chapter  5
24 Pages

Britain’s Slow March to Suez

For Britain in the Middle East, 1956 was a year of paradox. It began with the new pro-Zionist Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, mounting an attack against Anthony Eden, the Conservative prime minister, for allowing British arms to be delivered to Egypt after it had received massive supplies from the Soviet bloc, and with Britain and France openly at daggers drawn over their policies in the Middle East. British service chiefs were planning for the uncomfortable possibility of war alone against Israel in defence of Jordan,1 while joint British and US studies were going ahead for action against either Israel or Egypt, whichever should be the aggressor.2