Egypt during the Nasser Years: Ideology, Politics, and Civil Society

By Kirk J. Beattie | Go to book overview

4
From Coup to Revolution

We [the army] have been the ghost used by the king to give people nightmares, but now it's time for the ghost to turn into a tyrant and tyrannize his sleep.

-- Nasser to his comrades before the coup 1


The Coup

July 22 had been a particularly hot day in Cairo. As was typical at that time of the year, the king and most government officials were summering in Alexandria, while other prominent politicians were on holiday in Europe, escaping Egypt's heat. On the night of July 22, 1952, the Free Officers went into action to seize control of the military and topple the government. Although several detailed accounts of the coup exist, 2 some aspects merit fresh discussion. Zakariyya Muhi al-Din drafted the coup's general plan, assisted by Nasser and 'Abd al-Hakim 'Amer. The actual order to mobilize was issued in the name of Muhammad Nagib, who was deliberately mistitled as commander of the armed forces.

The operational commanders designed specific plans for their units. In the cavalry, Tharwat 'Ukasha, Hussein al-Shaf'ei, and Khalid Muhi al-Din were the key commanders. In the artillery, Kemal al-Din Hussein, 'Abd al- Mun'im Amin, Muhsin 'Abd al-Khaliq, Fath Allah Rif'at, Muhammad Abu Fadl al-Gizawi, and Ahmed Kamel were the principal operational commanders. The infantry was under the operational command of Ahmed Shawqi and Yusuf Siddiq. In the air force, 'Abd al-Latif al- Boghdadi, Hassan Ibrahim, Wagih Abaza, and Sadiq al-Qarmuti played key roles, along with 'Umar al-Gamal and Muhammad Shawqat. Two officers, Ibrahim al-Tahawi and Magdi Hassanein, assisted from the services (supplies) branch, while special operations officers were led by Muhammed al-Bultagi and 'Abd al-Halim 'Abd al-'Al. The roles played by many of these men would remain unknown to the public during Nasser's rule.

-66-

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Egypt during the Nasser Years: Ideology, Politics, and Civil Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables viii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2 - The Major Competitors for Hegemony 17
  • Notes 32
  • 3 - Hegemonic Struggle in the Military 36
  • Notes 60
  • 4 - From Coup to Revolution 66
  • Notes 102
  • 5 - Nasser's Pursuit of National and Social Revolutions: 1954-1960 111
  • Notes 148
  • 6 - The Travails of Building a New Hegemonic Bloc 154
  • Notes 200
  • 7 - Impact of the June 1967 War 209
  • Notes 230
  • Appendixes 237
  • Selected Bibliography 244
  • About the Book and Author 250
  • Index 251
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