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Middle East in the Cold War. Part 1: Suez Crisis. ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF SUEZ CANAL. Suez Canal on Egyptian territory - finished in 1869 & run by international company – Mainly controlled by the British (& French) He who controls the canal, controls valuable trade route .

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middle east in the cold war

Middle East in the Cold War

Part 1: Suez Crisis

economic importance of suez canal
  • Suez Canal on Egyptian territory - finished in 1869 & run by international company –
  • Mainly controlled by the British (& French)
  • He who controls the canal, controls valuable trade route
mid east background
Post Arab-Israeli war (1949)

Tensions still high

Recommendations by UN were unacceptable to both sides

Israel won’t negotiate until Arabs recognize them

Israel won’t negotiate until Arabs recognize them

Arabs won’t accept any terms until Israel recognizes their right to return

Mid-East Background
armistice but not peace
Armistice but not Peace
  • Most sign armistice agreements, but no Arab nation recognizes Israel
  • DMZ’s created in 4 border areas:
    • Palestine-Syrian border
    • Outside Jerusalemon Mt. Scopus
    • High Commissioner’s former palace
    • Around Al-Auja on Egyptian Border
  • Iraq never signed armistice agreement
continued strife
Continued Strife
  • Series of strikes over border by Palestinians into Israeli territory
  • UNTSO (Truce Supervisory Commission) and Mixed Armistice Commissions (MACs) are supposed to help settle disputes
dmz conflict w syria
DMZ Conflict w/ Syria
  • Israeli’s think they have free reign and sovereignty over DMZ’s esp. along Syrian border
  • MAC’s & UN agree argue against Israel
egyptian border
Egyptian Border
  • Blew up pipelines & bridges
  • Acts of sabotage by Egypt’s feydayeen Raids deep into Israeli territory
  • Israel launches counter attack into Gaza vs. Egyptian military installation
  • By Nov 1955, Israel had taken over the DMZ, driven Egypt out
jordan takes moderate role
Try to prevent attacks through Jordan

Fear large Palestinian pop. in Jordan will turn against King

Jordan takes moderate role
arab world in chaos
Old Arab leadership seen as weak vs. Israel

Young Arabs want new, modern leadership

Several countries see change in leadership:Jordan, Syria, Egypt

Arab World in Chaos
egyptian british background
Egyptian-British Background
  • British “colonialism” rejected by Egyptians
  • During World Wars, British influence thrives,
  • 1936 British withdraw EXCEPT for Canal zone; have right of return if need be; Egyptian role in canal increased
wwii after decline in british influence
WWII & After – Decline in British Influence
  • British have heavy hand throughout war
  • King Farouk is weak vs. British
  • Try to nullify 1936 Treaty w/o success
  • 1952 – Coup d’Etat ousts King Farouk
  • 1954 – Nasser able to consolidate his power
nasser brits negotiate
Nasser & Brits Negotiate
  • 1954 the 1936 Treaty nullified;
  • Brits will leave Egypt in 1956
  • Will hold some diplomatic & economic power in canal zone, but will not occupy the zone after 1956
  • Stipulation: if Arab League members +/or Turkey attacked, Brits have right to return
nasser us
Nasser & US
  • US Goal: Neutralize the Arab-Israeli conflict; make Mid-East an ally vs. USSR
  • Tripartite Agreement May 1950
    • Fr, US, UK agree to push ME away from USSR
    • Will sell arms to region, but only for defense
  • Want Egypt to be the base for MEC (Middle East Command)
  • Nasser not interested
nasser non aligned movement nam
Nasser & Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
  • Non-Aligned Movement; Bandung Conference 1955
  • Part of a group of countries who are neither for nor against either side of the Cold War
  • Want to be out of the struggle
  • For some this is a means for peace (Nehru)
  • For Nehru, would like to trade/aid/negotiate w/ both sides w/o strings attached
  • ***Play each side against the other for increased power in Mid East
obstacles to nasser s dream
Obstacles to Nasser’s Dream
  • French in Algeria
  • British in Egypt
  • Israel
crisis sequence of events
1956 – British stop occupying canal region

US offers aid to Nasser to develop Aswan Dam project

July 1956 US pulls out funding b/c Nasser won’t stop buying arms from Czech

Nasser Nationalizes Suez Canal in speech to natiob

Crisis:Sequence of Events
what impact would this have
Egypt has sovereignty

Egypt could control trade

Fear among outside world

Will Nasser play fair

Already denies Israel access

What impact would this have?
israel france uk oct 56
Israel, France, UK Oct 56
  • Collude w/o US knowing to invade Egypt
  • Goal: Oust Nasser
  • Method: Have Israel attack through Sinai, let UK & France come in to separate armies & “protect” the canal
invasion strategy
Israel attacks over Sinai (successful)

UK & Fr send in paratroopers in canal region

Militarily successful

Invasion Strategy
cold war politics
Cold War Politics
  • USSR immediately threatens to intervene & will use nukes if necessary
  • Hopes to redirect focus from E. Europe to Middle East
  • Threat of nuclear weapons toward London & Paris loomed
  • USA responds…..
what are the us options
What are the US’ Options?
  • A: Support Allies
  • B: Support Nasser
  • C: Mediate
  • D: Ignore
  • Evaluate the pro’s and con’s of each option – do you see other options?
outcomes of suez

Outcomes of Suez

Shift in balance of power?

According to Keylor…

  • End of Anglo-French influence in the Middle East
  • Undermines the Atlantic Alliance
  • Europeans now understand – to their dismay- that they can’t conduct foreign policy w/o approval of Washington
  • Nasser’s prestige hugely increased
  • USSR gets reputation for being a champion of Arab causes
  • West seen as weak
  • As E. Europe is trying to resist Soviet influence, the third world is turning toward their style of gov’t
  • Many newly independent countries, i.e. India, Ghana, work with socialist-style economies
  • Eisenhower Doctrine: - read speech
  • Response to several aspects of ME policy
    • Suez
    • Baghdad Pact goals
    • Attempt to create a Truman Doctrine-like policy for the Middle East
  • Good Idea? Explain….