Ajami, Fouad
December 1978
Foreign Affairs;Winter78/79, Vol. 57 Issue 2, p355
This article deals with the impact of the Camp David peace talks between Israel and Arab countries on pan-Arabism. Pan-Arabism's retreat began in 1967 after the Six Day War, which marked the Waterloo of pan-Arabism. In the immediate aftermath of the war there was no competing system of legitimacy. In fact, very little if any legitimacy remained in Arab politics as a whole. The regimes had survived, but the defeat had dishonored practically all of them and had devastated, in particular, the pan-Arabists in Cairo and Damascus. No regime could have gone its separate way then. The radical regime in Cairo would capitulate to the will of the oil states led by Saudi Arabia, but the oil states would not press their victory too far or too hard. The military defeat was sustained directly by the armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan for all practical purposes and in terms of inter-Arab politics, by Egypt, but the defeat had underlined the vulnerability of the Arab system of states, the bankruptcy of the Arab order and its guardians, whether radical or conservative. Hence, the champions of pan-Arabism were defeated in the Arab system. Yet particular states were still captives of a status quo erected by the defeat, which they could neither undo nor indefinitely live with.


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