The intense rivalries in the Middle East brought Eisenhower into a confrontation with his most important allies, Britain and France. The origins of the Suez crisis of 1956 lay in the difficulties of the western powers in dealing with Gamal Abdel Nasser, the nationalist President of Egypt who followed an independent and provocative course in his dealings with major powers. Nasser bought weapons from Communist Czechoslovakia, and he sought economic aid from the United States to build the Aswan High Dam on the Nile. The Eisenhower administration was prepared to provide the assistance, but during the negotiations, Nasser extended diplomatic recognition to the People's Republic of China. Already tired of the Egyptian leader's playing off of "East against West by blackmailing both," the Eisenhower administration halted the negotiations over aid. Nasser retaliated by nationalizing the Suez Canal.
The intelligence recovered on one target in, say, Mosul, might allow for another target to be found, fixed upon, and finished in Baghdad, or even Afghanistan. Sometimes, finding just one initial target could lead to remarkable results: The network sometimes completed this cycle three times in a single night in locations hundreds of miles apart — all from the results of the first operation. As our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan intensified, the number of operations conducted each day increased tenfold, and both our precision and success rate also rose dramatically.