When researching some facts for my previous posts I stumbled upon an article written by Al Jazeerah (in English) that I thought deserved a bit of thought. The article is about the naming dispute between the Arabs and Iranians on the Arabian/Persian Gulf.
Title:The Dispute About the Persian/Arabian Gulf Name: How Should it Be Resolved?
By Hassan El-Najjar and Nader Habibi
Al-Jazeerah, February 11, 2005
I really liked how both writers, although Arabs, had a very impartial views and wrote in a very fair and academic way about the topic. Such writing is rarely seen these days. Either the Iranians would very aggressively argue that it's always been the Persian Gulf (why not Iranian gulf?) or the Arabs would continue using Arabian Gulf just to piss off Iran.
Either way, it's not a simple topic and there are many historical factors behind this conflict. In addition the current geo-political situation in the Gulf is such that it makes such a naming contest much more important than it really is. So we should try to find a solution to it that agrees to both sides, and that fits in with other problems such as Iranian nuclear ambitions and Iran's occupation of the 3 Emarati islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb.
To keep matters brief, I will not paste the whole article, yet I strongly advise you to read it whether you're Persian, Arab, or just curious about the Gulf. The Article:
Personally I never seen much point to highlight one's differences as opposed to one's similarities. We have a lot of things that bind us with our Iranian neighbours up North. We should be proud of these links and work to make them stronger. I really do not mind calling it the Persian Gulf or even the Islamic Gulf (as proposed by the Ayatollah) if we get some of our rights back as Arabs. After all, there are 22 Arabic countries in the world but just one Persian country. Looking at things with a global view mean it would make sense to call it Persian because it would pinpoint the location better. Imagine having a similar Gulf in between some Latin American countries, and they called it the Latino Gulf, that would really confuse me as an outsider as to where its position is.
Usually the smaller nation wins in these areas. Also look at the Sea of Japan. Japan is much smaller than China, and yet I believe it's called after Japan because it pinpoints it better on the map. The Irish sea is another example. As Arabs we should be realistic and flexible without letting go of our rights of sovereignty and security in our seas. Resolving this issue would benefit both the Arab and Persian peoples greatly.