Sadat's Rise (03:19)
Egyptian pharaohs have erased the history of their predecessors. Gamal Abdel Nasser's sudden death shocked Egypt; vice president Sadat was not taken seriously at first. He postponed war with Israel in 1971 and embraced capitalism— rejecting Nasser's socialist vision.
Purging Government (03:15)
Nasser's loyalists opposed Sadat's vision. Intelligence Officer Taha Zaki uncovered a plot against Sadat, who arrested ministers involved. He burned wiretaps to symbolize a new era of political freedom, but student movements demanded war against Israel.
Soliciting Radical Islamic Support (02:18)
Leftist student movements had bought into Nasser's war effort since the 1967 defeat. Sadat recruited Muslim students to overcome Nasser's influence and resist their pressure.
Cairo University Confrontation (03:27)
In January 1972, Sadat delayed war with Israel and Nasserist students staged a sit in. Regime sponsored Islamist students attacked them and state security forces arrested leaders. Sadat granted political freedom to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sadat embraced religion. In the 1970s, prayer appeared in Cairo University lectures. The Muslim Brotherhood funded summer camps for Islamic students, provided services in villages, and connected with the Egyptian people to build a political base.
Operation Badr (03:19)
The Muslim Brotherhood advocated gradual reform to achieve an Islamic state; Gama'a Islamiya members were militant. Sadat believed a limited war would bring peace. He ordered an attack on Yom Kippur, destroying Israel's invincibility myth and restoring Egyptian honor.
Gaining American Sponsorship (03:06)
Sadat advanced Egyptian troops into Israeli occupied territory to get the U.S. involved. Henry Kissinger mediated disengagement and Sadat negotiated aid for his capitalist project. He named Hosni Mubarak vice president and toured the U.S., unveiling an open door economic policy.
Infitah Policy (03:15)
Despite Sadat's promises of universal prosperity, foreign goods flooded the Egyptian market and local production suffered. A nouveau-riche class developed, but cultural and religious values suffered and inequality increased. Slums grew in Cairo.
Saudi Arabian Influence (02:31)
Infitah allowed Egyptians to seek employment in the Gulf States, leading to a mass exodus. Stricter Wahabi Islamic customs adopted abroad became popular.
January 1977 Bread Riots (03:57)
The Infitah policy led to foreign debt; IMF restructuring required elimination of subsidies on basic goods. After 9 years of austerity, citizens rioted over price hikes—overwhelming the police. The regime deployed the military to regain control.
Losing Respect for the Pharaoh (02:47)
Sadat dismissed grievances and arrested Bread Riot leaders as saboteurs. Defense lawyers evoked Egyptian history to highlight the political trial. After 7 years of Sadat's rule, Egyptians had become disillusioned.
Radical Islamist Threat (02:18)
In 1977, the Takfir wal-Hijra group assassinated the Minister of Religious Endowments. Sadat released leader Shukri Mustafa, who gained a following and considered the entire Egyptian society to be infidels.
Islamist Deviants (03:18)
Mustafa inspired fundamentalist groups to destroy “infidel” businesses and cultural symbols. After ordering the Egyptian Grand Mufti assassinated for refuting his ideas, he was sentenced to death. Sadat dismissed his followers, but they set a precedent for violent Islamist groups.
Trip to Jerusalem (03:31)
In November 1977, Sadat pursued peace with Israel— seen as a betrayal among Egyptians. The Arab world broke off relations with Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood's silence was interpreted as support.
Egyptian-American Military Alliance (02:11)
The Muslim Brotherhood's support of Sadat deepened divisions. Gama'a Islamiya began weapons training. Sadat continued negotiating peace with Israel, backed by the army and aided by the U.S. in exchange for maintaining regional stability.
Silencing Opposition (03:08)
Egypt allowed Islamists to travel to Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets—relieving internal radical pressure. By summer 1981, opposition became increasingly vocal. Sadat arrested over 1,500 political figures to finalize the Sinai Withdrawal Clause.
Plotting Sadat's Assassination (03:30)
After Sadat arrested opposition from diverse backgrounds, Gama'a Islamiya members merged with the Islamic Jihad group and began planning his death. Lieutenant Khaled Islambouly and Abdelsalam Farag volunteered as gunmen.
Sadat's Death (02:52)
After assassinating the president, Gama'a Islamiya members attempted a coup d'état to establish an Islamic state. Sadat ended war with Israel and established a capitalist system, but allowing Islamists political freedom fueled unrest that plagues Egypt today.
Credits: Egypt's Modern Pharaohs: Sadat (01:02)
Credits: Egypt's Modern Pharaohs: Sadat
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