Jamal Abdulnasser and the Egyptian Revolution
- Thesis: The Egyptian Revolution was the result of tenacious planning and execution of strategies by Jamal Abdelnasser and the Free Officers Movement leaders including Muhammad Naguib and Abdel Hakim Amer who exploited key opportunities and seized the momentum to overthrow the monarchy.
- Evidence 1 The monarchical system of governance was increasingly becoming a political and economic burden to the citizens of Egypt.
- There was growing disquiet amongst Egyptians especially the poor and soldiers led by Abdelnasser on the excesses of the monarchy. The soldiers formed a group; the Free Officers led by Generals Nasser and Muhammad Naguib, and recruited junior officers to execute a successful coup d’etat against King Farouk.
- The inaction of the monarch’s foreign allies including the United States, United Kingdom and the Soviet buoyed Jamal Abdulnasser and his group of Free Officers, where he was the chairman, to organize and successfully stage a coup.
- Evidence 2 Abdulnasser built on the momentum of the popularity of Syrian revolution he had witnessed while he was on a diplomatic duty abroad
- He formed the secret Association of Free Officers group immediately after arriving in Egypt from diplomatic duty to witness the 1949 signing of the Armistice Agreements. Syria, where a successful popular revolution had just occurred, was one of the parties to the treaty.
- He used the populist approach used in Syria and united Egyptians under his cause by propagating Egyptian and Arab identity and anti-imperialism ideologies which resonated with many Egyptians including army officers. He ignited a strong dissent for colonialism and imperialism led by the British and perpetuated by the monarch led by King Farouk.
- Evidence 3 General Nasser took advantage of the failure by the country’s leadership to form a stable government and a propaganda machine run by domestic and international allies including the United States through its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Soviet Union through KGB to propagate his ideologies to organize a successful revolution.
- The ubiquitous and runaway corruption destabilized the government as three successive leaders appointed by King Farouk failed to bring respite for the monarchy and the imperial system. These failures and the glaring corruption and lavish lifestyle of the monarch led to increased disquiet in the country and most significantly, amongst the army officers.
- The defeat by Israel during the 1948 Arab- Israel War painted the country’s leadership as weak and corrupt as the country handed over territories such as Faluja which a battalion led by Nasser had won during the war despite the unpreparedness of his infantrymen.
- The Soviet Union’s secret service KGB and United States’ CIA actively participated in spreading propaganda and tarnishing the monarch as corrupt, weak and a colonial puppet of the British.
- Evidence 4 Abdulnasser took advantage of the self-destruct approach taken by the government to organize and execute a successful and popular revolution
- King Farouk’s government failed to effectively deal with Fedayeen forces which had attacked British forces, his ally, in 1952 over the controversial ownership of the Suez Canal. This isolated and weakened the King and exposed it to Nasser’s mechanisations.
- The government failed to deal with discontent and disquiet in the country especially amongst the military officers. Nasser secretly formed a group under the noses of the government officials with minimal detection with the support of the CIA and the KGB. This showed a lack of effective intelligence services by the government and a dangerous precedent which led to King Farouk’s downfall.
- Aburish, Said K. Nasser, the Last Arab. New York City: St. Martin’s Press, 2004.
- Goldschmidt, Arthur Jnr. A Brief History of Egypt. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2008.
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