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The Suez Canal was opened inafter ten years of work financed by the French and Egyptian governments. The canal instantly became strategically important, as it provided the shortest ocean link between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
The canal eased commerce for trading nations and particularly helped European colonial powers to gain and govern their colonies. Inas a result of debt and financial crisis, Egypt was forced to sell its shares in the canal operating company to the British government of Benjamin Disraeli.
With the invasion and auto spare parts business plan in pakistan lahore of Egyptthe United Kingdom took de facto control of the country as well as the canal proper, and its finances and operations.
The Convention of Constantinople declared the canal a neutral zone under British protection. Despite this convention, the strategic importance of the Suez Canal and its control were proven during the Russo-Japanese War of —, after Japan and Britain entered into a separate bilateral agreement.
The British denied the Russian fleet use of the canal and forced it to steam around Africa, giving the Japanese forces time to consolidate their position in East Asia. The importance of the canal as a strategic intersection was again apparent during the First World Warwhen Britain and France closed the canal to non- Allied shipping.
The attempt by German-led Ottoman forces to storm the canal in February led the British to committroops to the defense of Egypt for the rest of the war.
And yet, at exactly the same moment, the canal was gaining a new role—as the highway not of empire, but of oil.
Bypetroleum accounted for half of the canal's traffic, and, in turn, two thirds of Europe's oil passed through it". The US imported anotherbarrels daily from the Middle East.
The report also points out how the canal was used in past wars and could be used in future wars to transport troops from the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand in the event of war in Europe. The report also cites the amount of material and oil that passes through the canal to the United Kingdom, and the economic consequences of the canal being put out of commission, concluding: The possibility of the Canal being closed to troopships makes the question of the control and regime of the Canal as important to Britain today as it ever was.
The economic potential of the Middle East, with its vast oil reserves, as well as the Suez Canal's geo-strategic importance against the background of the Cold Warprompted Britain to consolidate and strengthen its position there.
The kingdoms of Egypt and Iraq were seen as vital to maintaining strong British influence in the region. Britain's military strength was spread throughout the region, including the vast military complex at Suez with a garrison of some 80, making it one of the largest military installations in the world.
The Suez base was considered an important part of Britain's strategic position in the Middle East; however, increasingly it became a source of growing tension in Anglo-Egyptian relations. Unrest began to manifest itself in the growth of radical political groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and an increasingly hostile attitude towards Britain and its presence in the country.
Added to this anti-British fervour was the role Britain had played in the creation of Israel. In Octoberthe Egyptian government unilaterally abrogated the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty ofthe terms of which granted Britain a lease on the Suez base for 20 more years.
The price of such a course of action was a steady escalation in increasingly violent hostility towards Britain and British troops in Egypt, which the Egyptian authorities did little to curb.
On 25 JanuaryBritish forces attempted to disarm a troublesome auxiliary police force barracks in Ismailiaresulting in the deaths of 41 Egyptians. Post Egyptian revolution period The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United Kingdom and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.
You may improve this articlediscuss the issue on the talk pageor create a new articleas appropriate. April Learn how and when to remove this template message In the s the Middle East was dominated by four distinct but interlinked struggles.
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