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Suez Crisis

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Suez Crisis


The Suez Crisis marks major shift in the power relations of western Europe, signalling the rising importance of cold war politics in international crises, The Crisis has a big impact on Canada and our peace keeping ability's.Lester Pearson's idea to stop the crisis hepls show that we are a peacefull nation.

Firstly, The Suez Crisis began on 26 July 1956, when United States' decision to withdraw its offer of a grant to aid the construction of Egypt's Aswan High Dam, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.(1) The governments of Britain and France secretly began planning for an invasion of Egypt. Israel soon was doing its own invasion planning, completing its final plan on 5 October. After several international mediation efforts had failed, Britain and France agreed in mid-October 1956 to undertake a joint intervention in Egypt. Aware of the upcoming Israeli plan to invade the Sinai, French officials suggested that a France-British force could enter Egypt and separate the combatants, while actually seizing control of the entire Suez waterway.(2) On 26 October, the United States learned of Israel's military mobilization, and President Dwight Eisenhower sent the first of two personal messages to Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion asking that Israel do nothing to endanger the peace. In the Mediterranean on the 28th, the U.S. Sixth Fleet was placed on alert.(3) Undeterred by U.S. diplomatic maneuvering, Israeli forces began attacks in Egypt on 29 October.The canal had many useful reason like trading, and to to have Nassar take control of stopped any other country from trading with country's like Isreal and this also stopped isreal from exporting their goods. No one predicted Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal on July 26,1956.(4) Four interconnected events prepared the way for Nasser's greatest moment: the Evacuation Treaty of 1954, the Baghdad Pact, the Czech arms deal, and the Aswan Dam negotiations. Nasser began a diplomatic campaign to restore Egyptian dignity and get the British out of Egypt. The British planned to create a Middle Eastern collective security organization similar to that of NATO and SEATO to protect their interests in the region. The US supported the idea but would not consider joining any such agreement. The President traveled to Egypt in 1953, because be believed Britain should consider Egypt for the base of the organization.(5) He quickly realized that neither Nasser nor his people would ever consent to such a deal.Nasser wanted nothing to do with Britain.

Secondly, On October 29,1956, Israel attacked Egypt.(6) The following day Britain and France told both sides to immediately stop the fighting. The actual words of the letters said that French and British troops would be landing whether or not the fighting stopped. Everyone from Cairo to Washington saw through this poorly concealed ploy and the collusion that had occurred. Dulles and Eisenhower met immediately and decided to take the initiative.(7) They first brought action to the Security Council and when that failed, they took their case to the General Assembly of the UN. The timing of the invasion could not have been worse for the US because they were in the middle of an election and the states really couldn't help out either side until the president was picked. The upcoming presidential election meant that the president had to do somethiing fast inorder to stop the fighting . the president had to comment on the situation.(8) Nasser responded with shock, repulsion, and anger. Nasser closed down the Canal, cutting the invasion force off from the oil needed to continue the operation for any extended period. The Egyptian people decisively rallied around their leader millions joined on to resist the invasion. Iraq refused to sit with the British and severed ties with the French.(9) Nasser with encouragement and cut the pipeline running from the Gulf to the Mediterranean. Juring this time Nasser had been secrectly talking with russia and was asking for help if they needed it.Britian and France knew about russias involement but Russia had been quiet during the Crisis. Russia sent letters to London and Paris threatening "rocket attacks" if the invasion did not end. US and UN pressure made the cease-fire agreement .(10) The US position had been made clear. By doing nothing really yet appearing to seriously threaten the West, Russia stepped into the now gaping power vacuum that was the Middle East. Both during and after the Crisis, Nasser built up the Soviet role. This opened the door for a counter-balance to the US in the region , which was exactly what both Nasser and the Soviets wanted.(11)

Thirdly, The Canadian government's response, surprised Great Britain, which they had hoped for Canadian backing at this point. St. Laurent then asked his Secretary of State for External Affairs, Lester B. Pearson, to solve the crisis. Behind the scenes, a great number of strings began to be pulled.(12) On November 4, Pearson, assisted by his UN colleagues, suggested sending an international force to supervise the cessation of fighting. This force, which would include Canada, would be under Canadian command. The General Assembly of the United Nations accepted this proposal, as did the Egyptains, who were coming under pressure from the international community, especially from the United States and the USSR.(13) Around mid-November, the emergency task troops arrived in the Suez Canal Zone. A few days later, the occupying troops began to move out, and negotiations started with a view to ending the crisis. Although Pearson was congratulated on his action by representatives from other countries, and in particular by the United Kingdom, a pro-British segment of the English-Canadian electorate was highly indignant.(14) They believed that Canada should have shown more support for Great Britain, arguing that Britain's actions had been taken to preserve its honour and position in the world economy. Pearson received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, for his action during the crisis.(15)

In conclusion, the Suez Crisis marked a a major turning point in the way that people thought about the Canadian government and the way we handle ourselfs when I comes to making peace.Lester pearson was part of this reason and he was recoginized for it .

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