UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Perception, persuasion, and unity : the building of the United Arab Republic and the Arab Federation Tabbaa, Sanad


This study examines the legitimacy of two Pan-Arab unions founded in the opening months of 1958. The first was the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union between Egypt and Syria, and the second was the Hashemite Arab Federation (AF) between Jordan and Iraq. The UAR is often framed in academia and collective memory of Arab societies as a disastrous, but genuine, attempt at Arab Unity, while the AF is usually forgotten and considered illegitimate. I posit that legitimacy, defined broadly as a set of attitudes by citizens which suggest that the state is rightfully holding and exercising political power, is crucial in order to understand the disappearance of the latter union from historical memory. This study compares the motivations for the unions and their ideological underpinnings against the implicit and explicit messaging within these unions’ newspapers and radio broadcasts. I argue that it is through implicit media messaging about Arab Nationalism, and the production of separate forms of nationalism, that legitimacy is formed. By legitimizing one nationalism over the other, Arab citizens consciously and unconsciously chose to disregard the other and its products, opting to legitimize and remember the UAR, and delegitimize and forget the AF.

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