To powers emerged in international relations and brokers

To accomplish
great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also
believe.

                                                            
                                                                     (Ferdinand
de Lesseps)

In 1956, a
dispute over the Suez Canal in Egypt led to international crisis and war. The fading
or declining colonial powers, Britain expected an easy victory over Egypt but he
was forced into a humiliating withdrawal, as the world’s new superpowers, US
and USSR, Great Britain was puzzled by their reply. It was a stark sign that
the age of European imperialism was over, and that new international order
taken its place. Little remembered today, but the events of 1956 had huge consequences
for Britain.

Background

In 1969, world
navigation was transformed by the opening of the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal is a
large artificial or man-made canal in Egypt – 106km long and 300 meters wide at
its narrowest point. It links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. Before it
was built, goods were often offloaded and carried over land between the two seas.
It was built by Frenchman and diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894) using
Egyptian forced labor; an estimated 120,000 workers died during construction. But
Europeanization greatly increased debt, from 3 to 100 million pounds in 1875.
Ismail Pasha (1830-1895) was as ruler but was forced to sell shares in Suez
Canal Company. After that the canal almost was dominated by Great Britain and
France. However, the critical point here is that the Suez Canal crisis was a
seminal moment in history when the European Empires ended and the two new
global super powers emerged in international relations and brokers of power in
the Middle East due to decolonization and the Cold War. As mentioned above, I
am going to emphasize on British foreign policy toward Suez Canal and why it
was so crucial for them.  

For the first
reason why it is so important is that the British was in pursuit of its interests
in the Middle East from 1950s.The Great Britain was an imperial and in pursuit
of oil in the Middle East. As you can see the Britain had two strategic
attitude toward Middle East, such as economic interests and, second one political-strategic.
After the collapse of Ottoman Empire, She had generally a crucial area of
dominance there. Primitively, in the first half of the nineteenth century, The
Great Britain’ main ambitions were to protect and prevent the British
Colonialism in India. After all, bringing to a completion of Suez Canal, the
interest of Britain in the region boosted because the Canal intensely reduced
the time to get to India, what is more, on that time the 10% percent of the Britain’s
exports came from this route. This means that if there were any problems with
Canal there would be great threat to Britain’s financial and trading interests.
Egypt was essential to Western defense, the geopolitical pivot of the Middle
East and North Africa, the shield of Africa against Russian expansion, the
crossroads of Commonwealth communications, and the channel for oil. After the
Second World War, the domination of Middle East not only for Britain but also
for European economy was significant because strategically, raw material and
oil were needed to use for modern industry in order to prevent itself from the
Germany. According to Orna Almog in her book argues that ” by 1955 the region
produced 160 million tons oil, which the growing importance of Middle Eastern
oil can be observed. Also, about two-thirds of all the oil used by the free
world outside the United States .it was the quickest and cheapest way for oil
traffic in order to attain the markets in Western Europe, about 67 million tons
of this oil was carried to northward by tanker from the oil producing regions
through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. Therefore, the Suez Canal was so
important for Great Britain. When we talk about the strategy and intelligence
of Great Britain in the Middle East we should be aware of the politic which is ”who
gets what, when and how ”. The Suez Canal, this is a story how the government
of the UK decided to attack on Arab nations. UK was afraid of its oil supplier
under the threat. It was on the strategy of regime change. It was how a Britain
prime minister, Eden, led the nations to war based on suspect intelligence but
it was not Iraq (2003). It was Egypt in 1956. Before the Suez Crisis there were
three causes which brought Egypt people to nationalize the canal. First, there
was ”the colonial tension”. The operating of the Suez Canal Company was owned
by British and French Holders. During the construction of Canal roughly 120
thousands Egyptian passed away. Great Britain was seemed to protector of Egypt
in 1880 because Britain would want Egypt to be stable because of Suez Canal.
Although the Egypt became independence in 1922, but Britain had lots of power
in region. By 1936, there was ”Anglo-Egyptian Treaty” to   confirm Egyptians independence but it also
gives to Britain the right to station troops in the canal zone for 20 years.
After the World War II there were still 70,000 British troops in Egypt.
However, Egyptians did not like this. The second cause was ”instability ” .Egypt
was ruled by a king, known as Prince Farouk bin Fuad. He represented the
wealthy Egyptians which made up about six percent of the population. He was
also very willing to cooperate with British. On the other hand, the people were
not pleasure with King as majority of populations were farmers and in bad
conditions. The third of cause was ” Rise of Nationalism”. Rising Arab
nationalism objected to Western presence and the risk of disorders in and
around the base were ever present. Besides, there were anger towards the
monarchy and Britain. By 1952, the king was toppled in an army coup, which was
hostile to British influence. Abdel Nasser became prime minister in 1954, and
president in 1956.   As the result, Egypt became a republic and all
other political parties were banned.