Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order

Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order

Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order

Dialogues in Arab Politics: Negotiations in Regional Order

Synopsis

For decades, Arab states and societies have been involved in an ongoing conflict over the goals and norms of Arabism. In this comprehensive study, Michael Barnett explores the relationships between Arab identity, the meaning of Arabism, and desired regional order in the Middle East from 1920 to the present, focusing on Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Barnett examines the state system in four distinct time frames: the mandate period to the establishment of the League of Arab States in 1945; 1945 through the Baghdad Pact of 1955; the Suez War through the 1967 war; and 1967 through the Gulf War. Within each of these time frames, the Arab states' relationship to unification, the West, and confrontation with Zionism are addressed.

Does Arab unity depend on excluding Western influences? Can an Arab state be at once Islamic and democratic? Why can't the Arab states agree on a common government? Barnett argues that the Arab states' symbolic and strategic interactions were responsible for the alterations in the norms of Arabism, and ultimately, the fragamentation that currently defines the region.

Excerpt

Albert Hourani, the distinguished historian of the Middle East, once observed that any book on twentieth-century Arab politics must “express a dialectic of unity and variety.” Local interests and geopolitical imperatives pull Arab-speaking peoples apart, while the persistence of inherited traits, historic memories, and the attempt to address certain shared problems of identity bring them closer together. Hourani was not alone among historians of Arab politics to note how the tension between transnational bonds and territorial divides has produced a rich mixture of conflict and cooperation among Arab states. For many observers, inter-Arab politics can be defined by the search for integration among Arab states and peoples, inspired by the belief that they are members of the Arab nation, only to be undermined by the existence of latent mistrust and manifested conflict. Such antagonisms, however, never fully extinguish the promise of integration, for the Arab states almost always return to solidarity after such conflict. InterArab politics exhibits an inescapable rhythm of conflict and cooperation, itself a product of the dialectic of unity nurtured by the existence of transnational bonds and of the variety generated by rivalries that are part and parcel of territorial possessiveness and personal jealousies.

Scholars of international relations have another way of characterizing inter-Arab politics. Quintessentially realist. Perhaps with good reason. Arab politics has seen more than its share of wars, conflicts, and unfriendly acts. The region boasts of a number of strategically skilled and savvy leaders who are noted for their acumen at exploiting the political environment and regional ideology in order to pursue their goals of state power. Gamel Abdel . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.