CUTTING THE LION'S TAIL: Suez Through Egyptian Eyes by Mohamed H. Heikal

CUTTING THE LION'S TAIL: Suez Through Egyptian Eyes

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An insider's measured but vivid appraisal of Suez, which puts this 1956 crisis in joltingly fresh perspective. The doctrine that victors' spoils include the privilege of presenting their version of history seems not to apply to Third World triumphs. Western accounts of the abortive Anglo-French-Israeli campaign to recapture the Suez Canal, which had been nationalized by Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser, afford a case in point. By way of example, Robert Rhodes James offers a lengthy apologia of the British position in Anthony Eden: A Biography (p. 774). Now, well-connected journalist Heikal--Autumn of Fury (1983), The Sphinx and the Commissar (1979), et al.--tells Egypt's side of the story in largely persuasive detail. A confidant of Nasser and other key figures, he was privy to the dramatic events surrounding the battle for control of the strategic waterway, which culminated in a UN-administered ceasefire. Having documented the circumstances of the intervention, Heikal concludes Suez was more than a last gasp of the British Empire. In his view, the potentially explosive confrontation--eventually defused by President Dwight D. Eisenhower's resolute opposition--was but one step in an ongoing post-WW II process whereby the US has sought to supplant the ancien rÉgime's imperialism with a new form of hegemony. But, he observes, Washington has yet to achieve effective control in the volatile Mideast, owing mainly to the de facto partnership that gives Israel ""a veto over policy"" and a consistent inability to credit either the strength or the resilience of Arab nationalism. A provocative appreciation that provides insights as well as intelligence. The text includes 12 pages of contemporary photographs and political cartoons.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1987
Publisher: Arbor House