Egypt's Strategic Mideast Role

February 24, 1989

Report Outline
Special Focus


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.

Go to top


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.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Israel, Palestine, and Middle East Peace
Dec. 11, 2020  The Abraham Accords
Apr. 13, 2018  The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Mar. 09, 2018  Saudi Arabia's Uncertain Future
Jun. 21, 2013  Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
May 2009  Middle East Peace Prospects
Oct. 27, 2006  Middle East Tensions Updated
Jan. 21, 2005  Middle East Peace
Aug. 30, 2002  Prospects for Mideast Peace
Apr. 06, 2001  Middle East Conflict
Mar. 06, 1998  Israel At 50
Aug. 30, 1991  The Palestinians
Oct. 19, 1990  The Elusive Search for Arab Unity
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
May 16, 1975  Middle East Diplomacy
Sep. 13, 1974  Palestinian Question
Dec. 12, 1973  Middle East Reappraisal
Apr. 25, 1973  Israeli Society After 25 Years
Aug. 19, 1970  American Policy in the Middle East
Apr. 25, 1969  Arab Guerrillas
Aug. 02, 1967  Israeli Prospects
Jul. 06, 1966  Middle East Enmities
Apr. 14, 1965  Relations with Nasser
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
Oct. 23, 1952  Israel and the Arab States
Jan. 30, 1952  Egyptian Crisis and Middle East Defense
Mar. 17, 1948  Palestine Crisis
Feb. 18, 1946  Soviet Russia and the Middle East
Economic Development
International Energy Trade and Cooperation
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia