ruled (1970 - 1981)
Anwar El-Sadat (1918 - 1981) succeeded late president Gamal
Abdel Nasser as president of Egypt.
Sadat was an active member of the Free
Officers before the 1952 revolution and later in the Revolutionary
Command Council (RCC). He held several positions in government
organizations and worked as a journalist at some period.
Nasser chose him as vice-president in December 1969. Sadat ascended
to the presidency post after Nasser's death in September 1970. A referendum
confirmed him as a president soon after. Sadat had some political
opponents who contended for leadership after Nasser's era. They arranged
a plot in May 1971 to overthrow him, which gave him a pretext to purge
them from the government in the framework of what he called "the
Corrective Revolution." Hereafter, he succeeded to rid the rule
from his opposers and break up the security apparatus set by Nasser.
The next year, Sadat expelled the Soviet technicians.
In early 1973, Sadat secured an arms-deal from the Soviet Union for
he was girding himself for a possible attack on Israel.
On 6 October 1973, Egypt and Syria initiated
a joint attack on Israel that took it with a surprise. This gave Egypt
an initial success at least to cross to the east bank of the Suez
Canal, but after American military aids were sent to Israel via
an airlift, the latter successfully launched a counterattack.
The situation ended up with the third army of Egypt besieged in Sinai,
when the two parties finally accepted a cease-fire on 22 October.
The first disengagement agreement was reached in January 1974. This
gave Egypt a thin strip along the Suez Canal in Sinai
Even if it was not a clear-cut victory, the war accredited to Sadat
and empowered the country to regain its national pride. It also encouraged
Sadat to go on with his plan of economic changes.
After the war, Sadat introduced an open-door policy in economy. Though
intended to liberate the economy, the policy proved to be shortsighted.
It brought about instant riches of certain Egyptian classes and widened
the gap between poor and rich. Extensive importing of foreign goods
was a main characteristic of this scheme. This weakened the competition
capability of local goods and caused the inflation rate to soar.
In 1975 the second Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement was concluded,
the same year that the USA announced its vast aid program to Egypt.
In June 1976, a law was passed to approve the formation of political
parties, inaugurating a new era of the multiparty system.
In September, Sadat was reelected president by an overwhelming number
of votes in a referendum. Egypt later held talks with the International
Monetary Fund (IMF). Talks ended with Egypt required by the organization
to remove the subsidies.
Provoked by economic hardships and the removal of subsidies, people
went on street demonstrations in Cairo,
leaving dozens killed and thousands injured. The riots forced Sadat
to rethink his economic policy.
On the other hand, USA and the Soviet Union intensified efforts to
reach a peace accord between Egypt and Israel.
In a surprise move, Sadat visited Jerusalem in November 1977 to approach
peace with Israel and later in 1978 an agreement was virtually reached
between the two sides.
The courageous move of Sadat angered the
Arab countries and in November 1978 Arab states convening in Baghdad
vowed to impose sanctions on Egypt if it signed an agreement with
The same year saw the formation of the National Democratic Party,
which was chaired by Sadat until his death.
In March 1979, the Egyptian-Israeli Camp David accord was finally
signed in the USA under the sponsorship of the American administration.
and Sadat shake hands in the White House, ending hostility
between their countries
According to the agreement, Egypt regained all Sinai but a buffer
zone was established with the presence of UN peacekeeping forces.
A mechanism was also drawn up for future negotiations with the Palestinians.
Finally, normalization between the two states was carried out and
an exchange of ambassadors took place.
The Arab states denounced the agreement, which they considered as
treachery to Arabs generally and Palestinians particularly. As a result,
Arab nations expelled Egypt from the Arab League. Though the majority
of Egyptians hailed the peace accord, fundamentalist groups and other
opposing elements expressed their discontent from the agreement.
In September 1981, Sadat arrested more than
1300 including Islamic and Coptic figures and many other prominent
On 6 October 1981 Sadat was assassinated by members of the radical
Islamic group while he was watching a military parade commemorating
Egypt's crossing for the Suez Canal in 1973.
Sadat was succeeded by his vice-president Hosni