The Suez crisis for Britain was shattering. Having lost most of its empire following the Second World War, and having been driven from Palestine in 1948, Britain regarded Egypt and its Suez Canal as a pivotal element in its foreign policy and prestige. First, the U.K. had decided to retreat from Suez as a base of British military operations when Colonel Gamel Abdel Nasser engineered a coup d'etat to depose the monarchy in 1952. By 1954, Nasser had emerged as the new leader of Egypt. In 1956, Nasser nationalized the canal, a major shipping thoroughfare, particularly important in bringing Persian Gulf oil to Europe. The canal had been owned by British and French companies; the seizure, however, was even more important as a symbol of a declining Britain, which had long dominated Egypt's foreign policy. In league with Israel and France, Britain attempted to regain the canal by force, a clumsy venture that was reversed by worldwide public opinion, Soviet threats, and the disapproval of President Eisenhower. The Suez crisis drove Anthony Eden from power. Most important for Cyprus, it inflated the island's value in the eyes of beleaguered English conservatives, and made them all the more determined not to give Cyprus its independence.
˜ ˜ ˜ ˜