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Nationalism In The Middle East Essay

1806 words - 8 pages

3. When discussing nationalism in the Arab world, scholars have distinguished between pan-Arabism (qawmiyya) and nation-state nationalism (wataniya). Define the two forms of nationalism, explain the differences between them and their place in modern Middle Eastern history.
Pan-Arabism refers to the aspiration to form a single Arabian super state/an Arab nation (umma arabiyya); the ideology calls for the uniting of all Arab states to form a powerful political union to protect the interests of the Arabs. The main principle of the ideology is the notion that the inhabitants of the Arab world stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Suez Canal are citizens of one nation united by common linguistic, cultural, religious and historical tradition. The key objective of the ideology is to end the influence of the Western powers on the Arab world that has watered down the strength of the Arabs as well as overthrowing Arab government that has been supporting and are dependent upon Western countries. The Pan-Arabism ideology became famous with the weakening and defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Nonetheless, its prominence has considerably gone down in the past four decades after the Arab armies were defeated by Israel in the Six-Day War. The ideology was founded by Michael Iflaq; supporters of Pan-Arabism included Jamal Abdel Nasser (former Egypt leader), Libyan late leader Muammar Gaddafi, Arab Socialist Baath Party and Arab Nationalist Movement. Nasser was the most vocal Pan-Arab supporter who even employed his military and political power to extend the philosophy across the Arab world.
The philosophy of pan-Arabism developed as early as 1860s when intellectuals in Levant and Egypt within the Ottoman Empire developed a sense of loyalty to the fatherland. The sense of loyalty arose after the intellectuals observed Western Europe’s achievements which were attributed to Europeans’ loyalty to their motherland. Literatures criticizing the Ottoman Empire for be disloyal to Islam were produced and within a short time the ideology gained prominence. The Young Arab Society was formed in 1911to push for the welfare of Arab nations. As the Ottoman authority continued weakening, there were more intellectuals who were supporting Pan-Arabism. Nonetheless, majority of the Arabs did not embrace the Pan-Arabism idea but considered themselves part of the Empire. At this time, European powers invaded and conquered the empire. Pan-Arabism popularity grew as it was seen as the best tool to air people’s resistance to the occupation by the European countries. Numerous Arab revolts led by the 1920 Iraq revolt that led to several Arab countries attaining independence. The Arab league was formed in 1944 through the Alexandria protocol bringing together leaders from 8 Arab nations. The Pan-Arabism ideology reached its peak during the leadership of Nasser. Nasser publicly challenged the dominance of the Arab world by the West and even...

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