- Term Papers and Free Essays

Important Leaders Of The Middle East

Essay by   •  November 19, 2010  •  1,467 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,923 Views

Essay Preview: Important Leaders Of The Middle East

Report this essay
Page 1 of 6


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 Looking at his later-rescinded resignation speech, he says, “I want to make it clear that (Israel’s) enemy is not Jamal Abd An-Nasser, but the entire Arab state.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 pan-Arabism manifested itself both in his failed unification with Syria, and his flirtation with unification with Iraq (Tripp, p177-180). Nasser also saw a vision of the modern Egypt as an industrious one. He nationalized industry, and constructed the massive Aswan dam to expand the electrical capacity of his nation. He consolidated his power through the nationalizing of Egypt’s industry and finances, and the nationalization of the Suez Canal (Shields Lecture, Oct. 24th). From this, one can draw a conclusion about Nasser’s vision; that it was about solidifying the Arab identity as a powerful rival to the US-USSR domination in the world. Industrialization, a secular Arab identity and a redefinition of power away from the West were all the cornerstones of his vision into the ideal state and society.

Nasser’s Arab Nationalism was fueled in part my Israel, and more specifically, the school of thought in Israel of Zionism. Zionism, the thought that Israel had a historical and divine claim to the whole of Palestine, is very controversial and is outright rejected in the Arab world. Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel from 1977-1983 was a leader of Zionism. His vision for his state, his ideal society as it pertained to the Jewish people, was embodied in Zionism. He believed that Israel and its people should take their rightful claim and inhabit their ancestral lands in the West Bank and Gaza. Begin’s actions as a leader, especially his policies of settling the west bank and Operation Peace for Galilee, show his commitment to protecting the Jewish state to controversial expansion and military action. His actions were the most visible of the Zionist movement, but really his philosophy was the same that existed from the beginning of Zionism. In 1882, Leo Pinsker wrote about the need for a Jewish homeland as a solution to the Jewish question, identifying the Jews as a nation without a home (Khater, p 114-121). From this was born the ideology of Zionism. In 1919, the King-Crane report warned that it was the Zionist intent to displace the non-Jews from the land, the intent being to create a state purely for Jews and not designed to be fully inclusive of others (Khater, p 208). The eventual establishment of Israel and its intent are not as radical as this notion; however the policies of this ideology, especially under Begin, have echoes of this radicalism. The Jewish settlements of the west bank, which increased more than 5-fold under Begin, are justified by their religious or ancestral right to the land by the Zionists (Shields Lecture, Nov. 3rd). Israel is often thought of as a European proxy state in the middle east, especially inside Arab political circles. Begin was more of a nationalist than to believe this, as his beliefs were rooted in the Jewish cause more than in politics. He didn’t see Israel as a proxy of the west, as his bitter encounters with Britain during the revolt against the British Mandate undermined his faith in the west (Begin, 48). He gave credit to the existence of Israel on the resilient Jewish spirit rather than western influence. Arabs grew discontented with the conflicts against the Jewish state, and Sadat of Egypt was the first to negotiate a peace with Begin and Israel at Camp David. The west’s hand in Israel is one of the foundations of anti-western sediment in the Arab world, and Sadat’s recognition of Israel after the meeting with Begin got him assassinated. Begin’s ideas as a nationalist and a Zionist independent



Download as:   txt (9 Kb)   pdf (111.6 Kb)   docx (12 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 11). Important Leaders Of The Middle East. Retrieved 11, 2010, from

"Important Leaders Of The Middle East" 11 2010. 2010. 11 2010 <>.

"Important Leaders Of The Middle East.", 11 2010. Web. 11 2010. <>.

"Important Leaders Of The Middle East." 11, 2010. Accessed 11, 2010.