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February 01, 1963 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1963-02-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

FAME EIGHT

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 1. 1963

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SINCE 1450 .. . BC:
Disunity Continues To Plague Arab States League

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By MALINDA BERRY
The first effort to unite the9
Arab world was attempted in 1450,
B.C. by an Egyptian Pharoah-it,
failed, for much the same reasons
that the modern League of Arab
States is failing. ,
The league, which predates the
United Nations, has spent 17 dif-
ficult years trying to resolve the
dichotomy between its members'
desire for unity and their ever
stronger determination to remain
independent.
The league was formed in 1945
in the hope of a more peaceful
unity. The seven states were Syria,
Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi
Arabia, Yemen and Egypt. In time
the Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Lib-
ya, Kuwait and Algeria also be-
came members.
Inner Conflict
"The main problem of the league
revolves around the conflict of a
number of sovereign states, each
of which is aware of its indepen-
dence and wants to preserve it,"
Prof. George Grassmuck of the
political science department said
Wednesday.
"The development of Arab unity
has failed because of the states'
jealousy of independence and their
inability to reconcile it with a
meaningful unity," he continued.
"The result has been frustration
in the military and economic
spheres as well as the political."
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There has been a little success
in the economic field, and less
still in the military, and none at
all in the political, Prof. Grass-
muck said.
Political Leaders
"This frustration has resulted
in lambasting by a number of po-
litical leaders of the league." They
see the league as under the con-
trol completely of Egypt, and to
give more support to the cause of
unity would be to strengthen
Egypt's hand, he said.
Egypt was given. a paramount
role at the formation of the league
because of her strategic location
and growing political power.
The league, however, has been
successful in the area of cultural
exchange. It has facilitated the ex-
change of scholars and between
scholars in the several states, Prof.
Grassmuck said.
Constitutional Exchange
"There has been a great effort
to gather cultural information
such an exchange of constitutions.
They are also working to stand-
ardize Arabic," he noted.
The league has worked to pro-
vide a basis' for cultural unifica-
tion which did not exist before,
Prof. Grassmuck continued. It has
done some good.
"Also, we must not forget that
the league is a combination of
small, non-powerful states and a
collective decision can be over-
ridden by one of the major
powers."
Main Center
In a bi-polarized world, even if
the league were able to work out
its internal difficulties, it still
must always take into considera-
tion the two main centers of poli-
tical power and how they will le-
act to any decision, he said.
"Consequently the league doesn't
get a lot of space in Middle East-
ern newspapers."
In spite of the many boycotts by
various members. of the league at
various times during its stormy
existence, the boycotting states
have always technically maintain-
ed their membership.
Egyptian Domination
Tunisia long boycotted the
league protesting domination by
President Gamal Abdel Nasser of
Egypt. Iraq walked out because

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EGYPT ~-
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Kuwait was admitted. Egyptian
delegates walked out of a league
session last August in protest of
attacks by Syria and Jordan on
Nasser.
Because of its many differences,
it has trouble taking positive ac-
tion on anything - instead it
spends its time condemning un-
assailable enemies of Arab unity
and pan -Arabism - Israel and
colonialism.
The most positive action the
league has taken was when Iraqi
Gen. Abdel Karim Kassen threat-

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ened to seize Kuwait; the league1
sent a combined Arab force to1
prevent him.
Reasons for internal strife are
not hard to find in an Arab world
that comprises Nasser's socialism
at one extreme and Saudi Arabia's
desert monarchy at the other. Of
the league's 13 states, 10 have
more or less open territorial claims
on others. Almost all have author-
itarian rulers, and there are few
real geographical boundaries.
Even the Arab peoples them-
selves differ widely. City dwellers
disdain the desert tribesmen; the
Egyptian feels superior to the
Syrian, and vice versa. Yet through
all these influences the word
"unity" weaves its magic.
"In a tense world we hope to
keep up all contacts which would
establish some unity with others
in order to meet the opposition,
and the league is one of these pos-
sible means," Prof. Grassmuck
said.
Pay Heed
The League of Arab States
serves a symbolic purpose; the
Arab-in-the -street wishes it were
really true, and the leaders pay
heed.
Besides the most recent and
still simmering Yemen situation,
almost all the ,other members of

the league are at each other's
throats to some extent.
The latest dispute concerns
Saudi Arabia and the Yemen Re-
public. The government of Yemen,
seized last fall by military coup
which ousted King Imam Moham-
med Al-Badr is supported by
troops from the United Arab Re-
public. Yemen has continually
charged Saudi Arabia with inva-
sion attempts to help restore Mo-
hammed AI-=Badr to'. the throne.
Saudi Arabia, backed up by its
small neighbor, Jordan, has de-
nied the charges and countered
with claims of aggressive attacks
and air raids on its territory from
Yemen.
Many Battles
Algeria vs. Morocco, Syria is
protesting Egyptian "interference,"
Iraq is casting envious glances at
Kuwait, Tunisia and Morocco are
disputing over Mauritania, Sudan
and Egypt are fighting over 6000
square miles of desert, Tunisia
thinks Nasser is dominating league
activities, and Lebanon has also
charged meddling on the part of
the UAR.
"Thus, we cannot be too opti-
mistic, about the chances for fu-
ture unity in the league on the
basis of past experience," Prof.
Grassmuck concluded.

:I

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