exile in Lebanon in 1937. Although al-Husayni leaned more towards Palestinian nationalism
Palestinian nationalism
Palestinian nationalism is the national movement of the Palestinian people. It has roots in Pan-Arabism and other movements rejecting colonialism and calling for national independence. More recently, Palestinian Nationalism is expressed through the Israeli–Palestinian conflict...

 and Islamism
Islamism
Islamism also , lit., "Political Islam" is set of ideologies holding that Islam is not only a religion but also a political system. Islamism is a controversial term, and definitions of it sometimes vary...

, he was instrumental in organizing the pan-Arab Bloudan Conference on 9 September 1937 in Syria which gathered 524 delegates from across the Arab world, although al-Husayni himself was not in attendance.
Meanwhile, a clandestine Arab nationalist society was formed in Iraq in 1938 which came to be known as Arab Nationalist Party (ANP). The ANP typically confined itself to influencing events and leaders in Iraq rather than taking the lead of a mass nationalist movement. King Ghazi of Iraq
Ghazi of Iraq
Ghazi bin Faisal was the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq from 1933 to 1939 having been briefly Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Syria in 1920...

 was one such leader. Ghazi intended to build a strong Iraqi army and actively sought to annex Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

. Many Arab nationalist politicians in Kuwait were provided safe haven in Iraq after being repressed by the quasi-rulers of the sheikhdom
Sheikhdom
A sheikhdom is a geographical area or a society , that is ruled by a sheikh . Sheikhdoms exist almost exclusively within Arab countries, particularly in the Arabian Peninsula....

, the al-Sabah
Al-Sabah
The House of Al Sabah is the ruling family of Kuwait. They are a clan from the Anizah tribe which migrated to Kuwait in the early 18th century from Najd . They are also from the Utub tribe. After reaching Kuwait, they entered in an alliance with the other families of the Utub such as Al-Khalifa...

 family (Kuwait was still a British territory at the time), who favored independence especially after the discovery of oil there in 1938. Ghazi died in a car accident in 1939, prompting accusations by a number of his army officers that he was assassinated by British forces. That same year, al-Husayni arrived in Baghdad after escaping from Lebanon. This gave a moral boost to the pan-Arab dimension in Iraqi politics. The prime minister at the time, Nuri al-Said and the regent king Abdul Illah, did not harbor the Arab nationalist sympathies Ghazi espoused. Arab nationalist leader Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, together with al-Husayni, gained the support of the disaffected army officers and on 1 April 1941, Nuri al-Said was overthrown in a coup led by al-Gaylani. Iraq came under the direct rule of the army with al-Gaylani taking over as prime minister. To counter a British military response to the coup, he enlisted the support of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 which was at war with Britain and France at the time, but German military did not arrive to aid the Arab nationalist government. Britain reoccupied Iraq in May to prevent it from joining the Axis Powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Al-Gaylani and al-Husayni fled to Germany, while the army officers who carried out the coup were captured and executed. The events in Iraq provoked anger and frustration throughout the Arab world and the British acknowledged the rapid growth of Arab nationalist feeling among the Arab population. British Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

, officially stated Britain's support of strong pan-Arab ties in a bid to ease anti-British sentiments in the region.

Links with Nazism


Hajj Amin al-Husayni met with Hitler and other Nazi officials on various occasions and attempted to coordinate Nazi and Arab policies to solve what he believed was the "Jewish problem" in Palestine. Due to al-Husayni's role of leadership and his association with the Nazi leader, he was cheered by crowds as the "fuhrer of the Arab world" during a visit to Berlin in 1941. In one of the mufti's speeches he said: "Kill the Jews wherever you find them—this pleases Allah."

In the 1930s, wealthy Arab youths, educated in Germany and having witnessed the rise of fascist paramilitary groups, began returning home with the idea of creating an "Arab Nazi Party". The atmosphere of the 1930s Arab movement was described by one of the leaders of the Syrian Syrian Ba'ath Party, Sami al-Jundi: "We were racists, admiring Nazism, reading its books and the source of its thought..." In 1935, Jamal al-Husayni
Jamal al-Husayni
Jamal al-Husayni , , was born in Jerusalem and was a member of the Husayni family.Husayni served as Secretary of the Palestinian Arab Action Committee and the Muslim Supreme Council. He was founder and chairman of the Palestine Arab Party and its delegate to the Arab Higher Committee, led by his...

 (Haj Amin's brother) established the Palestine Arab Party
Palestine Arab Party
The Palestinian Arab Party was a political party in Palestine established by the influential Husayni family in 1935. Jamal al-Husayni was the founder and chairman. Emil Ghoury was elected as General Secretary till the end of the British Mandate in 1947...

, the party was used to create the "fascist-style" youth organization, al-Futuwwa, officially named the "Nazi Scouts". The organization recruited children and youth, who took the following oath: "Life -- my right; independence -- my aspiration; Arabism -- my country, and there is no room in it for any but Arabs. In this I believe and Allah is my witness." The British expressed concern at the situation in Palestine, stating in a report that "the growing youth and scout movements must be regarded as the most probable factors for the disturbance of the peace."

In 1941 Rashid Ali al-Gaylani staged a pro-Nazi coup in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. The Mufti Amin al-Husayni of Palestine was one of those who, together with pro-German Iraqi officers, obtained finances and support from Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.

Peak under Egyptian leadership


After the Second World War, Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

, the leader of Egypt, was a significant player in the rise of Arab nationalism. Opposed to the British control of the Suez Canal Zone and concerned at Egypt becoming a Cold War battleground Nasser pushed for a collective Arab security pact within the framework of the Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

. A key aspect of this was the need for economic aid that was not dependent on peace with Israel and the establishment of U.S. or British military bases within Arab countries. Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal and directly challenged the dominance of the Western powers in the region. At the same time he opened Egypt up as a Cold War zone by receiving aid and arms shipments from the Soviet Union that were not dependent on treaties, bases and peace accords. However, because of the connotations for Cold War dominance of the region, Egypt also received aid from the U.S.A., who sought to promote the emerging Arab nationalism as a barrier to communism.

The question of Palestine and opposition to Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 became a rallying point for Arab nationalism from both a religious perspective and a military perspective. The fact that the Zionists were Jewish promoted a religious flavor to the xenophobic rhetoric and strengthened Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 as a defining feature of Arab nationalism. The humiliating defeat in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 strengthened the Arabs' resolve to unite in favor of a pan-Arab nationalist ideal. With the advent of Palestinian nationalism
Palestinian nationalism
Palestinian nationalism is the national movement of the Palestinian people. It has roots in Pan-Arabism and other movements rejecting colonialism and calling for national independence. More recently, Palestinian Nationalism is expressed through the Israeli–Palestinian conflict...

, a debate circled between those who believed that pan-Arab unity would bring about destruction of Israel (the view advocated by the Arab Nationalist Movement
Arab Nationalist Movement
The Arab Nationalist Movement , also known as the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Harakiyyin, was a pan-Arab nationalist organization influential in much of the Arab world, most famously so within the Palestinian movement.-Origins & Ideology:The Arab Nationalist Movement had its origins in a...

) or whether the destruction of Israel would bring about pan-Arab unity (the view advocated by Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

).

Arab nationalists generally rejected religion as a main element in political identity, and promoted the unity of Arabs regardless of sectarian identity. However, the fact that most Arabs were Muslims
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 was used by some as an important building block in creating a new Arab national identity. An example of this was Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq was a Syrian philosopher, who is credited with being the ideological founder of ba'athism, a hybrid of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.-Early life:...

, founder along with Salah al-Din al-Bitar
Salah al-Din al-Bitar
Salah ad-Din al-Bitar , was a Syrian politician who, with Michel Aflaq, founded the Arab Ba'th Party in the early 1940s. During their student days in Paris in the early 1930s, the two worked together to formulate a doctrine that combined aspects of nationalism and socialism...

 and Zaki al-Arsuzi
Zaki al-Arsuzi
Zakī al-Arsūzī born Latakia June 1899, died Damascus July 1968) was a Syrian political activist and writer, and is widely regarded as a main inspiration for the Ba'ath Party...

 of the Ba'ath Party in Syria in the 1940s. Aflaq, though himself a Christian, viewed Islam as a testament to the "Arab genius", and once said "Muhammed was the epitome of all the Arabs. So let all the Arabs today be Muhammed." Since the Arabs had reached their greatest glories through the expansion of Islam, Islam was seen as a universal message as well as an expression of secular genius on the part of the Arab peoples. Islam had given the Arabs a "glorious past", which was very different from the "shameful present". In effect, the troubles of the Arab presence were because the Arabs had diverged from their "eternal and perfect symbol", Islam. The Arabs needed to have a "resurrection" (ba'ath in Arabic). After the Ba'thist military coups in Iraq and Syria in the 1960s, the Ba'thists "contributed very little to the development of all-Arab nationalism, which was its original raison d'etre."

Decline


After the defeat of the Arab coalition by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War—which the reigning Arab nationalist leader Nasser had dubbed al-Ma‘raka al-Masiriya, (the battle of destiny)—the Arab nationalist movement is said to have suffered an "irreversible" slide towards "political marginality". The formerly pro-Nasser Arab Nationalist Movement
Arab Nationalist Movement
The Arab Nationalist Movement , also known as the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Harakiyyin, was a pan-Arab nationalist organization influential in much of the Arab world, most famously so within the Palestinian movement.-Origins & Ideology:The Arab Nationalist Movement had its origins in a...

, publicly abandoned "Nasserism" in favor of Marxism-Leninism
Marxism-Leninism
Marxism–Leninism is a communist ideology, officially based upon the theories of Marxism and Vladimir Lenin, that promotes the development and creation of a international communist society through the leadership of a vanguard party over a revolutionary socialist state that represents a dictatorship...

. Aside from the humiliating 1967 defeat, factors credited with weakening the movement include:
  • the elimination of many of the irritants that stoked nationalist passion as imperialism and pro-Westernism waned in the Arab world during the 1950s and early 60s;
The British presence in Egypt and Iraq had been eliminated; the Baghdad Pact had been defeated; Jordan's British chief of staff, Sir John Bagot Glubb
John Bagot Glubb
Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb KCB, CMG, DSO, OBE, MC better known as Glubb Pasha , was a British soldier, scholar and author, best known for leading and training Transjordan's Arab Legion 1939-1956 as its commanding general...

, had been dismissed; Lebanon's pro-Western president, Camille Chamoun
Camille Chamoun
Camille Nimr Chamoun was President of Lebanon from 1952 to 1958, and one of the country's main Christian leaders during most of the Lebanese Civil War ....

, had been replaced by the independent Fu'ad Shihab
Fuad Chehab
Fuad Chehab Fuad Chehab Fuad Chehab (name also spelt Fouad Shihab, or Chehab, depending on transliteration from the original Arabic, (March 19, 1902 - April 25, 1973) was the President of the Lebanese Republic from 1958 to 1964...

; and the Algerians, sacrificing a million dead in a heroic struggle, had triumphed over French colonial power.

  • regional attachments such as Iraqi president Abd al-Karim Qasim's "Iraq first" policy;

  • attachments to tribes and "deeply-ingrained tribal values";

  • suspicion of Arab unity by minority groups such as Kurd
    Kürd
    Kürd or Kyurd or Kyurt may refer to:*Kürd Eldarbəyli, Azerbaijan*Kürd Mahrızlı, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Goychay, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Jalilabad, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Qabala, Azerbaijan*Qurdbayram, Azerbaijan...

    s in Iraq who were non-Arab, or Shia Muslims in Iraq who feared Arab nationalism was actually "a Sunni project" to establish "Sunni hegemony";

  • the Islamic revival
    Islamic revival
    Islamic revival refers to a revival of the Islamic religion throughout the Islamic world, that began roughly sometime in 1970s and is manifested in greater religious piety, and community feeling, and in a growing adoption of Islamic culture, dress, terminology, separation of the sexes, and values...

    , which grew Arab nationalism declined, and whose adherents were very hostile towards nationalism in general, believing it had no place in Islam;

  • lack of interest by the movement in pluralism, separation of powers, freedom of political expression and other democratic concepts which might have "resuscitated" the ideology in its moment of weakness.

Attempts at unity


In the 1940s, rulers such as Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I of Jordan
Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, King of Jordan [‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Husayn] عبد الله الأول بن الحسين born in Mecca, Second Saudi State, was the second of three sons of Sherif Hussein bin Ali, Sharif and Emir of Mecca and his first wife Abdiyya bint Abdullah...

 and Nuri as-Said
Nuri as-Said
Nuri Pasha al-Said was an Iraqi politician during the British Mandate and during the Kingdom of Iraq. He served in various key cabinet positions, and served seven terms as Prime Minister of Iraq....

 of Iraq sought to create an expanded Arab empire constructed out of the smaller nation-states that had been created in the mandate period. Abdullah's dream was to be king of a Greater Syria
Greater Syria
Greater Syria , also known simply as Syria, is a term that denotes a region in the Near East bordering the Eastern Mediterranean Sea or the Levant....

 while as-Said's dream was for a Fertile Crescent Federation
Fertile Crescent Plan
The Fertile Crescent Plan was an Iraqi Hashemite proposal for the union of Iraq with Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Transjordan. Nuri as-Said, prime minister of Iraq, presented the plan to British officials during World War II, when it appeared that France had become too weak to hold on to Syria...

. These aspirations, however, were unpopular and met with suspicion in the countries they sought to conquer. The creation of the Arab League and its insistence on the territorial integrity and respect for sovereignty of each member state, the assassination of Abdullah, and the 14 July Revolution
14 July Revolution
The 14 July Revolution was a coup which took place on 14 July 1958 in Iraq, marking the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy established by King Faisal I in 1932 under the auspices of the British. In 1958, the coup overthrew King Faisal II, the regent and Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, and Prime...

 weakened the political feasibility of these ideas.

During much of the 20th century, the rivalry between Syria and Nasser in Egypt for who would lead the union undermined the effort of forming a united Arab state. In 1958, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 temporarily joined to create the United Arab Republic
United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic , often abbreviated as the U.A.R., was a sovereign union between Egypt and Syria. The union began in 1958 and existed until 1961, when Syria seceded from the union. Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. The President was Gamal...

. It was accompanied by attempts to include Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and North Yemen in the union
United Arab States
The United Arab States was a short-lived confederation of the United Arab Republic and North Yemen from 1958–1961.The United Arab Republic was a sovereign state formed by the union of Egypt and Syria in 1958...

. This very exercise, while fostering Egypt's position at the centre of Arab politics, led to the weakening of Syria.

With the Iraqi revolution taking place in the same year, Western powers feared the fallouts of a powerful Arab nationalism in the region. Foreign powers were not only concerned about the possible spread of such revolutionary movements in other Arab states, but also worried about losing the control and monopoly over the region's natural oil resources. However, due to discontent over the hegemony of Egypt and after a coup in Syria that introduced a more radical government to power, the United Arab Republic collapsed in 1961. The term United Arab Republic continued to be used in Egypt until 1971, after the death of Nasser.

Another unsuccessful attempt at union occurred in 1963. That year the Arab nationalist Ba'ath Party came to power in Syria and Iraq and talks were held on uniting the two countries with Egypt. On 17 April an agreement to unite the countries was signed, but Ba'ath leaders complained of what they considered Egyptian president Nasser's "patronizing, bullying tone" and his insistence on a single centralized party structure under his leadership. In Syria, pro-Nasserists were purged from the Syrian military and cabinet. In response, large pro-Nasser riots erupted in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 and Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

 but were crushed with 50 rioters killed. A pro-Nasser coup attempt on 18 July 1963 in Syria also ended unsuccessfully. Hundreds of people killed or wounded in an attempt to take over the Damascus radio station and army headquarters, and 27 rebel officers were summarily executed. Nasser then formally withdrew from the union agreement, denouncing the Syrian Ba'athists as "fascists and murderers".

In 1972, Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 attempted to unite Libya, Egypt and Syria to form the Federation of Arab Republics
Federation of Arab Republics
The Federation of Arab Republics was an abortive attempt by Libya's Muammar Gaddafi to merge Libya, Egypt, and Syria, creating an United Arab state...

. This loose union lasted until 1977 when it split due to political and territorial disputes between the republics' leadership. In 1974, Muammar Gaddafi and Habib Bourgiba attempted their two nations of Libya and Tunisia to form the Arab Islamic Republic
Arab Islamic Republic
The Arab Islamic Republic was a proposed unification of Tunisia and Libya in 1974, agreed upon by Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi and Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba. The proposal was never implemented.- Regional context :...

. The plan was rejected by Bourgiba due to his realization of unity of the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

 states. This would later become the Arab Maghreb Union
Arab Maghreb Union
The Arab Maghreb Union is a trade agreement aiming for economic and some sort of future political unity in North Africa between the countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania...

.

Arab nationalist thinkers

  • Ibrahim al-Yaziji
  • Boutros al Bustani
  • Gamal Abdel Nasser
    Gamal Abdel Nasser
    Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

  • Adnan Pachachi
    Adnan Pachachi
    Adnan al-Pachachi or Adnan Muzahim Amin al-Pachachi is a veteran Iraqi politician and diplomat. Pachachi was Iraq's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1959 to 1965 and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq from 1965 to 1967; he again served as Permanent Representative to the UN...

  • Michel Aflaq
    Michel Aflaq
    Michel Aflaq was a Syrian philosopher, who is credited with being the ideological founder of ba'athism, a hybrid of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.-Early life:...

  • George Antonius
    George Antonius
    George Habib Antonius, CBE was a Lebanese-Egyptian author and diplomat, settled in Palestine, one of the first historians of Arab nationalism. Born in Deir al Qamar in a Lebanese Orthodox Christian family, he served in the British Mandate of Palestine. His 1938 book The Arab Awakening was...

  • Shakib Arslan
    Shakib Arslan
    Shakib Arslan was a Druze prince from Lebanon who was known as because in addition to being a politician, he was also an influential writer, poet and historian, among other things. Influenced by the ideas of al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh, Arslan became a strong supporter of the Pan-Islamic...

  • Zaki al-Arsuzi
    Zaki al-Arsuzi
    Zakī al-Arsūzī born Latakia June 1899, died Damascus July 1968) was a Syrian political activist and writer, and is widely regarded as a main inspiration for the Ba'ath Party...

  • George Habash
    George Habash
    George Habash also known by his laqab "al-Hakim" was a Palestinian nationalist. Habash, a Palestinian Christian, founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which pioneered the hijacking of airplanes as a Middle East militant tactic...

  • Sati' al-Husri
    Sati' al-Husri
    Sāti` al-Husrī was an Ottoman and Syrian writer, educationalist and an influential Arab nationalist thinker in the 20th century.-Early life:...

  • Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi
    Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi
    ‘Abd al-Raḥman al-Kawākibī was a Syrian author and Pan-Islamic Arab solidarity supporter from Aleppo. He was one of the most prominent intellectuals of his time; however, his thoughts and writings continue to be relevant to the issues of Islamic identity and Pan-Arabism...

  • Amin al-Rihani
    Amin al-Rihani
    Ameen Rihani, also spelled Amin al-Rihani , was a Lebanese Arab-American writer, intellectual and political activist. He was also a major figure in the mahjar literary movement developed by Arab emigrants in North America, and an early theorist of Arab nationalism...

  • Constantin Zureiq
    Constantin Zureiq
    Constantin Zureiq was a prominent and influential Syrian Arab intellectual who was one of the first to pioneer and express the importance of Arab nationalism. He stressed the urgent need to transform stagnate Arab society by means of rational thought and radical modification of the methods of...

  • Dyab Abou Jahjah
    Dyab Abou Jahjah
    Dyab Abou Jahjah is an Arab political activist who came from Lebanon to Belgium as an asylum seeker. He is the founder and former leader of the Arab European League , a Pan-Arabist movement that supports the interests of Muslim immigrants in Europe.-Personal life:He was born and grew up in...


Prominent Arab nationalist heads of state

  • Bashar al-Assad
    Bashar al-Assad
    Bashar al-Assad is the President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Party. His father Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria for 29 years until his death in 2000. Al-Assad was elected in 2000, re-elected in 2007, unopposed each time.- Early Life :...

  • Hafiz al-Assad
  • Ahmed Ben Bella
    Ahmed Ben Bella
    Mohamed Ahmed Ben Bella was a soldier and Algerian revolutionary, who became the first President of Algeria.-Youth:...

  • Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca
    Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca
    Sayyid Hussein bin Ali, GCB was the Sharif of Mecca, and Emir of Mecca from 1908 until 1917, when he proclaimed himself King of Hejaz, which received international recognition. He initiated the Arab Revolt in 1916 against the increasingly nationalistic Ottoman Empire during the course of the...

  • Gamal Abdel Nasser
    Gamal Abdel Nasser
    Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

  • Ibrahim al-Hamdi
  • Shukri al-Quwatli
  • Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

  • Muammar Gaddafi
    Muammar Gaddafi
    Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...


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