By Adeed Dawisha

Like a very good dynasty that falls to damage and is finally remembered extra for its faults than its feats, Arab nationalism is remembered commonly for its humiliating rout within the 1967 Six Day struggle, for inter-Arab divisions, and for phrases and activities uncommon via their meagerness. yet humans are likely to fail to remember the majesty that Arab nationalism as soon as used to be. during this elegantly narrated and richly documented booklet, Adeed Dawisha brings this majesty to lifestyles via a sweeping historic account of its dramatic upward push and fall.

Dawisha argues that Arab nationalism--which, he says, used to be encouraged by way of nineteenth-century German Romantic nationalism--really took root after global battle I and never within the 19th century, as many think, and that it blossomed purely within the Fifties and Sixties less than the charismatic management of Egypt's Gamal 'Abd al-Nasir. He lines the ideology's passage from the cave in of the Ottoman Empire via its successful ascendancy within the overdue Fifties with the solidarity of Egypt and Syria and with the nationalist revolution of Iraq, to the mortal blow it

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Less tangible, but just as crucial, was its psychological impact. Later generations of determined nationalists would magnify, even mythologize, the Arab military contribution in their efforts to gain and inspire adherents. Most important, the Arab involvement in the war led to the creation, with British help, of an Arab government in Syria. The Ottomans had suffered major military setbacks in 1917, opening the way for British forces under the command of General Allenby to move into Palestine from Egypt, capturing Jerusalem in December of that year.

170. 95 Karsh and Karsh, “Reflections on Arab Nationalism,” p. 379. 91 E A R LY S T I R R I N G S 39 their confusion. 96 As for the Iraqis of Mesopotamia, it certainly would be a gross exaggeration to describe their reaction to the revolt, as Antonius did, as universally enthusiastic. The majority of the population was Shiite with little affinity for the Sunni sharif. ”97 Moreover, both the tribal and urban political leaders, such as Seyyid Taleb, the leading member of Basrah’s notables, showed little inclination to give way to the sharif.

175. E A R LY S T I R R I N G S 47 It was not that the Syrians had no sense of an Arab identity; it was just that local and regional attachments were more potent, and were likely to be the citizen’s first point of reference. Nevertheless, the short-lived Faysal government in Damascus was able to undertake the first institutionally organized program to promote Arabist values and sentiment. These early small steps would lay the foundation for the giant strides that Arab nationalism would take a few decades later.

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