The Life and Death of Pan-Arabism Ideology

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“To say pan-Arabism is ‘dead’ would be inaccurate- because it was never ‘alive,’ in any meaningful sense, in the first place.” Assess viewpoints for and against this argument, with special reference to at least one appropriate country.

“One Arab nation from Gulf to the Ocean,” gives meaning to the term “Pan-Arabism” in the Middle East. A notion where Arab nations transcend their state boundaries to form political mergers with other states and achieve an ‘Arab unity.’ The existence of Arab states had been tumultuous throughout the decline of the Muslim order, the end of the Ottoman Empire, the Palestinian defeat, Six Day War and Arab-Israeli war in 1973. This essay will critically examine Foud Ajami’s case for a raison d’état in the Middle East and his claim that there were six broad trends leading to the alteration of the balance of power away from Pan-Arabism and towards the state. It will be argued that Pan-Arabism was a romantic ideology that Arab states found convenient to support, all in advancement of their nationalistic state agendas. It was never a realistic endeavor that was physically undertaken by the Arab states and was thus never alive in a tangible sense. However, Pan-Arabism as an ideology had a place in the Middle East and was thus alive in an ideological sense.

Ajami argues that universalism of Pan-Arabism derived from the universalism of the Ottoman Empire had disappeared after 6 decades. There is no longer a collective Arab crisis and nation states have alternate nationalistic goals. A case in point to support his argument would be the example of Egypt. The country has pertinent political and economic issues to concern itself with. Many face unemployment and the country is on the verge of bankruptcy....

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