chapter  8
Pages 6

Arab nationalism has been a constant theme throughout this study, for it was the force that corroded the structure of the British empire from within. It is worth remembering that during the interwar years Egypt critically shifted from traditional – and West-friendly – values to the adoption of more militant and pan-Arabic models, which gradually reshaped its national identity and brought it right to the heart of the Arab world. As Italy’s ambitions to replace Britain as the leading colonial power in the Middle East began to emerge, the gap between the Fascist authorities and Egyptian militant nationalist groups – who had initially been inclined to ‘identify with Mussolini, the enemy of the British enemy’ – became unbridgeable.1