A Place In the Sun
September 9, 1956 — The Cedar Rapids Gazette
Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) was characterized most harshly in Iowa’s Cedar Rapids Gazette editorial page.
In one paragraph they compared Nasser to Mossadegh in Iran, falsely stating, among other things, that Mossadegh had been “killed” by angry Iranians (Mossadegh was still alive at the time). After a reader wrote in to correct them they admitted their error. Mostly.
Nasser Asks for Trouble
As has so often been the case in recent history, the entire world is sitting on the powder keg of a war because of a new demagogue. Egyptian President Nasser’s ambitions to be Middle Eastern strongman, his lust for power, his mania to make a place for himself in the sun—all of this under the disguise of nationalism—will most likely end by creating a grim burden for the Arab world.
It is almost impossible to determine, from one day to the next, just what is happening with negotiations on the Suez Canal. One day Nasser seems amiable. The next he is listening to Communist counsel and is dogmatically refusing to compromise on control of the canal.
Despite whatever aid he can gain from Moscow, that latter policy is most foolish, most likely to lead to his own demise and possibly to the demise of his country.
A refusal to compromise on operation of the canal could push Western nations, primarily Britain and France, into taking military action to assure the Suez will stay open to traffic traffic—traffic vital to their economies. Even if Egypt could counter such action for a time with the help of Communist arms, the cost of such a war would be terrible, not only in loss of human lives but also in the destruction of Egyptian property—and this at a time when the new nation is just beginning to get its head above water.
Actually, if Western nations can hold their tempers, it will not be necessary to take military measures to defeat Nasser. An economic blockade ot Egypt could, in time, accomplish that. Without trade or outside source of income, the young nation cannot survive long before reaching bankruptcy, and the nationalist fire which the Egyptian president has stirred up his people is likely to simmer down quickly amid empty pay envelopes and barren dinner tables.
This happened a few years ago in Iran, where the angry populace ousted and killed former Premier Mossadegh, who also had listened to some Communist advisers. [Three falsehoods in a single sentence!]
Even if Nasser continued his refusal to compromise and somehow managed to survive economic and military measures of the West, his lot would not be that of glorious leader. Communist aid he would have to rely on is certain to carry the price of Soviet puppetry.
As a demagogue, Nasser will make a handsome puppet for Moscow, which will then be able to cripple Western defense by dictating the operation of the Suez Canal and its oil traffic.
But how Egypt or any other Middle Eastern nation could gain from that seems to be a forgotten question as Nasser’s lust for power blacks out realities.
Mossadegh: A Lesson For Nasser? — Holmes Alexander, August 7, 1956
And Now Egypt — The Decatur Herald, October 11, 1951
Trying Mossadegh’s Tactics — UPI, July 31, 1956
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”