In the early period after World War II, Cyprus became useful to Britain both for the military projection of British power in the Middle East, and for the planning of an air campaign against the Soviet Union itself. At the same time, the mounting British difficulties in the Middle East, especially the loss of the Suez base in 1954, meant that Cyprus, under full British sovereignty, was the most “secure” British position in the region. Thus, strategic and military needs were important in the British decision to retain the island. Even after Cypriot independence in 1960, London retained two large sovereign bases in Cyprus.