Tuesday 29 September 2009

Al Jazeerah on The Gulf

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.


nzm said...

To the non-Arab world, it's more commonly known as the Persian Gulf. It wasn't until I lived in the UAE that I learned that others called it the Arabian Gulf - and that there was an element of friction around its name.

BuJ: have you solved your music haring problem yet? I came across Ipernity today. I haven't tried it, but it may help you?


nzm said...

LOL - that should be "sharing problem" not "haring problem"!

BuJ said...

Thanks Michele,
Great to see you here :)

Funnily enough I had exactly the opposite experience to you with the naming of that body of water! Since I was born and brought up in Dubai, I've always known it as the Arabian Gulf and was surprised and shocked to find that most of the non-Arab world knows it by a completely different name! This happened when I went to the UK for my studies.

I liked how both authors proposed a solution to this. Me hopes that this will be implemented soon.

I haven't solved the problem with the music haring (sic) problem, haha! This is mainly due to me being lazy and not figuring out how iMovies works on my computer.. I really think Sam's suggestion of using YouTube is the best since people prefer going to youtube as opposed to downloading big mp3s.

Thank you for suggesting Ipernity, I will check it out!


Daniel Ba said...

an appropriate name: "The Orange Gulf".

that our future is bright

CG said...

When I was little (stop sniggering) it was always called the Arabian Gulf, then at some time in my teens there was some sort of to-do about this and everyone was kind of told that it was now known as the Persian Gulf.
Iranian Gulf sounds violating to me.
How about The Stolen Gulf (and Islands too).

BuJ said...

Oh.. I miss the Orange adverts!

"the future is bright, the future is Orange!"

thanks Daniel Ba!

CG.. it's great to see you here!!!! I actually fell on the floor when I read your comment (sniggering is a big understatement).

I was researching the name Persian Gulf online and it seems the Iranians are very very pissed off about the name Arabian Gulf, and the Arabs seem indifferent to the naming, which sounded weird. If we all agree that it's been historically called the Persian Gulf, then why are the Iranians so defensive about this? I think this warrants further research but I am still undecided on what name to use.

Perhaps we could call it the "Tropical Gulf"?

This is because it's probably the only gulf on the Tropic of Cancer.. and the name Cancerous Gulf just sounds too "extreme"!!!

rosh said...

I've always known it as then Arabian Gulf -- has a nice ring / feel to it.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Well, enjoy your nominal illusions while you can, guys. It won't be for long if the Iranians get their way:

"Eli Khoury: The Arabs know -- even if they won't say it -- they know that Israelis will only use nuclear weapons if they've been annihilated. But an Iranian nuke's destiny isn't in Israel. They all know that the Israel propaganda thing is just BS.

MJT: You mean the anti-Israel propaganda from the Iranians?

Eli Khoury: Of course.

MJT: I often think so, too, but I don't know for sure.

Eli Khoury: There are some who say flat out, "why not leave the Iranian nuke program alone because it really threatens the Sunnis and not the Israelis." There are some who...

MJT: Who says that?

Eli Khoury: I can't remember a journalist or a politician saying that, but it's something I've heard in salons and read hints of.

MJT: Here's my read on this: The Iranians continue to threaten Israel while they're building this system, and I suspect they're doing this to calm down Sunni Arabs. The Iranians say "Hey, we're not after you guys, we're after the Jews. Relax." But what they really want to do is dominate Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain, wherever there are Shias.

Eli Khoury: The Gulf and the Levant. They want to dominate the Gulf and the Levant."


BuJ said...

Isn't modern Israel located in the Levant these days?

I'd love to see my "illusions" shattered and a Tel Aviv controlled by Tehran :-)