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How Signifigant Was The Presence Of Foreign Powers As An Influence On The Nature And Growth Of Arab Nationalism 1900 2001

620 words - 3 pages

Arab nationalism celebrates the glories of the Arab civilization; the language, literature and a calling for a more youthful and politically unionised Arab world. Having said this, one of the priorities in Arab nationalism, especially over the past century, was to eradicate the western worlds influence upon the Arab world. The Arabs saw periodic success in their ambition but it can all be dated back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This looks to be the first promising event in their world but this was not always replicated in other, future events such as conflict involving Israel. It is believed that the ‘Arab Nation’ was already in existence before the appearance of Arab nationalism and that language and religion formed a common ground within the Arabian Peninsula. Arab nationalism in the 20th century saw various frontiers and leaders that all possessed definitively separate ...view middle of the document...

The origins of Arab nationalism lay in the Ottoman Empire. Not least was the issue of ‘ethnic and national differences’ from the Ottomans; during the time, Arabic people that were not under the authority of the Turks, were to be found under the leadership of a French or British mandate. These mandates saw conflict and tension: Dawisha wrote of Syria’s priority being predominantly focused towards ‘attaining Syrian independence from the French’ (Syria was under French mandate). However, it must be said, nationalism was to a large degree, contained. This can be largely credited to the foreign powers. Syria never, in the years involving WWI and the years leading up to it, attempt to have any aggressive expansionist policies that looked beyond their boarder; this is likely to of been the case for 2 reasons. 1.) Their focus was on attaining respect and balance from their mandate and 2.) ‘Too protective of their own class interests’ . In the early years of Arab nationalisms development, way after the seed of it was planted arguably so by Mohamed Ali, it would appear that Arab nationalism had neither a distinct behaviour nor much growth. There was no unity in its actions. For example it wasn’t until the late 1920’s that Egypt stressed their powerful intent to be among the Arab world. The significance of this lies in Egypt’s future role as the bastion of Arab nationalism. The most prominent role of any Arab country in the 20th century was played by Egypt but they had not even established themselves during the First World War era. An inconsistent nature in Arab nationalism can be continuously found through other events of the WWI era.
The relationship formed by the McMahon letter and the Sykes-Picot agreement both supported the thesis for an Arab state in Palestine and through this the mandates had worn the cloak of appeasement which in turn subdued the Arab states through satisfaction in their aims. The inconsistency flowed through into the early 20’s where a series of revolts took place: the Iraqi revolt of 1920 culminated as a result of resentment to British rule.

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