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It was broke, but we shouldn't have "fixed" it

Reader comment on item: Nasser Died Fifty Years Ago: He Lives on in Egypt

Submitted by Dave (United States), Sep 27, 2020 at 22:05

In 1952, the CIA was concerned that King Farouk, the corrupt British puppet, was stirring up discontent with his lavish lifestyle. In addition, the loss of the 48 war to destroy Israel had undermined the regime's prestige, so Communist subversion was feared. The CIA then launched operation FF (Fat F***er) which resulted in a coup, ultimately bringing Nasser to power. It was thought that a shiny new "democratic dictatorship" would be more "amenable" to American interests. Wrong on all counts. Nasser was a socialist who welcomed an alliance with the Soviets.
Then, in 1953, the CIA, persuaded by Britain's MI6, engineered a coup in Iran to bring down the democratically elected Mossadegh because he wanted to nationalize British oil interests. The coup was meant to kill two birds: protect British oil and abort an alleged foray by Mossadegh into Socialism, and possibly Communism. Another debacle. Thanks to the coup, Soviet involvement in the Mideast, which had hitherto been absent, began as a way to counter Western influence. Plus, Iranians so resented the interference in their country, that the coup helped fuel the Islamic revolution of 1979.
It's hardly surprising that the Times lamented Nasser's death. It's just one more example of the Western ignorance which had done so much to bollix up the situation in the first place. And the blinkered actions continued in Iraq and Afghanistan with our democratization efforts.
It's very hard to constructively channel history as it evolves in the Mideast. It's easy to overestimate the people's desire for honest and representative government, but don't underestimate their resentment at being played.

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