TRADOC DCSINT HANDBOOK NO. 2
ARAB CULTURAL AWARENESS: 58 FACTSHEETS
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR INTELLIGENCE US ARMY TRAINING AND DOCTRINE COMMAND FT. LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS JANUARY 2006
This handbook is designed to specifically provide the trainer a ‘hip pocket training’ resource. It is intended for informal squad or small group instruction. The goal is to providesoldiers with a basic overview of Arab culture. It must be emphasized that there is no “one” Arab culture or society. The Arab world is full of rich and diverse communities, groups and cultures. Differences exist not only among countries, but within countries as well. Caveat: It is impossible to talk about groups of people without generalizing. It then follows that it is hard to talk about theculture of a group without generalizing. This handbook attempts to be as accurate and specific as possible, but inevitably contains such generalizations. Treat these generalizations with caution and wariness. They do provide insight into a culture, but the accuracy and usefulness will depend on the context and specific circumstances. Comments or Suggestions: Please forward all comments, suggestions orquestions to: ADCINT-Threats, 700 Scott Ave, Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027 or email email@example.com or phone 913.684.7920/DSN 552-7920.
WHERE IS THE ARAB WORLD?
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The Arab world stretches from Morocco across Northern Africa to the Persian Gulf. The Arab world is more or less equal to the area known as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Althoughthis excludes Somalia, Djibouti, and the Comoros Islands which are part of the Arab world. It can also be defined as those countries where Arabic is the dominant language. KEY: Arab countries are religiously and ethnically diverse with Islam being the dominant religion in most countries. 22 Arab countries/areas: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon,Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Iran and Turkey are not Arab countries.
STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE OF ARAB WORLD
22 countries. Location of several world religions. Multitude of ethnic and linguistic groups. Close to 60% of earth’s oil reserves are at or near the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabiapossesses the world’s largest reserves of oil.
WHAT IS AN ARAB?
Over 200 million Arabs worldwide. To be an Arab, is not to come from a particular race or lineage. To be an Arab, like an American, is a cultural trait rather than racial. The Arab world includes Muslims, Christians and Jews. Any person who adopts the Arabic language is typically called an Arab. Arabic is the official andthe original language of the Qur’an, the Islamic holy book.
COMMOM MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ARABS
• All Arabs are Muslims, and all Muslims are Arab. o Arabs are religiously diverse group – significant numbers of Arab Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. Arabs make up between 15-18% of the Muslim world. • The Arab world is backwards and uncivilized. o Actuallyrepresents a highly developed culture and civilization where modern cities mingle with ancient ones. • The Arab world is one big desert. o Truly geographically complex and diverse. • Stereotypes of Arab males: o All are “oil-rich Sheiks”. As in the West, there are economically diverse segments of the population. o Mad dictators. Various types of political systems in Arab world. Terrorists. Overwhelmingmajority are law o abiding citizens with families and a wide variety of occupations. • Stereotypes of Arab women: o All are oppressed by men. Not true. o All are veiled. According to Islam women are supposed to wear veils. In some countries, like Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, it is no imposed upon them and women are free to choose whether to wear veils. However, in other places, all women, even...
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