Egypt Still Hasn’t Escaped Nasser’s Toxic Legacy

To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, Daniel Pipes reflects on his reign:

A thirty-four-year-old colonel when he took over through a coup d’état in 1952, Nasser was the first indigenous Egyptian to rule the country since the pharaohs. His ambitions were as immense as his ideas were delusional. He overthrew a king and installed an oppressive military rule that still endures 68 years later. He dispossessed grand landlords and small merchants alike, then chased out Levantine entrepreneurs—mainly Italians, Greeks, and Lebanese—who fueled the economy. He persecuted the small but thriving Jewish community of 75,000 to the point that it now consists of ten (at last count) elderly women.

He aligned with the Soviet Union, industrialized Egypt along Soviet lines, and ruled with post-Stalin-like brutality. Bewitched by the mirage of bringing all Arabic-speaking countries under his control, Nasser unified with some of them and made war with others. More than anyone else, he installed anti-Zionism as the mainstay of Middle Eastern political life and transformed the Palestinian refugee issue into Palestinian irredentism. Along the way, he initiated the Six-Day War of 1967 and dispatched his armed forces to the most lopsided military defeat in recorded history.

Egypt has never escaped Nasser’s legacy. The regime persists in a casual brutality toward dissidents and a dogged hostility to Israel that outlasts the peace treaty signed 41 years ago. It lags economically, with retired military officers more important than ever and the country unable to feed itself or produce goods that the world wants. . . . Thus did Egypt slide from its old status as the foremost of twenty Arabic-speaking countries to an afterthought.

Read more at Daniel Pipes

More about: Anti-Zionism, Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy