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Today marks 63 years since one of the most important events in 20th century Middle East history, the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy by the Free Officers Movement. This was a group of military officers ostensibly led by General Muhammad Naguib, but really led by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was gracious enough to let Naguib have a short turn as Egypt’s president from 1953-1954 before pushing him out and officially taking power.
Nasser (right) and Naguib in July 1954; Nasser would have Naguib’s job by November (Wikimedia)
The proximate cause of the coup that ousted King Farouk was the drubbing that Egypt, along with every other Arab state, had received at the hands of the Israelis during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The officers blamed Egypt’s corrupt monarchy, which was totally under British control anyway, for the defeat (when the 1967 Six Day War rolled around, and Israel…
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