Pan-Arabism: A Bygone Dream?

By Captain Ahab

“I am not a Turk, I came to Egypt when I was just a young boy, and ever since that fateful day her sun transformed me into an Arab.” 

Ibrahim Pasha

Pan-Arabism is not a racist or ethno centric project, not at all, the Arabs have always been nomadic and travelers in the regions we call today the Middle East. They were in Egypt in the Sinai, and it is something the Greek historian Herodotus mentions. They also composed the army of the Syrian queen Zenobia, and if we are to believe the Old Testament, then the father of the Arabs (Ismail) was born to an Iraqi father and an Egyptian mother. It is more of a universal unity of Arab Islamic cultural centers, and when I say Islamic it is not to shun the accomplishments and contributions of other religious groups, it is merely the word used in academia. Poets and men of religious and secular learning had met in Baghdad, Damascus, Cairo, Tunis, and many other centers of civilization, where different cultural and religious traditions had mingled with each other to produce something new.

“Ibrahim Pasha came at a time when the Arab nation had lost her memory, and zeal. Ibrahim Pasha led an Egyptian Arab army to glory, he liberated the Arabs from a great calamity (Ottomans), he awakened the Arabs from their deep slumber. He unshackled the chains that had kept them destitute and where if not for the machinations of the West the Arabs would have claimed their past glory. Ibrahim Pasha’s project lay on the basic idea, which is to restore the Great Arab empire to its former glory and height.”

Abdul Raziq Al-Sanhouri (source)

His father, Mohammad Ali Pasha, spoke eloquently of the dismal state of Egypt, and his prognosis can be applied to all the Arab states, as the Ottomans neglected the Arab regions; more than that, that they created a siege, metaphorically, where the Arabs couldn’t derive inspiration from the rising West, unlike in Turkey, where the elites were being schooled in the most prestigious military and academic Western institutions; more than that, the Turkish element in the Abbasid caliphate, Seljuks,had supported the formation of the Nizamiyyah Schools, which caused the fossilization of the Juristic tradition, it also had a great impact on social values such as the rights of women. Women in Arabia before and after Islam had a major role to play in society but later the Turkish element subjected the Islamic culture with their own Nomadic Turkish values hence the notorious “harim”.

“God has sent me to rediscover the Egyptians and Egypt, as the latter have lost all memory of their past history and subsequently have forgotten the worth of the Jewel that is Egypt.”

Muhammad Ali Pasha

“I shall venture forth with my Arab-Egyptian Army and I shan’t stop as long as Arabic is the spoken language.”

Ibrahim Pasha

Some of Ibrahim Pasha’s most memorable victories:

  • Diriyah campaign, were he defeated the Saudi/Wahhabi alliance and razed the city, September 1818.

  • During the liberation of greater Syria from Ottoman occupation he took Konya in 1832 driving out the Grand Vizier on the 21st of December.

Taking into account the wars against the Iraqi and Syrian governments the project of Pan-Arabism is no longer a luxury but a political, economical, and cultural necessity if the Arabs wish to enter into the historical process and not be extinguished by a fundamentalist Islamism or a fanatical Zionist project. And indeed great strides are underway to re-establish strong military and strategic ties between Damascus and Baghdad.

Syrian-Iraqi Military and Intelligence meeting held in Baghdad at the highest level as a part of the ongoing coordination between the two armed forces.

Soldiers of the Shia Crescent show Uncle Sam who is in charge on the Syrian-Iraqi border.


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