Suez crisis: 65 years since Israel, the UK and France fought Egypt

The period from October 29 to November 7 marks the 65th anniversary of the 1956 Suez Crisis, a conflict between Egypt, the United Kingdom, Israel and France over the vital waterway that had important geopolitical ramifications in the region and in the Western world.

The Suez Canal is one of the most important shipping routes in the world, connecting the Red Sea with the Mediterranean and avoiding the long journey through Africa.
Until 1956, the canal was controlled by the Suez Canal Company, in turn controlled mainly by the United Kingdom and France. However, this changed when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized him.

Tensions between Nasser-led Egypt and the United Kingdom were high, as the United Kingdom had backed the monarchy overthrown by Nasser, as well as close ties between Britain and Iraq, which Nasser believed threatened his ambitions to carry out. Egypt at the head of the Arab world.

Cold War tensions were also at stake, as Egypt was a nonaligned company and tried to maintain good ties with both the United States and the Soviet Union. More at stake was Egyptian support for Algerian rebels fighting French colonial rule, as well as cross-border incursions between Israel and Egypt.

At that moment, a woman yelled from the balcony: “Kakh l’Natzer!” ‘- “The same goes for the Egyptian Prime Minister Gamal Abdel Nasser”, in the photo being acclaimed in Cairo after announcing the Suez Canal Company, August 1, 1956). (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

But another contributing role was money, as the funds generated by trafficking through the Suez Canal could be used by Nasser for other purposes.

Ultimately, Nasser went ahead with the nationalization in late July 1956, sending Egyptian troops to take control of the canal, freezing the assets of the Suez Canal Company, and most importantly, banning Israeli shipping to across the canal, as well as across the Strait of Tiran. .

What followed was a clandestine agreement between the United Kingdom, France and Israel. Known as the Sèvres Protocol, this agreement would see Israel invade the Sinai desert and advance towards the Suez Canal. The following day, the United Kingdom and France would send a demand that both Egypt and Israel withdraw and send troops the next day on the pretext of restoring order to the region through Operation Check.

On October 29, Israel launched Operation Kadesh, an offensive that seeks to target Sharm e-Sheikh, Arish, Abu Uwayulah and Gaza.

The offensive began when paratroopers were dropped near the Mitla pass east of the canal. Over the next few days, the offenses continued and the Israeli forces saw victory after victory.

On October 30, the British-French ultimatum was given and the following day British and French forces arrived.

Before long, the invasion turned out to be a great success and the area was successfully taken. As such, in terms of military conflict, it was overwhelmingly a victory for the Israeli-French-British forces.

Politically, however, it was an indisputable Egyptian victory.

International condemnation was strong after the invasion, and much of the international community was firmly on Egypt’s side. Both the US and the USSR condemned the actions of Israel, France and the UK, and the Soviets even threatened to launch rockets at all three countries and sent troops to Egypt, while the US put financial pressure on the Kingdom. United. The Arab world had also reacted harshly and Saudi Arabia imposed an oil embargo on both France and the United Kingdom.

Eventually, a ceasefire was announced and British and French troops withdrew from the region. Israel also withdrew, but remained successful in the crisis. The campaign was a military success and showed the strength of the IDF, and also led to the opening of the Strait of Tiran. He also emphasized the need for international mediators seeking to bring peace to the Middle East not reach a resolution if Israeli security needs are not met.

The crisis also led to the creation of the UN Peace Force.

But overall, the crisis firmly consolidated Egypt’s control over the Suez Canal and its position as the leader of the Arab world against Western colonialism.

Today, the geopolitical situation has changed considerably, but the Suez Canal remains one of the most important waterways in the world.

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