Published in the Huffington Post on Feb. 22, 2012.
In his 1999 book, The Dream Palace of the Arabs, Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami examines how Arab nationalism — a secular concept which advocates Arab unity via language and culture — not religion — went into decline following the 1967 War, the 1973 War and the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. In the 1950s and ’60s, the popular, charismatic and gifted orator Gamal Abdel Nasser, guided Arab nationalism. He served as the undisputed leader of the Arab world and inspired a generation of Arabs to believe that unity could be an attainable vision.
After Nasser’s death in 1970, Arabism suffered a major setback, and went into decline. Several self-proclaimed Arab nationalists surfaced including Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya and Saddam Hussein of Iraq. All vied to be Nasser’s successor as spokesperson for the Arab people, but failed miserably by relying primarily on brute force and oppression. Continue reading “The End of Pan-Arabism Redux”