The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






United Arab Republic

The United Arab Republic (UAR) was a country that existed as a union between the republics of Egypt and Syria between 1958 and 1961; though Egypt continued to be known as the UAR until 1970. Established on February 1 as a first step towards a pan-Arab nation, the UAR was created when a group of political and military leaders in Syria, worried about the danger of a communist take-over in their country, turned to Gamal Abdal Nasser's Egypt for help.

The union bound the two nations together into a united state with its capital in Cairo and, following his February 1958 nomination to the position, under the presidency of Nasser. Egyptian military and technical advisors poured into Syria and the communist threat was defeated. Ironically, the new nation found itself supported by the very force it had feared. The Soviet Union, aiming to garner Cold War allies, quickly began selling weapons to the fledgling republic, a practice it would continue even after the UAR collapsed.

Flag of Syria, formerly of UAR.
Flag of Syria, formerly of UAR.

The UAR adopted a flag based on the flag of Egypt but with two stars to represent the two parts. This continues to be the flag of Syria. The flag of Iraq was similar but with three stars, representing the hope that the UAR would extend. The flag of Sudan is also based on horizontal red, white and black.

Ultimately, the Syrian people began to grow annoyed at being ruled from distant Cairo, and the leaders of Syria, who were forced to live in Cairo, felt disconnected from their sources of power. There was also widespread arrogance on the part of the Egyptians in Syria, many of whom treated Syria as a colony of Egypt.

The UAR collapsed in 1961 after a coup d'état in Syria. Egypt, now alone in the United Arab Republic, continued to use the name until 1971 after Nasser's death.

The United Arab States was a much looser confederation, established between the UAR and North Yemen. It lasted from 1958 to 1961.

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