Egypt History: from Independence to Sadāt’s Government
After the First World War the nationalist currents – decided supporters of independence – led Great Britain to recognize the sovereignty of Egypt in 1922; King Fu’ād I was proclaimed and relations with Great Britain were governed by a treaty of military alliance; British occupation was reduced, and a condominium administration was established for Sudan. At the end of the treaty (1947), the increasingly fierce conflict between the government and the various parties (especially sharpened after the unfortunate participation in the Arab war against Israel in 1948) resulted in the coup organized by General Muḥammad Naǧīb (1952) which forced king Fārūq, who ascended the throne in 1936, to abdicate. Self-proclaimed President of the Republic and Prime Minister (23 July 1953), Naǧīb was progressively sacked by Ǧamāl ʽAbd al-Nāṣir (Nasser) who, after the agreement for the eviction of the English troops from the Suez Canal (October 1954) and, having effectively assumed the functions of head of state in that same year, he was officially proclaimed president in 1956. After the nationalization of the Suez Canal was concluded in 1956, Nasser rejected the Anglo-French attack (1956) and, establishing political relations. economic relations with the Soviet Union, established the United Arab Republic (RAU). He then devoted himself to the formation of a large Arab confederation, which extended from North Africa to the Middle East and was strong enough to remain equidistant from both the US and the USSR. However, his plan was opposed by the vast interests of the oil companies and the presence of an increasingly dynamic and aggressive state of Israel, as well as the dispersive nature of the interests of the various Arab states: in 1961 the Arab Federation dissolved, while inside the lack of agrarian reform and the slowness of industrialization brought down the enthusiasm of the masses. Nasser attempted to galvanize public opinion again by presenting Israel as the main obstacle to Arab unity, but the tragic conclusion of the “Six Day War” (June 1967) demonstrated the internal weakness of the Arab world and Egypt in particular. By the will of the people Nasser remained at the head of the state, but he could only spend his last energies to make relations with the Arab states less fragile and to maneuver between the USA and the USSR to have a certain space for autonomous politics. Nasser died suddenly in 1970, he succeeded him Anwār as-Sadāt, who endeavored, with the support of the USSR, to strengthen Egypt militarily, not neglecting the paths of the inter-Arab alliance (attempt to form a federation between Egypt, Syria and Libya) and international diplomacy. On 6 October 1973, in agreement with Syria, Egypt attacked Israel by surprise (Yom Kippur War). After the initial successes and the Israeli counteroffensive, Egypt accepted the ceasefire agreement (11 November), negotiated by the UN, and participated in the subsequent Geneva conference. for peace in the Middle East. The easing of tension offered Sadāt the possibility of promoting reconstruction and economic revitalization initiatives such as the reopening of the Suez Canal (June 5, 1975). An agreement for the disengagement in the Sinai (1975) was reached with the mediation of the US Secretary of State Kissinger and marked the start of cordial agreements with the United States and a progressive move away from the USSR. The disagreement with Libya and the controversy with the USSR reached very high tones: in March 1976 the denunciation of the treaty with the USSR was officially announced, in June of the same year the top Libyan diplomat was arrested and more and more often in the last months of the year and in the During 1977, Libya was accused by Sadāt of fomenting unrest, until in July Egyptian armed units crossed the Libyan borders. On the other hand, according to politicsezine, Egypt developed close relations with Sudan and Saudi Arabia. In 1977 Egyptian troops intervened in support of the Mobutu regime in Zaire and Egypt sided with Somalia in the Ogaden War. Meanwhile, the country fell into a deep economic depression and the malaise of the population resulted in violent street demonstrations. In November 1977, Sadāt made the sensational decision to start direct negotiations with Israel, following a line contested by almost all Arab countries, some of which joined in a “Rejection Front” (Algiers, February 1978), and also little accepts within the country; with the referendum of May 1978 Sadāt gagged all types of opposition giving his government a decidedly authoritarian approach. At the end of a laborious three-way conference (Carter, Begin, Sadāt) held in Camp David, Egypt signed a framework of agreements with Israel that led to the signing of the peace treaty (Washington, March 1979), approved almost unanimously by the referendum held in Egypt in April of the same year. Following the peace concluded with Israel, Egypt was expelled from the Arab League. On 6 October 1981, during the military parade for the eighth anniversary of the war against Israel (1973), President Sadāt was assassinated by a commando of Islamic fundamentalists who caused the death of eight other people.