Arab Nationalism

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Emergent
Nationalism
in the
Middle East
Arab Nationalism and the Suez Crisis
OVERVIEW
In this lesson we examine:
• The background of Arab nationalism
• Nasser and ‘Pan-Arabism’
• International involvement in the Suez
Crisis
• Factors for long-term conflict
Background of Arab Nationalism
• At the beginning of the 20th century,
the Ottoman Empire was in decline
• European states took over outer
territories such as the British
takeover of Egypt
• During WWI, Arabs with British
support led a revolt against the
ottoman Empire in return for
sovereignty
• Egypt, Iraq, Palestine
and Transjordan were
under British control
• Lebanon and Syria were
French mandates
• By the end of WWII,
most of the mandates
had become kingdoms
under Arab rule
Nasser and Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism:
• Called for unity of all
After the ArabArab states in North
Africa and the Middle Israeli War of 1948,
East
Gamal Abdel Nasser
• Was intended to be
seized power in
secular (religion &
government separate) Egypt. What were
and suppressed Muslim
the key parts of his
extremism
‘Pan-Arab’
• Was influenced by
Marxist socialist ideals platform?
but wanted to be nonaligned during the Cold
War
International involvement in the
Suez Crisis
Several key actions by Nasser began
to agitate Britain, France and Israel:
• Purchased arms from Czechoslovakia
in 1955
• Forced British forces out of the Suez
Canal in 1956
• Condemned the anti-Soviet, Baghdad
Pact of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan
Up until 1956, the US and the World
Bank offered loans for Egypt’s Aswan
hydroelectric dam project. The West
withdrew financial support and in
response, Nasser…
How
did
Britain,
France
and
Israel
• nationalized the Suez Canal
react?
• forced foreign engineers out of the
country
• bought out British and French
shareholders
In a secret meeting at Sevres,
Britain, France and Israel decided:
• Israel would invade Egypt on the
pretense of opening the Gulf of Aquba
Why was the Suez Canal still valuable
• Britain and France would offer a
to Britain
and France
1956?
ceasefire,
leaving
Israel inin
Egyptian
territory
• Britain and France would invade Egypt
after it rejected the ceasefire
• Britain, France and Israel had successfully
invaded the Suez Canal and Sinai Peninsula
• The USSR threatened to attack Britain and
France. The US supported UN resolutions
for a ceasefire and threatened to withdraw
financial support to Britain
• Britain, France and Israel were forced to
withdraw and UN peacekeepers monitored
the withdrawal on Egyptian territory
– Lester Pearson wins the Nobel Peace Prize for
creating the United Nations peacekeepers
Factors for long-term conflict
• Both the US and USSR
increased their influence
in the Middle East
• Nasser
emerged
as a
In the aftermath
of the
conflict
popular defender
of Arab
what factors ensured
future
interests
conflict was
inevitable?
• Israel
saw the success of
unilateral action in
dealing with its
neighbours
• The Gulf of Aquba and
Palestinian refugees were
unresolved issues
SUMMARY QUESTIONS
• Why did Nasser nationalize the Suez
Canal and how did Britain and France
respond?
• What lesson did Britain and France
learn about their influence in the post
WWII world?
• Why were the US and USSR so
concerned with their reputations
among Arab states?
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