MUHAMMAD ANWAR EL-SADAT (Arabic : محمد أنور
السادات Muḥammad Anwar as-Sādāt, Egyptian Arabic
pronunciation: ; 25 December 1918 – 6 October 1981) was the third
President of Egypt
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
Egyptian Revolution of 1952
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
Yom Kippur War of
1973 to regain Egypt's
Sinai Peninsula , which
Israel had occupied
Six-Day War of 1967, making him a hero in
Egypt and, for a
time, the wider
Arab World . Afterwards, he engaged in negotiations
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, it was rejected by the country's
Muslim Brotherhood , which felt Sadat had abandoned efforts to ensure
a Palestinian state. With the exception of Sudan, the Arab world and
Palestine Liberation Organization
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) strongly opposed Sadat's
efforts to make a separate peace with
Israel without prior
consultations with the Arab states. His refusal to reconcile with
them over the Palestinian issue resulted in
Egypt being suspended from
Arab League from 1979 to 1989. The peace treaty was also one
of the primary factors that led to his assassination .
* 1 Early life and revolutionary activities
* 2 During Nasser\'s presidency
* 3 Presidency
* 3.1 Corrective Revolution
Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
* 3.3 Peace with
* 3.4 Relationship with Mohammad Reza
Shah Pahlavi of Iran
* 3.5 Assassination
* 4 Aftermath
* 5 Media portrayals of
* 6 Honour
* 6.1 Foreign honour
* 7 Bibliography
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
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. One
of his brothers, Atef Sadat, later became a pilot and was killed in
action during the October War of 1973. His father, Anwar Mohammed El
Sadat was an Upper Egyptian, and his mother, Sit Al-Berain, was a
Sudanese from her father. Thus, they said his mother did not look
"Egyptian enough" and some called him "Nasser's black poodle."
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 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
Sudan from British domination,
and royal corruption.
Second World War
Second World War he was imprisoned by the British for his
efforts to obtain help from the
Axis Powers in expelling the occupying
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. 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.
DURING NASSER\'S PRESIDENCY
Top Egyptian leaders in
Alexandria , 1968. From left to right:
Gamal Abdel Nasser , Sadat,
Ali Sabri and
During the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sadat was appointed
minister of State in 1954. He was also appointed editor of the newly
Al Gomhuria . In 1959, he assumed the position of
Secretary to the National Union. Sadat was the President of the
National Assembly (1960–1968) and then vice president and member of
the presidential council in 1964. He was reappointed as vice president
again in December 1969.
Further information: History of
Some of the major events of Sadat's presidency were his "Corrective
Revolution" to consolidate power, the break with Egypt's long-time
ally and aid-giver the
USSR , the
1973 October War with Israel, the
Camp David peace treaty with Israel, the "opening up" (or
Infitah ) of
Egypt's economy, and lastly his assassination in 1981. Play media
1972 Echo newsreel about the early Sadat years
Sadat succeeded Nasser as president after the latter's death in
October 1970. Sadat's presidency was widely expected to be
short-lived. Viewing him as having been little more than a puppet of
the former president, Nasser's supporters in government settled on
Sadat as someone they could manipulate easily. Sadat surprised
everyone with a series of astute political moves by which he was able
to retain the presidency and emerge as a leader in his own right. On
15 May 1971, Sadat announced his Corrective Revolution , purging the
government, political and security establishments of the most ardent
Nasserists . Sadat encouraged the emergence of an Islamist movement,
which had been suppressed by Nasser. Believing Islamists to be
socially conservative he gave them "considerable cultural and
ideological autonomy" in exchange for political support.
In 1971, three years into the
War of Attrition
War of Attrition in the Suez Canal
zone, Sadat endorsed in a letter the peace proposals of UN negotiator
Gunnar Jarring , which seemed to lead to a full peace with
the basis of Israel's withdrawal to its pre-war borders. This peace
initiative failed as neither
Israel nor the
United States of America
accepted the terms as discussed then.
Corrective Revolution (Egypt)
Shortly after taking office, Sadat shocked many Egyptians by
dismissing and imprisoning two of the most powerful figures in the
regime, Vice President
Ali Sabri , who had close ties with Soviet
officials, and Sharawy Gomaa, the Interior Minister, who controlled
the secret police. Sadat's rising popularity would accelerate after
he cut back the powers of the hated secret police, expelled Soviet
military from the country and reformed the Egyptian army for a renewed
confrontation with Israel.
YOM KIPPUR WAR
Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
On 6 October 1973, in conjunction with
Hafez al-Assad of
Sadat launched the October War , also known as the
Yom Kippur War
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
Sinai Peninsula after penetrating and largely destroying
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
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
United Nations Security Council passed
Resolution 338 on 22 October 1973, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Although agreed upon, the ceasefire was immediately broken. Alexei
Kosygin , the Chairman of the
USSR Council of Ministers , cancelled an
official meeting with Danish Prime Minister
Anker Jørgensen to travel
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. 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
PEACE WITH ISRAEL
Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty
National Press Club Luncheon Speakers Anwar Sadat, February 6,
1978, National Press Club . Speech begins at 7:31
The initial Egyptian and Syrian victories in the war restored popular
Egypt and the
Arab World and, for many years after,
Sadat was known as the "Hero of the Crossing".
Israel recognized Egypt
as a formidable foe, and Egypt's renewed political significance
eventually led to regaining and reopening the
Suez Canal through the
peace process. His new peace policy led to the conclusion of two
agreements on disengagement of forces with the Israeli government. The
first of these agreements was signed on 18 January 1974, and the
second on 4 September 1975.
One major aspect of Sadat's peace policy was to gain some religious
support for his efforts. Already during his visit to the US in
October–November 1975, he invited Evangelical pastor Billy Graham
for an official visit, which was held a few days after Sadat's visit.
In addition to cultivating relations with Evangelical Christians in
the US, he also built some cooperation with the Vatican. On 8 April
1976, he visited the Vatican for the first time, and got a message of
Pope Paul VI
Pope Paul VI regarding achieving peace with Israel, to
include a just solution to the Palestinian issue . Sadat, on his
part, extended to the Pope a public invitation to visit Cairo.
Sadat also used the media to promote his purposes. In an interview he
gave to the Lebanese paper El Hawadeth in early February 1976, he
claimed he had secret commitment from the US government to put
pressure on the Israeli government for a major withdrawal in Sinai and
the Golan Heights. This statement caused some concern to the Israeli
government, but Kissinger denied such a promise was ever made.
In January 1977, a series of \'Bread Riots\' protested Sadat's
economic liberalization and specifically a government decree lifting
price controls on basic necessities like bread. The riots lasted for
two days and included hundreds of thousands in Cairo. 120 buses and
hundreds of buildings were destroyed in
Cairo alone. The riots ended
with the deployment of the army and the re-institution of the
subsidies/price controls. During this time, Sadat was also taking a
new approach towards improving relations with the West.
United States and the
Soviet Union agreed on 1 October 1977, on
principles to govern a Geneva conference on the Middle East. Syria
continued to resist such a conference. Not wanting either
Soviet Union to influence the peace process, Sadat decided to take
more progressive stance towards building a comprehensive peace
agreement with Israel.
On 19 November 1977, Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit
Israel officially when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem
Begin , and spoke before the
Jerusalem about his views on
how to achieve a comprehensive peace to the
Arab–Israeli conflict ,
which included the full implementation of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 .
He said during his visit that he hopes "that we can keep the momentum
in Geneva, and may God guide the steps of Premier Begin and Knesset,
because there is a great need for hard and drastic decision".
Sadat (left) shaking hands with Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weizman
, 1978 President
Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister
Menachem Begin acknowledge applause during joint session of Congress
in Washington, D.C., during which President
Jimmy Carter announced the
results of the
Camp David Accords, 18 September 1978 President
Jimmy Carter shaking hands with Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister
Menachem Begin at the signing of the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty
on the grounds of the
White House , 1979 President Sadat with
Joe Biden (left), and U.S. Senator
Frank Church (center),
Camp David , 1979.
The Peace treaty was finally signed by
Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime
Menachem Begin in Washington, D.C., United States, on 26
March 1979, following the
Camp David Accords (1978) , a series of
Israel facilitated by US President Jimmy
Carter . Both Sadat and Begin were awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize for
creating the treaty. In his acceptance speech, Sadat referred to the
long-awaited peace desired by both Arabs and Israelis:
Let us put an end to wars, let us reshape life on the solid basis of
equity and truth. And it is this call, which reflected the will of the
Egyptian people, of the great majority of the Arab and Israeli
peoples, and indeed of millions of men, women, and children around the
world that you are today honoring. And these hundreds of millions will
judge to what extent every responsible leader in the Middle East has
responded to the hopes of mankind.
The main features of the agreement were the mutual recognition of
each country by the other, the cessation of the state of war that had
existed since the
1948 Arab–Israeli War
1948 Arab–Israeli War , and the complete
Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the rest
Sinai Peninsula , which
Israel had captured during the 1967
Six-Day War .
The agreement also provided for the free passage of Israeli ships
Suez Canal and recognition of the
Strait of Tiran and the
Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba as international waterways. The agreement notably made
Egypt the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel. The peace
Israel has remained in effect since the
treaty was signed.
The treaty was extremely unpopular in most of the
Arab World and the
wider Muslim World. His predecessor Nasser had made
Egypt an icon of
Arab nationalism, an ideology that appeared to be sidelined by an
Egyptian orientation following the 1973 war (see
Egypt ). The
neighboring Arab countries believed that in signing the accords, Sadat
had put Egypt's interests ahead of Arab unity, betraying Nasser's
pan-Arabism , and destroyed the vision of a united "Arab front" for
the support of the Palestinians against the "Zionist Entity". However,
Sadat decided early on that peace is the solution. Sadat's shift
towards a strategic relationship with the US was also seen as a
betrayal by many Arabs. In the
United States his peace moves gained
him popularity among some Evangelical circles. He was awarded the
Prince of Peace Award by
Pat Robertson .
In 1979, the
Arab League suspended
Egypt in the wake of the
Israel peace agreement, and the League moved its
Arab League member states believed
in the elimination of the "Zionist Entity" and
Israel at that time. It
was not until 1989 that the League re-admitted
Egypt as a member, and
returned its headquarters to Cairo. As part of the peace deal, Israel
withdrew from the
Sinai Peninsula in phases, completing its withdrawal
from the entire territory except the town of Taba by 25 April 1982
(withdrawal from which did not occur until 1989). The improved
Egypt gained with the West through the
Camp David Accords
soon gave the country resilient economic growth. By 1980, however,
Egypt's strained relations with the
Arab World would result in a
period of rapid inflation.
RELATIONSHIP WITH MOHAMMAD REZA SHAH PAHLAVI OF IRAN
Farah Diba , President
Anwar Sadat and
Shah Mohammad Reza
Tehran in 1975
The relationship between Iran and
Egypt had fallen into open
Gamal Abdel Nasser 's presidency. Following his death
in 1970, President Sadat turned this around quickly into an open and
In 1971, Sadat addressed the
Iranian parliament in
Tehran in fluent
Persian , describing the 2,500-year-old historic connection between
the two lands.
Overnight, the Egyptian and Iranian governments were turned from
bitter enemies into fast friends. The relationship between
Tehran became so friendly that the
Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
, called Sadat his "dear brother".
After the 1973 war with Israel, Iran assumed a leading role in
cleaning up and reactivating the blocked
Suez Canal with heavy
investment. The country also facilitated the withdrawal of
Sinai Peninsula by promising to substitute the loss of
the oil to the Israelis with free Iranian oil if they withdrew from
the Egyptian oil wells in western Sinai.
All these added more to the personal friendship between Sadat and the
Shah of Iran. (The Shah's first wife was Princess Fawzia of
She was the eldest daughter of Sultan
Fuad I of
Fuad I ) and his second wife Nazli Sabri.)
After his overthrow, the deposed
Shah spent the last months of his
life in exile in Egypt. When the
Shah died, Sadat ordered that he be
given a state funeral and be interred at the Al-Rifa\'i Mosque in
Cairo, the resting place of Egyptian
Khedive Isma\'il Pasha , his
mother Khushyar Hanim, and numerous other members of the royal family
Assassination of Anwar Sadat
The last months of Sadat's presidency were marked by internal
uprising. Sadat dismissed allegations that the rioting was incited by
domestic issues, believing that the
Soviet Union was recruiting its
regional allies in Libya and
Syria to incite an uprising that would
eventually force him out of power. Following a failed military coup
in June 1981, Sadat ordered a major crackdown that resulted in the
arrest of numerous opposition figures. Though Sadat still maintained
high levels of popularity in Egypt, it has been said that he was
assassinated "at the peak" of his unpopularity.
Earlier in his presidency, Islamists had benefited from the
'rectification revolution' and the release from prison of activists
jailed under Nasser but Sadat's Sinai treaty with
Islamists, particularly the radical
Egyptian Islamic Jihad . According
to interviews and information gathered by journalist
Lawrence Wright ,
the group was recruiting military officers and accumulating weapons,
waiting for the right moment to launch "a complete overthrow of the
existing order" in Egypt. Chief strategist of El-Jihad was Abbud
al-Zumar , a colonel in the military intelligence whose "plan was to
kill the main leaders of the country, capture the headquarters of the
army and State Security, the telephone exchange building, and of
course the radio and television building, where news of the Islamic
revolution would then be broadcast, unleashing—he expected—a
popular uprising against secular authority all over the country".
In February 1981, Egyptian authorities were alerted to El-Jihad's
plan by the arrest of an operative carrying crucial information. In
September, Sadat ordered a highly unpopular roundup of more than 1,500
people, including many Jihad members, but also the Coptic Pope and
other Coptic clergy, intellectuals and activists of all ideological
stripes. All non-government press was banned as well. The round up
missed a Jihad cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid
Islambouli , who would succeed in assassinating
Anwar Sadat that
According to Tala\'at Qasim , ex-head of the Gama\'a Islamiyya
Middle East Report , it was not Islamic Jihad but his
organization, known in English as the "Islamic Group", that organized
the assassination and recruited the assassin (Islambouli). Members of
the Group's 'Majlis el-Shura' ('Consultative Council') – headed by
the famed 'blind shaykh' – were arrested two weeks before the
killing, but they did not disclose the existing plans and Islambouli
succeeded in assassinating Sadat.
On 6 October 1981, Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory
parade held in
Cairo to celebrate Egypt\'s crossing of the Suez Canal
. Islambouli emptied his assault rifle into Sadat's body while in the
front of the grandstand, mortally wounding the President. In addition
to Sadat, eleven others were killed, including the Cuban ambassador,
an Omani general, a
Coptic Orthodox bishop and Samir Helmy, the head
Central Auditing Agency (CAA). Twenty-eight were wounded,
including Vice President
Hosni Mubarak , Irish Defence Minister James
Tully , and four US military liaison officers.
The assassination squad was led by Lieutenant
Khalid Islambouli after
a fatwā approving the assassination had been obtained from Omar
Abdel-Rahman . Islambouli was tried, found guilty, sentenced to
death, and executed by firing squad in April 1982.
Sadat was succeeded by his vice president Hosni Mubarak, whose hand
was injured during the attack. Sadat's funeral was attended by a
record number of dignitaries from around the world, including a rare
simultaneous attendance by three former US presidents:
Gerald Ford ,
Jimmy Carter and
Richard Nixon .
Sudan 's President
Gaafar Nimeiry was
the only Arab head of state to attend the funeral. Only 3 of 24 states
Arab League —Oman, Somalia and Sudan—sent representatives
at all. Israel's prime minister,
Menachem Begin , considered Sadat a
personal friend and insisted on attending the funeral. Begin even
walked throughout the funeral procession so as not to desecrate the
Sabbath. Sadat was buried in the unknown soldier memorial in
across the street from the stand where he was assassinated.
Over three hundred Islamic radicals were indicted in the trial of
assassin Khalid Islambouli, including future al-Qaeda leader Ayman
Omar Abdel-Rahman and
Abd al-Hamid Kishk . The trial was
covered by the international press and Zawahiri's knowledge of English
made him the de facto spokesman for the defendants. Zawahiri was
released from prison in 1984. His brother
Muhammad al-Zawahiri was
imprisoned from 2000 until 17 March 2011, and then re-arrested on 20
March 2011. Abboud al-Zomor and Tareq al-Zomor, two Islamic Jihad
leaders imprisoned in connection with the assassination, were released
on 11 March 2011.
Despite these facts, the nephew of the late president,
Talaat Sadat ,
claimed that the assassination was an international conspiracy. On 31
October 2006, he was sentenced to a year in prison for defaming
Egypt's armed forces, less than a month after he gave the interview
accusing Egyptian generals of masterminding his uncle's assassination.
In an interview with a Saudi television channel, he also claimed both
United States and
Israel were involved: "No one from the special
personal protection group of the late president fired a single shot
during the killing, and not one of them has been put on trial," he
MEDIA PORTRAYALS OF ANWAR SADAT
Yuri Gagarin with Sadat and
Gamal Abdel Nasser in Cairo, 1962
In 1983, Sadat , a miniseries based on the life of Anwar Sadat, aired
on US television with Oscar -winning actor
Louis Gossett, Jr.
Louis Gossett, Jr. in the
title role. The film was promptly banned by the Egyptian government,
as were all other movies produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures
, over allegations of historical inaccuracies. A civil lawsuit was
brought by Egypt's artists' and film unions against Columbia Pictures
and the film's directors, producers and scriptwriters before a court
in Cairo, but was dismissed; the court held, "the distortions and the
slanders found in the film took place outside the country," so that
"the crimes were not within the Egyptian courts' jurisdiction."
Western authors attributed the film's poor reception to racism –
Gossett being African American – in the Egyptian government or Egypt
in general. Either way, one Western source wrote that Sadat's
portrayal by Gossett "bothered race-conscious Egyptians and wouldn't
have pleased Sadat". The two-part series earned Gossett an Emmy
nomination in the United States.
He was portrayed by
Robert Loggia in the 1982 television movie A
Woman Called Golda , opposite
Ingrid Bergman as
Golda Meir .
The first Egyptian depiction of Sadat's life came in 2001, when Ayyam
El Sadat (English: Days of Sadat) was released in Egyptian cinemas.
This movie, by contrast, was a major success in Egypt, and was hailed
as Ahmed Zaki 's greatest performance to date.
The young Sadat is a major character in
Ken Follett 's thriller The
Key to Rebecca , taking place in World War II Cairo. Sadat, at the
time a young officer in the
Egyptian Army and involved in anti-British
revolutionary activities, is presented quite sympathetically; his
willingness to cooperate with German spies is clearly shown to derive
from his wish to find allies against British domination of his
country, rather than from support of Nazi ideology. Some of the scenes
in the book, such as Sadat's arrest by the British, closely follow the
information provided in Sadat's own autobiography.
Sadat was a recurring character on
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live , played by
Garrett Morris , who bore a resemblance to Sadat.
* Malaysia : Honorary Grand Commander of the Order of the Defender
of the Realm (1965)
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Revolution) (in Arabic). Cairo: دار التحرير للطبع
OCLC 10739895 .
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* ^ For an account that uses this version of events, look at Middle
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