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Hari Sharan Chhabra

By Galal-El-Rashidi
Vikas, New Delhi, 1977, 143, 35.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 1 January-February 1977

In the very first paragraph of the first chapter of his book the author claims that the Arab community has played a significant role both in the collapse of the old international order and in setting in train the quest for a new one. While this categorical statement may sound chauvinistic to some, one cannot but agree with him on this point. It is parti­cularly true when one takes into account the developments in the world economic order after the October 1973 Arab vict­ory against Israel (the author calls it the Earthquake of October 1973), leading to the Arabs using their oil power as a poli­tical weapon. Although this weapon has not proved effective in securing the desi­red pressurizing results—the vacation of occupied territory by Israel and the crea­tion of a Palestinian state—the Arabs, es­pecially the oil producing ones, have cer­tainly come to be recognized as a force to be reckoned with in the new internation­al economic order. It has also shaken the dominant position of the developed world. The entire burden of this well-written and analytical book is to show that a new Arab nation has emerged after October 1973—proud, mature and strong. It not only wishes to assert its rightful place in the world, but is determined to gain the Arab objectives. But the title of the book The Arabs and the World of the Seventies seems ra­ther loose, because although seven out of ten chapters deal with the subject of the title, the other three, despite the useful information they provide, seem out of place. These three chapters, ‘Israel Since the 1973 War’, ‘Israel and the Doctrine of Zionism’ and ‘Israel and South/ Africa’, do not somehow weld in the book. However, the inclusion of these chapters does in no way lessen the im­pact of the book. Mr. Rashidi's defence of the Arabs seizing the oil weapon for development and their national cause is politically and academically well argued. He has also tried to clear the distorted and misrepre­sented image of the oil producers, who are often blamed for world inflation. The net gains registered by the oil producers have been neatly summed up. Two of the chapters, ‘Arabs and the Third World Development’ and ‘Indo-­Arab Collaboration’, are of special signi­ficance. A good part of the newly earn­ed oil bonanza by the oil producing ...

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