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The Arab World and Western IntelligenceAnalysing the Middle East, 1956-1981$
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Dina Rezk

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748698912

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748698912.001.0001

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Formation of the United Arab Republic

Formation of the United Arab Republic

(p.57) 2 Formation of the United Arab Republic
The Arab World and Western Intelligence

Dina Rezk

Edinburgh University Press

The formation of the United Arab Republic in February 1958 was an unprecedented demonstration of pan Arab unity. Syria’s voluntary sacrifice of its national sovereignty stoked fears that Nasser, Egypt’s ‘Hitler on the Nile’ would stop at nothing to expand his pan-Arab empire. Chapter 2 explores the intelligence community’s first encounter with the drive towards Arab unity. It reveals that analysts were initially sceptical about the prospect of any form of political unity, partly due to their perception of Syrian political culture as inherently factional and self-serving. They recognized that a fear of Communist influence in Syria was the primary motivating force behind the union. At the same time, the JIC in particular could not shed the panic of policy-makers that the move was the beginning of Nasser’s imperial expansion, potentially absorbing Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Keywords:   Syria, unity, Communism, expansion, Nasser, United Arab Republic (UAR)

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