Shifting Sands: The United States, Great Britain, and the Muslim Brotherhood, 1945–1954
Global Politics Review
Vol. 2, No. 1 (April 2016): 20-38.
GPR ID: 2464-9929_v02_i01_p20
Published: 28 April 2016
Abstract: Anti-US sentiments in Egypt began in the late 1940s and 1950s. This development is traced by examining the Muslim Brotherhood, a non-state actor, and its relationship with the United States. Non-state actors are crucial to understanding both the history of the United States in the Middle East and contemporary US/Middle East relations. Large segments of the region’s population did not, and still do not, view their governments with legitimacy. This is largely due to the role of colonial powers both in determining the national borders of the area after WWI and the influence those powers wielded over many of the regimes that governed Middle East nations. But from 1945 to 1954, US actions moved non-state groups like the Muslim Brotherhood from focusing on Great Britain to focusing on the United States as the primary foreign threat in the Middle East. US officials’ support of Britain’s military occupation of Egypt, the US government’s backing of an Israeli state carved from the Palestinian homeland, US policymakers’ continued pursuit to secure the region’s economic resources, and Washington’s assistance, or perceived assistance, to Gamal Abdel Nasser from 1952 to 1956 laid the foundations to anti-US attitudes in Egypt. This period is one of the genealogical origins of contemporary beliefs that place a hostile emphasis on the United States.
Keywords: United States, Middle East, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Cold War, Decolonization.
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