British attitudes towards Arab unity have frequently been a source of controversy. Younan Labib Rizk here provides a coherent Arab perspective derived from considerable in-depth research into British archives, focusing mainly on the period 1919 to 1945, while also offering a unique behind-the scenes picture of seminal events such as the Balfour Declaration, the Islamic Conference in Jerusalem and the Arab Conference. Rizk's analysis reveals not only how British government policy developed in this period but also the different influences on policymaking - from the changing situation on the ground to the state of Anglo-French relations and the concerns of the Cairo and India Offices. He shows how all these factors coincided to produce a policy, repeated across several British administrations, which was consistently hostile towards the notion of Arab unity. While this conforms to traditional Arab views of British policy in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula, the importance of Rizk's work lies in his meticulous research through which he documents British attitudes and motivations. As he quotes the internal correspondence between departments and individual officials in the Foreign Office and its Eastern Department, the Colonial Office and several British Cabinets, Rizk demonstrates that divisions within the Arab world - of which there were many-were initially exacerbated by British officials, only eventually acquiring their own dynamic. This book enhances our understanding of how the international politics of the region evolved during a critical phase in the modern history of the Middle East.
Britain and Arab Unity
A Documentary History from the Treaty of Versailles to the End of World War 2