Egypt. According to
Countryaah.com, the government and the security forces had
apparently begun to overcome the Islamist acts of violence
in recent years when violence again erupted, especially in
the province of Asyut in February. The police fought back
with equally harsh methods, and in April and December
hundreds of members of Islamist movements were arrested.
Nevertheless, the most prominent militant movement, the
Islamic Collection (al-Jama'at al-Islamiyya), killed 18
Greek tourists and shot 15 in an attack on a hotel on the
outskirts of Cairo. The movement later announced that it had
mistaken the Greeks for Israelis.
A proposal for a ceasefire by the Islamists was rejected
in May by the government, which despite its uncompromising
attitude towards the terrorists also made concessions to the
religious leaders. An example of Islam's ever-stronger
societal influence was the Supreme Court's decision in
August to annul a Cairo professor, Nasr Abu Zayd, marriage.
Abu Zayd had expressed the view that the teachings of Islam,
as presented in the Qur'an, are characterized by the social
conditions that prevailed during the time of the Prophet
Mohammed and that it must therefore be debatable and
reinterpreted. For this his opinion he was condemned as
apostate and therefore, according to Islamic tradition,
could not be married to a Muslim woman.
The 1979 Camp David Agreement
On the foreign policy scene, in the late 1970s, Egypt was
completely isolated in the Arab world and totally
politically and economically dependent on the United States.
The process culminated in March 1979, when Sadat signed a
definitive peace deal with Israel at Camp David in the
United States. The agreement meant that Egypt recovered the
entire Sinai Peninsula. At the same time, Egypt became the
second largest recipient of North American financial aid -
after Israel. The United States aimed to make the country
one of its most important allies in the region. The events
took place just 2 months after the shah Reza Pahlevi was
overthrown in Iran. This country had until then been the
United States' most important strategic allies in the
1981 Sadat is killed by fundamentalists
In 1981, Sadat was mortally wounded by an attack by
fundamentalist soldiers dissatisfied that the government had
begun to limit the work of the Muslim Brotherhood. On
October 14, Vice President Hosni Mubarak was inducted as
President. In order to neutralize the strong popular
dissatisfaction with the oppression, corruption and poverty,
Mubarak initiated a study of the wealth of the Sadat family.
At the same time, he opened up further to foreign companies.
1984 was a year marked by "opening" inward and moderate
progress in foreign policy. They managed to bridge some of
the worst conflicts the Camp David agreement had created in
relations with the Arab world. It was agreed that the only
just solution to the Middle East crisis would be to restore
the rights of the Palestinian people and that Arab
solidarity would be "the only way to regain all the
From the beginning of 1985, the economic crisis escalated
due to problems in all four areas of the Egyptian economy:
the oil, the transfers from Egyptians abroad, the Suez Canal
and tourism. As support for the government declined, support
for Islamic fundamentalists increased.
Foreign capital was heavily penetrated by the Egyptian
economy in 1980-86. From the United States, the government
received nearly $ 3 billion in aid annually, of which $ 1.3
billion was earmarked for the military. In October 86, the
IMF further granted the country a $ 1.5 billion loan.
Foreign debt had risen from $ 2.4 billion in 1970 to $ 35
billion in 1986. The purely military part of the debt had
doubled. Military spending and the cost of the wars slowed
economic development in the country.
The parliamentary election to be held in 89 was postponed
two years to April 87. The National Democratic Party got 75%
of the vote. In September 89, President Mubarak proposed to
the UN to launch an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue without
preconditions, and in October disrupted relations with
Throughout the 1980s, the deterioration of social
conditions in the country led to massive emigration of men
of working age towards the wealthier surrounding countries.
This process brought about social change in Egyptian
society. The women increasingly had to take over the role of
head of the families, which they had not been prepared for.
This created conflicts and tensions between mothers and
children. The price of a relative improvement in the
families' financial situation was a reduction in their
1990 Gulf War
In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. Egypt immediately
placed itself at the forefront of condemnation in the Arab
world and sent troops to the Gulf. The rewards from the
United States came quickly. When the land offensive was
launched in January 1991, the United States announced that
it was abandoning Egyptian military debt worth $ 20 billion.
But the alliance with the West did not support the people.
In February, a major demonstration was held in Cairo
demanding a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The criticism of the war against Iraq took place despite
the fact that its president Saddam Hussein had, in the
previous two years, thrown out almost two million guest
workers from the country and had tried to coerce Egyptians
into his military.
In May 1991, the IMF approved a stand by loans
to Egypt at $ 372 million, but the loan was made dependent
on "structural changes" in the economy. The government of
Cairo pledged to privatize state-owned enterprises, abolish
control of production and investment, and reduce the budget
deficit from 21% to 6.5% of GDP. To achieve this goal, the
government decided to cut food subsidies and other basic
products. At the same time, aid was cut for the poorest. On
May 15, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Esmat
Abdel Meguid was appointed new Secretary General of the Arab
League. The year before, the league's headquarters had been
moved from Tunis to Cairo. The development was evidence that
Egypt had regained its central political position in the