Arab Nationalism's Last Gasp

[Los Angeles Times] Robert D. Kaplan - The demise of Saddam Hussein appears likely to closed the lid on secular Arab nationalism across the Middle East. Arab nationalism's roots go back to the revolt against European colonialism in the early decades of the 20th century. But because it was organized around the artificial national borders that these same colonialists had drawn - which generally ignored ethnic and sectarian lines - the result was multiethnic rivalry and the subjugation of one part of the population by another. The defining organizational attribute of secular Arab nationalism was the military emergency regime - witness Egypt, Syria, and Iraq - that justified its existence by the continued state of war with Israel. Those who proclaim today that the only real solution to the Arab dilemma is political freedom are correct. The problem is that they are describing a process that could encompass several bloody decades. After all, it took centuries for stable democracy as we know it to evolve in Europe.

2007-01-08 01:00:00

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