Government Of The United Arab Republic, 1958

Dear Delegates,

My name is Mary Brooks and I am excited to welcome you to the Government of the United Arab Republic, 1958 at Harvard National Model United Nations 2017.

In 1958, the short-lived United Arab Republic was formed between Egypt and Syria as an attempt at pan- Arabism. The interplay of Islam, communism, democracy, and revolutionary nationalism all coalesced in this era to create a fluid and dangerous situation, with a series of well-armed states with uncertain domestic support facing off over a series of weaker regional states. Pundits like to speak of the Sykes- Picot Lines as the defining features of the geography of the Middle East that are now being challenged by the revolutionary ideology of ISIS. Within this committee, we will focus on the first revolutionary challenge to that Middle Eastern status quo, embodied by the United Arab Republic, and in doing so explore the roots of the problems currently sending the region into turmoil.

As for me, I am a rising senior at Harvard University where I study Government and Arabic. Currently studying abroad in Amman Jordan, my academic focus areas include the international refugee regime and population movements, environmental protection, and the Middle East. I’ve been involved with model United Nations and the Harvard International Relations Council for the last three years, chairing committees in both Boston and Beijing, and serving as the USG of Administration for Harvard’s high school model UN conference. Outside of school, my interests include rock-climbing and skiing, exploring new places, and a newly-discovered love for Turkish soap operas.

Wright and I look forward to working with you all as we pilot the UAR through the tumultuous events of the mid-twentieth century. Please do not hesitate to reach out to either one of us with your questions.

Mary Brooks
Director, Government of the United Arab Republic, 1958
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

Dear Delegates,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Government of the United Arab Republic, 1958. I will be serving as your crisis director, and am looking forward to simulating the dramatic and dangerous events of the Middle East of the late 1950s.

This committee will be taking place at a crucial moment in Middle Eastern history. Having weathered the Suez Crisis of 1956, President Gamel Abdul Nasser stands as one of the most powerful men in the region. In 1958, seeking to stave off a communist takeover, leaders of Syria merged their country into Nasser’s Egypt to form the United Arab Republic. For many Arab intellectuals, politicians, and soldiers, the United Arab Republic formed the first building bloc of the Pan-Arab movement they dreamed of constructing, and it attracted significant support. However, for conservative monarchical regimes, such as the governments of Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, the new UAR represented a dangerous competing political model that threatened to radicalize their populaces and cause the downfall of their regimes. As a result, the region steadily splintered into competing blocs, with the regional competition made all the more severe by the presence of American and Soviet officials providing aid and in some cases military intervention on behalf of one side or the other. This committee will force you to navigate these treacherous currents of the late 1950s, securing domestic power in the still turbulent post- revolutionary societies of Egypt and Syria while spreading the Pan­Arab ideals throughout the region.

I am currently a rising senior studying history and government, with a particular interest in how differing understandings of national and international history impact contemporary foreign policymaking. I am most interested by diplomatic history and like to look at the role of diplomacy in international affairs. I am very involved in Model UN at Harvard, also staffing our high school conference, HMUN, competing on ICMUN, our traveling team, and serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Relations Council, the umbrella organization that includes Model UN at Harvard. Apart from my involvement in Model UN, I am an avid amateur squash player, and am a member of the club squash team. I also write for the Harvard Political Review and work for the Kennedy School of Government undertaking research primarily focused on contemporary Middle Eastern Security.

I am really looking forward to this committee, and to seeing the creative crisis solutions you all attempt as the struggles of the Arab Cold War shake the region. I look forward to meeting you in February!

Wright Smith
Crisis Director, Government of the United Arab Republic, 1958
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

Committee Description:

“The holy march on which the Arab nation insists, will carry us forward from one victory to another ... the flag of freedom which flies over Baghdad today will fly over Amman and Riyadh. Yes, the flag of freedom which flies over Cairo, Damascus, and Baghdad today will fly over the rest of the Middle East.”
–Gamel Abdul Nasser

In 1958, after a series of negotiations between the senior leaders of Egypt and Syria, the two countries came together to form the United Arab Republic. Unified by a shared dedication to Arab nationalism and social and political reform, the new state presented an immediate challenge to the established postwar order of the Middle East, threatening the monarchical regimes in Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia with revolutionary unrest and foreign intervention.

Having just merged two nations into a single one, the committee will have to work to build support in both Egypt and Syria for the new United Arab Republic. They will also need to move forward on development and economic progress in order to keep public support. Along with the economic efforts, cultural, social, and educational resources will need to be mobilized to keep the population united behind the regime. The committee will need to negotiate with formerly independent entities in Syria as the Syrian government is incorporated into the Egyptian one, and will also need to engage in propaganda efforts to convince people around the Arab world of the success of the new model represented by the UAR.

Along with consolidating domestic support, the committee will have to address security and foreign issues, specifically the international Cold War and the regional variant waged against Saudi Arabia. They will have to try and shore up friendly regimes and exporting the revolutionary agenda while also avoiding direct war with the United States. In addition, the UAR must find a way to chart an independence course that does not leave them entirely dependent on the Soviet Union, and to advance the goals of Arab Nationalism and unity around the Middle Eastern region.