Middle East




Second Arab–Israeli War - Sinai War - Suez Crisis -  Operation Kadesh





Wikipedia : Suez Crisis


The Suez Crisis, or the Second Arab–Israeli war,[15][16][17] also called the tripartite aggression (Arabic: العدوان الثلاثي‎) in the Arab world[18] and Sinai War in Israel,[19] was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by the United Kingdom and France.


The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had just nationalized the canal.[20]


After the fighting had started, political pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Nations led to a withdrawal by the three invaders.


The episode humiliated the United Kingdom and France and strengthened Nasser.[21][22][23]


On 29 October, Israel invaded the Egyptian Sinai.


Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to cease fire, which was ignored.


On 5 November, Britain and France landed paratroopers along the Suez Canal.


The Egyptian forces were defeated, but they did block the canal to all shipping.


It later became clear that the Israeli invasion and the subsequent Anglo-French attack had been planned beforehand by the three countries.


The three allies had attained a number of their military objectives, but the canal was useless. Heavy political pressure from the United States and the USSR led to a withdrawal. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower had strongly warned Britain not to invade; he threatened serious damage to the British financial system by selling the US government's pound sterling bonds. Historians conclude the crisis "signified the end of Great Britain's role as one of the world's major powers".[24][25] The Suez Canal was closed from October 1956 until March 1957. Israel fulfilled some of its objectives, such as attaining freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran, which Egypt had blocked to Israeli shipping since 1950.[26]


As a result of the conflict, the United Nations created the UNEF Peacekeepers to police the Egyptian–Israeli border, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden resigned, Canadian Minister of External Affairs Lester Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize, and the USSR may have been emboldened to invade Hungary.[27][28]


  • Suez Crisis
  • Tripartite aggression
  • Sinai War
Part of the Cold War and the Arab–Israeli conflict
Tanks Destroyed Sinai.jpg
Damaged Egyptian equipment
Date 29 October 1956 – 7 November 1956
(1 week and 2 days)
(Sinai under Israeli occupation until March 1957)

Coalition military victory;[1][2][3]
Egyptian political victory[1]

  • Anglo-French withdrawal following international pressure (December 1956)
  • Israeli occupation of Sinai (until March 1957)
  • UNEF deployment in Sinai[4]
  • Straits of Tiran re-opened to Israeli shipping
  • Resignation of Anthony Eden as British Prime Minister, end of Britain's role as a superpower[5][6][7]
  • Guy Mollet's position as French Prime Minister heavily damaged
Commanders and leaders
  • Israel 175,000
  • United Kingdom 45,000
  • French Fourth Republic 34,000
Casualties and losses
  • Israel:
    • 172 killed[9]
    • 817 wounded
    • 1 captured
  • United Kingdom:
    • 16 killed
    • 96 wounded
  • France:
    • 10 killed
    • 33 wounded





Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs : The Sinai Campaign (Operation Kadesh - 1956)


zionistarchives.org.il : Operation Kadesh




Wikipedia : Protocol of Sèvres


The Protocol of Sèvres (French, Protocole de Sèvres) was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel, France and the United Kingdom during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres, France.


The protocol concerns their joint political and military collusion to topple the Egyptian leader Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, by invading and occupying the Suez Canal zone in response to President Nasser's nationalization of the Suez Canal on 26 July.


The planning for and the agreements contained in the protocol began the Suez Crisis on 29 October 1956.






The Protocol of Sèvres,1956: Anatomy of a War Plot


Avi Shlaim

International Affairs, 73:3 (1997), 509-530.

Reprinted in David Tal, ed., The 1956 War: Collusion and Rivalry in the Middle East (London: Frank Cass, 2001), 119-43.


The tripartite aggression against Egypt in 1956 involved an extraordinary reversal of Britain’s position in the Middle East. 


The French were the matchmakers in bringing Britain and Israel into a military pact whose principal aim was the overthrow of Gamal Abdel Nasser. 


The war plot against Egypt was hatched towards the end of October 1956 in a secret meeting in Sèvres, near Paris.


The discussions lasted three days and culminated in the signature of the Protocol of Sèvres. 


British, French and Israeli sources are used here to reconstruct the sequence of events that produced the most famous war plot in modern history.






The Hansard :


HC Deb 20 December 1956 vol 562 cc1456-63


The Prime Minister  ( Anthony Eden )


I was dealing with the actual Question on the Order Paper, and in that regard there are two points as to consultation and as to American policy. The United States Government have made it quite plain recently that their criticism is not in respect of consultation but in respect of policy. But I am perfectly ready, if the House will bear with me, to make some observations on the general, wider topic to which reference has been made. It will not take the House very long, but I should like to do that before we rise for Christmas. I should like to say just these things.


We have been accused of being, ever since the Israeli attack on Egypt, and indeed long before that, in collusion with the Israelis. My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary emphatically denied that charge on 31st October. Since then, it seems that the charge has been altered and Her Majesty's Government have been asked to prove that they had no foreknowledge of the Israeli attack.


The extent of our knowledge has repeatedly been stated to the House and was explained fully by my right hon. and learned Friend on 5th December. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Minister of Defence?"] Hon. Members must be patient; I am dealing with the matter.

There were certainly a number of indications of an increasingly dangerous situation, particularly, as we thought, between Israeli and Jordan. We warned the Israeli Government of the consequences of an attack on Jordan, and we gave a number of other warnings, including the general warning to which my right hon. and learned Friend referred.



But to say—and this is what I want to repeat to the House—that Her Majesty's Government were  engaged in some dishonourable conspiracy is completely untrue, and I most emphatically deny it.


HC Deb 20 December 1956 vol 562 cc1505-20




Mr. Crossman



The Prime Minister ( Anthony Eden )


Let me finish my sentence.


I want to say this on the question of foreknowledge, and to say it quite bluntly to the House, that there was not foreknowledge that Israel would attack Egypt—there was not.