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  • Created by: Lisa
  • Created on: 18-04-13 08:13


  • In the aftermath of WW2, Britain was reassessing its role in the region with regards to the severe economic constraints.
  • The economic potential of the Middle East - vast oil reserves, + the Suez Canal's geo-strategic importance for the Cold War, prompted Britain to strengthen its position there. 
  • Egypt & Iraq were seen as vital to maintaining strong British influence in the region.
  • The Suez base was considered an important part of Britain's strategic position in the Middle East. but caused tension between Egypt and Britain. 
  • In October 1951, the Egyptian government unilaterally abrogated the Anglo-Egypt  treaty of 1936, the terms of which granted Britain a lease on the Suez base for 20 more years. Britain refused to withdraw from Suez, relying upon its treaty rights, as well as the sheer presence of the Suez garrison. 
  • The price of such a course of action was a steady escalation in increasingly violent hostility towards Britain and British troops in Egypt, which the Egyptian authorities did little to curb.
  • In 1956, the Suez Canal became the focus of a major world conflict. The canal represents the only direct means of travel from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, making it vital to the flow of trade between Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S.
  • Normally, free passage was granted to all who used the canal, but Britain and France desired control of it, not only for commercial shipping, but also for colonial


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