chapter  14
24 Pages

Egypt and the Fertile Crescent Under European Control

WithArthur Goldschmidt, Aomar Boum

Egypt, Iraq, and Syria all chafed under European imperialism. When World War I ended and the victorious Allies met in Paris to determine the fate of their defeated foes, both the Egyptian people and the Fertile Crescent Arabs thought they would soon become independent. For more than a century Egypt has loomed large in any discussion of Middle East politics, whether the country was acting or acted upon. Between 1945 and 1951 Egypt experienced much unrest, but no revolution. Britain no longer intervened in Egypt's domestic politics. In Egypt, the British granted "complete independence" in 1922 but maintained their troops' presence in the Suez Canal Zone, Cairo, and Alexandria. Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany provided models more attractive to Egyptians disillusioned with liberal democracy, and a right-wing authoritarian party, Young Egypt, arose. Egypt emerged from World War II as the leading country in the Arab world.