Skip to comments.Stuck in the Canal (1956 Suez Crisis)
Posted on 10/28/2006 9:38:31 PM PDT by neverdem
FIFTY years ago tomorrow on Oct. 29, 1956 Israeli paratroops were dropped deep behind Egyptian lines in the Sinai peninsula, opening the way for the ground troops that followed. In a lightning campaign lasting less than five days, the Israelis took control of the entire peninsula. The Israelis had a rendezvous at the Suez Canal with the armed forces of Britain and France. But the British and French stopped short of their goal. Like out of shape ex-champions attempting a comeback, the Europeans were unable to get past the first round in their effort to return to the Middle East.
The Suez crisis was a divide in the history of the Middle East. It was the moment when America pushed out the Europeans and then tried to take their place and the reverberations are still felt today. The road that led to Suez began in 1947, when the British Foreign Office notified the American Department of State that Britain could no longer afford to hold its positions in Greece and Turkey against pressure from Russia. Soon the United States was engaged in an effort to hold the line against Russia there, but also all around the world.
The Middle East was essential to this policy of containment. The Arabic-speaking Muslim world had been taken in hand by Britain and France after the First World War, and though they had since achieved independence, the countries of the Middle East remained predominantly Western-influenced. European and American oil companies played an important role in Middle Eastern affairs. Britain retained a presence at the strategically vital Suez Canal in the form of a major military base and a garrison of more than 80,000 men. Not until the autumn of 1954 did Britain agree to withdraw from this installation...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
The U.S. should have joined in no matter what the problems with the British-French-Israeli alliance. Nasser stole the canal and that is all that really mattered. The acrimony in the West was for nothing. And expecting any credit from the Third World for opposing colonialism was even more "childish" than the BFI cover story. Naked power on the other hand would have forstalled many later problems.
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I have read that book. I highly recommend it.
I will carefully read this article later. The man is a true scholar. Thanks for posting.
I liked Eisenhower, for the most part, but I always thought, from the time it happened, that this was a major screw-up.
It also put an end to the career of Anthony Eden's, Churchill's hand-picked successor, and helped tip the U.K. back to Labour. I'm not sure whether Eden was up to the job, but the Suez fiasco sure didn't help.
I was only four at the time so I appreciated this history lesson which always seems to be given barely a mention.
This intervention of Eisenhower's may have done more to put an end to European colonialism than any single event in the postwar period.
Maybe that was a good thing, because it got a difficult process over with.
In any case, the whole business has been thrown down the memory hole, because leftists simply cannot admit that the U.S. did more than the U.S.S.R. to end colonialism.
The U.S. never had colonies in the European sense, and it never supported colonialism. We did intervene in places like the Phillipines and Cuba, but not with the intention of building a colonial system like those of Britain and France. But the left simply refuses to admit it, because the U.S. has to be the chief villain.
Like you, I was very young (1-1/2 yo) so I have no memory of this time but I think poster rmlew is right on the mark on the unintended consequences that were set in place by the choices made in this time just to avoid looking like an "imperial colonialist" or supporter thereof. In the near-term to this action, it probably emboldened Castro when he nationalized American holdings in Cuba. For the longer-term, the alliances of Arabs to the USSR kept us pinned down as they attempted to overcome Israel.
One of Ike's (and JFDs) major foreign policy mistakes. A strong showing against the Nasser government would have given him an excuse to rant and rave against "colonial arrogance", but this would not have hidden the fact that Gamel Abdul's position of power within the Non-Aligned movement would have been greatly reduced.
Well, Puerto Rico was/is a colony in the European sense, one that should have been cut free (like the Phillpines) immediatly after WWII.
Thanks for the ping!
The only reason they vote to remain a "commonwealth" is due to the transfer payments from Uncle Sugar. I've had several discussions with Boricua Freepers on this issue.
Who said they should be a state? They've approved of their present status. That means they're not a colony.