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Anticolonialism in Middle East


Some of the anticolonial movements of the twentieth century were urban-based mass movements, often led by charismatic leaders, perhaps most notably Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, who led the Neo-Destour Party between 1954 and Tunisian independence in 1956 and who remained his country's leader until 1987. Allal al-Fassi, leader of the Istiqlal party, might have played a similar role in the history of Morocco. However, in 1953 the French exiled the sultan, Muhammad V, to Madagascar, and as a result the rallying cry of the national movement became the sultan's return from exile, which led in its turn to the sultan/king retaining his position as ruler after Morocco's independence in October 1956 and the virtual eclipse of the secular political parties.

In Egypt, a kind of independence was achieved in 1936, but the national movement went through two stages. In the first stage, some but not all powers were handed over to local elites. This arrangement involved some form of power-sharing with the former colonial power, which became increasingly intolerable to wide sections of the population. However, given the balance of forces, it was not possible to break these links by democratic means—that is, by voting in a political party or coalition that would be able to end the relationship. Thus a second stage was necessary, in which a determined group within the military seized power, destroying in the process the fairly rudimentary institutions of parliamentary government that the colonial powers had put in place. In this way, first General Mohamad Neguib (1901–1984) and then Gamel Abdel-Nasser (1918–1970) took power in 1952. Iraq went through a similar process, and 'Abd al-Karim Qasim took power in 1958. A similar but more complex process took place in Syria, although the old social classes still ruling in 1961 had long severed any links they may have had with France.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Ambiguity - Ambiguity to Anticolonialism in Middle East - Ottoman Empire And The Mandate SystemAnticolonialism in Middle East - Ottoman Empire And The Mandate System, Islam And Anticolonialism, The Economic Impact Of Colonialism, Resistance To Colonialism