Politics of the Middle East

Introduction

Regional movements have had significant effect on the Inter-Arab politics. Good examples of these movements are the Pan-Arab movement as well as the Islamic movements. These movements have always tried to reunify Arabs and reestablish their political power.

Most of them have been making efforts to bring out the issue of nationalism, particularly after the Second World War. They have tended to press for unity and socialism. Most of these movements played a very important role in the liberation of Arabs from foreign powers like European powers and even the Ottoman Empire.

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Pan-Arab Movement

Regional movements such as the Pan-Arab movement have been at the forefront in bringing the existing regimes to the limelight. They have helped in curtailing the excessive powers employed by the dictatorial regimes. The Pan-Arab movement was mainly based on the socialism ideologies.

The movement asserts that Arabs belong to one state and it was meant to unit them as well as shielding them from foreign dominance. The movement played a big role in unifying Arab nations and through the formation of alliances as well as enhancing economic collaboration (Jankowski 244-45).

Origin and Development

The movement is believed to have been founded by Jurji Zaydan under his Nahda movement. He is well known for his role in the adoption of Quranic language as the official language among the Arabic nations instead of the reliance on the other local languages. This helped to boost the aspect of Arab nationalism.

He also popularized certain heroes from the Arab nations in the novels that he wrote. His ideas were picked up by Sharif Hussein Ali, who sought the Mashreq Arabs independence from Ottoman Empire. The movement therefore played a very significant role in the liberation as well as independence of the Arab nations.

The movement played a very significant role in the unification of Arab nations. In some of the cases however it met with opposition and distrust. It was accused of propagating racism, inciting as well as down-playing the role played by people who were of the non-Arabic origin. It met with opposition not just from non-Arabic nations but some of the Arabic nations as well.

Egypt was for instance so much opposed to its ideologies in its earlier years and it only came to be accepted during the reign of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Most Arab nations had irreconcilable differences that in most cases led to the collapse of the movement and its ideologies (Aburish 99).

The Decline

After the defeat of the Arabs by the Israelis in the six day war in 1967 as well as the inability of the Arab nations that embraced the pan African ideology to ensure economic recovery the result was the decline of the movement as well as its ideologies. It only remained as an aspect of wishful thinking among the common people. After the war, many people had lost their lives and so many of the Egyptians were disillusioned by the ‘Arab politics.’

The signing of the peace accord between Egypt and Israel dealt a big blow to the movement. Opposition started emerging against the movement among the Arab nations who blamed the movement for some of the invasions that occurred like the invasion of Kuwait by the Iraqis. Egypt opposed it on the grounds that it tended to elevate only one aspect of the Egyptian culture and suppressed the rest.

Islamic Movement

The Islamic movement is the other regional movement that has had significant effect on the Inter-Arab politics. The movement has lead to revolutions in most of the Arab nations. The movement has in some cases been used to fight governments and overthrow them or even wage war against the invading troops. The movement has been responsible for several uprisings some of which have marked political turning points.

Background

The movement emerged as a result of the threat that the Islamic nations faced particularly due to the foreign western influence. Most of these nations were witnessing white revolution and the traditional Islamic culture was perceived to be at risk. The western nations seemed to be gaining ground among the Islamic states hence a need emerged to curtail the same.

The movement has tended to abandon the crisis ideology and channel its efforts towards tackling the challenges that people encounter. Since its emergence, the movement made efforts to liberate Islamic territories.

The movement’s efforts were geared towards ensuring that foreign influence and invasion of the Islamic land is curtailed. It was known for demanding monetary as well as material support in the fight against foreign invasion. The fight was viewed as one aimed at ensuring liberation against the aggressors.

It was known for using aggressive tactics like jihad in trying to accomplish the mission among the Arab states. The movement always elevated people who fought for its precepts to the ‘freedom fighters’ status. The movement was at the forefront in calling the Muslims to the fight against foreign invasion and this greatly affected the inter-Arab politics.

It played a very significant role in shaping the public opinion for instance through convincing people about their common enemy like Israel and other western countries which were perceived as a threat to the Islamic as well as the Arab nations. It utilized the tactic of recruiting many followers and this worked as a political strategy as it ensured that their voice in the political scene was heard. The movement’s activities included the fighting of imperialism which was perceived to be a western propagated ideology.

It was since time in the past trying all the tactics to unit the Islamic people majority of whom were the Arabs. This was done through demanding for the spirit of nationalism among the Islamic states and this was enhanced by ensuring that they had several things in common like the national flags or slogans like; Allah is great.

This greatly influenced the political landscape in the Middle Eastern countries. Such unity was perceived as the only way of fueling the jihads which were perceived as wars fought on behalf of Allah. The movement perceived it as its responsibility to hid to any call for help made by the Islamic people.

It was particularly known for propagating the Islamic ideology and waging war against other foreign ideologies like those embraced by the Christians. It was always perceived as fighting to liberate countries from any form of imperialism and against the teachings that were believed to be secular and which encourage sin.

They fought with the assumptions that they were fighting for the right cause regardless of whether the targets were Muslims or non Muslims. Islam was perceived as the only remedy that Allah gave man to liberate him from slavery and make him worship only Allah as the true God and no other.

The Islamic movement however met much opposition from the leaderships of the respective nations given that they were perceived as partisan to the oppression of the people and in trying to share in the glory of Allah which was against the Islamic precepts. The movement was also perceived as outlawed given that aggressive methods and violence were employed in order to drive the message home. Some of the tactics included jihad.

It was also perceived by the leaders as geared towards political unrest as it incited the masses. The message that was perpetuated by the movement is that tyrants and the powerful were going against the will of God by oppressing the poor and the lowly. Such messages were not perceived as of good will among the leadership (Zaman 55).

The movement insisted on the need for everyone to wage war against the injustices that were being practiced and anyone who did not do this was perceived as partaking in the injustices that were being committed. It insisted on the fact that those who insisted on doing wrong would be punished by Allah himself. This in the long run resulted in the Islamic conquest which was perceived as a remedy and redemption to the people who were being oppressed, that is why they embraced Islam wholeheartedly (Wiktorowicz 4).

These two movements, the pan Arab-movement and the Islamic movement are just some of the regional movements that affected the Inter-Arab politics. Their main aim was to bring together people particularly in the Middle Eastern Arab as well as Islamic nations and liberate them from foreign influence and oppression hence giving them freedom and a common identity.

Such movements have been a common cause of uprising and even government overthrows since they tend to bring the ruling classes to the limelight and expose those acts that they perceive as unjustified or oppressive. Most of the foreign influences among Arab and Islamic nations were curtailed due to the impact of these movements (Morris 57).

They were a major determinant of the public opinion given that they sided with the majority who perceived themselves as being oppressed. They used tactics of uniting and inciting the people against the ruling class hence causing uprisings as well as government overthrows.

They also perpetrated their ideologies among the masses hence influencing the political ideologies of that particular time. For instance, the Islamic movement perpetrated the inclusion of Islamic precepts in the governance of the people which were perceived as being fair and acceptable to man and God. The Pan-Arab movement on the other hand demanded for the exaltation of Arabic precepts in the governance. They therefore significantly affected the Inter-Arab politics.

They however met with much opposition particularly from the leaderships of that time given that they were perceived as using crude tactics as well as inciting the people against their leaders as well as dividing them along racial and religious lines. Given that most of these movements were aimed at curtailing the influence of the western powers in their nations, they tended to unit the people against these powers and this resulted in the independence as well as liberation of most of these nations.

Works Cited

Aburish, Said K. Nasser, the Last Arab. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2004. Print.

Jankowski, James. Egypt and Early Arab Nationalism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1990. Print.

Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Print.

Wiktorowicz, Quintan. “Islamists, the State, and Cooperation in Jordan.” Arab Studies Quarterly, 21. 4(1999): 4.

Zaman, Muhammad Qasim. The Ulama in Contemporary Islam: Custodians of Change. New York: Princeton University Press, 2002. Print.

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