Egypt – U.S. Relations Carina Fairfield, Derrick Fondaco, Ming Luo, Nikki Horwitz, Ami Park, Patricia Mygas, Jimmy Hurst
Background • one of the United States' strongest allies in the Middle East and Arab World • shaped by regional and global conflicts and calculations, causing it to fluctuate from discord to cooperation
Background • World War II: British troops used Egypt as a base for Allied operations • British troops were withdrawn to the Suez Canal area in 1947, but nationalist, anti-British feelings continued to grow after the war • July 1952: a group of army officers led by Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt's poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel
The 1952 Revolution: • led by a group of young nationalist Egyptian officers “The Free Officers” - disillusioned by what they perceived as the continued legacy of British intervention • seen as a response to an internal feudal system that led to a concentration of power among a limited elite
The Nasser Years • Three issues that the U.S. faced with Egypt in the 50s-70s • Cold War • Arab Nationalism • Israel
Nasser as a Leader • Nasser abolished the 1923 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on June 19, 1953. • Nasser proved to be an extensively charismatic leader • Nasser founded Arab Nationalism
The Nasser Years • September 1961: Nasser helped establish the Non-Aligned Movement of developing countries • President Nasser favored a a non-aligned approach and asked the United States for military support • U.S. denied support and Nasser turned to the Soviets who supplied Egypt with the weapons • U.S. withdrew their offer to help finance the Aswan High Dam in mid-1956, Nasser nationalized the privately owned Suez Canal • All contribute to the U.S. trying to undermine Nasser
The Nasser Years Israel • growing tensions with Israel over guerrilla attacks from Gaza and Israeli • invasion of Egypt that October by France, Britain, and Israel; • the invasion was reversed by U.S. political intervention, and the Canal remained nationalized.
Closer Relationship: • President Nasser died in 1970 • Anwar Al-Sadat actively worked to move Egypt closer to the United States • symbolized by Sadat asking the Soviet military advisors to leave Egypt and Nixon’s request for Congress to authorize $250 million in aid for Egypt
Camp David Accords • Signed on September 17 , 1978 • brought an end to the conflict between Egypt and Israel and acted as the pre-requisite to the 1979 peace treaty • milestone for U.S.-Egyptian relations because the accords signed by President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin • mediated by Carter • As an incentive for Egypt to sign the accords, the United States promised a substantive aid packages for Egypt including military aid • Middle East and North Africa Economic (MENA) Conference established
Economic Cooperation • the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supports benchmarks to improve Egypt’s economy in both a micro-economic and macro-economic sense • U.S. permits products to be imported from Egypt without tariffs if factories registered in Qualified Industrial Zones have produced them in efforts for peace • Egypt has a largely agrarian economy • U.S. supplies wheat, corn, and soybean products to Egypt, almost all through commercial sales. • Egypt is one of the U.S.'s largest markets for wheat sales
Military • U.S. helped Egypt modernize its armed forces and strengthen security and stability • the U.S. and Egypt participate in combined military exercises • United States relies on the Egyptian government in three main ways: • acting as a transit for U.S. military forces, • 2) preventing Egypt from becoming a base for terrorist activity that would affect the United States • 3) protecting Israel. These objectives serve as a major stabilizing hand for the US in the Arab world.
Mubarak • October 6, 1981: Islamic extremists assassinated Anwar el-Sadat • Hosni Mubarak becomes president • September 2005: Mubarak maintained commitment to the Camp David peace process and the US, while re-establishing Egypt's position as an Arab leader • 1989: Egypt was readmitted to the Arab League
Human rights violations by Mubarak • Protests of continuous mass demonstrations • Late January: Mubarak's regime had lost control when a curfew order was ignored, and the army took a semi-neutral stance on enforcing the curfew decree • U.S. played a passive hand when it came to the mass protests • Leaders felt that Egypt ought to essentially transition into a more orderly and free democracy. • Mubarak resigned and fled Cairo on February 11, only 17 days after the commonly accepted start of the protests • Ahmed Shafik is forming a new government • Mubarak is facing charges of premeditated murder of peaceful protestors and a possible death sentence
Current Relationship • Egypt joined the United States in supporting Fatah over Hamas in the recent internal Palestinian split. • both countries have enjoyed an increasing level of economic cooperation • Egypt's slowness in adapting democratic reforms and reports of human rights abuse has brought periodic criticism from American officials