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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 31 May 2020

Syrian Secession

Syrian Secession

Chapter:
(p.116) 4 Syrian Secession
Source:
The Arab World and Western Intelligence
Author(s):

Dina Rezk

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748698912.003.0005

Syria’s secession from the UAR in 1961 marked the beginning of the end of pan-Arabism. This chapter explores to what extent this dramatic development came as a surprise to the Anglo-American intelligence community, and how they reacted to it. It argues that although analysts had a good sense of the political, economic and cultural challenges of integrating the two regions, Nasser had acquired a quasi-invincible status which precluded serious consideration of secession. Despite initial misgivings about the formation of the UAR, analysts realised that this experiment with Arab unity had rendered Syria more stable than any time since independence was wrested from the French in 1949. Resorting to their cultural library of Arab stereotypes, analysts feared how the ‘undisciplined’ and ‘individualistic’ people of Syria would manage without Nasser’s moderating leadership and how the latter would respond to this unprecedented challenge to his prestige. They warned that Arab-Israeli relations would suffer and that Nasser might seek to restore his status as pan-Arab leader elsewhere.

Keywords:   Syria, secession, pan-Arabism, Nasser, UAR

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