The last British troops left their Suez Canal base on 13 June 1956 in accordance with the 1954 British–Egyptian agreement. Within six weeks, however, Suez was once again the point where worlds intersected: Israel, Egypt, the Arab world, Western Europe, the USA, the Soviet Union. The origin, course and conclusion of the crisis revealed much about the mindset and preoccupations of the participants. The youthful Nasser had returned from Bandung feeling that the world was ripe for change. The ‘non-aligned’ world might not, as yet, itself be adequately internally aligned, but it gave him some potential leverage. He gained wisdom from Marshal Tito in discussions on an Adriatic island. He knew something about the balancing act required of those who inhabited the ‘in-between’ world. Both Washington and Moscow wanted friends. The trick was to accept their offers without slipping into subordination. Egypt’s bid for meaningful independence needed to be taken a stage further.
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