IMPORTANT LEADERS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Throughout the history of the middle east, strong individual leaders have been forging the path for their nations. Three leaders in particular, Jamal Abd An-Nasser, Menachin Begin, and King Faisal I have all had a particularly significant impact on the nations they governed and the middle east as a whole. The vision they had for their land and how it ties into their relations with the west, their people, and the style of government over which they reigned all tell the tale on how they saw their states in a modern middle east. The first leader I am going to discuss is Jamal Abd An-Nasser, one of the most well known and influential leaders in Arab history. Nasser embraced the notion of Arab nationalism, and dreamed of a united Arab world under one flag. Nasser’s notion of an idea society is a pan-Arab, secular dream where the Arab world would be as competitive as the West and the USSR. His rhetoric contained elements both to mobilize the Arabs away from the west and show himself as the right man to unify them. Looking at his later-rescinded resignation speech, he says, “I want to make it clear that (Israel’s) enemy is not Jamal Abd An-Nasser, but the entire Arab state. (Khater, 281)” Here he tries to erase the borders of the Arab land and unite them in a way he did often, against Israel and the imperialist west. Nasser was a ideological visionary more than he was a realist about the differences in internal Arab affairs (Shields Lecture, Oct. 24th). Truly, Nasser’s ace of spades for mobilizing pan-Arab support is parallel to the idiom, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”, for Nasser made antagonists out of the West and of Israel at every chance he got, for he had faith that if the Arabs could agree on one thing, based on the history of the region, it would be that they generally resist imperialist influence and they resist the Jewish state. He put his ideology into action through his relations with fellow Arab states. His...
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• Akram Fouad Khater. Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East. 2004. Boston. Houghton Mifflin.
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• Lyon, Wallace A. & Fieldhouse, D. K “Kurds, Arabs and Britons: The Memoir of Wallace.” 2002. I.B. Tauris and Co.
• Shields, Sarah. "The Modern Middle East." History 077A. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Oct. 24th and Nov. 3rd
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