The Suez Crisis Essay Research Paper Carleton — страница 2

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men of the time and their interpretation of events. One such former diplomat dispelled any historical illusions which may have been created over time by saying in his memoirs, “(The fact was), Egypt had not won a military victory in 1956″ Two days after the Israeli invasion, the Anglo-French troops entered the Suez Canal zone and started operation MUSKATEER in order to re-secure control of the area under their joint command. These invasions were followed by a barrage of international criticism, the most telling of which came from the two superpowers, the United States and the USSR. The weight of this pressure soon became too much to bear for the tripatriate alliance, and Israel withdrew on November 6, followed on November 14 by the British and French. Comparison of

Interpretations It is much more interesting, in the study of a conflict such as the Suez Crisis situation of 1956, to examine how each side interpreted the events, in hindsight, rather than just seeing how the events were reported- especially for such a world wide event. First, a look at the different motivations of the leaders- beginning with why Nasser had nationalized the canal in the first place. The idea that it was to punish the West (meaning mainly the Americans and the British) for their withdrawal of financial support for Nasser’s Answan Dam project- that the Canal needed to be put under Egyptian control so as to help raise revenues for the Dam project was strongly echoed in the Arab works. Apparently, the move was in part a reprisal to the moves of John Foster Dulles,

who was the U.S. Secretary of State at the time, and who had been behind the decision to revoke the funding for the project as a way of punishing Nasser for his “…independent posture”. Whatever Nasser had in mind when he nationalized the Canal, both Israeli and Western sources did not see it as a move by an independent country to try and solve its internal economic difficulties or to help bring the Arab peoples together. The Israelis, for their part, saw it as the culmination of a consistent effort by the Arab world to rid the Middle East of Israel- that this was a natural continuation of events such as the closure of the Tiran Gulf to Jewish shipping, and armed “fedayeen” raids taking place across the border from Egyptian- controlled Gaza. Israeli leadership was

apparently convinced that the Arabs wanted full-scale war with them to make up for losses in the 1948 War of Independence- but all Israel wanted was peace and thus only wanted enough conflict that would be to their strategic advantage. Israel had been trying to progress, but with such moves by the radical Nasser who was the leader of Pan-Arabism (which had the destruction of the Jewish State as one of its underlying directives) and “Friend of the USSR” in the area (Nasser had received weapons shipments from the USSR via Czechsolvakia in 1955) , it looked as if further war would be inevitable. For Britain, who each shared a fifty percent stake in the Suez Canal Company, that Nasser had nationalized, this move constituted “…the destruction of Great Britain as a first-class

power and its reduction similar to that of Holland.” For the other colonial power involved in the region, France, the situation was less important in the way of lost finances than in the political effects it was to have one of its last colonial possessions in the Africa. Algeria was in the midst of an independence battle with its French oppressors, and it was President Nasser who was apparently giving much encouragement to the movement. The loss of the canal would likely put a final nail in the coffin of French colonial efforts in this important area of the world. Both powers also made comparisons between Nasser and Hitler, making the point that such naked aggression cannot ever again be left unchallenged after the lessons of World War Two. On one occasion, the British Foreign

Secretary at the time, Harold MacMillan, made reference to this, stating that, “(N)o one wanted to see another Munich.” Although I can see that these two states worried about their influence in this very economically significant region, I find a little difficult to justify military intervention. Whereas at least Israel could entertain the idea of using force as a self preservation security option, for Britain and France their position was on very shaky international legal ground. Another line division among my sources was what exactly the Israelis’ intentions were upon entering the conflict, or indeed on initiating it when no other formal attack had been launched upon them. My Arab sources take the stance that Israel’s attack was one that continued their apparent long