The Beginning of Arab-US Relations

Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani's the Beginning of Arab-American Relations (360 pp.) has recently been published by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. This book uses unpublished British and American documents to investigate the history of the beginning of Arab-American relations in the Arab Maghreb, US concessions in the Arab Mashreq, US "Christianization" in the Levant, and US relations with the Nile Valley.

Al-Ghani sets to explore the beginning of US relations with the Arab Maghreb, typically deemed as the Marrakesh recognition of the US and the Algerian, Tunisian and Libyan agreements with the US. Al-Ghani nevertheless notes otherwise, claiming the start of the relations was not as appeasing, beginning when a colonial US-European alliance was launched against the Arabs, instigated and led by the US in accordance with its own interests. The US illicitly amassed wealth as it continued to obtain its share of the spoils of European colonialism.

The book also looks at the beginning of US Christianization in the Levant, especially through incorporating Western Christian literature into education. This stemmed from the conviction held by many US missionaries that education is the most effective means of converting Muslims to Christianity. The widespread of missionary schools across the Levant planted ideas of nationalism and "Arabism" in the Arab societies as the unity of the Islamic land under the Ottoman Empire seemed to be shattered.

Al-Ghani then examines the start of US relations with the Nile Valley, and the role of Muhammad Ali Pasha and his offspring in empowering the US and its investment in Sudan. He looks at the beginning of US Christianization in both Egypt and Sudan, the status of the Valley in these first attempts and the local efforts to counter them. According to al-Ghani, the US grasped the key status of the Nile Valley and Egypt, the heart of the Arab world and thus rushed into enforcing a cultural-political barrier between the Muslim north and the pagan south in the region.

Finally, the author goes on to investigate the US Christianization in Iraq, where they encountered fierce resistance to foreign missionaries after revealing their connection and unified goals with Zionism; as well as the 1967 defeat (Naksah). Al-Ghani also tracks the timeline of the failed US missionaries in the Gulf states.

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