The Musketeers’ Final Adventure | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The Musketeers’ Final Adventure

These days, the Suez crisis turns 60. In the history of the Israel—Egypt confrontation, it was overshadowed by the larger wars of 1967 and 1973, but it holds a very special place in the history of the Cold war. Operation Musketeer was the UK and France’s last attempt at conducting an independent superpower policy. Each party traveled its own path to the conflict. After World War II, the foundation of Israel, and the first Arab—Israeli war it lost, Egypt experienced a sharp rise in the sense of its Arab national identity. It resulted in the July revolution of 1952 (doing double duty as a military coup d’état) which replaced the monarchy with military dictatorship led by lieutenant colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser. The new regime relied on anti-Israeli and anti-British popular sentiments, employed harsher rhetoric toward Israel, and set course for forcing the British military to withdraw from Egypt. Since the beginning of World War I, the British army protected the Suez Canal owned by the British and the French. According to the 1936 agreement, their deployment was limited to 20 years, and the Egyptian government had refused to extend it even before the revolution. In 1954, it was agreed that Britain would withdraw its troops by the summer of 1956. The British withdrew, refused to assist in financing the construction of the Aswan Dam, Nasser’s government turned to cooperation with the Soviet Union, and nationalization of the Suez Canal was announced...