Monday, January 23, 2017

“Toward the end of 1951, Secretary of State Dean Acheson formed a special committee on the Arab world under the chairmanship of Kermit Roosevelt, from the newly established CIA. The committee suggested the need for “an Arab leader who would have more power in his hands than any other Arab leader ever had before, ‘power to make an unpopular decision’ … one who deeply desires to have power, and who desires to have it primarily for the mere sake of power.” This recommendation was made more explicit in a British Foreign Office minute on December 3, 1951, which described the joint American-British view as follows: “the only sort of Government with which we can hope to get an accommodation is a frankly authoritarian government … both ruthless and efficient … We need another Mustafa Kemal [the Turkish officer who led a modernizing coup in 1921, and assumed the title Atatürk, the father of the Turks], to secularize and Westernize his country … Even though Egyptians are not Turks, and men like Mustafa Kemal cannot be ordered à la carte!”

— Kandil, Hazem. “Soldiers, Spies, and Statesmen”, pp. 36-7, Verso 2012

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