Prof. Scott Lucas

www.libertas.bham.ac.uk                                                                                                                                                                                           

I was heartened to read, in his introduction to this volume, Simon Smith’s invocation of “the interconnections between the regional and the international contexts” of Suez. I have to declare that, in part, this is because of self-interest. Almost 20 years ago, as I was pursuing my doctoral research, I recognised the “patterns within the region” of the crisis but, seduced perhaps by the drama of the great/flawed man narrative (and the possibility of boosting book sales), I later emphasized “the power of a single, well-place person to change the course of history”.2 In light of these essays, I am happy to recant. The Canal Zone is no longer just a space which one fills with narratives of British failure (be it valiant or perfidious), American manoeuvring (be it moral or sinister), and French and Israeli intrigue; Nasser is no longer written in two dimensions acting as Soviet puppet or Arab demagogue. Indeed, the tale is well beyond Egyptian and Israeli borders; the Suez Crisis only took its shape because of the interests and actions of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and other countries beyond the Middle East.

 

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