chapter  4
French attempts to pacify Nasser
Pages 19

Israel’s willingness to confront France concerning the Renault affair, even at the expense of enraging the French Foreign Minister, must be understood within the political circumstances of the period, particularly the West’s courting of Nasser. During the summer of 1958 a revolution in Iraq brought about the fall of King Faisal, Britain’s ally. Initially, the West perceived Egypt as leading the Iraqi revolution in a rst step towards bringing Iraq into the United Arab Republic (the union between Egypt and Syria). However it quickly became clear that the new government in Baghdad was determined to maintain its independence and viewed Nasser as an enemy rather than an ally (Ashton 1996, 190).1 In order to contend with the pan-Arab oriented opposition that supported Nasser, the Iraqi government joined with the Communist party, acquiring the support and patronage of the Soviet Union. Thus Egypt found itself in conict with the USSR, and a public exchange of accusations swiftly ensued.2