The Middle East in Transition: Studies in Contemporary History

By Walter Z. Laqueur | Go to book overview

THE IDEOLOGY OF THE EGYPTIAN REVOLUTION
Its Evolution with the Course of Events

by JEAN VIGNEAU

'I can assure you that our movement is attached to no political party, either directly or indirectly. It is completely independent and its sole object is to secure the institution of a sound government for the good of the country.... This movement in the army has nothing to do with either Communism or Fascism. Its primary aim is to purge the army itself of its corrupt elements, and then to see that the government purges itself. We want to put an end to tyranny and corruption and to strengthen the basis of the Constitution. Political questions, as well as everything to do with the machinery of government, are in the hands of the government, which regulates them under the aegis of the Constitution -- that Constitution for whose reestablishment we have striven, with a view to the country's interests.' -- MUHAMMED NAGUIB, July-August, 1952.


I. THE EGYPTIAN AND THE SYRIAN COUPS D'ÉTAT

THE WORDS we have quoted above summarize the character and objectives of the Egyptian coup d'état of July, 1952, as defined by the man who was then regarded as its prime mover, General Naguib, and as confirmed, in different words, by the members of the military junta.

Thus presented, the act of the army which, during the night of July 22-23, brought about the fall of the Egyptian monarchy, looked more like an 'Inkilab' (literally: an upsetting) than a revolution inspired by a clear clash of ideologies. Moreover, this Inkilab, to judge by the declarations of the men who took over the tasks of govern-

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