Code name for a major secret peace initiative in the mid-1950s.
Growing from British and U.S. concerns about the Near East conflict, Operation Alpha began as a shared initiative in October 1954 and eventually, after several stages, became a solely U.S. project a year later. Until March 1955, Francis Russell (U.S. State Department) and Evelyn Shuckburgh (British Foreign Office) made detailed plans for a peace settlement that involved financial aid for the resettlement of Arab refugees and security guarantees for Israel within agreed borders.
Subsequently, various efforts were made to "launch" Alpha: discussions with Israel's prime minister David Ben-Gurion and Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser via normal diplomatic channels, a meticulously prepared speech by U.S. secretary of state John Foster Dulles in August 1955, and public proposals by British prime minister Anthony Eden in his November 1955 Guildhall speech. In a last-ditch attempt to save the initiative, U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized the secret mission of a special envoy, Robert Anderson, a Texan lawyer and personal friend with ties to the U.S. Defense Department. From January to March 1956, Anderson engaged in CIA-supported shuttle diplomacy for negotiations with Ben-Gurion, Israel's foreign minister Moshe Sharett, and Nasser. In spite of the high-level support, Alpha failed. The question of blame remains controversial but the incompatibility of Israeli and Egyptian interests, insufficient willingness to make painful concessions, and inadequate U.S.-U.K. commitment all played a role. Instead of bringing peace, Alpha deepened mutual Israeli-Egyptian distrust and Anglo-American disillusionment with Nasser, thus contributing to developments that led to the Sinai War in 1956. In Washington, D.C., Alpha gave way to "Omega," a project to isolate and politically neutralize Nasser.
Caplan, Neil. Futile Diplomacy, Vol. 4: Operation Alpha and the Failure of Anglo-American Coercive Diplomacy in the Arab-Israeli conflict, 1954–1956. London: Frank Cass, 1997.
Touval, Saadia. The Peace Brokers: Mediators in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948–1979. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982.
"Alpha, Operation." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/alpha-operation
"Alpha, Operation." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved June 27, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/alpha-operation
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.