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History - Gamal Abdu l-Nasser



The nationalization of the Suez Canal was met by an Israeli invasion of the Sinai peninsula and an Anglo-French invasion of the Canal Zone. But the invading forces were put under pressure from the UN, and had to withdraw. Egypt kept the full ownership of the Suez Canal, and managed also to get Soviet support for the construction of the dam, which was completed 14 years later. Following this, Nasser rose to stardom in the Arab world.

In 1958 Egypt and Syria formed the United Arab Republic, with Nasser as the head. This was at this time considered as the first step towards Arab unity. When it broke up in 1961, after a coup in Syria, Nasser kept the name United Arab Republic even if it was only Egypt left. This was meant as a symbol for his aspirations of Arab unity (the name was changed the year after his death).
Nasser's ideas were laid down in his book of 1959, The Philosophy of the Revolution.

He precipitated the third war with Israel, when he in 1967 both expelled United Nations peace keeping forces from the Gaza Strip and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba for traffic on Israel's port Eilat. But when Israel attacked Egypt on June 5, it was so strongly the first day that Egypt was in reality beaten already. Still the fightings continued for five more days more. The only effective action of the Egyptians was to close the Suez Canal for all ships.

The humiliation of Egypt was so deep that Nasser offered to resign, but the people demonstrated in such numbers in his favour, that he continued, and also took the position as prime minister. From this time on Nasser's government became increasingly dependent on military and economic aid from the Soviet Union.
Nasser died on September 28. 1970 of heart attack, while still in office.


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