Egypt's Strategic Mideast Role

February 24, 1989

Report Outline
Special Focus

Introduction

Egypt is again at the political center of the Arab world. Ten years after being ostracized by most of its Arab neighbors for signing a peace treaty with Israel, Egypt is emerging as a leader among moderate Arab governments that are seeking U.S. support for an independent Palestinian state. Because Egypt is the only Arab nation with formal relations with Israel, and because it is the one with the closest ties to the United States, it is in position to be the “honest broker” between Jerusalem and the Arab capitals, and between them and the United States, in searching for a Middle East peace settlement.

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Overview

It has been a rough decade for Egypt. Ten years ago, on March 26, 1979, Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed a peace treaty formally ending the state of war between their two countries. It was a heady moment for the participants, as well as for President Carter, who had been instrumental in bringing the two countries to the peace table and who formally witnessed the treaty's signing at a White House ceremony.

But all the glory was short-lived. The day after the peace treaty was signed, 19 members of the Arab League met in Baghdad, Iraq, and adopted a package of political and economic sanctions against Egypt. By early May all the Arab countries except Oman, Somalia and the Sudan had cut diplomatic relations with Egypt. Sadat was accused of selling out the Palestinians and abandoning their cause, and Egypt was expelled from the Arab League, the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries and several Arab financial institutions.

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Feb. 24, 1989  Egypt's Strategic Mideast Role
Apr. 15, 1988  Israel's 40-Year Quandary
Mar. 02, 1984  American Involvement in Lebanon
Nov. 12, 1982  Reagan's Mideast Peace Initiative
Apr. 23, 1982  Egypt After Sadat
Jan. 04, 1980  Divided Lebanon
Jul. 20, 1979  West Bank Negotiations
Dec. 01, 1978  Middle East Transition
Jan. 13, 1978  Saudi Arabia's Backstage Diplomacy
Oct. 29, 1976  Arab Disunity
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Sep. 13, 1974  Palestinian Question
Dec. 12, 1973  Middle East Reappraisal
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Jul. 06, 1966  Middle East Enmities
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Aug. 17, 1960  Arab-Israeli Deadlock
May 27, 1959  Middle East Instability
Jun. 04, 1958  Nasser and Arab Unity
Oct. 02, 1957  Soviet Threat in Middle East
Sep. 18, 1956  Suez Dispute and Strategic Waterways
May 09, 1956  Middle East Commitments
Apr. 13, 1955  Middle East Conflicts
Mar. 31, 1954  Security in the Mideast
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