With the start of World War 1, Egypt is turned into a British protectorate, and Egypt was used as a British base during the war in the actions towards the Ottoman Empire. [1]


The Protectorate is ended. Egypt becomes a monarchy, with Fuad as king. [1]


January 12 - Wafd wins 179 of 211 parliamentary seats. [5]

March 15 - The King opens the first Egyptian constitutional parliament, with Saad Zaghlul as prime minister. [5]

November 19 - Sir Lee Stack, the British governor general of Sudan and commander of the Egyptian army, is assassinated in Cairo. General Edmund Allenby, the British high commissioner in Egypt, demands that Egypt: apologize, prosecute the assailants, pay 500,000 indemnity, withdraw all troops from the Sudan, consent to an unlimited increase of irrigation in Sudan and end all opposition to the capitulations (Britain's demand of the right to protect foreign interests in the country). Zaghlul and his cabinet accept the first four terms and reject the last two. Zaghlul then resigns. [5]


Ismail Sidqi emerges as the "strong man" of Egyptian politics and an ardent opponent of the Wafd. He who abolishes the constitution in 1930 and drafts another that enhances the power of the monarch. He forms his own party, Al Hizb ash Shaab. [5]


April 28 - King Fuad dies and is succeeded by his son, Faruk. [5]

May - The Wafd wins 89 percent of the vote and 157 seats in Parliament. [5]

August 26 - Draft Anglo-Egyptian Treaty is signed.

The treaty provides for an Anglo-Egyptian military and defense alliance that allows Britain to maintain a garrison of 10,000 men in the Suez Canal Zone. In addition, Britain is left in virtual control of Sudan. This contradicts the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Agreement of 1899 that provided that Sudan be governed by Egypt and Britain jointly. In spite of the agreement, however, real power is in British hands. Egyptian army units had been withdrawn from Sudan in the aftermath of the Stack assassination, and the governor general is British. Nevertheless, Egyptian nationalists, and the Wafd particularly, continue to demand full Egyptian control of Sudan.

The treaty does provide for the end of the capitulations and the phasing out of the mixed courts. The British high commissioner is redesignated ambassador to Egypt, and when the British inspector general of the Egyptian army retires, an Egyptian officer is appointed to replace him.

In spite of these advances, the treaty does not give Egypt full independence, and its signing produces a wave of anti Wafdist and anti-British demonstrations. To many of its followers, in negotiating and signing the treaty the Wafd has betrayed the nationalist cause. Because of this perception and also because it had failed to develop and implement a program for social and economic reform, the Wafd declines in power and influence. Although it considers itself the representative of the nation, the Wafd fails to offer meaningful domestic programs to deal with the problems of under- and unemployment, high living costs, lack of industrial development, and unequal distribution of land. Thus, during the 1930s, support for the Wafd, particularly among students and urban middle-class professionals and civil servants, is eroded by more militant, paramilitary organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood (Al Ikhwan al Muslimun, also known as the Brotherhood) and Young Egypt (Misr al Fatat). [5]


The Al Hizb ash Shaab party merges with the Ittihad Party. [5]

Dissident members of the Wafd form the Saadist Party, named after Saad Zaghlul. [5]


February - Uncertain of the loyalty of Prime Minister Ali Maher and convinced that the king was intriguing against them, the British decide to entrust the Egyptian government to the Wafd. With the German army under General Erwin Rommel advancing toward Egypt, Lampson, the British ambassador, orders the king to ask Mustafa Nahhas, the Wafdist leader, to form a government. The incident clearly demonstrates that real power in Egypt resides in British hands and that the king and the political parties exist only so long as Britain is prepared to tolerate them. It also erodes popular support for the Wafd because it shows that the Wafd will make an alliance with the British for purely political reasons. [5]


The Wafdist government falls. [5]


The Wafd boycott the elections, which bring a government of Liberal Constitutionalists and Saadists to power. [5]

December - Egyptian prime minister Mahmud Nuqrashi, sends a note to the British demanding that they renegotiate the 1936 treaty and evacuate British troops from the country. Britain refuses. Riots and demonstrations by students and workers break out in Cairo and Alexandria, accompanied by attacks on British property and personnel. [5]


The new Egyptian prime minister, Ismail Sidqi, a driving force behind Egyptian politics in the 1930s and now seventy-one and in poor health, takes over negotiations with the British. The British Labour Party prime minister, Clement Atlee, agrees to remove British troops from Egyptian cities and bases by September 1949. The British have withdrawn their troops to the Suez Canal Zone when negotiations founder over the issue of Sudan. Britain say Sudan is ready for self-government while Egyptian nationalists are proclaiming "the unity of the Nile Valley," that is, that Sudan should be part of Egypt. [5]

December - Sidqi resigns and is succeeded by Nuqrashi. [5]


Nuqrashi referres the question of Sudan to the newly created United Nations (UN). [5]


The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel by David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv. The Egyptians, like most Arabs, consider the State of Israel a creation of Western, specifically British, imperialism and an alien entity in the Arab homeland. The armies of the various Arab states, including Egypt, enter Palestine to save the country for the Arabs against what they consider Zionist aggression. When the war begins, the Egyptian army is poorly prepared and has no plan for coordination with the other Arab states. [5]

With the outbreak of the war against Israel, martial law is declared in Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood is ordered to dissolve. [5]


The Arabs are defeated by Israel, although the Arab Legion of Transjordan holds onto the Old City of Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Egypt saves a strip of territory around Gaza that becomes known as the Gaza Strip. [5]

Although there were individual heroic acts of resistance, the army did not perform well, and nothing could disguise the defeat or mitigate the intense feeling of shame. After the war, there are scandals over the inferior equipment issued to the military, and the king and government are blamed for treacherously abandoning the army. [5]

February - Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna is assassinated, probably by agents of the security branch of the government. [5]

Gamal Abdul Nasser, who had commanded an army unit in Palestine, organizes a clandestine group inside the army called the Free Officers. After the war against Israel, the Free Officers begins to plan for a revolutionary overthrow of the government. Nine of the Free Officers form the Committee of the Free Officers' Movement. [5]


Nasser is elected chairman of the Committee of the Free Officers' Movement. [5]

January - The Wafd returns to power with Nahhas as prime minister. [5]


October - Nahhas introduces, and Parliament approves, decrees abrogating unilaterally the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 and proclaiming Faruk king of Egypt and Sudan. Egypt exults, with newspapers proclaiming that Egypt has broken "the fetters of British imperialism." The Wafd government gives way to pressure from the Brotherhood and leftist groups for militant opposition to the British. "Liberation battalions" are formed, and the Brotherhood and auxiliary police were armed. Food supplies to the Suez Canal Zone are blocked, and Egyptian workers are withdrawn from the base. A guerrilla war against the British in the Suez Canal Zone is undertaken by students and the Brotherhood. [5]

December - British bulldozers and Centurion tanks demolish fifty Egyptian mud houses to open a road to a water supply for the British army. [5]


January 25 - The British attack an Egyptian police barracks at Ismailiya (Al Ismailiyah) when its occupants refuse to surrender to British troops. Fifty Egyptians are killed and 100 wounded. [5]

January 26 - "Black Saturday" begins with a mutiny by police in Cairo in protest against the deaths of their colleagues. Concurrently, groups of people in Cairo go on a rampage. British property and other symbols of the Western presence are attacked. By the end of the day, 750 establishments valued at 50 million have been burned or destroyed. Thirty persons are killed, including eleven British and other foreigners; hundreds were injured. [5]

The British believe there was official connivance in the rioting. Wafdist interior minister Fuad Siraj ad Din (also seen as Serag al Din) is accused of negligence by an Egyptian government report and dismissed. The king dismisses Nahhas, and four prime ministers hold office in the next six months. It becomes clear that the Egyptian ruling class has become unable to rule, and none of the radical nationalist groups is strong enough to take power. This power vacuum gives the Free Officers their opportunity. [5]

July 22 - the Free Officers realize that the king might be preparing to move against them. They decide to strike and seize power the next morning. [5]

July 26 - King Faruk, forced to abdicate in favor of his infant son, sails into exile on the same yacht on which his grandfather, Ismail, had left for exile about seventy years earlier. [5]

After the coup, the Free Officers ask Ali Mahir, a previous prime minister, to head the government. The Free Officers form the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), which dictates policy to the civilian cabinet, abolish all civil titles such as pasha and bey, and order all political parties to purify their ranks and reconstitute their executive committees. [5]

Nasser desires vehemently to change his country; he believes that the British and the British-controlled king and politicians will continue to harm the interests of the majority of the population. Nasser and the other Free Officers have no particular desire for a military career, but Nasser had perceived that military life offered upward mobility and a chance to participate in shaping the country's future. The Free Officers are united by their desire to see Egypt freed of British control and a more equitable government established. Nasser and many of the others seem to be attached to no particular political ideology, although some, such as Khalid Muhi ad Din, are Marxists and a few sympathize with the Muslim Brotherhood. [5]

August - There is a violent strike involving more than 10,000 workers at the Misr Company textile factories at Kafr ad Dawwar in the Delta. Workers attack and set fire to part of the premises, destroy machinery, and clash with the police. The army is called in to put down the strike; several workers lose their lives, and scores are injured. The RCC set up a special military court that tries the arrested textile workers. Two are convicted and executed, and many others are given prison sentences. The regime reacted quickly and ruthlessly because it had no intention of encouraging a popular revolution that it could not control. It then arresta about thirty persons charged with belonging to the outlawed Communist Party of Egypt (CPE). The Democratic Movement for National Liberation, a faction of the CPE, reacts by denouncing the regime as a military dictatorship. [5]

September - Ali Mahir resigns, and Naguib becomes prime minister, minister of war, commander in chief, and president of the RCC. Muhammad Naguib was chosen by the RCC because he is a popular hero of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and an officer trusted by the army. [5]

The RCC passes its first major domestic measure, the Agrarian Reform Law of 1952. The law is intended to abolish the power of the absentee landlord class, to encourage investment in industry, and to build support for the regime. The law limits landholdings to 200 feddans with the right to transfer another 100 to wives and children. The owners of the land requisitioned by the government receive about half the market value of the land at 1951 prices in the form of government bonds. The land is sold in lots of two to five feddans to tenants and small farmers owning less than five feddans. The small farmers have to buy the lots at a price equal to the compensation paid to the former owner. [5]

The RCC also deal with labour legislation and education. Initial legislation raises minimum wages, reduces working hours, and creates more jobs to reduce unemployment. Enforcement of these measures is lax until the early 1960s, however. In another effort to reduce unemployment, the RCC institutes a policy of providing employment in government service for all university graduates, a practice that swells the ranks of the bureaucracy and leaves many skilled people underused. The government increases its spending on education with the goal of educating all citizens. Rent control is established, and the government undertakes construction of housing for workers. These programs are expanded in the 1960s. [5]

The British government announces that there is no strategic alternative to the maintenance of the British base in the canal area. In the opinion of Anthony Eden, British foreign secretary, Egypt has to fit into a regional defense system, the Baghdad Pact, and agreement on this point will have to precede any withdrawal from the canal. [5]

The Baghdad Pact, bringing into alliance Britain, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Iraq, is supposed to contain the Soviet Union its southern borders. The British government is attempting to force Egypt to join the alliance by refusing to discuss evacuation of the Suez Canal base until Egypt agrees. [5]

Egypt, however, will discuss only evacuation and eventual administration of the base, and the British slowly realize the drawbacks of holding the base without Egyptian acquiescence. [5]


January 17 - All political parties are dissolved and banned. A three-year transition period is proclaimed during which the RCC will rule. [5]

February - The Liberation Rally headed by Nasser is launched to serve as an organization for the mobilization of popular support for the new government. [5]

The Egyptian government agrees to a plan for self- determination for Sudan to be implemented over a three-year period. The Sudanese opt for independence rather than union with Egypt. [5]

June 18 - Egypt is declared a republic, and the monarchy is abolished, ending the rule of Muhammad Ali's dynasty. Naguib becomes the first president and also prime minister. Nasser becomes deputy prime minister and minister of interior. Other officers take over other ministries. [5]

Between 1952 and 1954, there is a struggle between Naguib and Nasser and his colleagues on the RCC for control of the government and over the future form of the government. Naguib is to have one vote on the council and is responsible for carrying out council decisions. He enjoys considerable popularity, and he developes his own following after conflicts involving policies arise between him and the RCC. [5]


February 23 - The conflicts between Naguib and Nasser come to a head when Naguib resigns. The popular outcry is so great that Naguib is reinstated as president of the republic. Nasser, however, takes the position of prime minister, previously held by Naguib, and remains president of the RCC. [5]

Nasser is an independent and popular nationalist. He is also anti-communist and strongly neutral. [2]

Because the Brotherhood will not refrain from opposing the RCC, Nasser outlaws the organization [5]

October - Nasser signs an agreement providing for the withdrawal of all British troops from the base within twenty months, with the provision that the British base can be reactivated in the event of an attack on Egypt by an outside power or an Arab League state or an attack on Turkey. [5]

The agreement gains a mixed reception among Egyptians. Despite the enthusiasm for ending imperialism, there are those who criticize Nasser for rewriting the old treaty. Nasser's chief critics are the communists and the Brotherhood. [5]

October 26 - While Nasser is justifying the canal agreement to a crowd in Alexandria a member of the Brotherhood attempts to kill him. The following day, in a show of courage, Nasser deliberately exposes himself to crowds in Alexandria, at stations en route to Cairo and in the capital. In Cairo he is met by an estimated 200,000 people, his popularity having been enormously strengthened by this incident. [5]

November - Nasser removes Naguib from the presidency after the leaders of the Brotherhood implicate him in the attack on Nasser. It is doubtful that he had any connection with the attack, but it gives Nasser the pretext he needs to remove Naguib. [5]


February - Eden visits Cairo seeking again to persuade Nasser to join the Baghdad Pact. Nasser again refuses. Nasser is increasingly attracted to the Nonaligned Movement that eschews membership in either the Western or the Soviet camp. Nasser is no particular friend of the Soviet Union, and the Communist Party remains outlawed in Egypt. It is Western imperialism and colonialism, however, that Egypt has been struggling against. [5]

Nasser also has become an admirer and friend of President Marshal Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India. Tito has survived by aligning himself neither with the West nor with the Soviet Union. Together, he and Nasser develop the concept of nonalignment, which entails avoiding both pro- and anti-Soviet pacts but does not prevent them from purchasing arms or receiving aid from either bloc. [5]

The Israeli army attacks Egyptian military outposts in Gaza. Thirty-nine Egyptians are killed. [5]

Nasser had previously made no serious attempt to narrow Israel's rapidly widening armaments lead, preferring to spend Egypt's meager hard currency reserves on development. Now he becomes convinced that Egypt had to arm to defend itself against Israel. At first he seeks Western aid, but he is rebuffed by the United States, France, and Britain. The United States government, especially the passionately anticommunist Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, clearly disapproves of Egypt's nonalignment and will make it difficult for Egypt to purchase arms. The French demand that Egypt cease aiding the Algerian national movement, which is fighting for independence from France. The British warn Nasser that if he accepts Soviet weapons, none will be forthcoming from Britain. [5]

April - Nasser attends the Conference of the Nonaligned Movement in Bandung, Indonesia. There he finds himself the center of attention as a Third World leader, accepted as a colleague by Chinese premier Chou En Lai, and greeted by crowds in the streets. Egyptian participation in the conference, along with other former colonies such as India, symbolizes not only the new postcolonial world order but also Egypt's own independence. [5]

September - Rejected by the West, Nasser negotiates an arms agreement with Czechoslovakia. This agreement marks the Soviet Union's first great breakthrough in its effort to undermine Western influence in the Middle East. Egypt receives no arms from the West and eventually becomes dependent on arms from the Soviet Union. [5]


Relations between Nasser and the West reach a crisis over plans to finance the Aswan High Dam. Construction of the dam was one of the earliest decisions of the Free Officers. It would increase both electrical generating power and irrigated land area. It would serve industry and agriculture and symbolize the new Egypt. The United States agreed to give Egypt an unconditional loan of US$56 million, and Britain agreed to lend Egypt US$14 million. The British loan was contingent on the American loan. The World Bank also agreed to lend Egypt an additional US$200 million. The World Bank loan stipulated that Egypt's budget be supervised by World Bank officials. To Nasser these conditions were insulting and were reminiscent of Europe's control over Egypt's finances in the 1870s.

While Nasser admitted to doubts about the West's sincerity, the United States became incensed over Egypt's decision to recognize communist China. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was offering aid to Egypt in several forms, including a loan to finance the Aswan High Dam. [5]

July 19 - The United States withdraws its loan offer, and Britain and the World Bank follow suit. Nasser is returning to Cairo from a meeting with President Tito and Prime Minister Nehru when he hears the news. He is furious and decided to retaliate with an action that shocks the West and makes him the hero of the Arabs. [5]

July 26 - The fourth anniversary of King Faruk's exile, Nasser appears in Muhammad Ali Square in Alexandria where twenty months earlier an assassin had attempted to kill him. An immense crowd gathers, and he begins a three-hour speech from a few notes jotted on the back of an envelope. When Nasser says the code word, "de Lesseps," it is the signal for engineer Mahmud Yunis to begin the takeover of the Suez Canal.

The canal's owner was the Suez Canal Company, an international company with headquarters in Paris. Anthony Eden, the British prime minister, calls the nationalization of the canal "theft," and United States secretary of state Dulles says Nasser will have to be made to "disgorge" it. The French and British depend heavily on the canal for transporting oil supplies, and they feel that Nasser has become a threat to their remaining interests in the Middle East and Africa. Eden wants to launch a military action immediately but is informed that Britain is not in a position to do so. Both France and Britain freeze Egyptian assets in their countries and increase their military preparedness in the eastern Mediterranean.

Egypt promises to compensate the stockholders of the Suez Canal Company and to guarantee right of access to all ships, so is was difficult for the French and British to rally international support to regain the canal by force. The Soviet Union, its East European allies, and Third World countries generally support Egypt. The United States moves farther away from Britain and states that while it opposes the nationalization of the canal, it is against the use of force.

October 28 - Israeli troops cross the frontier into the Sinai Peninsula (also seen as Sinai), allegedly to destroy the bases of Egyptian commandos. The first sign of collusion between Israel and Britain and France comes on the same day, when an Anglo-French ultimatum is handed to Egypt and Israel to withdraw from both sides of the canal, before Israel have even reached the canal. The plan being that an Anglo-French force would then occupy the canal to prevent further fighting and keep it open to shipping. Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion had agreed to the plan on condition that Britain and France first destroy the Egyptian air force. This is done by the British bombing the Egyptian force, and British and French paratroopers are dropped over Port Said and Port Fuad. The Egyptians put up fierce resistance. Ships are sunk in the canal to prevent transit. In the battle for Port Said, about 2,700 Egyptian civilians and soldiers are killed or wounded.

This action becomes known as the Tripartite Invasion or the 1956 War. Whereas the truth about the invasion eventually becomes known, at the time the Conservative government in London denies that it used Israel as an excuse for attacking Egypt. Eden, who has an intense personal dislike for Nasser, concealed the cooperation with Israel from his colleagues, British diplomats, and the United States.

Although it is invaded and occupied for a time, Egypt can claim to have emerged the victor. There is almost universal condemnation of the Tripartite Invasion. The Soviet Union threatens Britain and France with a rocket attack if they do not withdraw. The United States, angered because it had not been informed by its allies of the invasion, realizes it can not allow the Soviet Union to appear as the champion of the Third World against Western imperialism. Thus, the United States puts pressure on the British and French to withdraw. Faced with almost total opposition to the invasion, the anger of the United States, and the threat of the collapse of the pound sterling, the British agree to withdraw. [5]

Eisenhower later said if Britain had "done it quickly, we would have accepted it". [2]

November 6 - Severely condemned, Britain and France accept a cease-fire, as their troops are poised to advance the length of the canal. [5]

November 21 - A United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) is established and begins arriving in Egypt. The troops are stationed on the Egyptian side of the Egyptian-Israeli border as well as along the eastern coast of Sinai. Israel refuses to allow UN troops on its territory. The UN troops are stationed on the Gulf of Aqaba to ensure the free passage of Israeli shipping to Elat. The troops remained in Egypt until 1967, when their removal contributes to the outbreak of the June 1967 War. [5]

December 22 - The final evacuation of British and French troops takes place. Israel, which has occupied all of Sinai, is reluctant to withdraw. President Dwight D. Eisenhower of the United States places great pressure on Israel to give up all its territorial acquisitions and even threatens sanctions. The Israelis do withdraw from Sinai, but they carry out a scorched earth policy, destroying roads, railroads, and military installations as they go. [5]


April - Egypt reopens the canal to shipping and runs it smoothly. It is open to all ships except those of Israel, and it remains open until the June 1967 War (Arab-Israeli war, also known as the Six-Day War). Diplomatic relations between Egypt and Britain are not restored until 1969. [5]

Nasser has won a significant victory. The immediate effect is that Britain and France are finally out of Egypt. Nasser goes on to nationalize all other British and French assets in Egypt. The Egyptians now have full control of the canal and its revenues. The Suez crisis also makes Nasser the hero of the Arab world, a man who has stood up to Western imperialism and has prevailed. [5]

MI6 plans and carries out several assassination attempts against Nasser. The US were also involved, recruiting the Saudis and Iraq to help them. [2] [3] [9]

Britain had already made plans to assassinate Nasser, even before he nationalized the Suez Canal. [2]


For a variety of conflicting reasons, in January the political leaders of Syria ask Nasser for a union between their two countries. Nasser is skeptical at first and then insists on strict conditions for union, including a complete union rather than a federal state and the abolition of the Baath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) Party, then in power, and all other Syrian political parties. Because the Syrians believe that Nasser's ideas represent their own goals and that they would play a large role in the union, they agree to the conditions. A plebiscite is held in both countries, and Nasser is elected president. Cairo is designated the capital of the United Arab Republic. Nasser then visits Damascus, where he receives a tumultuous welcome. Arabs everywhere feel a new sense of pride. [5]

North Yemen joins with the United Arab Republic (Egypt and Syria) to form the United Arab States, which in reality is a paper alliance. [6]

Several Arab governments view Nasser with less enthusiasm, however. The conservative monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Jordan see his ideas as a potential threat to their own power. Nasser regards these monarchs as reactionaries and as obstacles to Arab unity. The United States moves to strengthen these regimes as well as the government of Lebanon in an effort to offset the influence of Egypt. [5]


July - The hastily conceived union of Syria and Egypt does not last long. There are too many problems to overcome: the two countries are not contiguous, their economies and populations are different, and the Syrian elite deeply resent being made subservient to Egyptian dictates. The deciding factor for the Syrian upper and middle classes comes in July when Nasser issues the so-called "socialist decrees" that call for widespread nationalizations. This is followed by the elimination of local autonomy and a plan for the unification of Egyptian and Syrian currencies, a move that would deal the final blow to Syrian economic independence. [5]

Nasser announces a list of nationalizations that cut more deeply into the private sector than has occurred in any country outside of Eastern Europe. The decrees nationalize all private banks, all insurance companies, and fifty shipping companies and firms in heavy and basic industries. Eighty-three companies are obliged to sell 50 percent or more of their shares to public agencies. A second agrarian reform law lowers the limit for an individual owner from 200 to 100 feddans. The nationalization program continues in successive waves through 1962 and 1963 and involves shipping companies, cotton-ginning factories, cotton-exporting companies, pharmaceutical producers, ocean and river transport companies, trucking companies, glass factories, and the largest book-publishing company in Egypt. Between 1952 and 1966, E7 billion in shared and public assets are transferred to public ownership. [5]

The decrees also include legislation such as taxing gross incomes over E5,000 at the rate of 90 percent, limiting base salaries of public sector directors to E5,000, and limiting membership on all boards of directors to seven persons, two of whom must be workers. All joint-stock companies are required to place 5 percent of all profits in government bonds and to allot 10 percent to workers in cash and 15 percent to worker housing and community infrastructure. The working week is reduced to forty two hours, and the minimum wage is raised. Half of all seats in Parliament and on all elective bodies and worker-management boards are reserved for peasants and workers. [5]

September - There is also resentment in the army that parallels the resentment in civilian circles. On September 28, a group of army officers called the High Arab Revolutionary Command stage a successful coup and proclaim the separation of Syria from Egypt. Nasser decides not to resist and orders his troops to surrender. He blames Syria's defection on "reactionaries" and "agents of imperialism." [5]

December - Nasser formally ends the union with North Yemen. [5]


A military coup overthrows the royalist government in Yemen. Nasser intervenes to support the new republican government against the Saudi-backed royalists, who are attempting to regain control. [5]

The National Charter, essentially drawn up by Nasser, is promulgated. It establishes the basis of authority for the new constitution that is to follow. It shows a change in orientation from the nationalist goals of the original revolution and emphasizes that Egypt is an Arab nation based on Islamic principles. In addition, the Arab Socialist Union (ASU) is created to be the sole political party and a means of gathering the support of the masses. [5]


January - In spite of the problems that exist among the various Arab states, Nasser initiates Arab summit meetings that are held in January, March, and September in Cairo and Casablanca. The immediate reason for the summits is to find a way to block Israel's plan to divert the waters of the Jordan River to irrigate the Negev Desert, a plan that would deprive the lower Jordan River valley of water. The Arab states draw up a plan that calls for diverting the Jordan River in Syria and Lebanon but does not implement it. [5]

The Arab summit meetings also take up other matters. League members agree to create a unified military command, the United Arab Command, with headquarters in Cairo, but this plan, like that of diverting the Jordan River, remains on paper. The Arab leaders do implement a plan to create the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to be the primary organization of Palestinians. The Arab governments, especially Egypt, are becoming increasingly uneasy about the growing activities of Palestinian guerrillas, and they want to create an organization through which they can control such operations. They create the Palestine Liberation Army, whose units will be stationed and controlled by Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. Egypt exercises control of the PLO until 1969 when Yasir Arafat, the leader of the guerrilla organization called Al Fatah, takes control of the organization from Ahmad Shukairy, the choice of the Arab League governments. [5]

March - Elections are held for a new National Assembly from a list of candidates drawn up by the ASU. Immediately after the election, Nasser releases a draft constitution that functions until 1971. The constitution is based on the National Charter and emphasizes freedom, socialism, and unity. [5]


November - Egypt and Syria sign a five-year defence pact. [5]

Israeli forces cross into the West Bank of Jordan to destroy the village of As Samu in retaliation for increasing Palestinian guerilla raids. [5]


Israeli leaders repeatedly threatened to invade Syria and overthrow the Syrian government if guerrilla raids across the Syrian border do not stop. [5]

April - There are serious Israeli-Syrian air clashes over Syrian air space. Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol warns that Damascus could be occupied if necessary. [5]

The Soviet Union warns Egypt that they have information that the Israelis have mobilized two brigades on the frontier. Nasser reacts by sending troops to the Israeli border, and Syria follows suit. Israel responds by deploying its own forces. It is clear that it will be difficult for Egypt to come to Syria's aid according to the terms of their agreement because of an obstacle--the presence of UNEF troops, stationed on the Egyptian side of the Egyptian-Israeli border since the 1956 War. A great deal of pressure to remove the troops has been put on Nasser by Arab critics such as King Hussein of Jordan and Crown Prince Faisal (Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud) of Saudi Arabia, who accuse him of not living up to his responsibilities as an Arab leader. He has been accused of failing to match words with deeds and of hiding behind the UN shield rather than thinking about liberating the Palestinian homeland. [5]

May 16 - Nasser asks the UN to remove the UNEF from the Egyptian-Israeli frontier in Sinai. Once the UNEF has withdrawn, Nasser declares he is closing the Strait of Tiran, which connects the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea, to Israeli shipping--a threat he never carries out. Israel, for its part, regards the withdrawal of the UNEF troops as a hostile act and the closing of the strait as a casus belli. Meanwhile, Jordan and Iraq sign defense agreements with Egypt. [5]

Field Marshal Amir, deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, and Shams ad Din Badran, the minister of defense, urge Nasser to strike first, saying the Egyptian army is strong enough to win. The Soviet Union and the United States urge Nasser not to go to war. Nasser publicly denies that Egypt will strike first and speaks of a negotiated peace if the Palestinians are allowed to return to their homeland and of a possible compromise over the Strait of Tiran. [5]

June 5-11 – On the morning of June 5, Israel launches a full-scale attack on Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. In three hours, at least 300 of Egypt's 430 combat aircraft are destroyed, many on the ground as the pilots do not have time to take off. Israeli ground forces start a lightning strike into Sinai and by June 8 have reached the Suez Canal. On that day, both sides accept a UN Security Council call for a cease-fire. By June 11, the Arab defeat is total; Israel now holds all of historic Palestine, including the Old City of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, as well as Sinai and part of the Golan Heights of Syria. [1] [5]

Egypt's losses in the war are enormous: approximately 10,000 soldiers and 1,500 officers killed, 5,000 soldiers and 500 officers captured, 80 percent of military equipment destroyed. Sinai is under Israeli control, and the Suez Canal is blocked and closed to shipping.

June 9 - Nasser speaks on television and takes full responsibility for the debacle. He resigns as president, but the Egyptian people pour into the streets to demonstrate their support for him. The cabinet and the National Assembly vote not to accept the resignation, and Nasser withdraws it.

Soon after the cease-fire, there is a broad shake-up in the military and the government. Field Marshal Amir and Minister of Defense Badran, who had been chosen for the post by Amir, are forced to resign. General Muhammad Fawzi becomes commander in chief, and Nasser retains the position of supreme commander. [5]

June 19 - Nasser enlarges his political powers by assuming the role of prime minister. He names a twenty-eight-member cabinet and takes control of the ASU as secretary general. Ali Sabri, the vice president and secretary general of the ASU until that time, is named deputy prime minister in the new cabinet. [5]

August 25 - Amir and fifty other high-ranking military and civilian officials are arrested and accused of plotting to overthrow Nasser. Approximately two weeks later, the government announces that Amir, who was once considered Nasser's closest associate among the Free Officers, has committed suicide by taking poison while under house arrest. [5]

September - The first move of the Arabs after the June 1967 War is to hold a summit conference in Khartoum. At that meeting, Nasser and Faisal come to an agreement: Nasser will stop his attempts to destabilize the Saudi regime, and in return Saudi Arabia will give Egypt the financial aid needed to rebuild its army and retake the territory lost to Israel. At the conference, the Arab leaders are united in their opposition to Israel and proclaim what become known as "the three no's" of the Khartoum summit: no peace with Israel, no negotiations, no recognition. [5]

November - At the UN, the Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 242, which provides a framework for settlement of the June 1967 War. This resolution, still not implemented, declares that the acquisition of territory by force is unacceptable. The resolution calls for Israel to withdraw "from territories occupied in the recent conflict," for the termination of the state of belligerency, and for the right of all states in the area "to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries." Freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area is to be guaranteed, and a just settlement of the "refugee" problem is to be attained. Gunnar Jarring, a Swedish diplomat at the UN, starts a series of journeys in the Middle East in an attempt to bring both sides together. [5]

Egypt's intervention in Yemen has proved to be a great drain on Egypt's financial and military resources. At the height of its involvement, Egypt had 75,000 troops in Yemen. Egypt's intervention also increased inter-Arab tensions, especially between Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Egypt's defeat at the hands of Israel in the June 1967 War obliges it to withdraw its forces from Yemen and to seek peace. A settlement is achieved at a conference in Khartoum. [5]


March - widespread demonstrations by students and workers break out in Cairo, Alexandria, and the industrial town of Hulwan. The demonstrations are provoked by the decision of a military tribunal that convicted two air force commanders of negligence in the June 1967 War and acquitted two others. The demonstrators demand stiffer sentences for the four officers. A sit-in by students at Cairo University ends only when the government promises to retry the officers and releases arrested demonstrators. [5]

Although the decision of the military tribunal is the immediate cause of the demonstrations, the underlying cause is popular frustration with the government repression over the preceding sixteen years and the lack of popular participation in the government. Nasser declares his desire to satisfy popular demands and promises to present a plan of action. [5]

May - The new plan, is approved by a referendum. It calls for a new constitution that will reform the ASU, grant parliament control over the government, and allow greater personal and press freedom. Popular elections are to be held for the National Assembly. [5]

Egypt agrees to accept resolution 242 if Israel agrees to evacuate all occupied areas. By accepting the resolution, Egypt for the first time implicitly recognizes the existence--and the right to continued existence-- of Israel. In return Egypt gains a UN commitment to the restoration of Sinai. The PLO reject the resolution because it refers to the Palestinians only as "refugees" and thus appears to dismiss Palestinian demands for self-determination and national rights. Syria characterizes the plan as a "sellout" of Arafat and the PLO. [5]

Israel rejects Jarring's mission as meaningless, insisting that negotiations should precede any evacuation. Israel also objects to Nasser's support for the PLO, whose objective is the establishment of a secular state in all "liberated" Palestinian territory. Nasser replies that if Israel refuses to support Resolution 242 while Egypt accepts it, he has no choice "but to support courageous resistance fighters who want to liberate their land." [5]

October - Nasser's reform of the existing political system is instituted through the formulation of new laws and the election of new members to all of the organs of the ASU. This initial phase of his plan is completed during October, with the election of the reorganized Supreme Executive Committee (SEC) of the ASU. Only eight people receive the required majority of votes, and the election of the remaining two members is postponed. The SEC organizes itself into five permanent committees: political affairs, chaired by Anwar as Sadat; administration, chaired by Ali Sabri; internal affairs, chaired by Abdul Muhsin Abu an Nur; economic development, chaired by Muhammad Labib Shuqayr; and culture and information, chaired by Diya Muhammad Daud. Nasser heads the SEC, and its three remaining members are Husayn ash Shafii, General Muhammad Fawzi, and Kamal Ramzi Stinu. [5]

November - This reorganization proves unsatisfactory to those who had hoped for an expansion of freedom and democracy. Thus, in November, demonstrations break out again and cries of "Nasser resign" are reported. Several demonstrators are killed or wounded in clashes with the police. Universities and secondary schools are again closed. The demonstrators are expressing popular frustration over the failure of the government to implement the program approved by the referendum. Nasser apparently is unwilling or unable to widen popular participation in the government. [5]


Yasir Arafat, the leader of the guerrilla organization called Al Fatah, takes control of the PLO from Ahmad Shukairy, the choice of the Arab League governments. [5]

March - Start of the "War of Attrition" which lasts until August 1970. Hoping to use Egypt's superiority in artillery to cause unacceptable casualties to Israeli forces dug in along the canal, Nasser orders Egyptian guns to begin a steady pounding of the Israeli positions. Israel responds by constructing the Bar-Lev Line, a series of fortifications along the canal, and by using the one weapon in which it has absolute superiority, its air force, to silence the Egyptian artillery. Having accomplished this with minimal aircraft losses, Israel embarks on a series of deep penetration raids into the heartland of Egypt with its newly acquired American-made Phantom bombers. By January 1970, Israeli planes are flying at will over eastern Egypt. [5]

November - The disagreement on the Palestinian issue is compounded when, throughout 1969, tensions grow between the Lebanese government and Palestinian groups within Lebanon's borders, and serious clashes break out. Syria condemns Lebanese action. Nasser invites both parties to Cairo, and an agreement is negotiated to end the hostilities. [5]


January - To help Egypt against Israel in the War of Attrition Nasser flies to Moscow and asks the Soviet Union to establish an air defense system manned by Soviet pilots and antiaircraft forces protected by Soviet troops. To obtain Soviet aid, Nasser has to grant the Soviet Union control over a number of Egyptian airfields as well as operational control over a large portion of the Egyptian army. The Soviet Union sends between 10,000 and 15,000 Soviet troops and advisers to Egypt, and Soviet pilots fly combat missions. A screen of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) is set up, and Soviet pilots join Egyptian ones in patrolling Egyptian air space. [5]

June - The Rogers Plan, put forth by United States secretary of state William Rogers, starts a dialogue that eventually leads to the long-awaited cease-fire in the War of Attrition along the Suez Canal. Basically, the plan is a modification of Resolution 242. Shortly after the plan is announced, from June 29 to July 17, Nasser visits Moscow. Discussions are held on the Rogers Plan, a newly formed Moscow peace plan, and the future of Soviet-Egyptian relations. [5]

July - After his return to Egypt, Nasser declares a major policy shift based on his assertion that Egypt must be respected for doing what it can on its own because the other Arab states are not prepared to wage war with Israel. This policy shift sets the stage for Egypt's acceptance of the Rogers Plan, to the surprise of Israel and the consternation of many Arab states that feared Egypt would sign a separate peace agreement with Israel. Jordan, however, follows Egypt's lead and accepts the plan. [5]

August - Israel accepts the Rogers Plan. Egyptian-Israeli fighting halts along the Suez Canal on August 7, in accordance with the first phase of the plan, and a ninety-day truce begins. Palestinian guerrilla groups in opposition to the cease-fire continue to engage in small-scale actions on the Jordanian-Syrian-Lebanese fronts. [5]

September - PLO leader Arafat's open criticism of the parties accepting the truce leads Nasser to close down the Voice of Palestine radio station in Cairo and to terminate most of the material support Egypt provides to the PLO. In addition, many PLO activists are expelled from Egypt. Within a month, the guerrillas have effectively undermined progress on the Rogers Plan by a series of acts, including the hijacking of five international airplanes in early September, thus triggering the Jordanian civil war this month. [5]

King Hussein launches a major Jordanian military drive against the Jordan-based Palestinian guerrilla groups on September 14, partly out of fear that their attacks on Israel will sabotage the truce, but primarily because the guerrillas are becoming powerful enough to challenge his government. Nasser's position on these events, as in the preceding year when hostilities broke out between the Palestinians and Lebanese, is based on a desire to stop any form of intra-Arab conflict. He is extremely angry when Syria sends an armoured force into Jordan to support the guerrillas. The United States and Israel offer assistance to the beleaguered King Hussein. [5]

Nasser calls for a meeting in Cairo to stop the civil war. The Arab summit finally comes about on September 26 after bloody military engagements in which Jordan decisively repulses the Syrians and seems to be defeating the PLO, although PLO forces are not pushed out of Jordan until July 1971. On September 27, Hussein and Arafat agree to a fourteen-point cease-fire under Nasser's mediation, officially ending the war. [5]

September 28 - The effort by Nasser to bring about this unlikely reconciliation between two bitter enemies was enormous. He was by then a tired and sick man. He had been suffering from diabetes since 1958 and from arteriosclerosis of the leg. He had treatment in the Soviet Union, and his doctors had warned him to avoid physical and emotional strain. He had ignored their advice and suffered a heart attack in September 1969. The strain of the summit was too much. He feels ill at the airport on September 28 when bidding good-bye to Arab leaders and returns home to bed. He has another heart attack and dies in the afternoon. [5]

When news of Nasser's death is announced, Egyptians take to the streets by the tens of thousands to express shock and grief at the death of their leader. In spite of the doubts that many Egyptians may feel about the path on which Nasser has taken Egypt, the sense of loss is overwhelming, and there is great uncertainty about the future. [5]

October 3 - The ASU recommends that Sadat be nominated to succeed Nasser as president. [5]

October 15 – Vice-president Anwar as-Sadat becomes the new president, after a referendum where he gains 90% of the ballots. There are no opposing candidates. [1] [5] Sadat moves very cautiously at first and pledges to continue Nasser's policies. [5]


February 4 - Sadat announces a new peace initiative that contains a significant concession: he is willing to accept an interim agreement with Israel in return for a partial Israeli withdrawal from Sinai. A timetable would then be set for Israel's withdrawal from the rest of the occupied territories in accordance with UN Resolution 242. Egypt would reopen the canal, restore diplomatic relations with the United States, which had been broken after the June 1967 War, and sign a peace agreement with Israel through Jarring. Sadat's initiative falls on deaf ears in Tel Aviv and in Washington, which is not disposed to assisting the Soviet Union's major client in the region. Disillusioned by Israel's failure to respond to his initiative, Sadat rejects the Rogers Plan and the cease-fire. [4] [5]

May 2 - Sadat dismisses Ali Sabri, the vice president and head of the ASU. [5]

May 15 - Sadat announced that Sabri and more than 100 others have been arrested and charged with plotting a coup against the government. Also charged in the plot are Sharawy Jumaa, minister of interior and head of internal security, and Muhammad Fawzi, minister of war. These men are considered to be left-leaning and pro-Soviet. They are arrested with other important figures of the Nasser era. They had all resigned their positions on May 13, apparently in preparation for a takeover. But anticipating their moves, Sadat outflanked them and was then able to assert himself and appoint his own followers, rather than Free Officer colleagues, to leadership positions. [5]

This action, which becomes known as the Corrective Revolution, begins Sadat's move away from Nasser's policies. He announces new elections and a complete reorganization of the ASU. The armed forces pledge their support for Sadat on May 15. There are also some demonstrations in the streets in support of Sadat's moves. [5]

May 27 - Sadat signs the first Soviet-Egyptian Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. He later explains that he did it to allay Soviet fears provoked by his ousting of Ali Sabri and the others and to speed up deliveries of Soviet military supplies. Even as he is preparing to break the stalemate with Israel, however, he is already thinking of expelling the Soviet advisers. [5]

September 11 - A new constitution is presented by Sadat and approved by the electorate. The previous constitution had been issued as "provisional" in 1964. The Constitution of 1971 provides additional guarantees against arbitrary arrest, seizure of property, and other Nasser-era abuses. The responsibility of the People's Assembly, which replaces the National Assembly, is widened, but the president clearly retains dominant authority. Sadat dissolves the old legislature on September 8 and on September 19, he forms a new cabinet. [5]

October 27 - Competitive, but not totally free, elections are held for the People's Assembly. [5]


May - President Nixon meets Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev, and Sadat is convinced that the two superpowers will try to prevent a new war in the Middle East and that a position of stalemate--no peace, no war--has been reached. For Sadat this position is intolerable. The June 1967 War had been a humiliating defeat for the Arabs. Without a military victory, any Arab leader who agreed to negotiate directly with Israel would do so from a position of extreme weakness. At the same time, the United States and the Soviet Union are urging restraint and caution. However, the United States refuses to put pressure on Israel to make concessions, and the Soviet Union, which has broken off diplomatic relations with Israel as a result of the June 1967 War, has no influence over Israel. Internally, the Egyptian economy is being steadily drained by the confrontation with Israel. Economic problems are becoming more serious because of the tremendous amount of resources directed toward building up the military since the June 1967 War, and it is clear that Sadat will have to demonstrate some results from this policy. In the last half of 1972, there are large-scale student riots, and some journalists came out publicly in support of the students. Thus, Sadat feels under increasing pressure to go to war against Israel as the only way to regain the lost territories. [5]

July 17 - Sadat expells the 15,000 Soviet advisers from Egypt. [5]

Violent clashes between police and Egyptian students. These disturbances continued into 1973. [1]


March 26 - Sadat assumes the additional title of prime minister and forms a new government designed to continue preparations for a confrontation with Israel. [5]

October 6 - Egyptian forces launch a successful surprise attack across the Suez Canal. The Syrians carry out an attack on Israel at the same time. For the Arabs, it was the fasting month of Ramadan, and for Israel it was Yom Kippur. The crossing of the canal, an astounding feat of technology and military acumen, takes only four hours to complete. The crossing was code-named Operation Badr after the first victory of the Prophet Muhammad, which culminated in his entry into Mecca in 630. [5] With the aid of USA, manages Israel to hold back, but loses a strip of Sinai along the Suez Canal, and half way down the Western coast of Sinai. [1]

October 17 - The Arab oil producers announce a program of reprisals against the Western backers of Israel: a 5 percent cutback in output, followed by further such reductions every month until Israel has withdrawn from all the occupied territories and the rights of the Palestinians have been restored. The next day, President Nixon formally asks Congress for US$2.2 billion in emergency funds to finance the massive airlift of arms to Israel that is already under way. The following day, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia decrees an immediate 10 percent cutback in Saudi oil and, five days after that, the complete suspension of all shipments to the United States. [5]

Israel is shocked and unprepared for the war. After the initial confusion and near panic in Israel followed by the infusion of United States weaponry, Israel is able to counterattack and succeeds in crossing to the west bank of the canal and surrounding the Egyptian Third Army. With the Third Army surrounded, Sadat appeals to the Soviet Union for help. Soviet prime minister Alexei Kosygin believes he has obtained the American acceptance of a cease-fire through Henry Kissinger, United States secretary of state. [5]

October 22 - The UN Security Council passes Resolution 338, calling for a cease-fire by all parties within twelve hours in the positions they occupy. Egypt accepts the cease-fire, but Israel, alleging Egyptian violations of the cease-fire, completes the encirclement of the Third Army to the east of the canal. By nightfall on October 23, the road to Suez, the Third Army's only supply line, is in Israeli hands, cutting off two divisions and 45,000 men. [5]

The Soviet Union is furious, believing it has been doublecrossed by the United States. [5]

October 24 - The Soviet ambassador hands Kissinger a note from Brezhnev threatening that if the United States is not prepared to join in sending forces to impose the cease-fire, the Soviet Union will act alone. The United States takes the threat very seriously and responds by ordering a grade-three nuclear alert, the first of its kind since President John F. Kennedy's order during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The threat comes to naught, however, because a UN emergency force arrives in the battle zone to police the ceasefire . [5]

Meanwhile, Syria feels betrayed by Egypt because Sadat did not inform his ally of his decision to accept the cease-fire. Two days after Sadat, President Hafiz al Assad of Syria accepts the cease-fire as well. [5]

Neither side has won a clear-cut victory, but for the Egyptians, it is a victory nonetheless. The Arabs have taken the initiative in attacking the Israelis and have shown that Israel is not invincible. The stinging defeats of 1948, 1956, and 1967 seem to have been avenged. [5]

The Israelis, however, paid a heavy price for merely holding their attackers to an inconclusive draw. In three weeks, they lost 2,523 personnel, two and a half times as many, proportionally speaking, as the United States lost in the ten years of the Vietnam war. The war has a devastating effect on Israel's economy and is followed by savage austerity measures and drastically reduced living standards. For the first time, Israelis witness the humiliating spectacle of Israeli prisoners, heads bowed, paraded on Arab television. Also, for the first time captured Israeli hardware was exhibited in Cairo. [5]

In Egypt the casualties include about 8,000 killed. The effect of the war on the morale of the Egyptian population, however, is immense. Sadat's prestige grows tremendously. The war, along with the political moves Sadat has made previously, mean that he is totally in control and able to implement the programs he wants. He is the hero of the day. [5]

December - Negotiations toward a permanent cease-fire begin. [5]


January - Kissinger begins his shuttle diplomacy between Egypt and Israel. On January 18, the first disengagement agreement is signed separately by Sadat and Golda Meir. [5]

April - Sadat presents what he calls the October Working Paper, which describes his vision of Egypt's future. The paper commits Egypt to building a strong country, continuing the confrontation with Israel, working toward Arab unity, and playing a leading role in world politics. Perhaps the most important part of Sadat's paper is the announcement of a new economic policy that comes to be called infitah, (opening or open door). [5]

This new economic policy allows increased foreign investment in Egypt, greater participation by the private sector in the Egyptian economy, more freedom for individuals to develop their own wealth and property, and relaxed currency regulations so that Egyptians can have access to foreign currency. The new direction gradually changes Egypt in many ways: the shops fill with foreign consumer goods; foreign companies build huge modern hotels; and new wealth is displayed in a way that has not been seen in Egypt since before the 1952 Revolution. Doubts begin to be expressed, however, about how much all this is actually doing for the Egyptian people since foreign investment in long-term agricultural or industrial projects is lacking. [5]

September 1 - A second disengagement agreement is signed. The agreement provided for a partial Israeli withdrawal in Sinai and limits the number of troops and kinds of weapons Egypt can have on the eastern side of the canal. Israel agrees to withdraw from the Abu Rudays oil fields in western Sinai, which produce a small but important revenue for Egypt. Egypt also agrees not to use force to achieve its aims, a concession that in effect makes Egypt a nonbelligerent in the Arab-Israeli conflict. As the price for its agreement, Israel extracts important concessions from the United States. Kissinger's secret promises to Israel include meeting Israel's military needs in any emergency, preserving Israel's arms superiority by providing the most advanced and sophisticated weaponry, and pledging not to recognize or to negotiate with the PLO. [5]


Sadat permits the establishment of three groupings in the ASU to express the opinions of the left, the right, and the center of the regime. By 1976 the three platforms are permitted, within established guidelines, to act as separate political entities, but each group needs to elect a minimum of twelve deputies to the People's Assembly to be recognized. The leftist group is known as the National Progressive Unionist Organization (NPUO--later NPUP when it is allowed to become a party) led by Khalid Muhi ad Din, a Free Officer and a Marxist. The right-wing group is the Socialist Liberal Organization (SLO--later the Liberal or Ahrar Party) led by Mustafa Kamil Murad. The center group is known as the Egyptian Arab Socialist Organization. The country's main political forces, the Wafd, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Nasserites, and the communists, are not allowed representation. [5]

June 5 - Reopening of the Suez Canal, after 8 years of being closed. This is a great moment for Sadat, not only politically but economically, because the canal provides Egypt with considerable revenues [1] [5]

September - Agreements with Israel on disengagement of military forces. [1]


March 15 - The movement away from a one-party system matches Egypt's turn away from the Soviet Union and toward the United States. Sadat hopes that his new political and economic policies will attract large sums of private American investment. He also feels that the United States is the only country that can pressure Israel into a final peace settlement. To enhance relations with the United States and to respond to the Soviet Union's refusal to reschedule repayments of Egypt's debt, Sadat unilaterally renounces the Soviet-Egyptian Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. [5]

October - In the election, not unexpectedly, the progovernment center platform of the ASU wins an overwhelming majority, 280 seats; the SLP win 12 and the NPUP only 2. Independent candidates win forty-eight seats. When he opens the new assembly, Sadat announces that the platforms will become political parties. [5]

Sadat, in an effort to solve the country's economic problems, asks the World Bank for loans. [5]


January - In response to the World Bank's criticisms of public subsidies, the government announces that it is ending subsidies on flour, rice, and cooking oil and canceling bonuses and pay increases. [5]

January 18-19 - Egyptians take to the streets in antigovernment riots that demonstrate their disillusionment with infitah and the nepotism and corruption it has spawned. There is rioting in towns from Aswan to Alexandria, variously described as the biggest upheaval since the 1919 riots against the British, or a second Black Saturday. It is the first time the army has been brought into the streets since 1952. For thirty-six hours, the rioters unleash their pent-up fury on targets that symbolize the yawning gap between the haves and have-nots, the frivolity and corruption of the ruling class, and the incompetence and insensitivity of the administration. The rioters shout slogans like, "Hero of the crossing, where is our breakfast?" and "Thieves of the infitah, the people are famished." There are also shouts of "Nasser, Nasser." In the clashes between demonstrators and police, 800 persons are killed, and several thousands are wounded, according to unofficial estimates. The rioting ends when the government cancels the price increases while retaining 10 percent wage increases and other benefits for public sector employees. [5]

July - Sadat announces that he will establish his own party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), signaling the end of the Arab Socialist Union, which is merged with the NDP. Sadat also wants a more pliable left-wing opposition party, so the Socialist Labor Party (Amal) was founded with Sadat's brother-in- law as vice president. [5]

November 19 - The outlook for peace between Israel and Egypt is not good. Israel still holds most of Sinai, and negotiations have been at a stalemate since the second disengagement agreement in 1975. Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin is a hard-liner and a supporter of Israeli expansion. He approves the development of settlements on the occupied West Bank and reprisal raids into southern Lebanon. He also refuses to approve any negotiation with the PLO. After the food riots of January, Sadat decides that something dramatic has to be done, and so, in response to an invitation from Begin, Sadat journeys to Jerusalem. [5]

He speaks in the Knesset, the national assembly, where he signals what needs to be done to reach peace: Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian state. [1]

The world was amazed by this move. The reaction in Egypt is generally favorable. Many Egyptians accept peace with Israel if it means regaining Egyptian territories. They are tired of bearing the major burden of the confrontation and, considering the sacrifices Egypt has already made, feel that the Palestinians are ungrateful. Of the Arab countries, only Sudan, Oman, and Morocco are favorable to Sadat's trip. In the other Arab states, there is shock and dismay. The Arabs feel that Sadat has betrayed the cause of Arab solidarity and the Palestinians. In spite of Sadat's denials, the Arabs believe that he intends to go it alone and make a separate peace with Israel. [5]

December - Egypt and Israel began peace negotiations in Cairo. These negotiations continue on and off over the next several months. [5]


September - By now 1978 it is clear that the negotiations with Israel are deadlocked. President Jimmy Carter has become closely involved in the negotiations. In an effort to break the deadlock, Carter invites Sadat and Begin to Camp David. The negotiations are tense and almost break down several times. [5]

September 17 - Carter announces that the Camp David Accords have been reached. They consist of two parts, the Framework for Peace in the Middle East and the Framework for the Conclusion of a Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt. [5]


March 26 - The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is signed. Israel agrees to withdraw from Sinai within three years of the treaty; normal diplomatic and trade relations are to be established, and Israeli ships will pass unhindered through the canal. Egypt, however, will not have full sovereignty over Sinai. A multinational observer force will be stationed in Sinai, and the United States will monitor events there. [5]

The Framework for Peace in the Middle East is an elaboration of the "autonomy" plan that Begin had put forward nine months before. A "self-governing authority" is to be established for a five-year transitional period, by the third year of which negotiations are to begin to determine the final status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to conclude a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan. Within one month of the ratification of the treaty, Egypt and Israel are supposed to begin negotiations for the establishment of the "elected self-governing authority" in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. They set themselves the goal of completing the negotiations within one year so that elections can be held "as expeditiously as possible." [5]

May 12 - Shortly before the autonomy talks are supposed to begin, deputy Geula Cohen, a Zionist extremist, introduces a bill, adopted by the Knesset, that declares Jerusalem to be Israel's united and indivisible capital. [5]

The treaty deadlines pass, Begin makes his position perfectly clear: Jerusalem will remain undivided; settlement will continue, and autonomy will never become sovereignty. [5]

The Camp David Accords make Sadat a hero in Europe and the United States. The reaction in Egypt is generally favorable, but there is opposition from the left and from the Muslim Brotherhood. In the Arab world, Sadat is almost universally condemned. Only Sudan issues an ambivalent statement of support. The Arab states suspend all official aid and severed diplomatic relations. Egypt is expelled from the Arab League, which it was instrumental in founding, and from other Arab institutions. Saudi Arabia withdraws the funds it had promised for Egypt's purchase of American fighter aircraft. [5] [1]

In the West, where Sadat is extolled as a hero and a champion of peace, the Arab rejection of the Camp David Accords is often confused with the rejection of peace. The basis for Arab rejection was opposition to Egypt's separate peace with Israel. Although Sadat insisted that the treaty provided for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab states and the PLO saw it as a separate peace, which Sadat had vowed he would not sign. The Arabs believed that only a unified Arab stance and the threat of force would persuade Israel to negotiate a settlement of the Palestinian issue that would satisfy Palestinian demands for a homeland. Without Egypt's military power, the threat of force evaporates because no single Arab state is strong enough militarily to confront Israel alone. Thus, the Arabs feel betrayed and dismayed that the Palestinian issue, the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict, will remain an unresolved, destabilizing force in the region. [5]

The Camp David Accords bring peace to Egypt but not prosperity. With no real improvement in the economy, Sadat becomes increasingly unpopular. His isolation in the Arab world is matched by his increasing remoteness from the mass of Egyptians. While Sadat's critics in the Arab world remain beyond his reach, increasingly he reacts to criticism at home by expanding censorship and jailing his opponents. In addition, Sadat subjects the Egyptians to a series of referenda on his actions and proposals that he invariably wins by more than 99 percent of the vote. For example, in May 1979 the Egyptian people approve the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty by 99.9 percent of those voting. [5]


As debt increases, Egypt becomes vulnerable to pressure from creditors who want it to repay the debts and restructure the economy. During the 1980s, prolonged, tug-of-war-like negotiations occur between Egypt and various creditors represented by the IMF and the Paris Club. [5]


January - Diplomatic relations with Israel are established. [1]

May - A nonpartisan body of citizens charges Sadat with superseding his own constitution. Their manifesto declares, "The style in which Egypt is governed today is not based on any specific form of government. While it is not dictatorship, Nazism, or fascism, neither is it democracy or pseudodemocracy." [5]


September - Sadat orders the biggest roundup of his opponents since he came to power, at least 1,500 people according to the official figure but more according to unofficial reports. The Muslim Brotherhood bear the brunt of the arrests. The supreme guide of the Brotherhood, Umar Tilmasani, and other religious militants are arrested. Sadat also withdraws his "recognition" of the Coptic pope Shenudah III, banishes him to a desert monastery, and arrests several bishops and priests. Also arrested are such prominent figures as journalist Mohamed Heikal, and Wafd leader Fuad Siraj ad Din. Sadat orders the arrest of several SLP leaders and the closing of Ash Shaab (The People) newspaper. A referendum on his purge shows nearly 99.5 percent of the electorate approve. [5]

October 6 - While observing a military parade commemorating the eighth anniversary of the October 1973 War, Sadat is assassinated by members of Al Jihad movement, a group of religious extremists. Sadat's assassin is Lieutenant Colonel Khalid al Islambuli. The conspirators are arrested and tried. [5]

Whereas a number of Western leaders, including three former United States presidents, attend Sadat's funeral, only one member of the Arab League is represented by a head of state, Sudan. Only two, Oman and Somalia, send representatives. In Egypt 43 million people go on with the celebration of Id al Adha, the Feast of Sacrifice, as if nothing has happened. There are no throngs in the streets, grieving and lamenting, as there were when Nasser died. In the Arab world, Sadat's death is greeted with jubilation. [5]

October 24 - Sadat's handpicked successor, Husni Mubarak, is overwhelmingly approved in a national referendum. Sadat appointed Mubarak vice president of the state in 1975 and of the NDP in 1978. Mubarak, who was born in 1928 in Lower Egypt and had spent his career in the armed forces, was not a member of the Free Officers' movement. He had trained as a pilot in the Soviet Union and became air force chief of staff in 1969 and deputy minister of war in 1972. [5]

November - In a speech to the People's Assembly, Mubarak outlines the principles of his government's policy and speaks about the future he wants for Egypt. Infitah will continue, and there will be no return to the restrictive days of Nasser. Mubarak calls for an infitah of production, however, rather than of consumption, that will benefit all of society and not just the wealthy few. Food subsidies will remain, and imports of unnecessary luxury goods will be curtailed. Opposition parties will be allowed. The peace treaty with Israel will be observed. [5]


April - Israel withdraws from all of Sinai, except Taba. A multinational force of observers takes up positions in Sinai to monitor the peace. Egypt is allowed to station only one army division in Sinai. [1] [5]

Two of the conspirators involved in the assassination of Sadat are shot and three hanged. [5]


Arafat meets Mubarak in Cairo after the PLO leader has been expelled from Lebanon under Syrian pressure. [5]


Egypt reenter the Islamic Conference organization. [1] [5]

At the election five parties are allowed to function in addition to the ruling NDP. The left-wing opposition consists of the National Progressive Unionist Party, a grouping of socialists led by Khalid Muhi ad Din, and the Socialist Labor Party. The Wafd resurfaces and wins a court case against its prohibition. One religious party is licensed, the Umma. Not officially represented are the communists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and avowed Nasserites, although all three tendencies are represented in other parties. [5]

A party has to win at least 8 percent of the vote to be represented in the Assembly. The NDP receives more than 70 percent of the vote (391 seats). The Wafd, the only other party to gain any seats, wins fifty-seven. The NPUP receives only 7 percent of the votes and consequently loses them all to the NDP. There are some complaints that the election was rigged. [5]


May - An agreement is signed with the IMF after intense bargaining and pressure on the IMF by the United States. Because of economic difficulties and mounting debt and deficit, the government since the mid-1980s has had no alternative but to come to terms with the IMF and its creditors. The agreement is considered lenient by IMF standards, although not by the Egyptians. For example, it involves Egypt's agreement to lower its budget deficit to 10 percent of GDP, a ceiling that the government found arbitrary. The IMF has allowed Egypt to keep the official rate of E1 = US$1.43 for pricing oil, cotton exports, and rice but has stressed the need for eventually eliminating the multiple exchange-rate system. [5]

In return, the government is to obtain SDR250 million, or about US$327 million, much less than the US$1.5 billion standby credit Egypt had applied for in 1986. More important, the agreement paves the way for an arrangement with Paris Club creditors to alleviate Egypt's debt. [5]

Toward the end of May, the Paris Club approves a ten-year rescheduling, with a five-year grace period. The arrangement also covers arrears outstanding at the end of 1986, in addition to interest and principal repayments due between the beginning of 1987 and June 1988 on all guaranteed debts contracted before the end of October 1987. [5]

November - An Arab summit resolution allows the Arab countries to resume diplomatic relations with Egypt. This action is taken largely as a result of the Iran-Iraq War and Arab alarm over the Iranian offensive on Iraqi territories at the end of 1986 and throughout January and February 1987. On Egypt's side, its economic crisis has worsened, and it needs economic assistance from the Arab oil states. Thus, the summit resolution amounts to an exchange of Egyptian security assistance in the Persian Gulf crisis for Arab aid to Egypt's economy. [5]


Israel withdraws from Taba on Sinai. Egypt reenters the Arab League. [1]


Opposition from Islamic fundamentalists heightens during the 1990s; from 1992 to 1997, more than 1,200 people, mostly Egyptian Christians, are killed in terrorist violence. During the same period, an estimated 26,000 Islamic militants were jailed and dozens were sentenced to death. [7]


Egypt participates as the third largest party in the allied actions against Iraq, after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait the year before. [1]

In return for Egypt's anti-Iraq stance and its sending of troops in the Persian Gulf War, the United States dismisses $7 billion in Egyptian debt. Participation in the war strengthens Western ties and enhances Egypt's regional leadership role but is not popular domestically. [7]


June - Mubarak is the target of an assassination attempt in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, upon his arrival at a summit of the Organisation of African Unity. [8]


An attack on tourists visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut at Luxor claims some 70 lives. [7]


February - International grants and loans to Egypt are cut from US$2.5 billion in 1998 to US$1.5 billion for 1999. This as a reflection of less need of foreign aid, due to increase in foreign investments. [1]

Mubarak is returned to office for a fourth six-year term. [7]


December - Egypt, Lebanon and Syria agree on a billion-dollar project for a pipeline to carry Egyptian gas under the Mediterranean to the Lebanese port of Tripoli. [8]


October - Several Sinai resorts on the Gulf of Aqaba suffer bomb attacks. [7]

November - Funeral of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is held in Cairo. [8]


February - Mubarak calls for a constitutional amendment to permit the direct election of the president from among a multiparty slate, but the restrictions in the amendment on who might run prevent the contest from being open to all challengers. [7]

February-April - Pro-reform and opposition activists mount anti-government demonstrations. [8]

May - After passage by parliament, the amendment is approved in a referendum whose results are denounced as fraudulent by the opposition. At the same time, however, the government is trying Ayman Nour, a leading opposition figure, on charges that his lawyers claim are fabricated in an attempt to derail his presidential candidacy. [7]

July - Scores of people are killed in bomb attacks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh. [8]

September - In the election, Mubarak is reelected and Nour placed second. Observers say that the election is marred by irregularities but also that they would not have affected the result; the turnout was only 23% of the nation's voters. [7]

December - Parliamentary polls end with clashes between police and supporters of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood. The National Democratic Party and its allies retain their large parliamentary majority. Muslim Brotherhood supporters, elected as independents, win a record 20% of seats. [8]

More than 20 Sudanese migrants die after police break up a protest camp outside the UN offices in Cairo. [8]