The Arab Balance of Power

The Arab Balance of Power

The Arab Balance of Power

The Arab Balance of Power

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to present a concise account of the origins of the Arab system and the course of inter-Arab politics from the foundation of the Arab League in 1945 to the present. It is also designed to offer an interpretation of these events to help explain the kaleidoscopic character of the changing relationships among the Arab states.

The complexity of the Arab system stems mainly from the ambivalent attitudes that prevail in regard to the question of unity and from the ambiguity that characterizes most official policies. The idea of a federated Arab nation extending from Iraq to Morocco is appealing to Arabs because it conjures up memories of a glorious past and dreams of a future based on internal strength and freedom from foreign influence. Yet the regional structure of the Arab world predisposes its component societies to think and act in terms of the geographic and sub-cultural compartments that separate them. This is the basic dilemma that confronts the Arabs as they try to decide how to relate to each other.

In the formulation of state policy, Arab regimes usually deal with this dilemma by articulating a commitment to the ideal of unity, while actually pursuing regional policies. Unfortunately, this involves a degree of equivocation which generally leaves the important issue of solidarity unaddressed and often obstructs attempts to achieve cooperation. The fundamental problem is the difficulty established governments have in subordinating their own prerogatives to broader Arab interests. But in the final analysis, survival and viability rest on the evolution of coordinated policies among the Arabs. The realization of such a relationship depends . . .

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