A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, February 6, 2015

Maybe it Really Is the Nasser Era All Over Again: "Egypt Might Intervene Militarily in Yemen"

Comparing President Sisi to Nasser has been a popular pastime for the Egyptian media, but maybe they mean to recreate the bad moves of that era as well: Ahram Online  has the headline:"Egypt will interfere militarily if Yemen's Bab Al-Mandab strait is blocked: Suez Canal head."

The last time Egypt sent troops to Yemen was to intervene in the civil war of 1962-67, which became a proxy war with Saudi Arabia and which Nasser himself supposedly later called "my Vietnam." Most Egyptians alive today are too young to remember that war (though Husni Mubarak flew bombers there), but the distraction of the Yemen war is sometimes seen as one explanation for Egypt's lack of preparedness for the June 1967 war with Israel.

Of course the head of the Suez Canal Authority is talking about assuring freedom of navigation through the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, a vital sealane, not just for Egypt but for the Gulf as well.

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