What is Pan-Arabism? In what ways has Pan-Arabism expressed itself in the Middle East? Why has Pan-Arabism failed to produce Arab Unity?
The term Pan-Arabism refers to the concept of the al-Umma al-‘Arabiyya or the Arab nation. The term was first conceptualized in the late 19th century when the call for Arab Unity was requested upon the establishment of several secret societies in Lebanon and Syria, urging the revolt against Turkish rule of the Arab region. It was constantly expressed by Arab nationalist in several periods such as in the First World War, wherein various Arab nationalist groups demanded the creation of an independent Arab nation once they revolt against the Ottoman rule; the West’s approval of the Zionist movement, and the application of the mandate system. The Pan-Arabism movement also grew in power in the years 1943-1961 as Arab nations acquired their independence from Western influence through protracted violence and coups d’état. It was in this period that the notion of a unified Arab state raised appeal in Middle Eastern politics, especially with the speeches done by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Nasser called for freedom from the West, socialism, and Arab unity. It was met in enthusiasm by many countries, especially in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
The Pan-Arabism movement failed to produce Arab Unity due to its shortcomings. The idea itself was overly exaggerated and idealistic, offering only a few workable economic, political, and organizational changes. It also fails to account the different political, economic, social and legislative differences of each Arab nation. Should there be an Arab nation to be established, it has to take into account legitimacy, and each local difference. There is also the reservation of each Arab leader over their territories, as well as their bureaucracy in times of domestic and regional strife. There is also a problem in reconciling the shari’a and Western secularism. Pan-Arabism also lost its power by the time the Soviet Union collapsed .
What were the origins of the interwar political parties in Iraq, Syria and Egypt? What did these parties (and their associated parliamentary systems) fail to survive?
The origins of the interwar political parties in the three countries of Iraq, Syria and Egypt can be traced back in the early 1900s by the time of the First World War. As Britain and France continued to control the Middle Eastern region, Pan-Arabism started to flourish to call for Arab independence from the West. In the case of the three countries, many have preached for Arabism in the interwar period, some entering the parties adopting social and economic platforms that would support Arabism. The sentiments for Pan-Arabism also grew in the Second World War, especially as many groups have longed for the removal of Western influence in the Middle East. For Iraq and Syria, the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party has supported the ideologies of Arab nationalism, pan-Arabism, and anti-imperialism. The parties have called for the creation of a unified Arabian state that cannot be influenced by outside forces or groups. For Egypt, the Arab Socialist Union became the most prominent interwar political party.
However, despite its intentions of creating a Pan-Arabic state, the parties and its subsequent proposals failed to survive due to the political and ideological strife in each party. In the case of the Ba’ath Party, the Syrian-led faction and the Iraqi-led faction had argued upon the foundations of the Ba’athist state, especially with the Iraqi-faction leader Ali Salid al-Sadi pushing for a Marxist stance. The faction eventually split into three factions as they could not agree to a Pan-Arab idea for Middle East. In the case of Arab Socialist Party, the group ended due to the decline of Nasserism especially after the 1967 Six Day War. Egypt slowly succumbed to political strife as people called for their right to gain more democratic rights. Eventually when Anwar Sadat became president, he issued the reaction of three forums to become the major political parties in Egypt .
What was the Balfour Declaration? What effect has this declaration had on the development of the modern Middle East?
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was the agreement of the British government and the Zionist movement in the creation of a Jewish-led territory in Palestine. When the Turks withdrew from Palestine in the First World War, Palestinian independence as well as other nations formerly under Turkish rule was impossible to achieve due to the pledges given to the Arabs by the British monarchy. The British monarchy had promised a contradictory pledge to the Christian Zionists the same time they made the Arab pledge as seen in the letter addressed to Arthur James Balfour on November 2nd, 1917. The letter became known as the Balfour Declaration.
The declaration itself had influenced Palestinian and Middle Eastern history and affairs as it kick-started the Arab-Israeli conflict. Under the Balfour Declaration, a national home for the Jews would be established and become recognized by the British monarchy. Many groups have contested over the creation of a Jewish state as the area in which the state would be create is a necessary landmark for Islam, Arabs, and for the Palestinians. The declaration was also void due to its lack of approval from the Palestine as it is needed to gain the consent of the recently freed Palestinians before a state could be formed. The declaration has also paved the way for Israel to be formed; however, Arabs have gained immense hatred over the state due to its Zionist roots and its separation from the Arab unity practiced by the other Arab nations. Casualties have also increased in both sides of Israel and the Arab nations in each subsequent war that occurred over the Palestinian territory. As of today, there is still no fixed and permanent peace in the region, marring the development of the other-wise bountiful region .
What was the Sykes-Picot agreement? In what ways has this agreement affected the political development of the modern Middle East?
Alongside the Balfour Declaration, the Sykes-Picot agreement of May 1916 is the agreement between France and Britain to create a secret partition of all the Arab areas under the Ottoman Empire. Negotiating the agreement was Francois Georges-Picot, the high commissioner in Levant, and Sir Mark Sykes of the British Foreign Office. Russia and Japan were also part of the agreement, but maintained an inactive role of watching the proceedings. Under the Sykes-Picot agreement, it established the territories both countries wish to have in the former Ottoman territories. Later on, the agreement has managed to settle the basis for the League of Nations to enable mandates in the Middle East under French and British rule.
Like the Balfour Declaration, the Sykes-Picot Agreement has stirred the beginnings of the decades long Arab-Israeli conflict. When the agreement was leaked by the Soviet leaders to the Turks, who then informed the Arabs, it caused massive riots and attacks from the Arabs regarding the arrangement. Ironically, the attack from the Arabs against the British-French forces was met in confusion as they were allies against the Central Powers controlling the Middle East. The agreement has also begun the growing hatred of the Arabs against the West, signalling the beginning of another Pan-Arabism movement. All the promises made to the Arabs in exchange of removing the Turks were negated by the agreement. Instead of allowing the Arabs to take over the former Turk states, the British-French agreement had influenced the League of Nations to turn the freed nations into their consecutive mandates .
What is the "democracy deficit" that plagues the Middle East? Why does this condition affect the region? What accounts for its continued persistence?
Middle East's democracy deficit problem can be attributed to continuous clashes of authoritarians that shape up the political arena in many of Middle East's states. These clashes have attributed to the lack of management to the distribution of political power and resources that affects the Middle East as a whole. The clashes also drift off any possibilities for democracy to flourish, causing continuous hindrances in changing Middle Eastern struggle. The reason as to why political authoritarianism continues in the Middle East is because of the continuous presence of authoritarian elites, namely the tyrants and incumbent presidents, who can perpetuate bargains that could silence any form of opposition from another party. Should the authoritarian regime change, the political system would then slowly transform to become more democratic. In the case of Iran, while its president Mahmood Ahmadinejad is returning back to authoritarianism, there is still a democratic transition taking place, transforming the entire political system.
However, even if authoritarianism is removed from country, democratic transitions do not become a reality without democratic bargains between both parties to ensure that each political sphere would protect the democratic process that would take into place. Should any of the guidelines and pacts be violated by the incoming party, there is a possibility that another authoritarian elite would take over, ruining the chance of democratization. In the Middle East, this is likely to happen with the collapse of Iraq tyrant Saddam Hussein. Nevertheless, just overthrowing these authoritarian elites is not enough to impose democracy. There is still a need to address the uneven balance of power in the Middle East before democracy could ensue .
What is Import Substituting Industrialization? How does it seek to produce economic growth? Has this approach worked in the Middle East? Explain why, and offer at least two examples of it’s used by countries in the region.
Import-substituting industrialization or the ISI is a development strategy imposed to LDCs or Least-Developing Countries. Under the ISI, it is designed to enable economies to become dependent on its industrial sector rather than its export of primary goods and raw materials. Under the ISI, the new industries are expected to produce both goods previously imported and process raw materials, such as cotton, minerals and petroleum. Once this is done, the result would be reduced dependency on export and high-priced imports, and dependence in the local market. The ISI also hopes to aid developing countries from succumbing to agrarian dependence, introduce domestic markets, and enable infant and new industries to develop and compete. The present industries would also gain backward linkages, stimulating new investments in the process.
The ISI was closely monitored by the Middle Eastern countries, especially after its success in Turkey. However, countries have met difficulties applying the system since states forego in developing their export strategies in raw materials and agriculture produce which have already given them advantage in the international market. The strategy is also rendered ineffective considering its broad-based nature. Israel, for example, tried to follow the policy due to its military industry sector. However, it failed to experience the benefits of the strategy due to its small population and economic isolation with the rest of the Arab countries. Lebanon and Jordan also tried to follow the strategy; however it made less sense in application considering they did not produce oil .
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