You can read Part I here.

In 1948, shortly after the end of World War II, Israel gained its independence, sending Arab nationalism through the roof. Pan-Arab nationalist regimes began to mushroom all across the Middle East.

In the early 1950s, Egypt took the lead. King Farouk, the decadent and corrupt Egyptian monarch, was promptly subject to a military coup and forced to abdicate. In 1954, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser assumed the leadership of the nation, first as a self-made prime minister, then as a presidential candidate — on a ballot of one. His anti-colonialism, anti-Israel vision and policies made him quite popular with the Egyptian population and military. Shortly after his ascension to power, he began a program of wholesale modernization. His first project was the Aswan High Dam.

The construction of a dam on the Nile at Aswan was strategized to bring considerable benefits to the Egyptian economy — but came with a hefty price tag. With his coffers empty, Nasser looked to the West and in January 1956, he found willing funders in Britain and the U.S.