What do you know about African Arabs

Arab world

The empire is falling apart

The first signs of decay are already noticeable in the 9th century. While the rulers in Baghdad wear themselves out in wars of succession, some regions on the fringes of the empire are already gaining autonomy status. From the 11th century onwards, other peoples invaded the Arab Empire on almost all borders.

In Europe, Christian armies recaptured the Iberian Peninsula and Sicily, while Berbers established their own empire in North Africa. Turkish peoples invade from Central Asia and within a short time bring large parts of Iran and Iraq under their control.

At the beginning of the 13th century the Mongols raged in the Arab Empire, in 1258 they razed Baghdad to the ground. But no foreign people leaves such a lasting impression as the Ottomans, who from the 15th century onwards subjugated almost the entire Arab world from Anatolia within a few decades. For more than 400 years they have now ruled the Arab peoples.

The influence of the west

For a long time, the Europeans were not taken seriously militarily by the Arab world - until 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Egypt. In the following years, the militarily superior French, English and Italians divided North Africa and parts of the Middle East among themselves in the course of colonization.

At the end of the 19th century, the Arab world was divided into a European and an Ottoman sphere of influence.

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the Arab peoples sided with the great Western powers, believing vague promises to achieve independence after a victory against the Ottomans. But despite the defeat of the Ottomans, they are bitterly disappointed. After the war, Western Europeans set up French and British protectorates in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

Independence and nationalism

The First World War cost the European colonial powers a lot of money, and the colonies are becoming more and more of a financial burden. Above all, the British can no longer hold their huge empire and release many colonies into independence. By the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen were recognized as independent states.

The Second World War does the rest. After the enormous losses of all Western European powers, the drive for independence in the Arab world can no longer be stopped. Algeria became the last large Arab country to gain independence from France in 1962.

Today the Arab world is made up of many independent nation-states that did not exist before European colonization. The arbitrarily drawn borders by the Europeans repeatedly cause unrest in the individual states, as they do not take into account the political and ethnic structures that have grown before.

The Arab peoples feel more committed to a tribe or clan than to a nation state. In states like Iraq or Libya, this led to the establishment of autocratic systems of rule that could only hold the country together with massive violence.

In countries like Yemen or Somalia, where such systems of rule are absent, the influence of the state against that of the clans is negligible.

Arab League

The Arab League, founded in 1945, is the mouthpiece for the Arab states. It now includes 22 countries from Africa and Asia as well as the Palestinian Autonomous Areas. Since 2011, the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad has been suspended as a member because of the civil war in their own country.

However, the league is only a loose organization that arbitrates disputes and promotes relations between states. The Arab League is still a long way from a common political orientation like the European Union. The positions of the individual states are too different on many issues. In addition, nobody wants to compromise on independence, which has only recently come about.