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Prof. Rami Ginat

Department of Political Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences
Bar-Ilan University

✏️ "A useful guide to politics and ideology in Nasser’s day…" - Jerusalem Post ✏️ "Remarkable book…" - Brian Peterson (Union College) ✏️ "Ginat provides a meticulously researched study of the intellectual and political development of Arab neutralism…" - Professor Margot Light, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics (2005) ✏️ "Ginat’s well-documented study provides a first-rate summary…" - Choice ✏️
                               ✏️ "Pathbreaking…" - Professor Israel Gershoni ✏️ "This is a meticulously researched study. Rami Ginat… Has written the definitive definitive history…" - Johan Franzén (University of East Anglia), American Historical Review (2012) ✏️ "This publication provides a valuable, accessible, and note-worthy portrait…" - Nancy Elizabeth Currey (University of California‐Santa Barbara), Digest of Middle East Studies (2006) ✏️

About

Professor Rami Ginat is currently heading the Department of Political Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He took his BA and MA degrees at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Tel-Aviv University; and his Ph.D. degree in Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. His fields of expertise are focused on the study and teaching of the modern Middle East. His work pays careful attention to the mutual feedback between politics and ideas; that is, examining ideology in view of changing political realities and vice versa. He published many books and articles on a variety of subjects related to the Great Powers and the Middle East, and Cold War studies with special reference to Egypt and Syria.

Books

Egypt and the Struggle for Power in Sudan

For decades, the doctrine of the ‘Unity of the Nile Valley’ united Egyptians of a variety of political and nationalist backgrounds. Many Egyptians regarded Sudan as an integral part of their homeland, and therefore battled to rid the entire Nile Valley of British imperialism and unite its inhabitants under the Egyptian crown. Here, Rami Ginat provides a vital and important revised account of the history of Egypt’s colonialist struggle and their efforts to prove categorically that the Nile Valley constituted a single territorial unit. These were clustered around several dominant theoretical layers: history, geography, economy, culture and ethnography. This book, for both Middle Eastern and African historians, uses a mixture of Arabic and English sources to critically examine the central stages in the historical development of Egypt’s doctrine, concentrating on the defining decade (1943–1953) that first witnessed both the pinnacle of the doctrine’s struggle and the subsequent shattering of a consensual nationalist dream.

Reviews

“Remarkable accomplishment, illuminating and insightful. Egypt and the Struggle for Power in Sudan offers a fresh and original reading of the Egyptian national struggle for unity of the Nile Valley. Combining intellectual with politicalhistory, Rami Ginat, examines, in a most sophisticated yet concrete manner, the British-Egyptian rivalry for control and hegemony in Sudan and explains why it culminated dramatically in the 1940s and early 1950s. Ginat systematically andcomprehensively reconstructs a broader, multi-vocal system of the Egyptian public’s responses to the doctrine of the Nile Valley unification by the ruling elite as well as broader civil society. The book ends with a requie m for the Nile Valley unity dream, shattered by the new 1952 July Revolution regime, who recognized Sudan’s right to national self-determination and independence.” Professor Israel Gershoni – Tel-Aviv University (2017)
“Based on diligent, impeccable archival research, Ginat challenges deep-rooted nationalist narratives to provide a dispassionate, nuanced look at the complexities – and contradictions – of Egyptian claims to sovereignty over the Nile Valley. Situated within the broad contexts of British imperialism and Egyptian and Sudanese decolonization, this is a splendid work of political and intellectual history.” Professor Joel Gordon – Director of the King Fahd Center, University of Arkansas, and author of Nasser’s Blessed Movement: Egypt’s Free Officers and the July Revolution (2017)
“… an in-depth book about a relatively short period of history that saw the unraveling of a complex imperial situation… the book adds significantly on each of its main themes. First, the thinking behind Egypt’s three unsuccessful political attempts to oust Britain from Sudan and re-impose its sovereignty under King Faruq: direct agreement through the Sidqi-Bevin protocol; international pressure via the United Nations; and finally, outright abrogation of the condominium. Second, Egypt’s attempt to reshape the culture of Sudan by an extensive program of education designed to counter British-style educational development. And third, the ideological contrasts of Left and Right with their very different views on the longer term for both Egypt and Sudan, whether toward an Islamist direction or more populist liberation.” Peter Woodward (University of Reading), Middle East Journal (2018)
“… Remarkable book… It’s an illuminating study that explores Sudan’s rather unique place in the history of imperialism … the distinctive feature of Ginat’s study is his masterful analysis of the wider postwar intellectual scene, with its various factions (from Egyptian communists to right-wing nationalist or Islamic groups, like Young Egypt or the Muslim Brothers, respectively, as well as to liberal constitutionalists and independent intellectuals) and the changing relationships between the intelligentsia and the state. His analysis of the discursive unities covers a range of knowledge practices, from economic and geographical studies to historical and ethnographic accounts. In moving between regional and international levels of analysis, Egypt and the Struggle for Power in Sudan forces historians to rethink certain assumptions about the complex and contradictory relationships between imperialism and nationalist movements, while providing a definitive political and intellectual history of Egypt’s postwar struggle for control over Sudan.” Brian Peterson (Union College), The American Historical Review (2019)

SYRIA AND THE DOCTRINE OF ARAB NEUTRALISM

This book examines the modern history of post-mandatory Syria. The evolution of the Syrian ideology and policy of neutralism since the early stages of the Cold War is explained, and the effects that Arab neutralism had on shaping Syria’s foreign policy and the shaping of its national identity are identified.

The phenomenon of Arab neutralism has never before been comprehensively investigated. The prevailing belief is that the formulation and realization of the policy of anti-alignment began only during Nasser’s first years in power in Egypt. However, Syria and the Doctrine of Arab Neutralism demonstrates that the roots of neutralism were already sown in Arab soil in the early 1940s, and that successive Syrian governments carved out this policy during the final stages of World War II.

A core issue in the analysis is the dynamic between ideology and policy. A conceptual framework is developed to explain the various patterns of neutralism that emerged, and the complex of relationships between features exhibited by Syria, the Arab world, and the Third World. The book makes extensive use of newly declassified material gleaned from archives in India, the former USSR, Poland, Britain, the United States and Israel; primary sources, studied and interpreted in the original Arabic, are also widely utilized.

Reviews

While the end of the Cold War has offered new opportunities for assessing this four-decade long conflict, in regard to the Middle East, it can be said that, so far, no great, shattering revelations have been made available, in contrast to what we have learnt, for example, on the Cuba Missile Crisis of 1962, or the origins of the Korean War in 1950 … Against this background, the monograph by Dr. Rami Ginat of Bar-Ilan University is of particular interest … There is much of interest in this carefully researched and written book. First, Ginat’s study makes rich use of the archives of secondary powers, notably, Poland and India: perhaps the most original chapter is that on India’s relationship, in the context of the founding of the Afro-Asian Solidarity Conference at Bandung in 1955, with the Middle East, and Nehru’s sceptical views of Nasser and his ambitions. Secondly, it strengthens the general cases for state autonomy, and for the role of ideology, in the international relations of the Middle East. Moreover, this book contributes to the broader, comparative, study of the gamut of policies known as neutralism, non-alignment, third worldism and the rest, which were so prominent in this period. Fred Halliday (London School of Economics) The International History Review (2006)
Ginat provides a meticulously researched study of the intellectual and political development of Arab neutralism and the differences between Nehru’s ‘ideological/doctrinaire neutralism’ and Nasser’s ‘positive neutralism’ which informed Syrian policy in the 1950s. This excellent and scholarly work combines a history of ideas with a detailed and fascinating study of the development of Syria’s domestic and foreign policy in the search for a viable socio-economic system and an independent voice in international affairs.” Professor Margot Light, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics (2005)

“This publication provides a valuable, accessible, and note-worthy portrait of Syria’s political position within Arab countries, the third world, and the context of an East–West power struggle in post-mandate Syria … Ginat’s book has a number of strengths. First, the depth and breath of Ginat’s research is note-worthy … Second, the methodology Ginat chose, ‘one with mutual feedback between political history and the history of ideas (p. xiv)’, enriches his work and makes it compelling and accessible to a wide range of readers. Likewise Ginat’s grasp of the international arena and its manifold partitions and historical context is admirable … Third, Ginat’s articulation of Syria’s perspective is particularly valuable. Ginat captures the Syrian viewpoint of internal, regional, and international happenings. As such, he enunciates a rarely heard outlook, particularly outside of Syria. It should be noted that the Introduction provides an essential foundation in the theoretical bases of neutralism / non-alignment… Syria and the Doctrine of Arab Neutralism provides a detailed and insightful study of Arab neutralism and its manifestation in Syria. It is a significant contribution to our understandings of politics during the Cold War, the historic alliance of third world countries in the face of super powers, ideological movements, and Middle Eastern studies. It provides particularly telling lessons for students of and contemporary advocates for Syria and the Middle East” Nancy Elizabeth Currey (University of California‐Santa Barbara), Digest of Middle East Studies (2006)

Rami Ginat’s accessible and instructive study addresses the emergence of modern Syria from French Colonial rule… Through taking an internationalist perspective of post-independence Syria until the rise of Hafez al-Asad, Rami Ginat sheds much light on the development of Syrian foreign policy until the 1960s and the determination of third world Arab and Asian states to pursue a neutral course between the Cold War superpowers vying for influence in what became the non-aligned world. Ginat’s wide-ranging book provides an illuminating evaluation of the formation of the doctrine of ‘neutralism’ and ‘Arab neutralism’ from the perspective of the emerging non-aligned movement and the newly independent Arab states … The real value of this book is in the international and comparative perspective the author brings to the subject through the use of such diverse rich sources. The analysis illustrates the various Syrian, Arab, Third World and Cold War dynamics that both curtailed and shaped Syrian politics between the Second World War and the early 1960s. As such it provides an excellent ideological framework for scholars and postgraduates wishing to broaden their understanding of the Arab state system in the early Cold War period and the stabilization of a Syrian foreign policy that was largely masked by the instability of its frequently changing governments during this period. Michael Kerr (King’s College), Middle Eastern Studies (2006)
The author focuses on Syria’s ‘multi-faceted character,’ which shaped its foreign policy toward the West in general and the US in particular. Ginat addresses the internal politics that helped shape Syria’s policy of neutralism as well as actions taken by foreign countries toward Syria, which forced it to adopt unfavorable positions toward the West … Syria began to resent the West and started to embrace the Soviet Union to protect its interests and receive aid with no strings attached… Recommended. K. M. Zaarour (Shaw University), Choice (November 2005)
Ginat’s contribution fills a void in the extant literature and should be of interest to anyone concerned with the evolution of Arab politics in general, and early post-mandatory Syria in particular … The work by the early intellectuals within the Ba’th Party and their impact on foreign policy prior to the ascendancy of the neo-Ba’th in 1963 is key to understanding the development of Syrian policy behaviour, yet has remained largely uncovered. Ginat’s contribution is a solid effort to redress this state of affairs … Ginat deserves particular praise for consulting a wide range of primary sources, including previously inaccessible Eastern European archival material. N. T. Anders Strindberg (Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA), Middle East Journal (2005)
Ginat’s well-documented study is the first to provide a first-rate analysis of the ideological and the political development of the doctrine of Arab neutralism in Syria, and to a lesser extent in Egypt, from World War II until the 1960s. Ginat disputes the common belief that Nasser was the first Arab leader to exercise neutralism, and examines the effects that Arab neutralism had on shaping Syria’s foreign policy and its national identity. Using Arab, Indian, Soviet, Polish and Western primary sources, he places special emphasis on the interaction between Arab neutralism in Syria and Egypt, and other modes of neutralism in Third World countries such as India and Yugoslavia. Moshe Ma’oz, The Truman Institute, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2005)
“The contents of this work are more diverse than its title indicates … The result is a work of originality and value. Its detailed discussion of the initial Arab opening to the USSR during World War II, when both Egypt and Syria established formal diplomatic relations with the USSR, as well as its analysis of neutralist tendencies in both Syria and Egypt in the late 1940s and early 1950s, adds historical depth to the understanding of a phenomenon generally viewed as commencing only in the mid-1950s. The substance and contribution of various political tendencies within Syria, the Ba’th Party in particular, to the country’s increasingly neutralist trajectory is closely analyzed, as is the distinction made by most Syrian ideologues between the nonalignment in international alliances that they were advocating and their rejection of Soviet-style communism as a socioeconomic system. The study gives great emphasis to identifying the different shades or nuances of neutralism espoused in the Arab world at different points in time: for example, initially a ‘calculative-pragmatic nationalist neutralism’ aimed at using Great Power rivalries to achieve local nationalist goals, somewhat later the ‘anti-Western neutralism’ fuelled particularly by Arab resentment over Western policy in regard to Palestine, and later the ‘positive neutralism’ of the UAR that attempted to use the Cold War to Arab advantage. The sections on India’s seminal role in the emergence of post-World War II neutralism and in the Afro-Asian nonaligned movement, based as they are on a rich assemblage of Indian primary materials, are extremely valuable in their situating Arab neutralist tendencies in the wider global context in which they emerged and by which they were influenced. These and other strengths make the work an important contribution and a worthwhile read for all those interested in post World War II Arab politics.” James P. Jankowsky (University of Colorado, Boulder), International Journal of Middle East Studies (2006)
“By situating the evolution of Syrian politics within a global framework that incorporates the diplomatic positions of emerging nations of the so-called Third World – particularly India, Egypt, Yugoslavia, and Indonesia – Ginat demonstrates the multifaceted face of neutralism that simultaneously united and divided nations seeking an alternative “third path” within the ideological struggle of the Cold War … While previous interpretations of Arab neutralism stress the inter-Arab national politics that determined how leaders positioned their states within the polarizing context of the Cold War, Ginat shows how inter-bloc politics involving other nonaligned, non-Arab states such as India, Yugoslavia, and China played an equally important role in conditioning a nation’s particular brand of neutralism at a given time. Neutralism evolved in Syria as a reflection of what Ginat calls the “utilitarian considerations” of the nation, especially following the end of World War II when Syrian leaders searched for legitimacy in the international scene and cultivated short-term national partnerships with other emerging nations. In a larger sense, Ginat shows how neutralism developed among non-aligned nations as a reflection of the “local conditions, political heritage and tradition, and special needs,” of each county (p. xiv). With an eye for the dynamic between ideas and policy, Ginat questions the degree to which neutralist positions were the demonstration of an engrained ideology, or simply the ad hoc result of realpolitik. Based on the narrative he presents, the reader is left to conclude that Syrian foreign policy initially reflected the former, while slipping ever closer to the latter over time … Ginat’s goal of situating Syrian political history in a wider context of dialogue among non-aligned nations is a welcome development in the literature … the general political narrative between 1945 and 1962 is meticulously researched and his claims concerning the early emergence of neutralist tendencies are supported by overwhelming evidence (diplomatic communiques, speeches, and public records) drawn from archives in Britain, the US, Israel, Poland, and India… Rami Ginat’s work is a considerable addition to the literature on the period and a worthwhile read for any student of Syrian history and Cold War politics in the Middle East.” Adam Guerin (Eckerd College, Florida) Insight Turkey, Vol. 13 / No. 3 / 2011

A History of Egyptian Communism

Rami Ginat offers an entirely new reading of the evolution of communism in Egypt, including the central role of Egyptian Jews in both its development and its impact on Egypt and the wider Middle East.

Drawing deeply on previously inaccessible original sources, Ginat traces a story of intrigue and ideology from the late 1910s to the early 1950s. Many of his findings directly challenge the prevailing scholarship on the subject. His seminal work is also a major contribution to ongoing debates in Egypt today about the nature of Egyptian nationalism and the role of the country’s communist movements and leadership.

Reviews

“A work that will quickly become the go-to source on the history of communism in pre-Nasserist Egypt… It is first and foremost a detailed account of the origins and impact of communist movements from the 1920s through the end of the ‘liberal era’. At the same time, it is an exploration of the particular role played by Jews, native and adopted sons and daughters of Egypt, in founding, fostering and at times fragmenting a movement that in most cases eventually disowned and disbarred them, much to their dismay. It is a story that is at once inspiring and, for them, ultimately, tragic…Ginat’s authority as the primary academic chronicler of the Egyptian left is rooted in exhaustive, innovative research undertaken over many years and in many places.” Joel Gordon (University of Arkansas and editor of IJMES) , Bustan (2014)
“This is a meticulously researched study. Rami Ginat, who has become one of the foremost experts on Egyptian communism…has written the definitive history of the early Egyptian communist movement. His book [also] provides a wealth of information and insight into the political history of Egypt and the wider region, not least the history of Middle Eastern Jewry before the founding of the Israeli state.” Johan Franzén (University of East Anglia), American Historical Review (2012)
“Meticulously researched and wide ranging…. In rich detail, Rami Ginat recounts the saga-like history of Egypt’s communist movements and considers the important but controversial role that Jews played in them.” Professor Heather Sharkey, University of Pennsylvania (2011)
“Pathbreaking…. This meticulously researched study provides a comprehensive and systematic look at the critical role played by Jews and other Egyptians in the formation and development of the Communist movement in Egypt.” Professor Israel Gershoni, Tel Aviv University (2011)
Rami Ginat…took upon himself the task of writing a comprehensive history of Egyptian Communism with special reference to the substantial role played by Egyptian Jews in its emergence and development, and its impact on Egypt and the wider Middle East. The result is an impressive and well-documented book that covers the history of organized Communism in Egypt from its beginnings in the 1920s until the early 1950s when Jewish influence declined…This book is especially recommended to anyone who is interested in the history of modern Egypt, the story of the Jews in Egypt, and the role they played in the making of modern Egypt. The author has made a most valuable contribution to our knowledge of all those subjects.” David Sultan (Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt), Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs (2012)
“The communist movement is located at the intersection of several topics that remain highly contested in Egypt: the history and status of Jews and other non-Muslims and non-Copts; the Arab-Zionist conflict; the convoluted alliance with the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 1960s; Marxism’s relationship to Nasserist Arab nationalism; and relations between the intelligentsia and the “masses” who they sought to tutor and lead politically. A History of Egyptian Communism: Jews and their Compatriots in Quest of Revolution takes up all these issues… The book’s most important arguments are: 1) there was continuity between the “first communist movement” of 1910-24 and the revival of the movement in the 1930s; 2) Jews played a central role as transmitters of Marxist ideology in nearly every Egyptian communist formation; 3) Jews were a minority in the leadership of important communist organizations with the largest number of worker-adherents, the Egyptian Movement for National Liberation (EMNL) founded and led by Curiel, and Workers’ Vanguard, in which Darwish and two other Jews were central figures; 4) all the communist groups supported the 1947 UN plan for the partition of Palestine because they followed the line of the Soviet Union, not because they were Zionists…[Ginat should] be commended for his extensive research.Joel Beinin (Stanford University), MESA Review of Middle Eastern Studies (2012)

The Soviet Union and Egypt

Based on a wide range of multi-lingual first-rate primary sources, The Soviet Union and Egypt traces the roots of the Soviet involvement in the Middle East, generally, and in Egypt particularly, in the decade that followed World War II. The study first analyzes the relationship between Communism and Islam; and the ideological and political role played by the communists. It examines whether these ideological concerns had any influence on the formulation and consolidation of the special relations between communist Russia and Muslim Arab countries.

Ginat disproves the prevailing belief in both Soviet and Middle Eastern research that have maintained that Soviet interest and political activity in the Middle East under Stalin were marginal; and that a fully-fledged Middle Eastern policy crystallized only after Stalin’s death in 1953, attributing the change to Khrushchev’s ascendancy. The Soviet Union and Egypt clearly shows that the nature and quality of Soviet-Arab relations were not influenced by structural changes within the Soviet ruling elite. Towards the end of World War II, Soviet policy makers were fully aware of the growing international influence and prestige of the USSR. They appealed to Middle East nationalist groups to concentrate on the task of putting an end to western influence in the Middle East. To achieve that end, the Soviets nurtured relations with governments, which pursued anti-western policy. The place of ideology, that is, the export of the principles of worldwide communist revolution, was relegated to second place. At this historical time, Stalin followed the line of realpolitik in international affairs. Foreign policy was first and foremost based on utilitarian considerations derived from the early stages of the Cold War and the USSR’s growing interests in certain parts of the world, including the Middle East, which the Soviets considered as the southern gate of the USSR. The strengthening of Soviet influence and the improvement of its position in Egypt and the Middle East in the mid-1950s, as this book demonstrates, was a result of a gradual process of political, social and ideological developments in Egypt (and other Arab countries), beginning in the early 1940s. That is, Egyptian governments decided whether or not to tighten relations with the Soviets – basing their decisions purely on beneficiary considerations and utilitarian purposes, and the Soviets, usually, responded positively to these initiatives. 

Reviews

“An excellent reassessment of US-USSR-Egyptian relationships from 1945 to 1955 …Ginat shows that Soviet arms shipments and trade were under way as early as 1948…” Norvell B. Deatkine, Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College (Winter 1994-1995)
This book by Rami Ginat treats Egyptian-Soviet rela- tions during a decade often overlooked by scholars… In retracing Egyptian-Soviet relations during this decade, Ginat adds an important dimension to the story. Most accounts of the rise of Nasserism focus on the Anglo-American backdrop. It is illuminating to see the Soviet perspective, of old regime flirtations with neutrality, the American courtship of revolutionary Egypt, Nasser’s consolidation of power in 1954, and the Czech arms deal. Students of international commerce and Egyptian business interests will want to consult sections on Soviet-Egyptian trade relations… Joel Gordon, The American Historical Review (1995).
Rami Ginat’s The Soviet Union and Egypt…aims to analyze Soviet penetration and subsequent domination of part of the Arab world, particularly of Egypt. The use of a wide range of sources and declassified material affords a wholly new perspective: according to conventional wisdom, Soviet interests and activity in the Middle East had been relatively negligible during the Stalinist era and a comprehensive Middle Eastern policy was implemented by Moscow only after Stalin’s death in 1953. This change has been considered to be a direct response to Nasser’s disappointment with the West, following the establishment of the Baghdad Pact and the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in 1955. Based on a new evidence, this study argues that the roots of the dynamics of Soviet expansion in the Middle East can be discovered in Soviet post-Second World War policy; therefore, increasing influence employed on Egyptian affairs since the mid-1950s was a result of a political and ideological evolution begun in Egypt in the late 1940s. As a consequence, the Czech arms deal of September 1955 is discounted as the starting point of Soviet military involvement in the Middle East, for it appears that arms supplies were reaching Egypt and other Arab countries as early as 1948, when commercial agreements were signed between the Soviet Union and some of the Near Eastern states… the author succeeds in giving evidence of Soviet presence in the Middle East and Egypt before 1953 and this study casts new light on US policy in the region during the Second Truman administration; thus, American obsession with Soviet infiltration appears to be more a genuine consequence of Soviet attempts to destabilize the Middle Eastern scenario. Manuela Maglio (University of Nottingham), Intelligence and National Security (1997)
Ginat argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the Czech-Egyptian arms deal in 1955 was not a direct response to Nasser’s disillusion with the West but the result of a more gradual policy of Soviet penetration into the Middle East which began immediately after the Second World War… Ginat does make it clear that establishing good relations served Egyptian as well as Soviet interests. He also points out that the Soviet Union portrayed itself not as a supporter of revolutionary parties but as ‘benefactor and champion of any regime which inclined towards a neutralist and anti-Western policy’ (p.239). Here, too, the aim was to counterbalance the influence of a great power, although by 1948 that power was the United States and not Great Britain. Margot Light (London School of Economics), Middle Eastern Studies (1995)
Ginat’s The Soviet Union and Egypt, 1945-1955 offers an indirect corrective to…[the] conventional wisdom by underscoring the depth of Soviet preoccupation with its immediate neighborhood. By using a wide range of Soviet, western, and Arab sources, Ginat shows that Moscow’s primary Middle Eastern concern from the end of World War II onward was to remove the perceived lethal western threat to its southern border. Hence its support for Zionism-then the most effective anticolonial force in the Middle East; hence its shift of focus from Israel to the Arab world once the Jewish state had outlived its usefulness in eradicating British influence in the Middle East. No lofty ideological principles dictated Soviet policy toward its regional allies but rather pragmatic, indeed opportunistic, considerations of cost and benefit. Which provides further proof, if such were at all needed, that the extra-European Cold War had nothing to do with a Manichean struggle between liberal democracy and communism, as suggested by Francis Fukuyama, but rather with the struggle for assets and allies, devoid of ideological convictions or high moral grounds… [this] book is a welcome addition to the existing literature. Efraim Karsh (King’s College), Slavic Review (1997)

Egypt's Incomplete Revolution

This study charts the evolution of ideology in Nasser’s regime from the inarticulate and inconsistent experiments of the early 1950s to the detailed and systematic formulations of the 1960s. Simultaneously, it appraises the accommodation between official declarations and their practical implementation. The book explores the interrelationship between ideology and statecraft and examines the concrete role which Arab Socialism played in the Nasirist state. The doctrine was highly derivative of foreign “nationalist” socialism – imported from abroad by intellectuals and politicians, but adapted to local Egyptian conditions. The study also deals with Soviet ideological and strategic response to Egypt’s “socialist experiment” in the 1960s. The short-lived, but nonetheless formidable, success of Arab socialism owes much to the versatility of intellectuals, who served as convecting rods between the ruling élite and the masses. The author has chosen to concentrate on Lutfi-al-Khuli – a leading member of the foremost intellectual circle associated with the Nasirist regime – whose significant contribution has been neglected in the literature.

Reviews

“Ginat’s well-documented study provides a first-rate summary of the thoughts of Lutfi-al-Khuli…The chief merits of this book are its analysis of Nasserite rethoric, to which al-Khuli was a significant contributor, and its use of recently declassified American and British diplomatic correspondence….”  Choice
“…Rami Ginat in his book focuses on the role of Lutfi al-Khuli, a leading Marxist activist, in post-revolutionary Egypt…through his interviews with al-Khuli and analysis of his writings, [Ginat] is able to provide a fascinating perspective of socialist development in Egypt under Nasser…This covers the laws of July 1961 when many enterprises were nationalized, the National Charter, the construction of a socialist political apparatus through the Arab Socialist Union and criticism following the June 1967 war and the ill-fated attempts to revitalize socialism in Egypt in March 1968. Al-Khuli’s writings on Arab unity and national liberation movements in the Third World are discussed, and there is much detail concerning the role of al-Khuli in Egyptian–Soviet relations and those with the wider communist world. [The book is] essential purchase for any library collection on modern Egyptian history. [It] contributes much to the understanding of the significance of the 1952 revolution and why Arab Socialism was arguably an impossible dream…” Rodney Wilson (Durham University), British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (2003)
A useful guide to politics and ideology in Nasser’s day… Dr Ginat has provided a serious, professional thesis with authoritative foundations. Jerusalem Post
The political and social history of Egypt under Nasser has been extensively researched, yet most of this research has focused on the political and social processes experienced by Egypt and the Middle East during his rule. Rami Ginat’s study concentrates on Arab socialism in Nasser’s Egypt and takes a more varied approach. On the one hand, it explores the general theoretical dimensions of ideology’s connection to statecraft. On the other hand, the study examines the specific case of the seminal intellectual, Lutfi al-Khuli, a leading member of the foremost intellectual circle associated with the Nasserist regime. Ginat’s research is based on three types of sources: books, essays, and articles written by al-Khuli; archival material and literature in Arabic; and methodological approaches drawn from works of sociology…The book’s conclusion is well-written… It provides a well-focused picture of the development of socialism in Egypt and the role al-Khuli played therein. Magda Kandil (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), The International Journal of Middle East Studies (1998)

Egypt and the Second Palestinian Intifada

With the outbreak of the Palestinian Intifadat al-Aqsa in September 2000 that followed the failure of the Camp David II summit, the chain of belligerent events took Egypt by surprise. Facing a dilemma in its search for an appropriate policy towards the Palestinian–Israeli escalation, this study argues that Egypt’s policy towards the second Intifada may best be understood by scrutinizing several circles of reference that directly affected its policymaking process throughout the long years of the bloody Israeli–Palestinian conflict. These circles of reference comprise interests and calculations derived from Egyptian internal issues; regional factors – Egypt’s role and position in the Arab world in general, and its relations with the Palestinians in particular; Egypt’s relations with Israel; and its strategic ties with the United States. The growing strength and the expansion of the global Islamic terrorist network that challenges the stability of the present Arab regimes constitutes a lynchpin at every layer.

Egypt’s foreign policy is based on Realpolitik, that is, on pragmatic and material factors rather than on ideological or moral considerations. Safeguarding its national interests is Egypt’s prime goal. In this regard, Egypt considers the peace with Israel as a strategic national asset. For Mubarak’s regime, the abrogation of the peace treaty with Israel has never been an option, even during the worst days of the Intifada. Mubarak has shown exemplary restraint throughout the conflict. Despite occasional harsh anti-Israeli statements aimed mainly at easing internal and external pressures, Mubarak’s regime can, on the whole, be seen as a responsible and stabilizing factor vehemently striving to prevent regional escalation. This study is based primarily on Egyptian sources as well as interviews and conversations with senior members of the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies. It also draws on other primary and secondary sources in Arabic, Hebrew and English. The book is essential reading for all scholars involved and engaged with the Israel–Arab conflict.

Reviews

“This book seeks to study the policy of Mubarak’s Egypt regarding the second Palestinian Intifada during the years 2000-2005, encompassing its military facets and political implications…In their book, Ginat and Noema examined Egyptian newspapers and conducted interviews with different Egyptian researchers and scholars. These sources enabled the authors to present the reader with a comprehensive historical picture that is coherent and especially interesting. This research undoubtedly adds an important layer to the understanding of the Israeli–Palestinian-Arab relations…” Dr. Jacob Tovy (Independent Researcher), Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA)

Lectures

From 3:20

From 21:15

From 40:44 to 58:01

Contact

Prof. Rami Ginat in his office