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Encyclopedia > Arab nationalism

Arab nationalism refers to a common nationalist ideology in wider Arab world. Arab nationalism is a form of ethnic nationalism or racial nationalism. It is a claim to common heritage — that all Arabs are united by a shared history, culture, and language. Pan-Arabism is a related concept, which calls for the creation of a single Arab state, but not all Arab nationalists are also Pan-Arabists. Arab independence refers to the concept of the removal or minimization of direct Western influence in the Middle East, and the dissolution of regimes in the Arab world which are considered to be dependent upon favorability with the West to the detriment of their local populations. The Arab nationalism considers the other ethnic groups in North Africa (Imazighen = Berbers) and in the Middle East (The Kurds, Turkoman..) simply as Arabs. Nationalism is an ideology that creates and sustains a nation as a concept of a common identity for groups of humans. ... The Arabs ((Arabic: عرب Ê»arab) are a large ethnic group widespread in the Middle East and North Africa, originating in the Arabian Peninsula of southwest Asia. ... Ethnic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives political legitimacy from historical cultural or hereditary groupings (ethnicities); the underlying assumption is that ethnicities should be politically distinct. ... Pan-Arabism is a movement for unification among the Arab peoples and nations of the Middle East. ...

Contents


Intellectual beginnings

The first stirrings of a specifically Arab nationalism were in Greater Syria, where in the aftermath of the sectarian disturbances in Mount Lebanon in 1860 Boutros al-Boustani launched his newspaper Nafir Suria. He called for a non-sectarian patriotism and the separation of state and religion, declaring that "love of the fatherland is faith". Other thinkers, mainly Syrians, followed in his footsteps, and the formation of patriotic secret societies, notably the Beirut Secret Society formed in 1875 which rapidly gained branches in Damascus, Tripoli and Sidon is evidence of an increasingly active proto-nationalist movement. The emigration of numerous Syrian Christian intellectuals to Egypt, where under Muhammad Ali Pasha and his successors they enjoyed greater freedom of expression than at home, was another factor in the spread of nationalist discourse. Headline text Greater Syria, also known (in a historic context) as Syria, or Bilad ash-Sham (بلاد الشام, its Arabic name) is a historic region in the Middle East bordering the Mediterranean. ... Mount Lebanon is the mountain range that extends across the whole country of Lebanon about 160 km (100 mi) parallel to the Mediterranean coast and rising to 3,090 m (10,131 ft). ... 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... Damascus by night, pictured from Jabal Qasioun; the green spots are minarets Damascus (Arabic officially دمشق Dimashq, colloquially ash-Sham الشام) is the capital city of Syria. ... Tripoli (Arabic طرابلس Trablus, academically transliterated Ṭarābulus) is the second-largest city in Lebanon. ... Sidon, Zidon or Saida, (Arabic صيدا Ṣaydā is the third-largest city in Lebanon. ... See Mehemet Ali (Turkey) for the Turkish foreign minister and regent. ...


The rise of Arab nationalism

The political orientation of Arab nationalists in the years prior to the First World War was generally moderate. Their demands were of a reformist nature, limited in general to autonomy within the Ottoman Empire, greater use of Arabic in education, and local service in peacetime for Arab conscripts to the imperial army. Some radicalisation followed the 1908 revolution in the empire and the Turkicisation programme imposed by the new Committee of Union and Progress (CUP, often known as the Young Turks) government. However, Arab nationalism was not yet a mass movement, even in Syria where it was strongest. Many Arabs gave their primary loyalty to their religion or sect, their tribe, or their own particular governments. The ideologies of Ottomanism and Pan-Islamism were strong competitors of Arab nationalism. World War I was primarily a European conflict with many facets: immense human sacrifice, stalemate trench warfare, and the use of new, devastating weapons - tanks, aircraft, machine guns, and poison gas. ... Imperial motto (Ottoman Turkish) Devlet-i Ebed-müddet (the Eternal State) The Ottoman Empire at the height of its power Official language Ottoman Turkish Capital Bursa (1335 - 1365), Edirne (1365-1453), İstanbul (Constantinople) (1453-1922) Imperial anthem Ottoman imperial anthem Sovereigns Padishah of the Osmanli Dynasty Population ca 40... The Arabic language (; , less formally, ) is the largest member of the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family (classification: South Central Semitic) and is closely related to Hebrew and Aramaic. ... 1908 (MCMVIII) is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article refers to the Turkish nationalist reform party. ... Pan-Islamism is the loose unification of all Islamic countries and peoples. ...


Nationalist sentiments became more prominent during the collapse of Ottoman authority. The brutal repression of the secret societies in Damascus and Beirut by Jamal Pasha, who executed patriotic intellectuals in 1915 and 1916, stregthened anti-Turkish feeling, while the British, for their part, incited the Sharif of Mecca to launch the Arab Revolt during the First World War. The Ottomans were defeated and the rebel forces, loyal to the Sharif's son Faisal ibn Abd Allah entered Damascus in 1918. Arab unity then saw its first failed attempt with the establishment of the short-lived Kingdom of Syria under Faisal. 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1916 (MCMXVI) is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January-February January 1 -The first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled. ... The Arab Revolt (1916–1918) was initiated by Sherif Hussein ibn 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 Yemen. ... World War I was primarily a European conflict with many facets: immense human sacrifice, stalemate trench warfare, and the use of new, devastating weapons - tanks, aircraft, machine guns, and poison gas. ... Faisal ibn Husayn (Arabic:فيصل بن حسين May 20, 1883 – September 8, 1933) was for a short while king of Greater Syria in 1920 and king of Iraq from 1921 to 1933. ...


During the war the British had been a major sponsor of Arab nationalist thought and ideology, as a weapon to use against the power of the Ottoman Empire. During the interwar years and the British Mandate period, when Arab lands were under British colonial control, Arab nationalism became an important anti-colonial opposition movement against British rule. The British Mandate of Palestine was a swathe of territory in the Middle East, formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire, which the League of Nations entrusted to the United Kingdom to administer in the aftermath of World War I as a Mandate Territory. ...


Important Arab nationalist thinkers in the inter-war period included Amin al-Rihani, Constantin Zureiq, Zaki al-Arsuzi, Michel Aflaq and Sati' al-Husri. Prominent Arab nationalist rulers have included Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Moammar Al Qadhafi, President of Libya, President Hafiz al-Assad in Syria and former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Constantin Zureiq (born Damascus 1909-2000), a prominent Arab intellectual and academic, was one of the pioneering theorists of modern Arab nationalism. ... Zaki al-Arsuzi is a Syrian philosopher, and founder of the Baath Party. ... Michel ‘Aflaq Michel ‘Aflaq (1910 - June 23, 1989) was the ideological founder of Ba’athism, a form of Arab nationalism. ... Sati al-Husri was a Syrian writer and intellectual whose ideas are widely considered to have played a fundamental role in the development of Arab Nationalism. ... Gamal Abdel Nasser (Arabic: جمال عبد الناصر) ‎ (January 15, 1918 – September 28, 1970) was the second President of Egypt after Muhammad Naguib and is considered one of the most important Arab leaders in history. ... Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qaddafi 1 (Arabic: معمر القذافي Mu`ammar al-Qadhdhāfī) (born 1942), leader of Libya since 1970 and a controversial Arab statesman. ... Hafez al-Assad (October 6, 1930 - June 10, 2000) was the President of Syria from 1971 to 2000. ... Saddam Hussein when he was the President of Iraq. ...


Egypt and Syria

In 1958 the states of Egypt and Syria temporarily joined to create a new nation, the United Arab Republic. Attempts were also made to include Yemen in the union, but the UAR collapsed in 1961 after a coup in Syria, leaving only Egypt, which had been its political centre, with Cairo as the capital and Gamal Abdal Nasser as the president. The name United Arab Republic continued to be used by Egypt until 1971, after the death of Nasser. Capital Cairo Created 1958 Dissolved 1961 Demonym Arab The United Arab Republic (Arabic: لجمهورية العربية المتحدة - al jumhuriya al-arabia al-muttahida) (UAR) was the state formed by the union between the republics of Egypt and Syria in 1958. ... A coup détat, or simply a coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government, usually done by a small group that just replaces the top power figures. ... Although technically in Giza, The Great Pyramids have become a symbol of Cairo internationally Cairo (Arabic: القاهرة; transliterated: al-Qāhirah) is the capital city of Egypt (and previously the United Arab Republic) and has a metropolitan area population of approximately 15. ... Gamal Abdel Nasser (Arabic: جمال عبد الناصر) Gamal Abdel Nasser (January 15, 1918 - September 28, 1970) was the second President of Egypt after Muhammad Naguib and is considered one of the most important Arab leaders in history. ...


Ba'thism

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 was used by some as an important building block in creating a new Arab national identity. Islām is described as a dīn, meaning way of life and/or guidance. Six articles of belief There are six basic beliefs shared by all Muslims: 1. ...


An example of this was Michel Aflaq, founder along with Salah al-Din al-Bitar and Zaki al-Arsuzi of the Ba'th Party. Aflaq 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 expresion 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 present were because the Arabs had diverged from their "eternal and perfect symbol", Islam. The Arabs needed to have a "renaissance": the meaning of the word ba'th. Michel ‘Aflaq Michel ‘Aflaq (1910 - June 23, 1989) was the ideological founder of Ba’athism, a form of Arab nationalism. ... Salah al-Din al-Bitar ( 1911), a Sunni Muslim, co-founder of the Bath Party in Syria. ... Zaki al-Arsuzi is a Syrian philosopher, and founder of the Baath Party. ... Baath Party flag The Baath Parties (also spelled Baath or Bath; Arabic: اﻟﺒﻌﺚ) comprise political parties representing the political face of the Baath movement. ...


Throughout the Middle East, regional nationalisms and allegiances to the post-WWI states such as Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq partly compete and partly coexist with broader Arab nationalism. In Lebanon, for instance, the identity of "Arab" is rejected by some Lebanese nationalist groups (especially Maronite), while being enthusiastically embraced by others. Maronites (Marunoye ܐܶܝܢܘܪܡ in Syriac, Mâruniyya مارونية in Arabic) are members of an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope of the [[Roman Catholic Church]. Their heritage reaches back to St. ...


Definitions of "Arab" sometimes vary; see Arab. The Arabs ((Arabic: عرب ʻarab) are a large ethnic group widespread in the Middle East and North Africa, originating in the Arabian Peninsula of southwest Asia. ...


Arab nationalist thinkers

Muhammad Abduh (Muhammad Abduh) (1849 - 1905) was an Egyptian Muslim fundamentalist religious reformer. ... Sati al-Husri was a Syrian writer and intellectual whose ideas are widely considered to have played a fundamental role in the development of Arab Nationalism. ... Shakib Arslan (1869-1946) was a druze prince (amir) from Lebanon who was known as Amir al-Bayān (Arabic for Prince of Eloquence) because in addition to being a politician, he was also an influential writer, poet and historian, among other things. ... George Antonius (1891-1941) was the first historian of Arab nationalism. ... Michel ‘Aflaq Michel ‘Aflaq (1910 - June 23, 1989) was the ideological founder of Ba’athism, a form of Arab nationalism. ... Constantin Zureiq (born Damascus 1909-2000), a prominent Arab intellectual and academic, was one of the pioneering theorists of modern Arab nationalism. ... Zaki al-Arsuzi is a Syrian philosopher, and founder of the Baath Party. ... Gamal Abdel Nasser (Arabic: جمال عبد الناصر) ‎ (January 15, 1918 – September 28, 1970) was the second President of Egypt after Muhammad Naguib and is considered one of the most important Arab leaders in history. ...

Further reading

  • Islamist critique of Arab Nationalism
  • Arab Nationalism: Mistaken Identity by Martin Kramer

Martin Kramer (born 1954, Washington, DC) is the Wexler-Fromer Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Arab nationalism: Information From Answers.com (789 words)
Arab independence refers to the concept of the removal or minimization of direct Western influence in the Middle East, and the dissolution of regimes in the Arab world which are considered to be dependent upon favorability with the West to the detriment of their local populations.
Arab nationalists generally were not particularly religious, and did not promote observance of Islamic laws as such; however, the fact that most Arabs were Muslims was used as an important building block in creating a new Arab Muslim national identity.
The Arabs needed to have a "rebirth" a "renessance"; this was the Arab Ba'ath.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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