MIDDLE EAST - Arab World Not Monolithic

Arno Froese

Residents of the Middle East, referred to as the Arab world by the West, often hear about various envoys and advisers from the United States and Europe who are involved in the region’s affairs. However, many individuals in the Middle East question the relevance of these broad and inclusive definitions, such as the term “Arab world,” to their own experiences and identities.

For the benefit of Western experts, presidents, and heads of state, it is important to note that the Middle East and North Africa are geographical regions with a rich history dating back to ancient times. These areas have seen the rise and fall of various empires and civilizations over the course of history. It is essential to consider this context when engaging with and attempting to understand the region and its people.

Western research institutes and think tanks in the United States and Europe have historically made the mistake of defining the Arab world as a monolithic entity and attempting to treat all individuals within the region as having uniform aspirations. 

There is no such thing as an Arab world, but rather a collection of distinct Arab countries.

Although the Arabic language spoken in the Quran unites all Arabic speakers and all non-Arab Muslims in the world, it does not necessarily create a single Arab nation or a united Arab world.

The West does not have a superior advantage over this region in terms of governance methods, cultural practices, or historical achievements, and it is not qualified to dictate to the people of the Middle East and North Africa how they should live, rule or manage their cultural and political lives.

The key to successful interactions with the region is for the West to understand the history and cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, and to approach these interactions with respect and without condescension, rather than treating all Arab countries as a monolithic entity. 

-themedialine.org, 5 January 2023

Arno's Commentary

This fascinating article by Majdi Halabi exposes the generalization by Western countries in placing all Arab nations under the same umbrella. While it is a fitting analysis, it is also true in the opposite direction; namely, the definition “the West.” Analyzing the various countries considered “the West,” we are faced with extreme diversity.

Example: Japan is considered to belong in the category of the West, and so is Australia. Looking at Europe, there is extreme diversity. The European Union (EU), formerly known as the European Community (EC), consists of 27 sovereign nations, divided by 24 languages, with a population of over 447 million and a combined GDP of over $24 trillion. Additionally, eight more countries are waiting to join the Union: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Europe can be considered the most diverse of the world’s five continents. Although immense difficulties continually stand in the way, one thing becomes clear: Europe has developed into an economic powerhouse.

The Arab League presently has 22 member states, with a combined population of over 444 million (2021). The League was formed in Cairo, Egypt on 22 March 1945.

Based on Wikipedia, the Arab League countries’ GDP stands at approximately $7.1 trillion—the richest being Qatar, with $113,674 GDP per capita, followed by the United Arab Emirates at $77,272, and Bahrain in third place at $57,921.

What is the future? While the Arab nations are divided in their relationship, particularly with Israel, change is progressing. Based on various media resources, Saudi Arabia stands next in line to develop friendship with Israel.

From Genesis 25, we know that to Abraham’s wife Keturah, six sons were born. That did not include Ishmael, the son of Hagar, or the son of promise—Isaac. 

While the Arab world may not be monolithic, their origin goes back to Abraham and the promise to Hagar: “And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude” (Genesis 16:10). That prophecy has been fulfilled and will continue in that vein.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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