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Arab Socialism extended, overstretched and made irrelevant.

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Presentation on theme: "Arab Socialism extended, overstretched and made irrelevant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Arab Socialism extended, overstretched and made irrelevant

2 Nasser’s influence:  Iraq (Brigadier Abd al-Karim Qasim and Colonel Abd al- Salam ‘Arif hade been plotting a coup since 1956; they called themselves the Free Officers)  Syria,  Jordan,  Lebanon,  Yemen,  Libya, and  Palestinians.

3 Jordan and Lebanon  Both vulnerable to Nasser’s aggressive policies of pan-Arabism.

4 King Hussein (Jordan 1952-1999)  History of close relations with Britain.  had been a particular target of the Nasserist propaganda machine (“The Voice of the Arabs”) calling the Jordanians to overthrow the monarchy and joint the progressive ranks of modern Arab republics.

5 1957  opposition inspired by convergence of all of the reformist currents of Nasserism, Ba’thism, and Communism.

6 King Hussein did all he could to distance himself from Britain  He stood up to British pressures and stayed out of the Baghdad Pact.  In March 1956 he dismissed the British officers still running his army.

7 King Hussein:  Even negotiated the termination of the Anglo- Jordanian treaty effectively ending British influence over the Hashemite Kingdom.  Made conciliatory efforts toward Egypt and Syria (to demonstrate Jordan’s commitment to Arab nationalism).

8 King Hussein opened up his government  To pro-Nasserist forces.  In 1956 free and open elections for the first time in Jordan’s history, which gave left-leaning Arab nationalists a clear majority in the Jordanian parliament.  Invited the leader of the largest party, Sulayman al- Nabusi to form a government of loyal opposition (lasted less than six months).

9 The Nabulsi government  Had a difficult time reconciling the contradictions between the loyalty (to the king) and opposition.  Enjoyed greater public support and loyalty from the Nasserist “Free Officer” elements in the Jordanian military than did the king.

10 In 1957 Hussein:  Demanded al-Nabulsi’s resignation, on the pretext of the government’s sympathies for communism.  Then he went after the Free Officers.  King Hussein suspended the constitution and proclaimed martial law.

11 The pressures on Jordan intensified  following the 1958 union of Syria and Egypt.  Arab nationalists redoubled their calls for the Hashemite government to step aside and for Jordan to join the UAR.

12 King Hussein’s own vision of Arab nationalism  More dynastic than ideological;  He turned to Iraq, led by his cousin King Faisal II;  Within two weeks, he concluded a unity scheme with Iraq called the Arab Union launched he Amman on February 14, 1958.

13 The Arab Union (AU)  No match to for the UAR.  The AU was seen as a reactive move (rather than pro-active) action against the threat of Nasserism.  Iraq, host of the Baghdad Pact, prime minister Nuri al-Sa’id was regarded as one of the most anglophile Arab politician of his day.

14 King Hussein  Recognized the vulnerability of his own position (without Iraq);  Recalled his own army, which had reached 150 miles inside Iraq, Hussein turned to Britain and the US on July 16 to request military assistance.  On July 17, (1958) British paratroopers and aircraft began to arrive in Jordan.

15 Jordan:  Requested economic assistance from the US.  Rewarded by a steady increase in US financial aid (by the 1960s about 50 million annually; these funds enabled Jordan to experience a period of sustained economic growth.

16 Lebanon:  Another state that came under intense pressure from the union of Syria and Egypt.  The sectarian division of power agreed to in the 1943 National Pact had begun to unravel.

17 Lebanon:  The constitution of 1926,  the census of 1932, and  the National Pact of 1943 established the basis of confessional politics.

18 Each district reserves seats for different religious groups  Ensuring representation of all minorities.  Example: Beirut (of the 19 total seats, 9 are reserved for Muslims and 10 for Christians).  Further divisions are made among the groups ensuring that the proportion of seats allocated to Sunni, Druze, Shiites, Greek Orthodox, Maronite candidates represents the districts demographic reality.

19 This complex calculus  is done throughout Lebanon’s districts, ensuring that the even 64-64 seat split between Christians and Muslims looks like this:


21 Lebanese Muslims (Sunnis, Shiites, and Druzes)  were particularly aggrieved.  they did not approve of the pro-Western policies pursued by the Maronite Christian president Camille Chamoun.

22 Lebanese Muslims  Saw Nasser as strong Arab leader who would unite the Arab world and end the perceived subordination of Lebanon’s Muslim in the Christian-dominated Lebanese state.

23 Lebanese Muslims (1957-8)  Believed that they outnumbered the Christians.  No new census since 1932 only confirmed Muslim suspicions that the Christians refused to recognize demographic reality.

24 Lebanese Muslims  Knew that under true majority rule Lebanon would pursue policies in line with the dominant Nasserist politics of the day.  Began to question the political distribution of power that left them with less political voice than their numbers would warrant under a more proportional system.

25 President Chamoun (1952-1958)  believed Nasser posed a direct threat to Lebanon’s independence,  he sought foreign guarantees from outside subversion.

26 After the Suez Crisis  Chamoun did not think he could count on France or Britain for support.  Instead he turned to America.  In March 1957 he agreed to the Eisenhower doctrine.

27 The Eisenhower doctrine:  Called for American development aid and military assistance to Middle Easter states to help them defend their national independence.  Also authorized deployment of US troops (to potect against “International Communism”).

28 When the president of Lebanon formally accepted the Eisenhower Doctrine  he entered on a collision course with both the Nasser government and Nasser’s many supporters in Lebanon.

29 The Lebanese parliamentary elections.  In Lebanon, the parliament elects the president of the republic for a single six-year term.  The parliament resulting from the 1957 elections would thus elect the next Lebanese president in 1958.

30 The run-up to the elections:  Chamoun’s opponents: Muslims. Druze, and Christians formed an electoral bloc called the National Front (NF).  (The NF represented a far larger share of the Lebanese public than that supporting President Chamoun).

31 As parliamentary elections neared  the US government feared Egypt and Syria would promoted the National Front and undermine the position of Chamoun.  So the US subverted the elections (the CIA provided funds)

32 Chamoun won in a landslide  The opposition press took the election results as proof that Chamoun sought to stack the parliament in his favor in order to amend the Lebanese constitution to allow himself an unlawful second term as president.

33 The opposition shut out of the parliament:  Some of its leaders turned to violence to prevent Chamoun from gaining a second term of office.  Bombings and assassinations in Beirut and the countryside in early 1958.  The breakdown in order accelerated after the union of Syria and Egypt (July).

34 Civil war in May 1958  The commander of the Lebanese army (General Fuad Shihab) refused to deploy the army to prop up the discredited Chamoun government.  The US prepared to intervene.

35 The Qassim coup (Iraq)  The overthrow of the Hashemite regime in Iraq on July 14, 1958

36 In Lebanon  Opposition forces celebrated the fall of the monarchy in Iraq.  They believed the Hashemite monarchy was a British puppet state and that the Free Officers were Arab nationalists in Nasser’s mold.

37 Chamoun (Lebanese President)  immediately requested US assistance to save country from falling under the control of pro-Nasser forces.

38 Chamoun  Invoked the Eisenhower Doctrine two hours after receiving news of the violent revolution in Iraq.  Marines landed in Beirut the next day (US Sixth Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean).

39 The US intervened in Lebanon  “The American show of force on behalf of its Lebanese ally included 150,000 troops on the ground, dozens of naval vessels off the course, and 11,000 sorteis by naval aircraft that made frequent low-level flights over Beirut.” (Rogan) US troops left after 3 moths without firing a shot.

40 Political stability in Lebanon after American occupation  The commander of the the Lebanese army, general Fuad Shihab, was elected president on July 31, 1958.  President Shihab oversaw the creation of a coalition government combining loyalist and opposition members.

41 Shihab (1958-1964)  Modernization of the state;  Installing the basics of a social welfare system.  Increased government expenditures public works projects such as road building, rural electrification, and the extension of the supply of water to previously neglected rural areas.

42 Lebanon:  The government removed trade restrictions.  A free press,  A burgeoning publishing industry,  A university that attracted students from all over the Arab world.

43 Lebanon:  Faced with nationalization laws in Cairo, Damascus, and Baghdad, Arab capital descended on Lebanon.

44 Britain, the US, and the Soviet Union  Believed that the Iraqi Revolution would set off an Arab nationalist sweep.  They were convinced that the Iraqi coup had been masterminded by Nasser.  This explains the swiftness of the action of the US and Britain to prop-up the regimes in Lebanon and Jordan.

45 Would Qassim now  bring Iraq into union with Syria and Egypt and thus change the balance of power in the region?  Or would the rivalry between Cairo and Baghdad be preserved in the republican era?

46 1958  It looked as though the Arab world might break the cycle of foreign domination that had marked the Ottoman, imperial, and cold War eras to enjoy an age of true independence.

47 The new Iraqi government was divided  Qassim vs. Arif

48 Qassim  Determined to rule an independent state and had no intention of delivering his country to Nasser’s rule.  Worked closely with the Iraqi Communist Party,  Sought closer ties to the Soviet Union,  and was cool toward the Cairo regime that had clamped down upon the Egyptian Communist Party.

49 Qassim’s second in command, Colonel ‘Arif  Called for joining the UAR.  A great disappointment for pan-Arabism.

50 The decade of the 1960s: the decade of defeats for Nasser  The union with Syria unraveled in 1961.  The Egyptian army got mired in Yemen’s civil war.  And a disastrous war with Israel in 1967.

51 The end of the UAR  The Syrian army resented taking orders from Egyptian officers.  The Syrian landowning elites suffered from Egypt’s land reforms.  Syrian businessmen saw their position undermined by socialist decrees that transferred their companies from private to state ownership, as the government expanded its role in economic planning.

52 Nasser  Egypt and Syria had failed to achieve the degree of social reform necessary for such an ambitious Arab unity scheme to work.

53 His response to the breakup of the UAR  was to introduce a radical reform agenda to strip the “ reactionary” elements from Arab society and pave the way from a future “progressive “ union of the Arab people.  The “reactionaries” = the men of property who put narrow national self-interest before the interests of the Arab nation.

54 Nasser’s (full-blown) socialism :  Nationalization of private enterprise.  Already in 1960, the UAR government had introduced its first Soviet-style five year plan (1960- 1965) with overly ambitious targets for economic expansion in industry and agricultural output).

55 Egypt’s new political orientation  Enshrined in the 1962 National Charter, which sought to weave Arab nationalism, socialism, and Islam, into a coherent political project.  The National Union was renamed the Arab Socialist Union.

56 The ultimate target of Nasser’s critique after the breakup of the UAR  Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia (conservative) Tunisia and Lebanon (liberal) dismissed as reactionary.  The list of progressive states : Egypt, Syria and Iraq (and later Algeria, Yemen, and Libya).

57 Nasser  Not good relations with “progressive” Iraq.

58 In 1962 Nasser had gained an important ally  Revolutionary Algeria, with its emphasis on anti- imperialism, Arab identity politics, and socialist reform, was a natural partner.  Nasser’s new state party, the Arab Socialist Union drafted a joint statement with the FLB in June 1964 to assert their unity of purpose to promote Arab socialism.  Nasser took some credit for the success of the Algerian revolution. He was carried away..

59 Yemen:  Imam Ahmad (1948-1962) established diplomatic relations with both the Soviet Union and the PRC in his search for development assistance and military aid.  A coup attempt.  Ahmad opposed Nasser’s vision of Arab socialism (taking property by forbidden means that was against Islamic law).

60 When he died in 1962  Succeeded by his son Badr who was overthrown in a military coup and the Yemen Arab Republic was declared.  The Yemerni royal family challenged the coup with the support from Saudi Arabia.

61 Egypt threw its full weight behind the new republic and its military rulers  part of what Nasser saw as the larger battle between progressives and reactionaries in the Arab world.

62 Nasser’s support for the civil war in Yemen:  By 1962 Egypt committed 70,000 troops, almost half of the Egyptian army at the time.

63 The Arabs and the state of Israel  They refused to refer to the country by name, preferring to speak of “the Zionist entity.”  The Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and the Gaza Strip served as a daily reminder of the Arabs’ failure to live up to their promises to liberate Palestine.

64 Some Israelis were also intent on war:  They feared that the country’s narrow waist between the coastline and the West Bank -- at points only 7.5 miles, or 12 kilometers, wide -- left Israel vulnerable to a hostile thrust dividing the north from the south.


66 Other aspirations:  Access to the Western Wall and the Jewish quarter of the old city of Jerusalem, which remained in Jordanian hands.

67 Syria: held the strategic Golan Heights overlooking the Galilee.

68 The Israelis  “Needed to secure defensible boundaries and inflict a decisive defeat on the Arabs to impose peace on terms with which Israel could live.”  Believed that their strategic advantage -- holding more and better quality weapons than their Arab neighbors -- would diminish over time as the Soviets provided weapons systems to the Egyptians and Syrians.

69 Nasser:  None of Nasser’s millions of supporters doubted that the Egyptian army would lead its Arab allies to victory over Israel.  With 50,000 of his best troops still tied down in the Yemen War, Nasser was forced to call up all his reservists.  Egyptian forces were sent into the Sinai with no clear clear military objective.

70 Once the UN had been withdrawn  The strait of Tiran returned to Egyptian sovereignty. Egypt closed it for the Israelis.

71 War with Israel  May have been the last thing Nasser wanted.

72 Public disenchantment set off a wave of coups and revolutions (just as after the 1948 war).  President Abd al-Rahman ‘Arif of Iraq was toppled by a coup led by the Ba’th in 1968.  King Idris of Libya was overthrown by a Free Officers coupd headed by Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi.  Ja’far al Numayri wrested power from the Sudanese president in 1969.  Syria: in 1970, Syrian president Nur al-Din Atassi fell to a military coup that brought Hafiz al-Asad to power.

73 Each of these governments  adopted a radical Arab nationalist platform as the basis of their legitimacy, calling for the destruction of Israel, the liberation of Palestine, and triumph over imperialism -- (i.e. the US).

74 During the 1967 war  LBJ’s administration abandoned neutrality in the Arab-Israeli conflict and tilted in favor of Israel.  Believed that Nasser and his Arab socialism were taking the Arab world into the Soviet camp, they were pleased to see him discredited in defeat.

75 What has started as a narrative to deflect domestic criticism  The claim of US participation in the war on Israel’s side grew into a conviction that America was using Israel to advance its own domination over the region in a new wave of imperialism.  All but four Arab states (Tunisia, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia) broke relations with the US for its alleged role in the 1967 war.

76 Nasser and King Hussein:  Hoped to recover Arab territory through a postwar negotiated settlement with Israel.  But were Marginalized by the hard line adopted during the meeting of Arab heads of state in 1967 in Khartoum (Sudan).

77 The adoption of “three nos” of Arab diplomacy: no recognition of the Jewish state, no negotiation with Israeli officials and no peace between Arab state and Israel.

78 Palestinians  During the two decades since they had been driven from their homeland, the Palestinians had never gained international recognition as a distinct people with national rights.  Palestinian Arabs remained just “Arabs” (either as Israeli Arabs or Arab refugees).

79 Between 1948 and 1967  The Palestinians disappeared as a political community.  Golda Meir: there were no Palestinians.  The collective Arab defeat in 1967 convinced Palestinian nationalists to take matters in their own hands.  Inspired by Third World revolutionaries, Palestinian national groups launched their own armed struggle against Israel and those Arab states that got in their way.

80 October 1959  Arafat and Khalaf convened a series of meetings with twenty other Palestinian activists in Kuwait to establish Fatah (“conquest” and a reverse acronym for Harakat Tahrir Filastin -- the Palestine Liberation Movement).  The movement advocated armed struggle to transcend factionalism and achieve Palestinian national rights.

81 The PLO created by Arab leaders in 1964 in Cairo  Nasser imposed a lawyer named Ahmad Shuqayri to head the PLO.  Arafat and the Fatah activists: convinced that the PLO had been created to control the Palestinians.

82 The 1964 Jerusalem Congress  The PLO formally established  The 422 invited delegate reconstituted themselves as the Palestinian National Council (a sort of parliament in exile),  ratified a set of objectives enshrined in the Palestinian National Charter,  The PLO called for the creation of a Palestinian national army.

83 Fatah decided to upstage the PLO and launch an armed struggle against Israel  1969 Arafat: was elected chairman of the PLO. Fatah’s operations in Israel  The Popular Front’s hijackings.

84 1967:  The 1948 defeat had discredited the old regimes of landed elite, urban notables, and wealthy monarchs.  The 1967 debacle tarnished the reputations of the military regimes that had come to power in the 1950s with their programs of social reform and their promises of strength through Arab unity.

85 1967 Arab-Israeli war  Since the 1960s: the impression that the Muslim world is under attack

86 Soul-searching and reassessment  What had gone wrong?  Why were the combined Arab forces defeated so quickly?  Was the weakness of Muslim societies due to their abandonment of their faith (the loss of power as a result of a loss of faith)?  Had God abandoned the Muslims? Is the Muslim faith compatible with modernity (implying a secular state, political institutions, bureaucracy, economic development)?

87 Islamic ideology and discourse reemerged as a major force.  Islam became a reason for mass mobilization and political participation all over the Muslim world.

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