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date: 19 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter regards as “fascist” attempts to build mass movements on the basis of three elements: paramilitary organization, ultranationalism and totalitarianism. Most discussions of fascism in the MENA region seek to pin the fascist label on Arab movements opposed to British and French colonialism and/or to Zionism. The claim that fascist movements were present in Arab countries from the 1930s until the end of the Second World War is based on the assumption that “the Arabs” were sympathetic to the Axis powers. However, only three organizations and a less formal political current in the Arab world were truly inspired by European fascism: the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP); the Lebanese Phalangist Party (al-Kata’ib); the Young Egypt movement (Misr al-Fatat); and the Arab nationalist current in Iraq whose key figures belonged to Al-Muthanna Club circles. Despite animosity toward British colonial domination and Zionism, it is striking how limited the impact of fascism and Nazism in the Arab world remained.

Keywords: Axis powers, fascism, al-Kata’ib, Misr al-Fatat, Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Zionism

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