T he refusal to employ Zobeir, coupled with the siege of Khartoum, brought the Sudan question into a new phase. It became evident, even to the most casual observer, that without assistance Gordon could not stem the tide which had set in against him. Egyptian troops were obviously unequal to the task. This meant that British forces were required. But the work carved out for them was not merely the evacuation of beleaguered Egyptian garrisons. Upon them devolved the responsibility of rescuing Gordon and Stewart.