Anwar Sadat

Mr President Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat

Sadat was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by fundamentalist army officers on 6 October 1981. Sadat was a senior member of the Free Officers who overthrew King Farouk in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, and a close confidant of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, under whom he served as Vice President twice and whom he succeeded as President in 1970. In his eleven years as president, he changed Egypt's trajectory, departing from many of the political and economic tenets of Nasserism, re-instituting a multi-party system, and launching the Infitah economic policy. As President, he led Egypt in the Yom Kippur War of 1973 to regain Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had occupied since the Six-Day War of 1967, making him a hero in Egypt and, for a time, the wider Arab World. Afterwards, he engaged in negotiations with Israel, culminating in the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty; this won him and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin the Nobel Peace Prize, making Sadat the first Muslim Nobel laureate. Though reaction to the treaty—which resulted in the return of Sinai to Egypt—was generally favorable among Egyptians,[1] it was rejected by the country's Muslim Brotherhood and leftists in particular, who felt Sadat had abandoned efforts to ensure a Palestinian state.[1] With the exception of Sudan, the Arab world and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) strongly opposed Sadat's efforts to make a separate peace with Israel without prior consultations with the Arab states.[1] His refusal to reconcile with them over the Palestinian issue resulted in Egypt being suspended from the Arab League from 1979 to 1989.[2][3][4][5] The peace treaty was also one of the primary factors that led to his assassination.

Early life and revolutionary activities

Anwar Sadat was born on 25 December 1918 in Mit Abu El Kom, Monufia, Egypt to a poor Nubian family, one of 13 brothers and sisters.[6] One of his brothers, Atef Sadat, later became a pilot and was killed in action during the October War of 1973.[7] His father, Anwar Mohammed El Sadat was an Upper Egyptian, and his mother, Sit Al-Berain, was a Sudanese from her father.[8][9] Thus, he faced insults by his Arab opponents in Egypt for not looking "Egyptian enough" and "Nasser's black poodle."[10] He graduated from the Royal Military Academy in Cairo in 1938 and was appointed to the Signal Corps. He entered the army as a second lieutenant and was posted to Sudan (Egypt and Sudan were one country at the time). There, he met Gamal Abdel Nasser, and along with several other junior officers they formed the secret Free Officers, a movement committed to freeing Egypt and Sudan from British domination, and royal corruption. During the Second World War he was imprisoned by the British for his efforts to obtain help from the Axis Powers in expelling the occupying British forces. Anwar Sadat was active in many political movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the fascist Young Egypt, the pro-palace Iron Guard of Egypt, and the secret military group called the Free Officers.[11] Along with his fellow Free Officers, Sadat participated in the military coup that launched the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which overthrew King Farouk on 23 July of that year. Sadat was assigned to announce the news of the revolution to the Egyptian people over the radio networks.

Yom Kippur War

On 6 October 1973, in conjunction with Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Sadat launched the October War, also known as the Yom Kippur War (and less commonly as the Ramadan War), a surprise attack against the Israeli forces occupying the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, and the Syrian Golan Heights in an attempt to retake these respective Egyptian and Syrian territories that had been occupied by Israel since the Six Day War six years earlier. The Egyptian and Syrian performance in the initial stages of the war astonished both Israel, and the Arab World. The most striking achievement (Operation Badr, also known as The Crossing) was the Egyptian military's advance approximately 15 km into the occupied Sinai Peninsula after penetrating and largely destroying the Bar Lev Line. This line was popularly thought to have been an impregnable defensive chain. As the war progressed, three divisions of the Israeli army led by General Ariel Sharon had crossed the Suez Canal, trying to encircle first the Egyptian Second Army. Although this failed the Egyptian Third Army, prompted by an agreement between the United States of America, the Soviet Union, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 338 on 22 October 1973, calling for an immediate ceasefire.[18] Although agreed upon, the ceasefire was immediately broken.[19] Alexei Kosygin, the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers, cancelled an official meeting with Danish Prime Minister Anker Jørgensen to travel to Egypt where he tried to persuade Sadat to sign a peace treaty. During Kosygin's two-day long stay it is unknown if he and Sadat ever met in person.[20] The Israeli military then continued their drive to encircle the Egyptian army. The encirclement was completed on 24 October, three days after the ceasefire was broken. This development prompted superpower tension, but a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on 25 October to end the war. At the conclusion of hostilities, Israeli forces were 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Damascus and 101 kilometres (63 mi) from Cairo.