The Middle East in Transition: Studies in Contemporary History

By Walter Z. Laqueur | Go to book overview

TWO SOVIET VIEWS ON THE MIDDLE EAST*

I
The Growth of National Consciousness among the Arab Peoples (1945-55)

by L. N. VATOLINA

THE PEOPLES of the Arab countries,1 having lived for four hundred years under the heavy yoke of the Ottoman Empire, then became the object of most cruel exploitation by the colonial Powers, who divided the Arab countries between themselves and turned them into markets for the sale of their goods, sources of raw materials, and areas of capital investment. This predatory exploitation by foreign monopolies of the natural wealth of the Arab countries, semi-feudal and capitalist exploitation, made for a one-sided development of the economy of the Arab countries, hampered the growth of their productive forces, and led to the impoverishment of the labouring masses.

In all Arab countries large-scale landownership prevails. In Iraq, for example, half of all the cultivable land is concentrated in the hands of the landlords. In almost all Arab countries labour rents and share-cropping are widespread. The landlords, representing an

____________________
*
Note. -- Professor Vatolina article was published in Sovetskoe Vostokovedenie, No. 5, 1955. Professor Lutskii essay ibid., No. 2, 1957. Cuts are indicated by '...'.
1
The area covered by the twenty Arab states and seven principalities is roughly 11.1 million square kilometres, with a total population of more than 76 million.

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