Gamal Abdel Nasser

Gamal Abdel Nasser

Overview
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President
President of Egypt
The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt.Under the Constitution of Egypt, the president is also the supreme commander of the armed forces and head of the executive branch of the Egyptian government....

 of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib was the first President of Egypt, serving from the declaration of the Republic on June 18, 1953 to November 14, 1954. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was the primary leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended the rule of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in Egypt and Sudan...

, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan
Muhammad Ali Dynasty
The Muhammad Ali Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of Egypt and Sudan, from the 19th to the mid-20th Century. It is named after its progenitor, Muhammad Ali Pasha, regarded as the founder of modern Egypt. It was also more formally known as the Alawiyya Dynasty...

, and heralded a new period of modernization, and socialist reform in Egypt together with a profound advancement of pan-Arab nationalism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

, including a short-lived union with Syria
United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic , often abbreviated as the U.A.R., was a sovereign union between Egypt and Syria. The union began in 1958 and existed until 1961, when Syria seceded from the union. Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. The President was Gamal...

.

Nasser is seen as one of the most important political figures in both modern Arab history and politics in the 20th century.
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Quotations

The Arab states hoped to achieve the right to introduce into Israel an army (labelled refugees) to blow it up from within as they have failed to destroy it from without.

Interview in Zibicher Woche, September 1, 1961.

Let them kill Nasser! What is Nasser but one among many? I am alive, and even if I die, all of you are Gamal Abdul Nasser!

To his followers during the assassination attempt by the Muslim Brotherhood, quoted in The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (ISBN 978-0375414862)
Encyclopedia
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President
President of Egypt
The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt.Under the Constitution of Egypt, the president is also the supreme commander of the armed forces and head of the executive branch of the Egyptian government....

 of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib was the first President of Egypt, serving from the declaration of the Republic on June 18, 1953 to November 14, 1954. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was the primary leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended the rule of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in Egypt and Sudan...

, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan
Muhammad Ali Dynasty
The Muhammad Ali Dynasty was the ruling dynasty of Egypt and Sudan, from the 19th to the mid-20th Century. It is named after its progenitor, Muhammad Ali Pasha, regarded as the founder of modern Egypt. It was also more formally known as the Alawiyya Dynasty...

, and heralded a new period of modernization, and socialist reform in Egypt together with a profound advancement of pan-Arab nationalism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

, including a short-lived union with Syria
United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic , often abbreviated as the U.A.R., was a sovereign union between Egypt and Syria. The union began in 1958 and existed until 1961, when Syria seceded from the union. Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. The President was Gamal...

.

Nasser is seen as one of the most important political figures in both modern Arab history and politics in the 20th century. Under his leadership, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal Company
Suez Canal Company
The Universal Suez Ship Canal Company was the Egyptian corporation which was formed by Ferdinand de Lesseps during 1858, constructed the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869, and owned and operated it for many years thereafter...

 and came to play a central role in anti-imperialist
Anti-imperialism
Anti-imperialism, strictly speaking, is a term that may be applied to a movement opposed to any form of colonialism or imperialism. Anti-imperialism includes opposition to wars of conquest, particularly of non-contiguous territory or people with a different language or culture; it also includes...

 efforts in the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 and Africa. The imposed ending to the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 made him a hero throughout the Arab world. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the international Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. He is well known for his nationalist policies and version of pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

, also referred to as Nasserism
Nasserism
Nasserism is an Arab nationalist political ideology based on the thinking of the former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was a major influence on pan-Arab politics in the 1950s and 1960s, and continues to have significant resonance throughout the Arab World to this day. It also...

, which won a great following in the Arab World during the 1950s and 1960s. Although his status as "leader of the Arabs" was badly damaged by the Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i victory over the Arab armies in the Six-Day War
Six-Day War
The Six-Day War , also known as the June War, 1967 Arab-Israeli War, or Third Arab-Israeli War, was fought between June 5 and 10, 1967, by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt , Jordan, and Syria...

, as well as Egypt's failure to win the subsequent War of Attrition
War of Attrition
The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

 against Israel, many in the general Arab population still view Nasser as a symbol of Arab dignity and freedom.

Ancestry


Gamal's father, Abdel Nasser Hussein, was born on 11 July 1888 in Beni Mur
Beni Mur
Beni Mur is an Egyptian town in Upper Egypt located near the city of Asyut. A prominent figure from Beni Mur is the former President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser. According to Robert Stephens, the town as named after the tribe of "Beni Mur" who hailed from the Hejaz in the western Arabian Peninsula....

, a village near the city of Asyut
Asyut
Asyut is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt; the ancient city of the same name is situated nearby. The modern city is located at , while the ancient city is at .- Etymology :...

 in southern Egypt
Upper Egypt
Upper Egypt is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends from the cataract boundaries of modern-day Aswan north to the area between El-Ayait and Zawyet Dahshur . The northern section of Upper Egypt, between El-Ayait and Sohag is sometimes known as Middle Egypt...

, to Hussein Khalil Sultan. Abdel Nasser Hussein had six brothers and one sister. Hussein Sultan's in-laws emigrated to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 and in March 1904 Abdel Nasser was sent with them to attend al-Najah al-Ahlya elementary school in Alexandria. At the time, it was only required to have a Primary Education Certificate to work in the civil service. Abdel Nasser received his certificate in 1909 and joined the postal service soon after. In 1917 he married Fahima, the daughter of Mohammad Hamad, a coal merchant and contractor originally from Mallawi
Mallawi
Mallawi is a town in Egypt, located in the governorate of Minya.- Overview :Situated in a farm area, the town produces textiles and handicrafts.The total area of the city is about...

, Minya
Minya Governorate
Minya Governorate is one of the governorates of Upper Egypt. The name originates from the chief city of the governorate, originally known in Sahidic Coptic as Tmoone and in Bohairic as Thmonē , meaning “the residence”, in reference to a monastery formerly in the area...

.

According to biographer Robert Stephens, the inhabitants of Beni Mur belonged to an Arab tribe that hailed from the Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

—the western part of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

. Stephens said Nasser's family had tribal inclinations and a sense of personal loyalty, differing from that of most Egyptians. Gamal Abdel Nasser's daughter, Hoda, said she was not informed of her family's lineage, but suspects the claim of its Arabian descent to be accurate. In addition, Gamal's biographers wrote that his family believed strongly in the "Arab notion of glory," citing the naming of Gamal's brother, Izz al-Arab ("Glory of the Arabs"); the name is a rare occurrence in Egypt, as well as other parts of the Arab world.

Childhood and education


Gamal Abdel Nasser was born on 15 January 1918 in Bakos, Alexandria, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. He was the first son of Fahima and Abdel Nasser and was later followed by two brothers, Izz al-Arab and al-Leithi. Due to his father's work, the family traveled frequently. In 1921, they moved to Asyut
Asyut
Asyut is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate in Egypt; the ancient city of the same name is situated nearby. The modern city is located at , while the ancient city is at .- Etymology :...

 and later in 1923 to Khatatba, where Abdel Nasser Hussein ran a post office. Gamal attended a primary school for the children of railway employees until he was sent in 1924 to live with his paternal uncle, Khalil Hussein, in Cairo, and attend the Nahhasin elementary school. Gamal exchanged letters with his mother and visited her on holidays. He stopped receiving messages at the end of April 1926. When Gamal returned to Khatatba, he learned that his mother had died after giving birth to his third brother Shawki and his family had kept it from him. According to most of his biographers, Nasser adored his mother and the injury of her death deepened when his father remarried before the year ended.

Nasser went to Alexandria in 1928 to live with his maternal grandfather, Muhammad Hammad, while attending Attarin elementary school. There, Gamal joined a demonstration even though he was not aware of its purpose. He did not do well in school and in 1929 transferred back to Cairo. His uncle Khalil left Cairo soon after and Gamal's father was posted to Suez, where there was no suitable school for Gamal. Therefore, he was sent to a private boarding school in Helwan for a year. In 1933 Khalil returned to Cairo and Gamal was sent to live with him. The following year Gamal went to Alexandria to live with his maternal grandparents, where he received a secondary education certificate from a private school. Abdel Nasser was posted to Cairo and Gamal joined his family there. He attended al-Nahda al-Masria school and received his leaving certificate in 1936.

Nasser became involved in politics at an early age, being elected chairman of the Young Egypt Society during his teenage years. On 12 November 1935, Nasser was wounded during an anti-British demonstration, in which several students tried to cross Abbas (el-Roda) Bridge in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 to clash with the police. Afterward, he was arrested and detained for two days along with several members of the Egyptian Socialist Party
Egyptian Communist Party (1921)
The Egyptian Socialist Party was a political party in Egypt. The party was founded in 1921. A party conference held in July 1922 declared the Alexandria branch of the party as the party headquarters. On October 1920 the party declared itself as the true representative of the Egyptian working class...

. The wound he sustained was superficial, but garnered his first mention in the nationalistic newspaper Al Gihad. Nasser's political involvement lasted throughout his school career, and became such a dominant part of his life that during his last year of secondary school, Nasser only attended for 45 days.

Influences


According to Palestinian American
Palestinian American
Palestinian Americans are Americans of Palestinian ancestry. It is difficult to say when the first Palestinian immigrants arrived at the United States; however, many of the first immigrants to arrive were Christians escaping persecution from the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century...

 journalist Said Aburish
Said Aburish
Said K. Aburish is a Palestinian journalist, and writer.Born into a Palestinian family, Abu Rish attended school in Jerusalem and Beirut...

, the combination of living in so many cities and attending different schools did not distress Nasser but broadened his horizons, allowing him to become aware of the class divisions in Egyptian society. Despite constantly changing schools, Nasser spent most of his spare time reading, particularly in 1933 when his uncle happened to live near the National Library of Egypt
Egyptian National Library and Archives
The Egyptian National Library and Archives in Cairo is the largest library in Egypt. The second largest are the libraries of Al-Azhar University and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina ....

. In addition to the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

, the sayings
Sunnah
The word literally means a clear, well trodden, busy and plain surfaced road. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar...

 of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, and the lives of the Sahaba
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 (Muhammad's companions), he read the works of Napoleon, Gandhi, Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

, Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

, and many others. He was greatly influenced by the Egyptian nationalist
Egyptian nationalism
Egyptian nationalism is an ideology that rose to prominence in Egypt before the British occupation to Egypt.- History :It is first used to refer to the native officers’ movement, led by Col. Ahmad ‘Urâbî, against Egyptian government policies that favored officers of Turkish, Circassian , or other...

 politician Mustafa Kamel, and poet Ahmed Shawqi
Ahmed Shawqi
Ahmed Shawqi was the great Arabic Poet-Laureate, an Egyptian poet and dramatist who pioneered the modern Egyptian literary movement, most notably introducing the genre of poetic epics to the Arabic literary tradition...

.

Family


In 1944, Nasser married Tahia Kazim, the 22-year old daughter of a wealthy Iranian father and an Egyptian mother, both of whom died when she was young. She was introduced to Nasser through her brother Abdel Hamid Kazim, a merchant friend of Nasser's, in 1943. After their wedding, the couple moved into a house in Manshiyat al-Bakri, a suburb of Cairo, where they would live for the rest of their lives. His entry into the officer corps in 1937 secured him relatively well-paid employment in a society where most people lived in poverty. Nasser's social status was still well below the wealthy Egyptian elite, and his resentment of those born into wealth and power continued to grow. Throughout his life, Nasser did his best to keep his career separate from his family life. Although he and Tahia would sometimes discuss politics at home, he preferred to spend most of his free time with his children.

Nasser and Tahia had two daughters and three sons, Hoda, Mona, Khaled
Khalid Abdel Nasser
Khalid Abdel Nasser was the eldest son of Egypt's second President Gamal Abdel Nasser.-Opposition to Sadat and Mubarak:Nasser's public profile became pronounced in his early adulthood on account of his often troubled relationship with late Egyptian president Anwar El-Sadat, his father's successor...

, Abdel Hamid and Abdel Hakim. Nasser's eldest daughter, Hoda, became a researcher in politics and a professor of political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 in Cairo University
Cairo University
Cairo University is a public university located in Giza, Egypt.The university was founded on December 21, 1908, as the result of an effort to establish a national center for educational thought...

. With her help, various rare documents regarding the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and her father's career have been gathered, documented and displayed at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina or Maktabat al-Iskandarīyah is a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria...

 as well as on the internet. Khaled became a member of a leftist organization known as the "Egypt Revolution." In 1988, Egyptian authorities charged him with organizing and financing the killing of two Israeli officials. Mona was married to Egyptian businessman Ashraf Marwan
Ashraf Marwan
Ashraf Marwan was an Egyptian billionaire and an alleged spy for Israel, or possibly an Egyptian double agent. He was married to Mona Gamal Abdel Nasser, the daughter of former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser....

 until his death in 2007. They had two sons.

Military career


In March 1937, Nasser applied for entry to the Royal Military Academy
Egyptian Military Academy
The Egyptian Military Academy is the oldest and most prominent military academy in Egypt and North Africa. Traditionally, graduates of the Military Academy are commissioned as officers in the Egyptian Army...

, temporarily abandoning his political activities in favor of studying to become an army officer. However, he did not have a wasta—an influential intermediary to promote his application against many others—and was turned down. Disappointed, he enrolled in law school, but failed and then attempted to enter the police academy where he again was unsuccessful because he lacked a wasta.

Convinced that he needed a wasta, Nasser managed to secure a meeting with the Secretary-of-State, Ibrahim Kheiry Pasha, who sponsored his second attempt into the military academy. From then on, with little contact with his family, he focused on his military career. It was at the academy that he met Abdel Hakim Amer
Abdel Hakim Amer
Mohamed Abdel Hakim Amer was an Egyptian general and political leader. Born in Astal, Samallot, in the Al Minya Governorate in 1919, he served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, took part in the 1952 Revolution and commanded the Egyptian Army in the Suez Crisis, the North Yemen Civil War and the...

 and Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

, both of whom became important aides during his presidency. After passing his final exam at Abassia, he was posted to the town of Mankabad, near his native Beni Mur, and was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant in the infantry.

In 1939, Nasser and Amer volunteered to serve in Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 (which was a part of Egypt at the time), where they arrived shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Aburish states, however, that he and Amer were posted to the Sudan in 1941. During the war, Nasser and Sadat established contact with agents of the Axis powers
Axis Powers
The Axis powers , also known as the Axis alliance, Axis nations, Axis countries, or just the Axis, was an alignment of great powers during the mid-20th century that fought World War II against the Allies. It began in 1936 with treaties of friendship between Germany and Italy and between Germany and...

, in particular a group of Italians
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, and planned a coup to coincide with an Italian offensive that would expel the British forces from Egypt. The plan, however, was never executed. After briefly returning from Sudan, Nasser returned there in September 1942, then secured a job as an instructor in the Royal Military Academy in Cairo in May 1943.

In 1942, the Egyptian Prime Minister, Ali Maher, was suspected of having pro-Axis sympathies at the time when Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

 was leading the Afrika Korps
Afrika Korps
The German Africa Corps , or the Afrika Korps as it was popularly called, was the German expeditionary force in Libya and Tunisia during the North African Campaign of World War II...

 into Egypt. Lord Lampson
Miles Lampson, 1st Baron Killearn
Miles Wedderburn Lampson, 1st Baron Killearn, GCMG, CB, MVO, PC was a British diplomat.-Background and education:...

, the British Ambassador in Egypt, backed by a battalion of British troops, marched into King Farouk's palace and ordered him to dismiss Maher and appoint the pro-British Mustafa el-Nahhas in his place. Nasser, like most Egyptians, saw this as a blatant violation of Egyptian sovereignty and wrote "I am ashamed that our army has not reacted against this attack." He said further that he prayed to Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

 for "a calamity to overtake the English." Nasser also began forming a group consisting of other young military officers with strong nationalist sentiments and who supported some form of revolution. Mainly through Amer, Nasser stayed in touch with the members of the group. Meanwhile, Amer continued to discover interested officers within the various branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces and presented a full file on each of them to Nasser.

1948 Arab-Israeli War


As Egypt remained officially neutral until long after the Axis defeat at the Battle of el-Alamein
Second Battle of El Alamein
The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

, the Egyptian military did not participate in the war. Nasser's first experience on the battlefield was in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Prior to the arrival of Arab armies to Palestine, many paramilitary groups in the Arab World
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, including the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

 and the Arab Liberation Army
Arab Liberation Army
The Arab Liberation Army , also translated as Arab Salvation Army, was an army of volunteers from Arab countries led by Fawzi al-Qawuqji...

 (ALA), volunteered to fight. Because of Nasser's doubts about the former and his lack of respect for the governments who sponsored the ALA, he offered his services to the Arab Higher Committee
Arab Higher Committee
The Arab Higher Committee was the central political organ of the Arab community of Mandate Palestine. It was established on 25 April 1936, on the initiative of Hajj Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and comprised the leaders of Palestinian Arab clans under the mufti's...

 led by Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in the British Mandate of Palestine. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot...

, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is the Sunni Muslim cleric in charge of Jerusalem's Islamic holy places, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.-Ottoman era:...

. He met with al-Husayni, who was impressed by him, at his office in Cairo. The Egyptian Government refused to allow Nasser to join al-Husayni's forces, however, much to Nasser's disappointment.

In May 1948, after the end of the British mandate and army withdrawal, King Farouk sent the Egyptian army into Palestine, with Nasser serving in the 6th Infantry Battalion. During the war, he wrote of the unpreparedness of the Egyptian army, saying "our soldiers were dashed against fortifications." Nasser was deputy commander of the Egyptian forces that secured the area known as the Falluja Pocket
Al-Faluja
al-Faluja was an Arab village in the British Mandate of Palestine, located 30 kilometers northeast of Gaza City. The village and the neighbouring village of Iraq al-Manshiyya formed part of the Faluja pocket, where 4,000 Egyptian troops were besieged for four months by the newly established Israel...

. By August 1948, his brigade was surrounded by the Israeli Army and appeals for help from Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

's Arab Legion
Arab Legion
The Arab Legion was the regular army of Transjordan and then Jordan in the early part of the 20th century.-Creation:...

 went unheeded. Nonetheless, Nasser refused to surrender, but negotiations between Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 and Egypt resulted in the ceding of Falluja to Israel.

In February 1949, Nasser was sent as a member of the Egyptian delegation to Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 to negotiate a formal ceasefire with Israel, and reportedly considered the terms to be humiliating. After the war, he returned to his job as an instructor at the Royal Military Academy. He sent emissaries to forge an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood in October 1948, but soon concluded that the agenda of the Brotherhood was not a nationalist one like his. From then on, he would take measures preventing influence from the Brotherhood from affecting his activities.

Free Officers


Coinciding with Nasser's return to Egypt was Husni al-Za'im
Husni al-Za'im
Husni al-Za'im was a Syrian military man and politician. Husni al-Za'im, whose family is of Kurdish ancestry, had been an officer in the Ottoman Army. After France instituted its colonial mandate over Syria after the First World War, he became an officer in the French Army...

's coup d'etat in Syria. The success of the coup and the evident support for it by the Syrian people further encouraged Nasser's revolutionary pursuits. Soon after his return, he was summoned and interrogated by Prime Minister Ibrahim Abdel Hadi for suspicions he was forming a secret group of dissenting officers, an allegation which Nasser convincingly denied according to secondhand reports. Abdel Hadi was also hesitant on taking drastic measures against the army. especially in front of its chief-of-staff who was present during the interrogation, and subsequently released Nasser. The interrogation pushed Nasser to speed up his group's activities. After 1949, the group adopted the name "Association of Free Officers
Free Officers Movement
In Egypt, the clandestine revolutionary Free Officers Movement was composed of young junior army officers committed to unseating the Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors...

" and "talked of... freedom and the restoration of their country’s dignity." He organized the founding committee of the Free Officers which eventually comprised fourteen men from different social and political backgrounds, with some being members of Young Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Egyptian Communist Party, as well as the aristocracy. Nasser was unanimously elected chairman of the organization.

In the 1950 parliamentary elections, the Wafd Party
Wafd Party
The Wafd Party was a nationalist liberal political party in Egypt. It was said to be Egypt's most popular and influential political party for a period in the 1920s and 30s...

 of el-Nahhas gained a victory—mostly due to the absence of the Muslim Brotherhood who boycotted the elections—and posed a threat to the Free Officers because they had campaigned for demands similar to theirs. Accusations of corruption against Wafd politicians began to surface, however, breeding an atmosphere of rumors and suspicions that consequently brought the Free Officers to the forefront of Egyptian politics. By then, the organization expanded to around ninety members; according to one member, Khaled Mohieddine, "nobody knew all of them and where they belonged in the hierarchy except Nasser." Nasser felt that the Free Officers were not ready to move against the government and for nearly two years he did little beyond recruit more officers and issue his underground news bulletins.

After the Wafd government abrogated the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty
Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Egypt; it is officially known as The Treaty of Alliance Between His Majesty, in Respect of the United Kingdom, and His Majesty, the King of Egypt...

—which had given the British control over the Suez Canal until 1956—on 11 October 1951 the popularity of this move as well as that of the government-sponsored guerrilla attacks against the British, put pressure on Nasser to act. According to Sadat, Nasser decided to wage "a large scale assassination campaign." In January 1952, he and a number of unidentified officers attempted to kill the royalist general Hussein Sirri Pasha
Hussein Sirri Pasha
Hussein Sirri Pasha was an Egyptian politician. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt for three short periods, during which he also served as foreign minister. He first served as prime minister from 1940 until 1942 during the height of Egypt's involvement in World War II as the Germans invaded and...

 by firing their submachine guns at his car while he drove through Cairo's streets. Instead, an innocent woman passerby was wounded in the incident and apparently began to shriek and wail. Nasser recalled that her wails "haunted" him and dissuaded him against similar action in the future.

Sirri was very close to Farouk and was nominated for the presidency of the Officer's Club—a normally ceremonial office—with his backing. Nasser was determined to establish the independence of the army from the monarchy and with Amer as an intermediary, decided to field a nominee for the Free Officers; they selected Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib was the first President of Egypt, serving from the declaration of the Republic on June 18, 1953 to November 14, 1954. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was the primary leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended the rule of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in Egypt and Sudan...

, a popular general who offered his resignation to Farouk in 1942 and was thrice wounded in the Palestine War. Naguib won overwhelmingly and the Free Officers, through their connection with a leading Egyptian daily, al-Misri, publicized his victory and praised the nationalistic spirit of the army.

Revolution of 1952



On 25 January 1952, the British forces posted along the Suez Canal engaged in a major confrontation with the police force of Ismailia
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

, resulting in the deaths of forty Egyptian policemen. The next day, protesting mobs numbering in the thousands marched in the streets of Cairo, attacking foreign and pro-British Egyptian establishments which resulted in the deaths of 76 people, including nine British subjects. Afterward, Nasser and Khaled Mohieddine published a simple six-point program for Egypt, condemning British influence in the country. A short time later, in May 1952, Nasser received word that Farouk knew the names of the Free Officers and intended to arrest them. Thus, he immediately entrusted Zakaria Mohieddine with the task of drawing up plans for the takeover of the government by army units loyal to the association.

The Free Officers did not intend to install themselves in the government, but to reestablish a parliamentary democracy. Nasser did not believe that a low-ranking officer like himself (a lieutenant-colonel) would be accepted by the Egyptian people and so he selected Naguib, a general, to be his "boss" and lead the coup in name. The revolution they had long sought was launched on 22 July and was declared a success the next day. The Free Officers seized control of all government buildings, radio stations, police stations, and the army headquarters in Cairo. Muhammad Naguib assumed public authority as the leader of the new revolutionary government, becoming the first President of Egypt
President of Egypt
The President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is the head of state of Egypt.Under the Constitution of Egypt, the president is also the supreme commander of the armed forces and head of the executive branch of the Egyptian government....

 on 18 June 1953, the day on which the Egyptian and Sudanese monarchy was abolished, and the Republic of Egypt was declared. While many of the officers were leading their units, Nasser donned civilian clothing to avoid detection by royalists and moved around Cairo to monitor the situation. In a move to prevent foreign intervention, two days before the revolution, Nasser notified the United States and Britain, both of which agreed not to aid Farouk. Nasser and his fellow revolutionaries also gave in to American pressure by allowing the deposed king and his family to leave Egypt unharmed and with an honorary ceremony.

According to Aburish, after assuming power, Nasser and the Free Officers expected to become the "guardians of the people's interests" against the monarchy and the pasha
Pasha
Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

-class, while leaving the day-to-day tasks of government to civilians. Thus, they asked Ali Maher, a former prime minister, to accept being reappointed his previous position and form an all-civilian cabinet. The Free Officers then renamed themselves the Egyptian Revolutionary Command Council
Egyptian Revolutionary Command Council
The Revolutionary Command Council was the body established to supervise Egypt and Sudan after the Revolution of 1952. It initially selected Ali Maher Pasha as Prime Minister, but forced him to resign after conflict over land reform. At that time, the Council took full control of Egypt...

 (RCC), with Naguib as chairman and Nasser as vice-chairman. The relationship between the RCC and Maher grew tense, however, with the latter viewing Nasser's schemes to be too radical, culminating in Maher's resignation on 7 September. The reforms Nasser pursued were agrarian reform, the abolition of the monarchy, and the reorganization of political parties. Afterward, Naguib assumed the additional role of prime minister and Nasser that of deputy prime minister and interior minister
Interior minister
An interior ministry is a government ministry typically responsible for policing, national security, and immigration matters. The ministry is often headed by a minister of the interior or minister of home affairs...

. In September, the Agrarian Reform Law
Egyptian land reform
The post-revolution Egyptian Land Reform was an effort to change land ownership practices in Egypt following the 1952 Revolution launched by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Free Officers Movement.-Problems prior to 1952:...

 was put into effect. For Nasser, the law gave the RCC its own identity and transformed the coup into a revolution.

Preceding the reform law, in August 1952, Communist-led riots broke out at textile factories in Kafr el-Dawwar leading to a confrontation with the army that left nine people dead. Most of the RCC, including Naguib, insisted on making an example of the riot's two ringleaders by executing them, but Nasser firmly opposed this. Nonetheless, the sentences were carried out. The Muslim Brotherhood supported the RCC and after Naguib's assumption of power, they demanded four ministerial portfolios in the new cabinet, but Nasser turned down their demands. Instead, he used a policy of divide and conquer by accepting two members of the Brotherhood who were willing to serve officially as independents, giving them minor posts.

Disputes with Naguib


In January 1953, Nasser overcame opposition from Naguib and banned all political parties, creating a one-party system, the Liberation Rally, whose purpose was to function as a national movement that would replace all parties. The Communists, and the Muslim Brotherhood condemned the move, as both were excluded from participation in the new system. Simultaneously, Nasser began using the more willing among the ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

("religious scholars") of the al-Azhar University
Al-Azhar University
Al-Azhar University is an educational institute in Cairo, Egypt. Founded in 970~972 as a madrasa, it is the chief centre of Arabic literature and Islamic learning in the world. It is the oldest degree-granting university in Egypt. In 1961 non-religious subjects were added to its curriculum.It is...

 as a counterweight to the Brotherhood's Islamic influence. Meanwhile, debate rose within the RCC as to the purpose of these measures. According to fellow officer Abdel Latif Boghdadi, Nasser was the only RCC member who, even after ordering the dissolution of political parties, favored to hold parliamentary elections. Outvoted, he still advocated holding elections by 1956.

Nasser was negotiating a British withdrawal from the Suez Canal and personally led the Egyptian negotiation team in March 1953. Upon pressure from him, Naguib proceeded with the abolition of the monarchy. He began showing signs of independence from Nasser, however, by moderately opposing land reform—even though the general population at the time credited Naguib for the law's implementation. Soon, the two leaders began to openly compete for control of the country. When Naguib moved to garner support from the Brotherhood and gain the backing of old political institutions such as the former leaders of the Wafd party, Nasser was determined to depose Naguib.

In February 1954, army units loyal to Nasser kidnapped Naguib and announced that he had been relieved of all his posts. The RCC then "joyfully... proclaimed Nasser as Prime Minister." Soon after, large numbers of citizens joined protests demanding that Naguib be reinstated. As a result of these demonstrations, a sizable group within the RCC, led by Khaled Mohieddine, demanded that Naguib be released and returned to the Presidency and then hold free elections to select a new president and prime minister. Nasser was forced to agree and Naguib re-assumed the presidency. Nasser still appointed himself prime minister, however, and promoted Amer as Commander of the Armed Forces—a position formerly occupied by Naguib. Consequently, several high-ranking military officers resigned in protest of what they deemed was the politicization of the army by keeping it loyal to Nasser. Mohieddine was then informally exiled to Europe to represent the RCC abroad and a campaign was launched by Nasser's sympathizers in the press, including Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal
Mohamed Hassanein Heikal is a leading Egyptian journalist. For 17 years he was editor-in-chief of the Cairo newspaper Al-Ahram and has been a respected commentator on Arab affairs for more than 50 years.-Background and Books:...

, publicizing Naguib's contact with the Wafd.

In July, the feud between the two leaders was rekindled when Nasser and the British Foreign Affairs Minister, Anthony Nutting
Anthony Nutting
Sir Harold Anthony Nutting, 3rd Baronet was a British diplomat and Conservative Party politician.-Early and private life:...

, signed an agreement, in principle, that would give way for the British withdrawal from the Suez Canal, as well as grant Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 the right to self-determination. Naguib was half-Sudanese and popular in that country; he thought that most members of the RCC and most Egyptians believed Sudan belonged to Egypt. Nasser was accused by many in Egypt, including the Brotherhood, of distracting the issue of Sudan with the withdrawal from Suez, but the Sudanese voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence. The issue was settled in Nasser's favor when the new Sudanese government opted for total "brotherly" relations with Egypt. King Saud of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 attempted to mend relations between Nasser and Naguib, but to no avail. In general, Nasser's position was stronger due to the absence of Mohieddine and the Sudanese officers, the growth of the Liberation Rally, and because most of his original comrades in the RCC supported him and also favored Naguib's removal.

Assuming the presidency



On 26 October, a Brotherhood member, Mohammed Abdel Latif, attempted to assassinate Nasser while he was delivering a speech in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, celebrating the British withdrawal. The speech was broadcast to the Arab world via radio. The gunman was 25 feet (7.6 m) away from him and fired eight shots, but all missed Nasser. Panic broke out in the mass audience, but Nasser maintained his posture and raised his voice to appeal for calm. With great emotion he exclaimed the following:

My countrymen, my blood spills for you and for Egypt. I will live for your sake and die for the sake of your freedom and honor. Let them kill me; it does not concern me so long as I have instilled pride, honor and freedom in you. If Gamal Abdel Nasser should die, each of you shall be Gamal Abdel Nasser ... Gamal Abdel Nasser is of you and from you and he is willing to sacrifice his life for the nation.


The crowd roared in approval and Arab audiences were electrified. The assassination attempt backfired, quickly playing into Nasser's hands. Upon returning to Cairo, he ordered one of the largest political crackdowns in the history of Egypt, with the arrests of over 20,000 people, mostly members of the Brotherhood, but also Communists, Wafd activists, and sympathizers of these groups within the military leadership. Nasser chose Gamal Salem
Gamal Salem
Gamal Salem was an Egyptian Air Force officer and political figure in the mid-20th century. He was part of the Free Officers Movement which carried out a coup d'état against King Farouk I and turned Egypt into a Republic.-Career:...

, a loyal officer, to head the military tribunal. Eight Brotherhood leaders were sentenced to death, although the sentence of its chief ideologue, Sayyed Qutb, was commuted. President Naguib
Muhammad Naguib
Muhammad Naguib was the first President of Egypt, serving from the declaration of the Republic on June 18, 1953 to November 14, 1954. Along with Gamal Abdel Nasser, he was the primary leader of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which ended the rule of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in Egypt and Sudan...

 was removed from the presidency and put under house arrest, but was never tried or sentenced, and no one in the army rose to defend him. The crackdown continued well into 1955. The Brotherhood was dissolved and most of its leaders fled to other Arab countries. With his rivals neutralized, Nasser became the undisputed leader of Egypt.

Nasser's street following was still too small to sustain his plans on reform and secure him in office. To promote himself and the Liberation Rally, he toured the country giving speeches and gained exclusive control of the state media
Media of Egypt
The media of Egypt is highly influential in Egypt and in the Arab World, attributed to its large audience and increasing freedom from government control. Freedom of the media is guaranteed in the constitution, and the government is increasingly respecting this, however many laws still remain that...

 organs. Both Umm Kulthum and Abdel Halim Hafez
Abdel Halim Hafez
Abdel Halim Ali Shabana commonly known as Abdel Halim Hafez , is among the most popular Egyptian and Arab singers and performers. In addition to singing, Halim was also an actor, conductor, business man, music teacher and movie producer...

, the leading Arab singers of the time, made songs praising his nationalism and plays were produced denigrating his political opponents. According to his associates, Nasser orchestrated the campaign himself. Arab nationalist terms, such "Arab homeland" and "Arab nation" frequently began appearing in his speeches in 1954–55, whereas prior he would refer to the Arab "peoples" or the "Arab region." In January 1955, the RCC appointed him as president, pending an election to the office.

On 28 February 1955, Israeli troops attacked the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. Although Israel declared the raid necessary to suppress Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen refers to militants or guerrillas of a nationalist orientation from among the Palestinian people...

 raids, it was unanimously condemned
United Nations Security Council Resolution 106
United Nations Security Council Resolution 106, adopted unanimously on March 29, 1955, after hearing reports from the Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine and representatives of Egypt and Israel the Council noted that the Egyptian-Israel Mixed Armistice...

 by the UN Security Council. Nasser did not feel that Egypt was ready for a confrontation and did not retaliate. His inability to respond to Israeli military action constituted a blow to his growing popularity, since it demonstrated the weakness of his armed forces. Nasser felt if he was to maintain Egypt's position as leader of the Arab world, he needed to acquire modern weapons to arm his military with. When it became apparent that Western countries
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 would not supply Egypt under financial and military terms acceptable to it, Nasser turned to the Soviet bloc and concluded a satisfactory armaments agreement with Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 in September 1955. Through the "Czech arms deal," he enhanced his position as an Arab leader defying the West. The Israelis also re-militarized the Awja Demilitarized Zone on the Egyptian border in September.

Prior to the arms deal, at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in April 1955, Nasser was treated as the leading representative of the Arab countries and emerged as one of the key figures of the conference and the newly-established Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

. From then on, Nasser adopted the "positive neutralism" of Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

 and Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 as his foreign policy regarding alliances with the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and the West in relation to the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

.

In January 1956, the new Constitution of Egypt
Constitution of Egypt
The Constitution of the Arab Republic of Egypt was the fundamental law of Egypt. It was adopted on September 11, 1971 through a public referendum. It was later amended in 1980, 2005 and 2007. It was proclaimed to update the democratic representative system in assertion of the rule of law,...

 was drafted, entailing the establishment of a new single-party system, the National Union, which would select a nominee for the presidential election whose name would be provided for popular approval. Nasser's nomination for the post was put to the public in referendum in June; it was approved by an overwhelming majority. Simultaneously with his election, the RCC dissolved itself and its members resigned their military commissions.

Nationalization of Suez Canal


After the three-year transition period ended with Nasser's official assumption of power, his domestic and independent foreign policies increasingly collided with the interests of European powers in the region, namely the UK and France. The latter condemned his strong support for the Algerian struggle for independence
Algerian War of Independence
The Algerian War was a conflict between France and Algerian independence movements from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria's gaining its independence from France...

 from France; the Eden government
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 of the UK was agitated by Egyptian campaigns undermining the Baghdad Pact which Nasser viewed as a disruption of "Arab solidarity." In addition, Nasser's adherence to neutralism and the Non-Aligned Movement, recognition of the Communist People's Republic of China, and his arms deal with the Soviet bloc, also alienated American support for his regime. Thus, the United States and the UK abruptly withdrew their offer to finance construction of the Aswan High Dam.

On 26 July 1956, in retaliation for the loss of funding and to help pay for the Aswan project, Nasser gave a speech in Alexandria where he denounced Western influence in the Arab world and announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company
Suez Canal Company
The Universal Suez Ship Canal Company was the Egyptian corporation which was formed by Ferdinand de Lesseps during 1858, constructed the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869, and owned and operated it for many years thereafter...

, in breach of the agreement he had signed on 19 October 1954. He also ensured that existing stockholders would be paid off. The nationalization move was greeted by the crowd very emotionally, and throughout the Arab world, thousands entered the streets shouting slogans of support. US ambassador Henry A. Byroade
Henry A. Byroade
Brigadier General Henry Alfred Byroade, United States Army of Indiana was a career diplomat who served as Ambassador to Egypt in 1955 and 1956 and later to five other countries, including United States Ambassador to Burma from September 1963 to June 1968, and served as Assistant Secretary of State...

 stated "I cannot over-emphasize [the] popularity of the Canal Company nationalization within Egypt, even among Nasser's enemies." According to Aburish, this was Nasser's largest pan-Arab triumph at the time and "soon his pictures were to be found in the tents of Yemen, the souks of Marrakesh, and the posh villas of Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

." The official reason given for the nationalization was that funds from the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 would be used for the construction of the dam in Aswan.

That same day, Egypt closed the canal to Israeli shipping. Egypt also closed the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

 to Israeli shipping, and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

, in contravention of the Constantinople Convention of 1888
Convention of Constantinople
The Convention of Constantinople was a treaty signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottoman Empire on October 29, 1888. In the 1880s Britain had recently acquired physical control over the Suez Canal and Egypt...

. Many argued that this was also a violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreements
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

.

Suez Crisis



From a legal standpoint Nasser had the right to nationalize the canal as long as he paid off its shareholders. However, France and Britain were the largest shareholders in the Suez Canal Company and they saw it as yet another hostile measure aimed at them by the Egyptian regime. Nasser was aware that the canal's nationalization would instigate an international crisis and believed the prospect of intervention by the two countries was 80%. He believed, however, that the UK would not be able to intervene militarily for at least two months after the announcement, and dismissed Israeli action as "impossible." In early October, the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 (UNSC) met on the matter of the canal's nationalization and adopted a resolution recognizing Egypt's right to control the canal as long as it continued to allow passage through it for foreign ships. According to Heikal, after this agreement, "Nasser estimated that the danger of invasion had dropped to 10 percent." Shortly thereafter, however, the UK, France, and Israel colluded in a secret agreement
Protocol of Sèvres
The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel, France and the United Kingdom during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres, France...

 to take over the Suez Canal and occupy parts of Egypt. Britain was also determined to prevent Nasser from achieving his stated aim of annexing the Sudan.
On 29 October 1956, Israel crossed the Sinai
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

, overwhelmed Egyptian army posts, and quickly advanced through the peninsula to achieve their objectives. Two days later, British and French planes bombarded Egyptian airfields in the canal zone. Amer panicked and withdrew Egyptian forces from the Sinai and advised Nasser to make a ceasefire. According to Boghdadi, Nasser described the Egyptian army as "shattered" and resembled a "broken man." Nonetheless, his prestige at home and among Arabs was undamaged. Nasser personally took over command of the military and, aware that he was unable to stop the invasion, he coordinated with King Saud to land Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 planes in Saudi Arabia and Sudan to avoid destruction. He then telephoned King Hussein
Hussein of Jordan
Hussein bin Talal was the third King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death. Hussein's rule extended through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict...

 of Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and Shukri al-Kuwatli
Shukri al-Kuwatli
Shukri al-Quwatli was the president of Syria from 1943 to 1949 and from 1955 to 1958.-Political life:He was born in Damascus into a Turkish family, originally from Konya....

 of Syria, asking them to stay out of the fighting. When Hussein objected and offered to participate in Egypt's defense, Nasser warned him "to save his army from destruction." He followed by issuing orders to block the canal by sinking or otherwise disabling forty-nine ships at its entrance. In Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

, he berated Amer and fellow Free Officer Salah Salem
Salah Salem
Salah Salem was an Egyptian military officer and politician.-Education and military career:Salim was born in Sinkat, Sudan in 1920. He was raised, however, in the Hilmiyyat Jadida neighborhood of Cairo. There he was educated at the Ibrahimiyyeh School, and later, in 1938, he graduated from the...

, who both continually insisted on surrendering, in front of other officers and vowed that "Nobody is going to surrender."

Meanwhile, the American Eisenhower administration was outraged at the tripartite aggression, the British and French abandonment of international diplomacy, and its timing during the crisis in Hungary. Dwight Eisenhower publicly condemned it and supported United Nations resolutions demanding withdrawal, Israel's return to the 1949 armistice lines and for a United Nations Emergency Force
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 (UNEF) to be stationed in the Sinai. By the end of December, the British and French forces had totally withdrawn from Egyptian territory; after additional UN resolutions and intense US pressure, Israel completed its withdrawal on 8 March 1957. On 8 April 1957, the canal was reopened. With this, Nasser's political position was enormously enhanced by the widely perceived failure of the invasion and Anglo-French attempt to topple him. Nutting claimed the crisis "established Nasser finally and completely" as the rayyes ("President") of Egypt. He used his new status to urge Arab nations to reduce oil exports to Western Europe. As a result petrol rationing had to be introduced in several countries.

Pan-Arabism



In January 1957, the US adopted the Eisenhower Doctrine
Eisenhower Doctrine
The term Eisenhower Doctrine refers to a speech by President Dwight David Eisenhower on 5 January 1957, within a "Special Message to the Congress on the Situation in the Middle East". Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military...

, pledging to protect Middle Eastern countries from Communism and its "agents." Although Nasser was not a supporter of Communism, his promotion of Arab nationalism threatened surrounding pro-Western states. Eisenhower attempted to isolate and reduce him by considering support of his ally King Saud as a counterweight. Previously, in October 1956, a pan-Arabist coalition won parliamentary elections in Jordan, making Sulayman al-Nabulsi
Sulayman al-Nabulsi
Sulayman al-Nabulsi was a Palestinian political figure who served as Prime Minister of Jordan in 1956–57.-Early life:Al-Nabulsi was born into a Palestinian fmily of notables in as-Salt, Jordan in 1908. He graduated from the American University of Beirut with a degree in law and social studies in...

, a staunch supporter of Nasser, the country's prime minister. Relations between Nasser and King Hussein soured when al-Nabulsi and all other pro-Nasser elements in the cabinet and army were subsequently arrested and dismissed; Hussein alleged that Nasser and his Jordanian allies were attempting to overthrow him. Nasser berated Hussein on his Cairo-based Voice of the Arabs radio station, accusing him of being "a tool of the imperialists." Meanwhile, King Saud gradually came to resent Nasser's popularity among the Saudi people and his references to Saudi oil as belonging to all the Arabs; when Hussein requested military assistance from Saud, he complied, sending 4,000 troops to Jordan as a protective measure.

Despite opposition from the governments of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Nasser gained influence among many of the citizens of those and other Arab countries. In Jordan, many of the indigenous citizens supported him and Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

 refugees and citizens saw him as the only Arab leader that could challenge Israel. Together, they formed Arab unity clubs, youth organizations, and secret civilian formations. Nasser's followers in Lebanon and the Egyptian embassy in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

—the press center of the Arab world—bought outlets of the Lebanese media to sponsor him. Many Lebanese politicians were salaried by Egypt to take pro-Nasser stands, but others like Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt ; was an important Lebanese politician. He was the main leader of the anti-government forces in the Lebanese Civil War until his assassination in 1977. He is the father of the present Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.-Family background and education:Kamal Jumblatt was born in...

 and Saeb Salam
Saeb Salam
Saeb Salam was a Lebanese politician, who served as Prime Minister four times between 1952 and 1973.Salam was the son of Salim Salam, the scion of a prominent Sunni Muslim family who was a prominent politician both under Ottoman rule and then during the French Mandate...

, genuinely supported him. Nasser also enjoyed the full support of Arab nationalist organizations throughout the region, including the Arab Nationalist Movement
Arab Nationalist Movement
The Arab Nationalist Movement , also known as the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Harakiyyin, was a pan-Arab nationalist organization influential in much of the Arab world, most famously so within the Palestinian movement.-Origins & Ideology:The Arab Nationalist Movement had its origins in a...

 (ANM), Najd al-Fatat (in Saudi Arabia), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Arabia
Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf
The Popular Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf , later renamed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Oman and the Arab Gulf , was a Marxist and Arab nationalist revolutionary organisation in the Persian Gulf Arab states. The PFLOAG was organized in 1968 as the successor to the...

, and to a certain degree the Ba'ath party which operated in a number of countries. His followers were numerous and well-funded, but lacked any permanent structure and organization. They called themselves "Nasserists", despite Nasser's objection to the label (he preferred the term "Arab nationalist.")

By the end of 1957, Nasser nationalized all remaining British and French assets in Egypt, including the tobacco, cement, pharmaceutical, and phosphate
Phosphate
A phosphate, an inorganic chemical, is a salt of phosphoric acid. In organic chemistry, a phosphate, or organophosphate, is an ester of phosphoric acid. Organic phosphates are important in biochemistry and biogeochemistry or ecology. Inorganic phosphates are mined to obtain phosphorus for use in...

 industries. Because the previous opening to outside investment and the offering of tax incentives had yielded no results, he nationalized more companies and made them a part of his economic development organization. He stopped short of total government control: two-thirds of the economy was still in private hands. Yet, this effort did achieve a measure of success, with agricultural production increasing and investment in industrialization rising. Nasser initiated the Helwan steelworks, which were on their way to becoming Egypt's largest enterprise, providing the country with product and the employment of tens of thousands of people. Nasser also decided to cooperate with the USSR in the construction of the Aswan High Dam since the US withdrew its offer following the nationalization of the Suez Canal. Nasser eventually abolished the Liberation Rally, with the National Union taking its place. The National Assembly was to be the national representative body, allowing Nasser to sideline former Liberation Rally leaders Gamal Salem and Anwar Sadat
Anwar Sadat
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981...

. In addition, arbitrary crackdowns against the Brotherhood and the Communists occurred during this period, particularly in April 1957.

United Arab Republic


Despite his popularity, Nasser's credentials as Arab leader were at stake after the events in Jordan. Later in 1957, Turkish troops
Turkish Army
The Turkish Army or Turkish Land Forces is the main branch of the Turkish Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The modern history of the army began with its formation after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire...

 massed along the border with Syria, accusing it of harboring Communist rebels. In response, Saud announced his support for Arab Syria against Turkey. To outdo him, in August, Nasser decided to land 4,000 Egyptian troops in the Syrian port city of Latakia
Latakia
Latakia, or Latakiyah , is the principal port city of Syria, as well as the capital of the Latakia Governorate. In addition to serving as a port, the city is a manufacturing center for surrounding agricultural towns and villages...

, reclaiming his prestige, especially with the Syrian people.

Beginning in 1957, Syria appeared close to becoming a Soviet satellite; it had a highly organized Communist Party
Syrian Communist Party
The Syrian Communist Party was a political party in Syria, founded in 1944. It became a member of the National Progressive Front in 1972...

 and the army
Syrian Army
The Syrian Army, officially called the Syrian Arab Army, is the land force branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It is the dominant military service of the four uniformed services, controlling the senior most posts in the armed forces, and has the greatest manpower, approximately 80 percent of the...

's chief of staff, Afif Bizri, was a Communist sympathizer. Nasser told an initial Syrian delegation that they needed to rid their government of Communists, but the delegation countered and warned him that only total union with Egypt would defuse the "Communist threat." Although Nasser initially turned them down, suggesting that it would take a minimum of five years to establish a feasible political union, he became more afraid of a Communist takeover when the second Syrian delegation composed of military officers was led by Bizri on 11 January 1958; Bizri personally discouraged Syro-Egyptian unity. Afterward, Nasser opted for a total merger and the resulting United Arab Republic
United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic , often abbreviated as the U.A.R., was a sovereign union between Egypt and Syria. The union began in 1958 and existed until 1961, when Syria seceded from the union. Egypt continued to be known officially as the "United Arab Republic" until 1971. The President was Gamal...

 (UAR) came into being on 1 February 1958. Nasser became the republic's president and very soon carried out a crackdown against the Syrian Communists and opponents of the union, which included dismissing Bizri and former prime minister Khaled al-Azem from their posts.

On 24 February, Nasser traveled to Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 in a surprise visit to celebrate the union. He was welcomed by crowds of tens of thousands. Ahmad bin Yahya
Ahmad bin Yahya
Ahmad bin Yahya Hamidaddin was the penultimate king of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen from 1948 to 1962. His full name and title was H.M. al-Nasir-li-din Allah Ahmad bin al-Mutawakkil 'Ala Allah Yahya, Imam and Commander of the Faithful, and King of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of the Yemen...

, King of North Yemen
North Yemen
North Yemen is a term currently used to designate the Yemen Arab Republic , its predecessor, the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen , and their predecessors that exercised sovereignty over the territory that is now the north-western part of the state of Yemen in southern Arabia.Neither state ever...

, dispatched Crown Prince Imam Badr to Damascus with proposals to include their country in the new republic. Nasser and Quwatli agreed to establish a loose federal union with Yemen, rather than a total integration, creating the United Arab States
United Arab States
The United Arab States was a short-lived confederation of the United Arab Republic and North Yemen from 1958–1961.The United Arab Republic was a sovereign state formed by the union of Egypt and Syria in 1958...

. While Nasser was in Syria, King Saud was allegedly planning on having him assassinated during his flight back to Cairo. He offered to pay the head of the Syrian security services, Abdel Hamid Sarraj
Abdel Hamid Sarraj
Abdel Hamid Sarraj was a Syrian Army officer and political figure in the mid-20th century. He was a very close aide to Gamal Abdel Nasser during the short-lived time of the United Arab Republic and served as its Minister of Interior and later Vice President...

, to order Syrian jet fighters to shoot down Nasser's plane. Sarraj, however, was a staunch supporter of Nasser and pretended to agree with Saud's plan only to reveal the plot to Nasser. On 4 March, Nasser stood on the balcony of the Diafa Palace of Damascus and waved a copy of the Saudi check in the air for the masses to witness. As a consequence of Saud's scheme, he was forced by senior members of the Saudi royal family
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

 to informally cede most of his powers to his brother, King Faisal
Faisal of Saudi Arabia
Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. As king, he is credited with rescuing the country's finances and implementing a policy of modernization and reform, while his main foreign policy themes were pan-Islamic Nationalism, anti-Communism, and pro-Palestinian...

, an advocate of pan-Islamic unity rather than Arab nationalism and a major opponent of Nasser.

A day after announcing the attempt on his life, Nasser established a new provisional constitution proclaiming a 600-member National Assembly (400 from Egypt and 200 from Syria) and the disbanding of all political parties, including the Ba'ath. Nasser gave each of the provinces two vice-presidents; Boghdadi and Amer were assigned to Egypt and Sabri al-Assali
Sabri al-Assali
Sabri al-Assali is a Syrian politician and a three time prime minister of Syria. He also served as Vice-president of the United Arab Republic in 1958.-References:...

 and Akram al-Hawrani
Akram al-Hawrani
Akram al-Hawrani |transcribe]]d Hourani or Hurani) , was a Syrian politician who played a prominent role in the formation of a widespread populist, nationalist movement in Syria and in the rise of the Ba'th Party...

 to Syria. Nasser then left for Moscow to meet with Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

. At the meeting, Khrushchev pressed Nasser to lift the ban on the Communist Party, but Nasser refused, stating it was an internal matter which was not a subject of discussion with outside powers. Khrushchev was reportedly taken aback and denied he had meant to interfere in the UAR's affairs and the issue was settled since both leaders did not want a rift between their two countries.

Influence on the Arab world


In neighboring Lebanon, president Camille Chamoun
Camille Chamoun
Camille Nimr Chamoun was President of Lebanon from 1952 to 1958, and one of the country's main Christian leaders during most of the Lebanese Civil War ....

, an opponent of Nasser, viewed the creation of the UAR with worry. Pro-Nasser factions in the country began clashing with supporters of Chamoun, culminating in a civil strife by May 1958. The former favored merging with the UAR, while the latter feared the new country was a Communist satellite and threatened Lebanon's independence. Although Nasser claimed no intention to covet Lebanon, seeing it as a "special case," he backed his supporters in the country through sending money, light arms, and training officers in order to prevent Chamoun from gaining a second term as president. Almost simultaneously, on 14 July, Iraqi army officers Abdel Karim Qasim and Abdel Salam Aref staged a military coup against King Faisal of Iraq, who was immediately killed. Two days later Nasser's most serious Arab enemy in the Middle East, Nuri as-Said
Nuri as-Said
Nuri Pasha al-Said was an Iraqi politician during the British Mandate and during the Kingdom of Iraq. He served in various key cabinet positions, and served seven terms as Prime Minister of Iraq....

, the prime minister of Iraq, was also killed. Nasser, who was in Belgrade
Belgrade
Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. According to official results of Census 2011, the city has a population of 1,639,121. It is one of the 15 largest cities in Europe...

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 while the coup was undertaken, extended recognition of the new government and stated that "any attack on Iraq was tantamount to an attack on the UAR." The next day US Army paratroops, marines and British special forces landed in Lebanon and Jordan, respectively, to protect the two countries from falling to pro-Nasser forces as well. To Nasser, the revolution in Iraq
14 July Revolution
The 14 July Revolution was a coup which took place on 14 July 1958 in Iraq, marking the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy established by King Faisal I in 1932 under the auspices of the British. In 1958, the coup overthrew King Faisal II, the regent and Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, and Prime...

 left the road for Arab nationalism unblocked. Although most members of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council
Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council
The Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council was established after the military coup in 1968, and was the ultimate decision making body in Iraq before the 2003 American-led invasion. It exercised both executive and legislative authority in the country, with the Chairman and Vice Chairman chosen by a...

 (RCC) were Nasserists and favored joining Iraq with the UAR, Qasim held animosity towards him. Aburish states that reasons for this could have included Nasser's refusal to cooperate with the Iraqi Free Officers a year before the coup or Qasim's view that Nasser threatened his supremacy as leader of Iraq.
Later in July, Fuad Chehab
Fuad Chehab
Fuad Chehab Fuad Chehab Fuad Chehab (name also spelt Fouad Shihab, or Chehab, depending on transliteration from the original Arabic, (March 19, 1902 - April 25, 1973) was the President of the Lebanese Republic from 1958 to 1964...

 was to be elected Lebanon's new president and he met Nasser at the Lebanese-Syrian border. He explained to Chehab that he would not pursue unity with Lebanon, but he did not want the country to be used as a base against him. Resulting from this meeting was an agreement ending the crisis in Lebanon, with Nasser ceasing to supply his partisans and the US setting a deadline for withdrawing from the area. In Damascus, on 19 July, Nasser gave one of his most important speeches addressing the new regional realities. According to researcher May Oueida's thesis on the speech, he adopted a theme of successfully bridging the different sounds of Egyptian
Egyptian Arabic
Egyptian Arabic is the language spoken by contemporary Egyptians.It is more commonly known locally as the Egyptian colloquial language or Egyptian dialect ....

, Syrian
Syrian Arabic
Syrian Arabic is a variety of Arabic spoken in Syria.-History:Syrian Arabic proper is a form of Levantine Arabic, and may be divided into South Syrian Arabic, spoken in the cities of Damascus, Homs and Hama, and North Syrian Arabic, spoken in the region of Aleppo. Allied dialects are spoken in...

, and Iraqi Arabic
Iraqi Arabic
Iraqi Arabic is a continuum of mutually intelligible Arabic varieties native to the Mesopotamian basin of Iraq as well as spanning into eastern and northern Syria, western Iran, southeastern Turkey, and spoken in respective Iraqi diaspora communities.-Varieties:Iraqi Arabic has two major varieties...

, and rose to a classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

 without losing or boring his audience. For the first time Nasser was opting for full Arab union. He had no plan, however, on how to incorporate Iraq into the UAR.

In the fall of 1958, Nasser formed a tripartite committee, consisting of Mohieddine, al-Hawrani, and Salah al-Din Bitar to oversee developments in Syria. By moving the latter two, who were Ba'athists, to Cairo, he neutralized important political figures who had their own ideas about how Syria should be run within the UAR. He put Syria under Sarraj, who effectively reduced the province into a police state
Police state
A police state is one in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population...

 by imprisoning and exiling Communists—including party leader Khalid Bakdash
Khalid Bakdash
Khalid Bakdash was the leader of the Syrian Communist Party from 1936 until his death. In 1954 Bakdash became the first member of a communist party to be elected to an Arab parliament. He has since been called the "dean of Arab communism."-Early life:Bakdash was a Damascus native of Kurdish origin...

—and landholders who objected to the introduction of Egyptian agricultural reform in Syria. In December 1959, aware that things were not working in Syria, Nasser appointed Amer as governor-general alongside Sarraj. Syria's leaders reacted with opposition to the appointment and many resigned from their government posts. Nasser later met with the opposition leaders, which included al-Hawrani, Bitar, and Ba'ath founder Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq
Michel Aflaq was a Syrian philosopher, who is credited with being the ideological founder of ba'athism, a hybrid of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.-Early life:...

, and in a heated conversation, exclaimed that he was the "elected" president of the UAR and those who did not accept his authority could "walk away."

Meanwhile, Nasser began smuggling agents from Syria into Iraq and senior Iraqi army officers began asking for support in launching a coup against Qasim. On 8 March 1959, an anti-Qasim rebellion broke out in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

 led by Abdel Wahhab al-Shawaf, a member of the Iraqi RCC who was previously in touch with UAR authorities. Turmoil soon spread throughout Iraq, with the country's ethnic and religious groups attacking each other while pro-Qasim forces gained the upper hand against al-Shawaf. Nasser considered dispatching UAR troops into Iraq to aid his sympathizers, but soon decided against it. His advisers, namely Sarraj and Amer, insisted that the pro-Nasser forces were winning and Qasim was about to be toppled. Within four days, however, Qasim's forces captured Mosul and al-Shawaf was killed. Already strained relations between Nasser and Qasim grew increasingly bitter, with the former considering the latter as unworthy and dependent on the USSR while Qasim looked down on Nasser's Arab nationalism, believing only an alliance with the USSR would help the Arabs succeed against Israel. Nasser blamed the Arab nationalist defeat on the Communists and upon returning to Cairo, he dismissed and arrested many Communists who held influential positions in the press and government, including his old comrade Khaled Mohieddine, who had been allowed reentry into Egypt in 1956.

Collapse of the UAR and aftermath


In Syria, opposition to union with Egypt mounted; Syrian Army
Syrian Army
The Syrian Army, officially called the Syrian Arab Army, is the land force branch of the Syrian Armed Forces. It is the dominant military service of the four uniformed services, controlling the senior most posts in the armed forces, and has the greatest manpower, approximately 80 percent of the...

 officers resented being subordinated to Egyptian officers, Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 tribes received funds from Saudi Arabia to prevent their loyalty to Nasser, Egyptian-style land reform was blamed for damaging Syrian agricultural production, Communists began to gain influence among lower-income workers, and the intellectuals within the Ba'ath party who had initially supported union rejected the single-party system. Aburish states Nasser was not fully capable to address problems in Syria because they were "foreign to him" and instead of appointing Syrians to administer Syria, he handed this task to Amer. In Egypt, the economic situation was more positive, with a GNP growth of 4.5 percent and a rapid growth of industry. In 1960, Nasser nationalized the Egyptian press, effectively reducing it to his personal mouthpiece.

On 28 September 1961, Syrian Army units in Damascus rose against the UAR and declared Syria's independence. Amer and Sarraj were exiled, and army units in northern Syria loyal to the union failed to prevent the country's secession. Nasser sent Egyptian Special Forces to Latakia to oppose Syria's withdrawal, but ordered them withdrawn after two days, claiming he refused to allow inter-Arab fighting. In a speech to the Arab world, he admitted making mistakes with Syria, refused to condemn the secessionists, and accepted personal responsibility for the UAR's breakup. Privately, however, he accused Qasim, the Saudis, the Jordanians, and other Arab governments of contributing to the fall of the UAR. According to Heikal, Nasser suffered something resembling a nervous breakdown and his health began to deteriorate after the dissolution of the union. He also began smoking more heavily.

Fearing similar action in Egypt, he sought to pursue an increasingly socialist agenda in the country. In October 1961, Nasser embarked on a major nationalization program, believing the total adoption of socialism was the answer to his problems and would have protected him from what happened in Syria. The Charter for National Action was undertaken, creating youth groups, socialist study institutes, laws regarding the acquisition of wealth, and agricultural cooperatives. In the process, the National Union was renamed the Arab Socialist Union
Arab Socialist Union (Egypt)
The Arab Socialist Union was an Egyptian political party based on the principles of Nasserist Arab socialism.-Emergence:The Arab Socialist Union was founded in Egypt in December 1962 by Gamal Abdel Nasser as the country's sole political party. The ASU grew out of the Free Officers Movement of the...

. By 1962, as a result of these measures, government ownership of Egyptian business reached 51 percent. With the measures also came more domestic repression, with thousands of Islamists being imprisoned, including dozens of military officers. Nasser's tilt toward a Soviet-style system led his aides Abdel Latif Boghdadi and Hussein el-Shafei
Hussein el-Shafei
Hussein Mahmoud Hassan el-Shafei, , also known as Hussein el-Shafei , was a member of Egypt's July, 1952 revolutionary leadership council and served as vice-president under two former Egyptian presidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat...

 to submit their resignations in protest. At an Arab League
Arab League
The Arab League , officially called the League of Arab States , is a regional organisation of Arab states in North and Northeast Africa, and Southwest Asia . It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Egypt, Iraq, Transjordan , Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Yemen joined as a...

 summit in August 1962, Nasser pulled out his delegation after arguments with Syria, which wanted the dismissal of the organization's secretary-general, Abdel Khalek Hassouna, complaining that he only followed Nasser's orders.

Revival on Arab stage


Nasser's fortunes on the Arab stage unexpectedly changed when Yemeni officers led by Abdullah as-Sallal
Abdullah as-Sallal
Abdullah al-Sallal was the leader of the North Yemeni Revolution of 1962. He served as the first President of the Yemen Arab Republic from 27 September 1962 to 5 November 1967....

, a supporter of Nasser, rebelled against Imam al-Badr of the Kingdom of North Yemen
Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen
The Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen , sometimes spelled Mutawakelite Kingdom of Yemen, also known as the Kingdom of Yemen or as North Yemen, was a country from 1918 to 1962 in the northern part of what is now Yemen...

, on 27 September 1962. The officers proclaimed their country the Yemen Arab Republic
Yemen Arab Republic
The Yemen Arab Republic , also known as North Yemen or Yemen , was a country from 1962 to 1990 in the western part of what is now Yemen...

 and Nasser immediately recognized its legitimacy. Meanwhile, al-Badr and his partisans were receiving increasing support from Faisal of Saudi Arabia to reinstate the kingdom, convincing Nasser to dispatch Egyptian troops to strengthen the new government on 6 October. The pro-Nasser forces were unable to decisively defeat the royalists who by then controlled a third of the country and as the war continued many Yemenis came to resent the Egyptian presence, despite Nasser's attempts to foster economic growth and offer military support for Sallal's government. His influence on the ruling politicians also made Nasser many enemies. Most of his old colleagues questioned the wisdom of continuing the war, but Amer reassured him numerous times that victory was near. By 1963, Nasser had sent 15,000 Egyptian soldiers to Yemen, but the war remained a stalemate.

The Yemen War
North Yemen Civil War
The North Yemen Civil War was fought in North Yemen between royalists of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen and factions of the Yemen Arab Republic from 1962 to 1970. The war began with a coup d'état carried out by the republican leader, Abdullah as-Sallal, which dethroned the newly crowned Imam...

 resulted in serious complications for the Saudi monarchy when a pro-Nasser clique in the family was formed, culminating in the declaration of the Free Princes
Free Princes
Free Princes Movement was a Saudi liberal political movement from 1958-64. Its members were known as the Young Najd, Free Princes, and Liberal Princes....

 by Talal ibn Abd al-Aziz
Talal ibn Abd al-Aziz
Prince Talal bin Abdul-Aziz , also called The Red Prince, is a senior member of the Saudi royal family, and has led the Arab Gulf Program For the United Nations Development since 1986. He is a former ambassador to France. He served as Minister of Communications till 1955 before the Ministry was...

. After Nasser allowed the Free Princes movement to operate from Cairo, it gained a considerable following among minor Saudi princes and the co-founder of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Abdullah al-Tariki
Abdullah al-Tariki
Abdullah ibn Hamoud al-Tariki was a Saudi politician and government official. He was the first Saudi oil minister appointed by King Saud, and co-founder of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries along with Venezuelan Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo.-Early life:Tariki was born in 1918 in Al Zulfi...

. In addition to those developments, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 became independent of France. Nasser considered this a victory for himself and the Arab nationalist movement. Then, on 8 February 1963, a military coup led by a Ba'athist-Nasserist alliance was staged in Iraq, overthrowing Qasim who was shot dead. Although Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr orchestrated the coup, Nasser's sympathizer Abdel Salam Aref was chosen to be the new president. The Iraqi and Syrian regimes, both ruled by the Ba'ath party, soon sent Nasser delegations to push for a new Arab union on 14 March 1963. Nasser responded by berating the attendees for being "phony nationalists" and constantly changing direction. He presented them a detailed plan for unity, favoring a federal system which began with the merger of the countries' defense and foreign policies. A four-year term for president was stipulated, in addition to legislative councils being responsible for overseeing the functions of the state. The measures would be implemented slowly and in segments. By the end of his lecture, Nasser stated that he was the "leader of the Arabs and without me you are nothing. Either take what I have to offer you or leave and never return."

Modernization of Egypt and internal dissent


Beginning in 1961, Nasser sought to firmly establish Egypt as the leader of the Arab world and to promote a second revolution in Egypt with the purpose of merging Islamic and socialist thinking to satisfy the will of the general populace. To achieve this, he began enacting several reforms to modernize the al-Azhar Mosque
Al-Azhar Mosque
Al-Azhar Mosque is a mosque in Islamic Cairo in Egypt. Al-Mu‘izz li-Dīn Allāh of the Fatimid Caliphate commissioned its construction for the newly established capital city in 970. Its name is usually thought to allude to the Islamic prophet Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, a revered figure in Islam...

, which serves as the de facto leading authority in Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

, and ensure its prominence over the Muslim Brotherhood and the more conservative Wahhabism
Wahhabism
Wahhabism is a religious movement or a branch of Islam. It was developed by an 18th century Muslim theologian from Najd, Saudi Arabia. Ibn Abdul Al-Wahhab advocated purging Islam of what he considered to be impurities and innovations...

 promoted by Saudi Arabia. Nasser used his influence with al-Azhar to create changes in the syllabus, which trickled to the lower levels of Egyptian education. He allowed gender-mixed schools, introduced evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 as an acceptable subject matter to discuss, amended divorce laws, and merged religious courts with civil ones. He also forced al-Azhar to issue a fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

readmitting Shia Muslims, Alawite
Alawite
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centred in Syria who are a branch of Shia Islam.-Etymology:...

s, and Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 into mainstream Islam; for centuries before, al-Azhar deemed them as "heretics" and non-Muslims.

During this time, Nasser became highly concerned with Amer's inability to train and modernize the army, as well as the state within a state he created by transforming the army and the intelligence apparatus
Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate
The General Intelligence Services , often called the Mukhabarat , is an Egyptian intelligence agency responsible for providing national security intelligence, both domestically and transnationally, with a counter-terrorism focus....

—the latter was led by Salah Nasr
Salah Nasr
Salah Nasr served as head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate from 1957 to 1967. He retired citing health reasons following Egypt's defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War....

—into "a separate fiefdom loyal to him personally," according to Aburish. None of Nasser's old colleagues had informed him of the corruption and lawlessness undertaken by Amer and the army officers loyal to him since they thought the relationship between Nasser and Amer, his second-in-command, was solid. Therefore, any claims of power abuse would be dismissed. After realizing the extent of Amer's control in the country, however, Nasser appointed himself Chief of the Armed Forces, replacing Amer, in 1963. Although Amer was officially demoted, he remained in a strong position and many high-ranking officers continued to express loyalty to him. According to Boghdadi, the stress caused by the collapse of the UAR and Amer's increasing autonomy forced Nasser, who had already had diabetes
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced...

, to practically live on painkillers from then on.

In order to organize and solidify his popular base with Egypt's citizens to counter the influence of the army, Nasser introduced a new constitution and the National Charter in 1964. The latter called for universal health care, the provision of housing, building of vocational schools, widening of the Suez Canal, expanding women's rights, and developing a program for family planning. In addition, he attempted to maintain oversight of the country's civil service to prevent it from inflating and consequently becoming a burden to the state.

Efforts were made during Nasser's time in office to realise the social goals of the National Charter. After 1952, women were granted both the right to vote and to stand in elections, together with wider access to employment and education. Laws were also passed which provided workers with a minimum wage, profit shares, and free education and health care, reduced working hours, and encouraged worker participation in management. Land reforms guaranteed the security of tenant farmers, promoted agricultural growth and reduced rural poverty. The rural poor not only benefited from new tenure relations and land redistribution, but also benefited from improved welfare security and price and crop guarantees. In addition, electrification of villages was carried out, together with the construction of housing for workers.
In January 1964, Nasser called for an Arab League summit
1964 Arab League summit (Cairo)
The 1964 Arab League summit was the first summit of the Arab League, held in Cairo, Egypt, on 13 - 16 January 1964 and attended by all thirteen member states....

 in Cairo, with the stated purpose of establishing a unified Arab response against Israel's plans to divert water from the Jordan River to irrigate the Negev Desert
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

. Although he discouraged Syria and Palestinian paramilitary factions from provoking the Israelis, admitting that he had no plans for war with Israel, Nasser nonetheless called for the creation of the United Arab Command
United Arab Command
The United Arab Command was a unified Arab military command established by unanimous resolution of the thirteen member states of the Arab League at the summit held in Cairo, Egypt, on 13 - 16 January 1964.-Predecessors:The UAC was the culmination of a history of pan-Arabist collective security...

 (UAC). Nasser blamed the lack of unity among the Arab states for what he deemed "the disastrous situation" regarding Israel's water diversion scheme. In a move to cede or share his responsibility and leadership position of the Palestine issue, Nasser decided to support the establishment of an entity to represent the Palestinian
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

s. In May, the Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization
The Palestine Liberation Organization is a political and paramilitary organization which was created in 1964. It is recognized as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people" by the United Nations and over 100 states with which it holds diplomatic relations, and has enjoyed...

 (PLO), an umbrella group that included various Palestinian factions, was founded and its head was to be Ahmad Shukeiri
Ahmad Shukeiri
Ahmad al-Shukeiri also transcribed al-Shuqayri, Shuqeiri, Shukeiry, etc.), was the first Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, serving in 1964–67....

, Nasser's personal nominee. Nasser aligned himself with the ANM of George Habash
George Habash
George Habash also known by his laqab "al-Hakim" was a Palestinian nationalist. Habash, a Palestinian Christian, founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which pioneered the hijacking of airplanes as a Middle East militant tactic...

 and used the PLO to counter the support Fatah
Fatah
Fataḥ is a major Palestinian political party and the largest faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization , a multi-party confederation. In Palestinian politics it is on the left-wing of the spectrum; it is mainly nationalist, although not predominantly socialist. Its official goals are found...

 (not a PLO member) was receiving among Palestinians. Although Nasser made secret contacts with Israel in 1954–55, he concluded that peace with Israel would be impossible, considering it an "expansionist state that viewed the Arabs with disdain." Later in 1964, Nasser was made president of the Non-Aligned Movement
Non-Aligned Movement
The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2011, the movement had 120 members and 17 observer countries...

 (NAM) and held the second conference of the organization in Cairo that same year.

During the presidential elections in Egypt, Nasser was re-elected to another six-year term, taking his oath on 25 March 1965. He was the only candidate for the position, with virtually all of his political opponents being forbidden by law from running for office and his fellow party members being reduced to mere followers. That same year, he imprisoned Sayyed Qutb, the Muslim Brotherhood's chief ideologue. Qutb wrote a book from his jail cell condemning Nasser as the representative of a "new age of ignorance." Unable to silence Qutb by incarceration, Nasser accused him of conspiring with the Saudis in attempt to assassinate him and had Qutb executed in 1966 as a result; the Muslim Brotherhood consequently sentenced Nasser to death. Sometime during 1966, he suffered, but survived, a massive heart attack.

Six-Day War


In early 1967, Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin sent Nasser a warning through Sadat, who was visiting Moscow, that Israel was about to carry out a large-scale assault against Syria. More warnings followed in the next few months, and King Hussein, aware of the intelligence situation, cautioned Nasser in April not to be dragged into a war. That same month, pressure on him to act by Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the PLO, as well as the general Arab populace, mounted after an aerial battle between Syria and Israel resulted in the downing of six Syrian planes. Convinced that Israel was determined to attack Syria, he asked UN Secretary-General U Thant
U Thant
U Thant was a Burmese diplomat and the third Secretary-General of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. He was chosen for the post when his predecessor, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in September 1961....

 to withdraw UNEF forces from Sinai. On 23 May, Egyptian troops moved into Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

 and Nasser ordered the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

 closed to Israeli shipping. After the blockade, he gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 on 29 May saying, "the issue was not UNEF or closing the Strait of Tiran; the issue is the rights of the Palestinian people
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

." This was the same message delivered a week earlier during a visit to an air base in the Sinai. The speeches signaled that Nasser believed war was inevitable.

King Hussein arrived in Cairo on 30 May and committed Jordan to the United Arab Command
United Arab Command
The United Arab Command was a unified Arab military command established by unanimous resolution of the thirteen member states of the Arab League at the summit held in Cairo, Egypt, on 13 - 16 January 1964.-Predecessors:The UAC was the culmination of a history of pan-Arabist collective security...

—an alliance which also included Egypt and Syria—under the command of Egyptian general Muhammad Sidqi
Muhammad Sidqi Mahmud
Muhammad Sidqi Mahmud was the commanding general of the Egyptian Air Force during the Six-Day War in 1967. He and the other senior Egyptian commanders, including Field Marshal Amer and General Anwar al-Qadi were in an airplane en route to Bir al-Thamada to inspect the troops stationed in the Sinai...

. Amer anticipated an Israeli attack and advocated Egypt launch a preemptive strike. He was backed by former Syrian prime minister Amin al-Hafiz. Due to assurances, however, from the American administration and the USSR that Israel would not attack, Nasser refused Amer's suggestion, insisting that Egyptian forces in the Sinai should only act defensively. In addition, he questioned the Egyptian military's readiness since the air force lacked pilots, the army reserve lacked training, and Nasser doubted the competence of Amer's hand-picked officers. Simultaneously, Egypt was facing a financial crisis leading him to believe that the country could not afford a war that would last even a few days. Nonetheless, Nasser eventually began changing positions from avoiding war to giving speeches claiming war was inevitable.

On the morning of 5 June, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 (IAF) struck Egyptian air fields, destroying much of the Egyptian Air Force. Before the day ended, Israeli armor had cut through Egyptian defense lines, capturing the town of el-Arish. According to Sadat, it was only when they captured el-Qantarah el-Sharqiyya, cutting off the Egyptian garrison at Sharm el-Sheikh, that Nasser became aware of the gravity of the situation. After hearing of the attack, he rushed to the army headquarters to inquire about the military situation. It was here that the simmering conflict between Nasser and Amer came into the open when, according to present officers, they burst into "a non-stop shouting match." Nasser accused Amer of giving unsatisfactory answers to his questions, while Amer asked Nasser for more time to launch a counterattack against the Israelis. The Supreme Executive Committee, set up by Nasser to oversee the conduct of the war, attributed the repeated Egyptian defeats to the Nasser-Amer rivalry and to Amer's overall incompetence. Despite the extent of Israel's quick military gains, for the first four days the general population in the Arab states believed the fabrications of Arab radio stations which claimed an Arab victory was near. On 8 June, Nasser appeared on television to inform Egypt's citizens of their country's defeat.

Resignation and aftermath



Israel had captured the entire Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 from Egypt, the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria by 10 June. The same day, Nasser announced his resignation on television, ceding all presidential powers to his then-vice president Zakaria Mohieddin
Zakaria Mohieddin
Zakaria Mohieddin was an Egyptian military officer, politician, Prime Minister of Egypt and head of the first Intelligence body in Egypt, the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate.-Overview:...

. Mohieddin had not been informed of this decision prior and resigned from his cabinet post in protest, rarely seeing Nasser again. No sooner was the statement broadcast, however, were tens of thousands of Arabs pouring into the streets in mass demonstrations throughout Egypt and across the Arab world rejecting his resignation. Many cried in open sympathy with Nasser's position. Demonstrators adopted the Cairo slogan "We are your soldiers, Gamal!" Upon these reactions, Nasser retracted his decision the next day. His popular support also allowed him to arrest a large number of army officers, but not Amer who was given a hero's welcome in his home village.
At the August 1967 Arab league summit
1967 Arab League summit
The 1967 Arab League summit was held on August 29 in Khartoum as the fourth Arab League Summit. The summit came in the aftermath of the Arab defeat to Israel in the Six-Day War and is famous for its Khartoum Resolution known as "The Three No's"; No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no...

 in Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

, Sudan, Nasser's usual commanding position was reduced as the attending heads of state expected King Faisal to lead. The two leaders agreed to establish a ceasefire in the Yemen War. Also established was the offering of financial subsidies to Egypt, Jordan, and Syria by Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

. The conclusion of the summit resulted in what became known as the "three nos
Khartoum Resolution
The Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967 was issued at the conclusion of an Arab League summit in the wake of the Six-Day War. The resolution, which formed a basis of the policies of these governments toward Israel until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, called for: a continued state of belligerency...

": no peace, no negotiation, and no recognition of Israel. Although they were still privately working against each other, Nasser and Faisal publicly rode through the streets of Khartoum in an open-top car with their hands clasped in a show of unity to please the crowds. The USSR soon resupplied the Egyptians with about half of their former arsenals and broke diplomatic relations with Israel. Following the war, Nasser had cut relations with the US and according to Aburish, Nasser's policy of "playing the superpowers against each other came to an end."

Upon returning to Cairo, Nasser soon had Amer, Sidqi, and nine other generals arbitrarily arrested due to both popular and governmental accusations that they were attempting to organize a military coup against him. Amer was arrested as he was leaving Nasser's home where he was invited for a "meeting." On 14 September, he committed suicide while in detention. According to Boghdadi, allegations from Amer's family that the government allowed him to commit suicide, were true. Despite having a part in arranging Amer's suicide, Nasser spoke of losing "the person closest to [him]," and did not fully recover from the psychological blow. In this brief period, Nasser moved toward creating a full dictatorship in Egypt by appointing himself the additional roles of prime minister and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

In November 1967, Nasser accepted UN Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council on November 22, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War. It was adopted under Chapter VIof the United Nations Charter...

 which ambiguously called for Israel's withdrawal from territories acquired in war. His supporters claimed the move was meant to gain time to prepare for another confrontation with Israel. Contrarily, his detractors in Egypt and the Arab world believed Nasser's acceptance of the resolution was a sign that he wanted to negotiate the Palestinian issue, removing it from the top of his agenda. While his traditional Arab enemies (Saudi Arabia and Jordan) still conspired to reduce his prominence or remove him altogether, Nasser maintained good relations with them following the Khartoum summit, partly because of financial dependence on Arab states of the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

. On the other hand, his traditional allies (Syria, Iraq, Algeria, and the PLO) opposed his recent moves and formed a "rejectionist front."

War of Attrition and later life


In January 1968, Nasser commenced the War of Attrition
War of Attrition
The international community and both countries attempted to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict. The Jarring Mission of the United Nations was supposed to ensure that the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 242 would be observed, but by late 1970 it was clear that this mission had been...

 against Israel, ordering his forces to begin harassing Israeli positions east of the now-blockaded Suez Canal. In the same month, he allowed the Soviets to construct naval facilities in Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

, Marsa Matruh
Marsa Matruh
Marsa Matrouh is a Mediterranean seaport and the capital of the Matrouh Governorate in Egypt. It is west of Alexandria and 222 km from Sallum, on the main highway from the Nile Delta to the Libyan border. Another highway leads south from the town, toward the Western Desert and the oases of...

, and Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. Then in March, Fatah under the leadership of Yasser Arafat
Yasser Arafat
Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini , popularly known as Yasser Arafat or by his kunya Abu Ammar , was a Palestinian leader and a Laureate of the Nobel Prize. He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization , President of the Palestinian National Authority...

, faced off with Israel in Jordan in what became known as the Battle of Karameh
Battle of Karameh
The Battle of Karameh was fought on March 21, 1968 in the town of Karameh, Jordan, between the Israel Defense Forces and combined forces of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Jordanian Army...

. The Jordanian Army eventually backed Fatah fighters forcing Israel to withdraw its troops without achieving its strategic goal—destruction of the Palestinian fedayeen base. The battle was thus seen as an Arab victory over Israel and Nasser immediately dispatched Mohammed Hassanein Heikal to invite Arafat to Cairo. There, Nasser offered the Fatah movement arms and financial support, but advised Arafat to think of peace with Israel and establishing a Palestinian state comprising the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

 and the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

; Nasser was effectively ceding his leadership of the "Palestine issue" to Arafat.
As the war against Israeli forces in the Sinai was underway, Israel retaliated by heavily bombing key Egyptian military and civilian infrastructure and causing a large exodus of Egyptians from the western bank of the Suez Canal, leading to a large influx of Egyptian refugees. As a result, Nasser ordered all military activities to cease, while embarking on a program to build a network of internal defenses. The war resumed in March 1969 and Nasser received the financial backing of the Gulf Arab states while the PLO spearheaded infiltrations into Israel from Lebanon and Jordan. In September 1969, Nasser suffered a heart attack; doctors warned him that if he did not stop his workaholic ways and refrain from smoking he would end up killing himself. In November, he brokered an agreement
Cairo agreement
The Cairo agreement or Cairo accord was an agreement reached on 2 November 1969 during talks between Yassir Arafat and the Lebanese army commander General Emile Bustani...

 between the PLO and the Lebanese military
Lebanese Armed Forces
The Lebanese Armed Forces or Forces Armées Libanaises in French, also known as the Lebanese Army according to its official Website The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) (Arabic: القوات المسلحة اللبنانية | Al-Quwwāt al-Musallaḥa al-Lubnāniyya) or Forces Armées Libanaises in French, also known as the...

 granting the Palestinians the right to use Lebanese territory to attack Israel. A month later, in December 1969, Nasser appointed Sadat and Hussein el-Shafei
Hussein el-Shafei
Hussein Mahmoud Hassan el-Shafei, , also known as Hussein el-Shafei , was a member of Egypt's July, 1952 revolutionary leadership council and served as vice-president under two former Egyptian presidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat...

, a former RCC comrade, as his vice presidents. By then, relations with his other RCC comrades, namely Khaled and Zakaria Mohieddin and former vice president Ali Sabri
Ali Sabri
Ali Sabri was an Egyptian politician of Turkish origin.He was one of the second row of 1952 revolution officers, he was the head of Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate from 1956 to 1957...

 had become strained.

In June 1970, Nasser with support from King Hussein accepted the US-sponsored Rogers Plan
Rogers plan
The Rogers Plan was a framework proposed by United States Secretary of State William P. Rogers to achieve an end to belligerence in the Arab-Israeli conflict following the Six-Day War and the continuing War of Attrition. The plan was publicly proposed in a December 9, 1969 speech at an Adult...

 which called for an end to hostilities and an Israeli withdrawal from Egyptian territory, but it was immediately rejected by Israel and the PLO, as well as most of the Arab states. Sadat advised against it. Nasser's confidants—Heikal and Abdel Magid Farid, among others—insisted Nasser's acceptance of the US peace plan was a strategic one aimed at exposing Israel's reluctance to negotiate with the Arabs. Nasser was also openly considering replacing Sadat with Boghdadi; he had since reconciled with the latter.

Meanwhile, in July 1970, King Hussein informed Nasser of his dissatisfaction with the PLO's behavior in Jordan. On 6 September, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine is a Palestinian Marxist-Leninist organisation founded in 1967. It has consistently been the second-largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization , the largest being Fatah...

 hijacked and blew up
Dawson's Field hijackings
In the Dawson's Field hijackings five jet aircraft bound for New York City were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine...

 four emptied international airplanes on Jordanian soil, despite protests from Nasser who issued condemnations against the hijackers. Ten days later, King Hussein sent in his army to rout out Palestinian guerrilla forces from the country in what became known as "Black September
Black September in Jordan
September 1970 is known as the Black September in Arab history and sometimes is referred to as the "era of regrettable events." It was a month when Hashemite King Hussein of Jordan moved to quash the militancy of Palestinian organizations and restore his monarchy's rule over the country. The...

". Escalations in violence brought the Middle East close to a wider war, prompting Nasser to hold an emergency Arab League summit
1970 Arab League summit
The 1970 Arab League summit was held on September 27 in Cairo, Egypt as an extraordinary Arab League Summit. The summit came in the aftermath of the bloody events of Black September in Jordan, and the clashes between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and King Hussein of Jordan...

 on 27 September. The attending heads of states launched verbal denunciations against each other, while Nasser pleaded with Arafat and Hussein to cease hostilities. At the end of the conference, he forged an agreement ending the conflict.

Death and funeral


On 28 September 1970, at the conclusion of the summit and hours after escorting Emir Sabah III of Kuwait
Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah
Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah, KCMG Emir of Kuwait from 1965 to 1977, and youngest son of Salim Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah. Sabah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah succeeded his half-brother Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah upon his death on November 24, 1965. He was the 12th ruler of the Al-Sabah dynasty of Kuwait,...

, the last Arab leader to depart, Nasser suffered a heart attack. He was immediately transported to his house and was pronounced dead soon after. His wife Tahia, Heikal and Sadat were present, the last reading the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 at his deathbed. Following the announcement of Nasser's death, Egypt and the Arab world were in a state of shock. However, it should be noted that Nasser was a heavy smoker. In addition it was not publicly known at the time that he had previously suffered two heart attacks. According to his doctor al-Sawi Habibi, Nasser's likely cause of death was arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis
Arteriosclerosis refers to a stiffening of arteries.Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening of medium or large arteries It should not be confused with "arteriolosclerosis" or "atherosclerosis".Also known by the name "myoconditis" which is...

, varicose lung
Varicose veins
Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and tortuous. The term commonly refers to the veins on the leg, although varicose veins can occur elsewhere. Veins have leaflet valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards . Leg muscles pump the veins to return blood to the heart, against the...

s, and diabetic complications. There was also a history of heart disease in his family; two of his brothers died in their 50s from the same condition.

His funeral procession through Cairo, on 1 October, was attended by at least five million mourners. The 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) procession to his burial site began at the RCC headquarters with MiG-21 jet fighters flying overhead. His flag-draped coffin was attached to a gun carriage pulled by six horses and led by a column of cavalrymen. All Arab heads of state attended. King Hussein of Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and PLO leader Yasser Arafat cried openly while Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 of Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 reportedly fainted twice. Although no major Western dignitaries were present, Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin showed up. Almost immediately after the procession began, mourners had engulfed Nasser's coffin shouting "There is no God but Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

, and Nasser is God's beloved... Each of us is Nasser." Police unsuccessfully attempted to quell the crowds and as a result, most of the foreign dignitaries surrounding his coffin—including Kosygin, Hussein, French premier Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Jacques Chaban-Delmas
Jacques Chaban-Delmas was a French Gaullist politician. He served as Prime Minister under Georges Pompidou from 1969 to 1972. In addition, for almost half a century, he was Mayor of Bordeaux and a deputy for the Gironde département....

, and Haile Selassie of Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

—were evacuated. The final destination was the Nasr Mosque, renamed Abdel Nasser Mosque, where Nasser was buried.

Because of his ability to motivate nationalistic passions, "men, women and children wept and wailed in the streets" after hearing of his death. The general Arab reaction was one of mourning, with thousands of people pouring onto the streets of major cities throughout the Arab world. Over a dozen people were killed in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 as a result of the chaos and in Jerusalem, roughly 75,000 Arabs marched through the Old City chanting "Nasser will never die." As a testament to his unchallenged leadership of the Arab people, following his death, a Beirut-based newspaper stated, "One hundred million human beings—the Arabs—are orphans." Sherrif Hatatta, an Egyptian political activist who was imprisoned by Nasser for four years, claimed that "Nasser's greatest achievement was his funeral. The world will never again see five million people crying together."

Legacy


Nasser's legacy is much debated today. To his sympathizers, he was a leader who reformed his country and re-established Arab pride both inside and outside of it. They testify that under him, Egyptians enjoyed unprecedented access to housing, education, health services, and nourishment as well as other forms of social welfare. Nasser is credited for severely curtailing British influence in Egypt, elevating it to upper world circles, and reforming the country's economy through agrarian reform
Agrarian reform
Agrarian reform can refer either, narrowly, to government-initiated or government-backed redistribution of agricultural land or, broadly, to an overall redirection of the agrarian system of the country, which often includes land reform measures. Agrarian reform can include credit measures,...

, major modernization projects such as Helwan and the Aswan High Dam, and various nationalization schemes. While Nasser was president, Egypt experienced a cultural boom, particularly in theater, film, literature, and music. Nasser's Egypt dominated the Arab world in these fields, producing singers such as Umm Kulthum and Mohammed Abdel Wahab
Mohammed Abdel Wahab
Mohammed Abdel Wahab , also transliterated Mohammed Abd el-Wahaab was a prominent 20th-century Arab Egyptian singer and composer...

, literary figures such as Naguib Mahfouz
Naguib Mahfouz
Naguib Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism. He published over 50 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie...

 and Tawfiq el-Hakim, and producing over 100 films a year compared to just more than a dozen in recent years. Time magazine stated that despite his mistakes and shortcoming, Nasser "imparted a sense of personal worth and national pride that they [Egypt and the Arabs] had not known for 400 years. This alone may have been enough to balance his flaws and failures." Until the present day, he serves as an iconic figure throughout the Arab world.

Influence


One of his most noted speeches was in Cairo on 9 July 1960 where he outlined the concept of "the Three Revolutions", in which Zionism
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 was the main enemy. In order to be successful, a permanent climate of revolution had to be maintained until the accomplished goal. The first revolution was the overthrow of colonialism
Colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

, the second the defeat of division and false frontiers created by outsiders in society, and the third to create honorable living for every person.

Through his speeches and his actions, and because he was able to symbolize the popular Arab will, Nasser inspired several nationalist revolutions in the Arab world. Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 who overthrew the monarchy of Idris I
Idris I
Idris I was the first ruler and founder of the Idrisid Dynasty, ruling from 788 to 791 AD. He is credited with founding the dynasty that was instrumental in the early Islamization of Morocco.-History:...

 in Libya in 1969, considered Nasser his hero and after his death, sought to succeed him as the "leader of the Arabs." Ahmed Ben Bella
Ahmed Ben Bella
Mohamed Ahmed Ben Bella was a soldier and Algerian revolutionary, who became the first President of Algeria.-Youth:...

 who led Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

 to gain independence from France in 1962 was a staunch Nasserist and held him in great esteem. Abdullah as-Sallal
Abdullah as-Sallal
Abdullah al-Sallal was the leader of the North Yemeni Revolution of 1962. He served as the first President of the Yemen Arab Republic from 27 September 1962 to 5 November 1967....

 drove out the king of North Yemen
North Yemen
North Yemen is a term currently used to designate the Yemen Arab Republic , its predecessor, the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen , and their predecessors that exercised sovereignty over the territory that is now the north-western part of the state of Yemen in southern Arabia.Neither state ever...

 in the name of Nasser's pan-Arabism. Other Arab nationalist-led coups influenced by Nasser included those that occurred in Iraq in July 1958 and Syria in 1963. They were led by Abdel Salam Aref and Luai al-Atassi
Luai al-Atassi
Luai al-Atassi was a Syrian military leader and Head of State . He was born in Homs to a politically prominent family, and studied at the Military Academy in that city. He fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and rose to become chief of Military Protocol under his kinsman, President Hashim...

, respectively. Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 was profoundly influenced by Nasser and lived in Cairo during Nasser's rule. All were strong supporters of the Egyptian president and advocated pan-Arab unity. George Habash
George Habash
George Habash also known by his laqab "al-Hakim" was a Palestinian nationalist. Habash, a Palestinian Christian, founded the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which pioneered the hijacking of airplanes as a Middle East militant tactic...

, founder and secretary-general of the Arab Nationalist Movement
Arab Nationalist Movement
The Arab Nationalist Movement , also known as the Movement of Arab Nationalists and the Harakiyyin, was a pan-Arab nationalist organization influential in much of the Arab world, most famously so within the Palestinian movement.-Origins & Ideology:The Arab Nationalist Movement had its origins in a...

, embraced Nasser's ideas and helped spread them throughout the Arab world, particularly among the Palestinians. "Nizar Kabbani
Nizar Qabbani
Nizar Tawfiq Qabbani was a Syrian diplomat, poet and publisher. His poetic style combines simplicity and elegance in exploring themes of love, eroticism, feminism, religion, and Arab nationalism...

, perhaps the Arab world's most renowned modern poet, described him as `the last prophet`, and the scale of popular veneration for him in Egypt, or the wider Arab world, is "arguably greater than that of any other political leader since the prophet Muhammed," according to one source (Tarek Osman.)
He was a recipient of the Hero of the Soviet Union
Hero of the Soviet Union
The title Hero of the Soviet Union was the highest distinction in the Soviet Union, awarded personally or collectively for heroic feats in service to the Soviet state and society.-Overview:...

 title.

During the 2011 protests in the Arab world (which resulted in a revolution in Egypt), photographs of Nasser were raised throughout Cairo and Arab capitals by protesters and their supporters. Lamis Andoni, a Palestinian-American journalist, described the scenes as "reminiscent of those that swept the Arab streets in the 1950s and 1960s." Although protesters are not specifically invoking pan-Arab nationalism, Nasser had become a "symbol of Arab dignity" during the mass demonstrations.

Criticism


Criticism of Nasser developed the late 1970s. Opponents of Nasser in Egypt accuse him of being a dictator who committed numerous human rights violations, thwarted democratic progress, and led a repressive administration that imprisoned thousands of Egyptians who opposed him, including Communists and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian author Tawfiq al-Hakim, described Nasser a "confused Sultan" who pursued grand but ultimately empty dreams; a man of stirring rhetoric, but no real plan of action.
Western political scientists claim his largely charismatic and direct relationship with the Egyptian people "rendered intermediary organizations and individuals unnecessary." Therefore, because of Nasser's failure to create institutions, Egypt returned to the unstable political state it was in before his coming to power. Author Mark Cooper states Nasser's legacy was a "guarantee of instability." Nasser's failure to democratize Egypt was a major rallying point for his opponents, although his supporters argue that he attempted to lay the groundwork for democracy through various liberalization reforms. Ultimately, Nasser's efforts failed in this respect, and hope for democracy remained virtually absent in Egypt until the people-led Egyptian revolution of 2011.

Sultan of Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, Qaboos bin Said al Said  criticized Gamal Abdel Nasser and his pan arab ideology in private discussions with American officials which were released by Wikileaks. He claimed Nasser deliberately used inflamatory speeches and rhetoric to make his people stupid, and accused Nasser of having "set the region back", holding a position of "anti-everything". Qaboos also concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

 obtained support from the uneducated people.

Comparison with Sadat


Vice President Anwar El-Sadat, who had been Interim President following Nasser's death, was officially elected as President on 5 October. Sadat had been a close confidant of Nasser and a senior member of the Free Officers movement that led the Revolution of 1952. Aware of the Egyptian people's strong political and emotional attachment to Nasser's memory, and the ideals of the Revolution, Sadat declared in his inauguration speech before the National Assembly on 7 October 1970, "I have come to you along the path of Gamal Abdel Nasser and I believe that your nomination of me to assume the responsibility of the Presidency is a nomination for me to continue the path of Nasser".

However, while ostensibly maintaining many of the general themes of Nasserism
Nasserism
Nasserism is an Arab nationalist political ideology based on the thinking of the former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. It was a major influence on pan-Arab politics in the 1950s and 1960s, and continues to have significant resonance throughout the Arab World to this day. It also...

, Sadat instituted political, economic, and foreign policies that exhibited significant departures from the Nasser era. One such policy was a substantially more limited advocacy of Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism
Arab nationalism is a nationalist ideology celebrating the glories of Arab civilization, the language and literature of the Arabs, calling for rejuvenation and political union in the Arab world...

 and a re-examination of the conflict with Israel that prioritized the liberation of Egyptian territory conquered by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967 (namely the Sinai Peninsula
Sinai Peninsula
The Sinai Peninsula or Sinai is a triangular peninsula in Egypt about in area. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia as opposed to Africa, effectively serving as a land bridge between two...

), rather than the wider, and far more challenging goal, of Palestinian liberation.

Following the October War of 1973, Sadat's domestic position improved immeasurably. He felt far more empowered to move out of Nasser's shadow. As such, his departure from Nasserist policies became far more pronounced and far reaching. This angered a large segment of Egyptian society who saw the attempt as an assault on their national memory and political views. According to Egyptian journalists Hani Shukrallah and Hosny Guindy, because of the campaign, until modern times, "Half the country [Egypt]... is at war with Abdel-Nasser, half with Anwar El-Sadat."

Portrayal in film


Nasser has been portrayed in a number of films. While Nasser was president, in 1963, Egyptian director Youssef Chahine
Youssef Chahine
Youssef Chahine was an Egyptian film director active in the Egyptian film industry since 1950. He was credited with launching the career of actor Omar Sharif...

 produced the film El Nasser Salah El Dine
Al Nasser Salah Ad-Din (film)
Al Nasser Salah Ad-Din الناصر صلاح الدين is a movie that was released in 1963, written by Youssef El Sebai, based on the novel by Naguib Mahfouz directed by Youssef Chahine, and starring Ahmed Mazhar as Saladin, Salah Zulfikar, Mohamed Abdel Gawad, Tewfik El Dekn, Omar El-Hariri, Mahmoud...

("Saladin The Victorious.") The film intentionally drew parallels between Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

, a hero in the Arab world, with Nasser and his pan-Arabist policies. Praised by critics as "perhaps the most important epic film in Arab cinema," it has also been regarded as propaganda sponsored by Nasser's government. Nasser is played by Ahmed Zaki in Mohamed Fadel's 1996 Nasser 56. The film, which has broken every Egyptian box-office record, centered on Nasser during the 1956 Suez Crisis. It is also considered a milestone in Egyptian and Arab cinema
Arab cinema
Arab cinema refers to the cinema of the Arab world.-Overview:There is increased interest in films originating in the Arab world. For example, films from Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Tunisia are making wider and more frequent rounds than ever before in local film...

 as it was the first film to dramatize the role of a modern-day Arab leader.

See also

  • List of Presidents of Egypt
  • List of Prime Ministers of Egypt
  • Nasser era
    Nasser era
    Nasser era refers to the period of Egyptian history spanning from the 1952 Revolution, through the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser to his death in 1970. Nasser was the first Egyptian ruler of Egypt in over 2000 years and his rule heralded a new period of modernization, and socialist reform in...


Writings


Nasser wrote a number of books during his lifetime, including the following:
  • Memoirs of the First Palestine War (published 1955)
    • “Memoirs of the First Palestine War”, in 2, no. 2 (Win. 73): 3–32 (First English translation, 1973, pdf-file, downloadable, from Journal of Palestine Studies
      Journal of Palestine Studies
      The Journal of Palestine Studies is an academic journal established in 1971. It is published and distributed by University of California Press on behalf of the Institute for Palestine Studies. The current editor is Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University....

      )
  • Egypt's Liberation The Philosophy of the Revolution (published 1955)
  • Towards freedom (published 1959)

External links



Official website An archive of speeches, pictures and documents related to Nasser