Portrait of Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) sits on a dresser in an apartment in Cairo. ‘Nasser’ as he’s referred to on the street, is symbolically the ‘Che Guevera’ equivalent of Egypt. Leading the 1952 Revolution and forming the Arab Socialist Union in 1962, Nasser’s image is a sign of progress and hope amongst young egyptians.
Gamal Abdel Nasser was the 2nd president of Egypt and a colonel in the Egyptian army. Nasser was a leader in the 1952 revolution that overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan. He used socialist reform and became a major figure of Pan-Arab nationalism, which is a belief that all Arab countries/states and their people should unite to become one massive Arab nation. Under Nasser the Suez Canal was nationalized and put under Egyptian control after the USA and the British refused to help fund Egypt to build the Aswan Dam. This angered the west and so Israel,France and the UK used military action to regain control of the canal for their countries business interests. He is still considered a hero in the Arab world to this day, portraits and images of him were seen during the many Arab uprisings.
Throughout history, the United States has tended to support the most extreme fundamentalist Islamic groups and to oppose secular nationalism. So, Israel smashed Nasser and destroyed the threat of secular nationalism. There was a lingering concern that the Arabs might want to use the wealth of the region for their own population, not for Western wealth and power, with a little bit raked off for the gangsters that run the countries. That’s a major threat. Israel finished that, which firmed up the U.S.-Israeli alliance and led to a very quick change.
Arab heads of state meet on Sept. 27, 1970, at the Nile Hilton in Cairo to put an end to the civil war in Jordan between Palestinians and the government of King Hussein. From left to right: Libyan leader Moammer Gadhafi, PLO chief Yasser Arafat, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, and King Hussein of Jordan