Land Reform and Development in the Middle East: A Study of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq

By Doreen Warriner | Go to book overview

POSTSCRIPT AGRARIAN REFORM IN THE UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC

FROM the preceding chapters it will be evident that the agricultural and demographic conditions of the two countries composing the former UAR are strongly contrasted. In Egypt all cultivation is dependent on irrigation, and production is intensive, stable, and uniform in methods and cropping. Syria, by contrast, depends mainly on uncertain rainfall, and apart from cotton, grown chiefly as an irrigated crop, production is extensive, with low and variable yields and much regional diversity in farming methods. Egypt is over-populated, while Syria has a shortage of labour in some regions and a surplus in others. Because the backgrounds are so dissimilar, the problems of reform in the two countries were different.

When the Union was dissolved, Egypt's first reform was nearly complete, but in Syria less than half the land to be expropriated had been requisitioned, though the area redistributed was not much less than the Egyptian total officially redistributed. In several respects, the Syrian reform was a development from the Egyptian. Because the Egyptian experience lay behind it, the reform in Syria was a more courageous all-round attack on rural poverty in a more difficult environment, which the reform itself was improving by extending irrigation, introducing new crops, and resettling farmers.

In spite of the contrasts, however, there was an underlying unity in the aims and methods of agrarian reform in the two regions of the Republic. In both the same type of group farming was used, the special co-operative pattern, first evolved in Egypt and then applied in Syria. Much of the interest in comparing the two regions lies in the question of how far a reform on the Egyptian model can be successfully applied in an entirely different setting. This question was raised in Chapter II (p. 64) but was not discussed in detail, since five years ago the success of super-

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Land Reform and Development in the Middle East: A Study of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface, to the First Edition vi
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Introduction: the Meaning Of Land Reform 1
  • I- The Agrarian Reform in Egypt 10
  • II- Social Structure And Technical Change in the Crescent 55
  • III- Private Enterprise in Syria 71
  • IV- Money in Iraq 113
  • Conclusion The Dynamics of Change 184
  • Postscript Agrarian Reform in The United Arab Republic 191
  • Bibliography 230
  • Index 233
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