This introductory chapter argues that the most significant aspect of Egypt's hegemonic aspirations was that they were disguised by, and at times confused with, the promotion of revolutionary ideals. This was especially true with regards to pan-Arabism. The Arab yearning for unity at midcentury provided fertile ground for the promotion of Egyptian-led solidarity among the weak and divided offspring of the defunct Ottoman mother-state. The sincere espousal of transnational ideals by the Free Officers camouflaged the less appealing pursuit of Egyptian state interests, which typically involved a naked struggle for power, and cloaked the subversive attempt to speak to the people over the heads of their leaders in a mantle of legitimacy.
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