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Gamal Abdel-nasser

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Post 08 Sep 2010, 23:39

Gamal Abdel Nasser (Gamal Abd El-Nasser) led Egypt to secular independence in the 1950s and held the office of president from 1956 until his death in 1970. Nasser was an army officer who led the military Junta that deposed Egypt's King Farouk in 1952. By the end of 1954 Nasser had replaced titular leader General Mohammed Neguib as president. Nasser is remembered for his ambitious attempt to modernize Egypt and create a secular Arab empire in northern Africa and the Middle East. He promoted the construction of the Aswan High Dam (completed the year he died) and challenged British, French and Israeli forces for control of the Suez canal, nationalizing the canal in 1956. Nasser had a knack for turning military failure into political victory -- defeated by Israel in 1956 in the Sinai Peninsula and humiliated in 1967's Six Day War (June 5-11), he nonetheless emerged a hero in the Arab world and a player in the uneasy relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He died in office in 1970 and was succeeded by Anwar Sadat.


From 1958, Egypt relied increasingly upon Soviet military and economic aid. This ended Egypt's non-aligned policy and she became the principal Soviet client state in the Middle Eastern Cold War. In the name of Arab socialism, Nasser carried out a domestic programme of extensive nationalization, income redistribution, subsidies on basic goods, and a reduction of rent, fares, and educational fees, in 1961. Nasser's post-Suez ascendancy lay chiefly in the wider Arab world, however. He inspired the pan-Arab union of Syria and Egypt, the United Arab Republic, in 1958, which lasted until 1961. Nasser sought the overthrow of Arab monarchies and the vestiges of European rule in the Arab world, by aiding revolutionary nationalist groups, as in Algeria, North Yemen, and Oman, and by supporting radical nationalist governments, like those of Nabulsi in Jordan and Qadhafi in Libya. Nasser sponsored and sought to direct the Palestinian guerrilla groups al-Fatah in 1956 and the PLO in 1964. As Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan moved towards war with Israel, Israel destroyed the airforces of all four countries in pre-emptive airstrikes in June 1967. This enabled Israeli ground forces to win a rapid and crushing military victory in six days that destroyed Nasser's dreams of uniting the Arabs and annihilating Israel.

-Nasser initiated the Liberation Organization in 1953, the National Union in May 1957, and the Socialist Union in 1962.

- He supported the national liberation movements in Africa and the Arab countries.

- He wrote a book entitled “The Revolution’s Philosophy”.

- President Gamal Abdel Nasser died on September 28th, 1970.

What you Think of Gamal Abdel-nasser ?
Post 15 Sep 2010, 04:34
A fascist dictator.
Post 15 Sep 2010, 05:27
I always wonder how the balance of power in the Middle-East would have ended up had Egypt's intervention in the Yemeni Civil War on the side of the Republicans had been successful. I like to think had it been successful Egypt could have gone on to help Arabs in the surrounding monarchies in the Peninsula overthrow their puppet-kings.

While I've generally had problems with the forms Arab nationalism had taken, Nasser had one thing that the contemporary Arab nationalists don't- he was a competent and strong leader. Though the Communist movement was utterly crushed in Egypt.
Post 15 Sep 2010, 06:26
Political Interest wrote:
A fascist dictator.

That's a pretty strong position. Care to elaborate?

I view Nasser as a positive figure -instrumental in the destruction of the vestiges of colonialism in Egypt, confronting Israel, trying to build a just society. Most importantly, he and his progressive allies and sympathizers fought the conservative and reactionary regimes in the Arab world, chief among them Saudi Arabia. While many liberals and right wingers talk about how terrible Islamic fundamentalism is, they forget that western governments have consistently and systematically fought against the people, ideas and regimes that have sought to transform the Arab world. Nasser, I think, is the personification of that struggle.
Post 15 Sep 2010, 06:42
I agree that, within the context of the Muslim world, Nasser was (and remains) one of its foremost progressive figures. Only Nasser could have emerged unscathed from the calamity of 1967. It also says something for the USSR as a counterweight to imperialist ambition that the US and Israel made no bid to remove Nasser, as they did Saddam. Some believe Nasser's most prominent disciple is Gaddafi of Libya.
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