For many years, unity was a wish and a dream of most Arab peoples, until the first steps of that great dream were almost realized by uniting 3 major Arab countries, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
On April 17, 1963, the three countries announced the Comprehensive Unity Agreement between them, where the agreement was signed by its President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, from Syria, by President Louay al-Atassi, and from Egypt by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and the Arab masses at that time took to the streets in rejoicing and in support of this agreement, However, the joy was not complete, as the tripartite agreement collapsed less than 100 days after its announcement.
Al-Jumaili: The three countries sought unity to achieve security and stability (Al-Jazeera Net)
There were many reasons that led to the establishment of the tripartite union between Iraq, Egypt and Syria, as these countries sought unity and achieve security and stability, and the Baath Party sought to increase its popularity through slogans of unity, according to Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Professor Dr. Saad Nassif Jassem Al-Jumaili.
And he explains - in his speech to Al Jazeera Net - that the Baath Party rushed two weeks after its arrival to power by sending a high-ranking delegation to Cairo, to participate in the celebration of Unity Day on February 22, 1963, and after another two weeks, the unionist elements in the Syrian army surprised everyone, by carrying out a revolution that ended The rule of the separatists who dismantled the Egyptian-Syrian unity, to announce that they are seeking to achieve Arab unity, and the Syrian masses rush to the streets in massive demonstrations demanding the return of the situation in Syria to the way it was.
Al-Jumaili adds that - less than a week after the outbreak of the Syrian revolution - two delegations, one Iraqi and the other Syrian, arrived in Cairo to hold a series of successive and lengthy meetings with the Egyptian side headed by President Abdel Nasser, revolving around how to achieve the demand of the Arab masses in the three countries to expedite the establishment of The unity between them, and it lasted a whole month, during which the delegations held 19 meetings.
Hamza: The Syrian and Iraqi sides were enthusiastic about the project of uniting their countries with Egypt (Al-Jazeera Net)
This ambitious unitary project came less than two years after the collapse of the Egyptian-Syrian unity that was formed in 1958 and collapsed in 1961, according to the researcher specializing in contemporary Arab history, Prof. Dr. Ammar Fadel Hamza.
Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Hamza does not rule out the existence of hidden hands that enabled the Iraqi and Syrian wings of the Baath Party to make their coups a success, and they may be Egyptian or international intelligence schemes for the purposes of sowing instability in the Arab political scene.
Hamza points out that both the Syrian and Iraqi wings were enthusiastic about the project of uniting their countries with Egypt, and they sent delegations to Cairo to meet Gamal Abdel Nasser and members of his leadership, and they began to raise the issue of unity during negotiations with the Egyptian side, but historical sources indicate that the delegations of Baghdad and Damascus were surprised by their lack of enthusiasm. Abdel Nasser for the tripartite unity project.
He points out that Nasser believed that an evaluation of the previous experience should be conducted before engaging in any new experiences, especially that the Syrian Baath Party supported secession if it occurred, and in the meantime, mass demonstrations erupted in Damascus calling for the restoration of unity, so that Abdel Nasser showed his readiness for any form of cooperation to achieve The demand of the Arab masses.
He continues, after that it was agreed to hold a second round of negotiations on April 17, 1963 and ended with the signing of the Tripartite Unity Agreement between Iraq, Syria and Egypt. There is an air of general optimism and a very welcome move.
Hamza warns that the Arab media has described the state of unity as the third force, as it includes the strongest Arab wings and the richest economically, culturally and historically. Its army and the culture of its people, as well as Egypt's human capabilities and its leadership of the national idea, will create from the state of unity a human, geographical, economic and military giant comparable to the regional powers on the global scene.
Turki: The agreement focused on issues related to national work, state institutions and the collective intellectual pillars (Al-Jazeera Net)
The tripartite unity agreement focused on many issues related to national action, state institutions, the intellectual pillars that unite all parties and the method of management, according to Dr. Faris Turki, researcher at the Regional Studies Center at the University of Mosul.
And he explained - to Al Jazeera Net - that a federal state was supposed to be established in the name of the United Arab Republic that would include Egypt, Iraq and Syria, and Cairo would be the capital of this state, and sovereignty would be for the people in accordance with the constitution, and its official religion was Islam, and its language was Arabic, and Qatari nationalities would be replaced With one nationality, the Arab nationality, and the federal state authorities are concerned with foreign policy, armed forces, national defense, financial matters, economic planning, media and culture, drawing up and implementing educational policy, imposing and applying unified laws, and managing federal roads and transportation.
Turki adds that there were provisions related to national action and the need to support and spread nationalist ideas, work to unify popular forces and Arab-oriented parties, coordinate their activities, and open the way for any country that believes in the principles of unity, freedom and socialism to join the federal state.
He points out that the economic and social components of the state have been given great attention and focus on the need to confront and overcome the backward economic and social reality, and replace it with a successful and fair socialist experience that can compete with the capitalist experiments with colonial orientations.
For his part, the Head of the Political and Strategic Studies Department at the Center for Regional Studies at the University of Mosul, Dr. Mithaq Khairallah Jalloud, clarifies that one of the most important provisions of the agreement is that this unity does not mean the dissolution of the parties within the three countries, and it is a federal unit between states and not a merger, with The establishment of two councils, one of which is based on the proportion of the population in each country, and the second is made up of an equal number of members in each country.
He adds - to Al Jazeera Net - that the three countries agreed to elect the head of state from the National Assembly, and he has 3 representatives, each from Qatar, to be elected in the same way, with the legislative councils, cabinets and presidents for each country remaining alongside the federal ministry, the Federal National Assembly and the Federal Head of State.
Jalloud believes that the failure of the union between the three countries is due to the haste in melting the institutions of these countries (Al-Jazeera Net)
Despite Abdel Nasser's announcement of canceling the unity agreement, the union remained between Iraq and Syria, but after the political changes that occurred in Iraq on November 18, 1963, the union ended.
Jalloud believes that the reason for the union's failure is due to the haste in melting the institutions of the three countries, so the union did not withstand the problems it faced, as it set 5 months for the process of melting the institutions of the three countries and implementing what was agreed upon, but the union collapsed before that.
He attributes other reasons to the war between Baghdad and the Kurds in northern Iraq, and the exacerbation of differences between the leaders in Syria and President Abdel Nasser, especially after the authorities in Syria referred a number of Nasserite officers to retirement from the Syrian army, and this prompted Abdel Nasser to announce the cancellation of the Unity Agreement from One party.
Al-Wondawi: If the unity project had been achieved, it would have faced many obstacles and difficulties (Al-Jazeera Net)
What if you succeed?
Despite the great military, economic, and moral strength that the United Arab Republic would have had if it had continued, it - on the other hand - could have faced many great problems and challenges that would lead to its disintegration.
Professor of contemporary political history of Iraq, Dr. Muayyad Al-Wandawi, believes that if this project was realized, it would have faced many obstacles and difficulties, especially since its regional enemies would take serious measures against it.
He adds - to Al Jazeera Net - that the West would have stood in the face of any serious unitary projects, as well as opponents of nationalist thought from other political currents that would have worked against it, and therefore he did not expect this project to succeed, especially since it was based on aspirations, and not on something deeply entrenched. Could build on it in the future.
Al-Wandawi explains that the idea of presenting the project to President Abdel Nasser was rushed by the Baath Party, which had only been in power for a few weeks, and this is a short period for the new political system in Baghdad and Damascus.
It is noteworthy that President Abdel Nasser had suffered greatly from the way the union collapsed, and it was a lesson that must be learned from in any other unitary projects.Keywords: