Egypt. 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.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG: What does EG stand for? In the field of geography, this two letter acronym means Egypt. Check this to see its other meanings in English and other 35 languages.
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 region.
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 oppressed rights”.
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 Libya.
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 cohesion.
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 Arab world.
According to Countryaah.com, the population of Egypt in 1996 was 62,333,923, ranking number 15 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.120% yearly, and the population density was 62.6189 people per km2.