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Why did the United Arab Republic Fail?

April 24, 2022
Gamal Abd El Nasser | Photo Credit: Atlantic Council

An era characterised with an air of revolutionary tension, the 1950s through the 1970s, led to ingrained change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The relationships between nations and governments were placed under great scrutiny, often challenged and contested with vigour, due the newfound freedoms following independence from colonial powers. At this time, Egypt was considered one of the largest and most powerful countries in the region, not only due to the size of its population but also widespread cultural influence and an immensely charismatic president in Gamal Abd El Nasser. Nasser championed the nation of pan-Arab nationalism as a means to unite all Arab people in the MENA region. According to the ‘Philosophy of the Revolution’ by Nasser, “there is an Arab circle surrounding us and this circle is as much a part of us as we are a part of it.” Rashid Khalidi, a prominent professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, believes that this pan-arabist ideology revolves around “the idea that the Arabs are linked by special bonds of religion, history, and language and their political organisation should reflect this reality in some way.” Nasser’s…

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