Pan-Arabism in Steep Decline

(Jerusalem Post) Amir Taheri - "What binds a majority of Iraqis together is their Islamic faith while Arabism divides them," says Abdel-Aziz Hakim of the High Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. As Iraq's political parties and groups wrangle over a new constitution, a consensus seems to be taking shape that the future Iraqi state should not be described as "Arab." The idea of dropping Iraq's Arabism is backed by most Shi'ite parties that want the nation's Islamic identity to be emphasized. Some also want Iraq to withdraw from the Arab League and to contemplate broader alliances in the region and beyond. Libya is already distancing itself from the so-called Arab world. The Libyan Popular Assembly has just voted to drop the word "Arab" from the country's official name. From next September, Libya will describe itself as "The African Republic of Libya." "Associating with Arabs has brought us nothing but shame and heartache," says Seyf al-Islam Kaddafi, the colonel's son and possible successor. Many Arabs see the ease with which Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed in Baghdad as a strategic defeat for pan-Arabism as an ideology.

2003-05-19 00:00:00

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