The Failed Arab Unity Project Essay Name of of University Introduction As an outcome of the failure of Nasserism in the Arab-Israeli war in 1967, it became common to associate failure to the abandonment of Islamic religion and tradition…
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Confronted with the obvious failure of Arab ideologies, specifically Arab nationalism, Ba’thist Arab Socialism, and pan-Islamism, to achieve wider Arab unity, several intellectuals resorted yet again to religion. An unnamed writer in Jordan described the experience of the Arab world in the ideological domain throughout the 20th century, and concluded that the Arab world “never enjoyed a comprehensive ideology except under the State of the Prophet Muhammad and his great Caliphs, Abu-Bakr and Umar” (Rejwan, 1974, p.32). This essay discusses why ideologies such as Arab nationalism, Ba’thism, and pan-Islamism have failed to achieve a wider Arab unity. Arab Nationalism and Arab Unity It was only at the end of the First World War that the relevant concept of the ‘Arab nation’ surfaced and Arab nationalism slowly became a political movement. Intellectuals instead of political figures were at the vanguard of the movement. They adopted the ideology of nationalism from Europe and they utilised it to break new ground for the Arab nation (Young, Zuelow, & Sturm, 2007). However, Arab nationalism was an utter failure. There were challenging, overwhelming hindrances along its route. Primarily, there were rivalling allegiances to religion, faction, and tribe, as well as opposing identities. Moreover, there was persistent conflict between Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and other regional states and the bigger, inclusive Arab identity. The other, and possibly most unexpected, barrier to the idea of a united Arab world was linguistic differences in the region (Choueiri, 2005). However, the most influential rival of the notion of a secular Arab world was the idea of a unified Islamic community. Islam was one of the grand cosmopolitan ideologies with a right to the loyalty of most Arabs. Islam is more encompassing than pan-Arabism for it did not set apart Arab from non-Arab. The Islamic community was a union wherein ethnic background is irrelevant. Given these profound and persistent rifts and differences, it was an almost unachievable mission to attain the two core goals of Arab nationalism—sovereignty and unity. Another goal was created at the end of the Second World War—to protect Arab ownership of Palestine. The 1948 Arab-Israeli War was the critical stage in the fight for Palestine (Joffe, 1983). It was expected that Arab unity would be built on the combat zone against a single adversary. It was the most important ordeal for the newly autonomous Arab states, but they did not pass the test. The failure of these states to synchronise their military and political campaigns was one of the main reasons for the defeat of Palestine (Podeh, 1999). The hopeful possibilities that emerged once the Arabs conducted war against the Zionist enemies raised disenchantment and anguish over the miserable destruction of Arab Palestine. A very unique aspect of modern-day Arab nation is the startling discrepancy between vision and reality. Pan-Arabism is the declared ideology among the powerful elite and the dominant belief among the Arab people, but the Arab nation still struggles with the decline of civil life and deep-rooted disunity. Attempts at political and social unity have been prevented by oppressive situations,
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