Pan-Arabism before Nasser: Egyptian Power Politics and the Palestine Question

Publication Year



This book aims to alter profoundly the accepted version of the history of post-World War II Egyptian foreign policy. To this end, Doran convincingly demonstrates the absence of any true pan-Arab front from the very beginning of the Arab League. Reconsidering Cairo's policy decisions during the critical years from 1944 to 1948, he proves that Egyptian national interests were always placed before the united Arab front against Israel. Even while participating in the 1948 war with Israel, Egypt regarded Zionism and the Palestine Question as less important than achieving independence from Britain and thwarting the expansionist aims of Iraq and Jordan. Ultimately, this study is a bold rethinking of twentieth-century Middle Eastern politics and history, with key implications for both the study of the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict and the volatile politics of the Middle East in general.


"Doran's book remains a bold, original, and tightly argued interpretation of Egyptian foreign policy."--The New York Review of Books

"[Doran] breaking new ground regarding several key aspects relating to the development of Egyptian pan-Arabism in the 1940s...a perceptive, fresh look at the foreign policy of the Egyptian state at the end of the 1940s...Doran's book is indispensable."--American Historical Review

"He argues his case well, in considerable detail, and with specific and appropriate references and quotations from British and Arab documents, memoirs, and monographs."--CHOICE

"Doran's lucid analysis and bristling detail make this an important contribution to the literature."--Foreign Affairs

Series Title
Studies in Middle Eastern history
Oxford University Press
New York
Cloth: 0195123611; paper: 9780195160086