File Photo: In 1956, the late president Gamal Abdel-Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal and henceforth it has been run by Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority. (Ahram)
CAIRO – 27 July 2022: The Suez Crisis began when Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, which was under the control of Britain and France, on July 26, 1956.
The construction of the Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean and the Red Sea through Egypt, was completed by French engineers in 1869. For 87 years, it remained largely under British and French control. Europe has relied on it as an inexpensive shipping route for oil from the Middle East, according to History.
After World War II, Egypt lobbied for the evacuation of British forces from the Suez Canal area. In July 1956, President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the canal, hoping to impose fees on the construction of a huge dam on the Nile River.
In response, Israel invaded in late October, and British and French forces landed in early November, occupying the Canal Zone.
Under pressure from the Soviets, the United States, and the United Nations, Britain and France withdrew in December, and Israeli forces left in March 1957. In that month, Egypt took control of the canal and reopened it to commercial shipping.
Ten years later, Egypt closed the canal again after the Six-Day War and Israel's occupation of the Sinai Peninsula. For the next eight years, the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai Peninsula from the rest of Egypt, served as the front line between the Egyptian and Israeli armies.
In 1975, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat reopened the Suez Canal as a peace gesture after talks with Israel.