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Egypt Politics

Political System of Egypt

Foreign Policy

After Nasser's takeover, foreign policy was dominated by the first relationship with Israel and the second attempt at independent development. The first element led the Nazis to a pan-Arab policy, the second to a series of anti-imperialist measures and a principle of 'positive neutrality'. Egypt had for a long time been only slightly affected by Arab nationalism (see Syria). Under Nasser, Arab unity became a prerequisite for the fight against Israel and the liberation of Palestine. In 1956 Egypt entered into military cooperation with Syria, in 1958 a full union was proclaimed between the two countries - the United Arab Republic. However, Nasser's plans for the Syrian part of the Union were too radical for the relatively strong Syrian bourgeoisie, and the Union fell apart in 1961. After this, Egyptian politics became more "class-conscious" and criticism of the reactionary regimes in the Arab world grew sharper. Support for progressive Arab forces became increasingly direct. From 1962, Egypt became militarily involved on the part of Republicans in Northern Yemen against the Saudi-backed royalists. The forces were not withdrawn until after the 1967 disaster against Israel. Anti-colonial liberation movements received material and political support from the regime. Cairo became the center and refuge of progressives from many Arab and African countries.

The Egyptian nationalists' experience of British rule made the new regime skeptical of the Western thrusts in the form of the Baghdad Pact - defense alliance launched by Britain and the US - as well as the Eisenhower doctrine - helping to curb communism. Egypt was one of the leading countries in organizing the Bandung Conference in 1955. From this conference emerged a movement of neutral Asian and African countries - the forerunner of the Alliance Free States Movement (see Alliance Free States ). See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how EG can stand for Egypt.

Western imperialism pressure on the Egyptian regime with financial means, along with the US's increasingly apparent commitment to the State of Israel, opened the way for Soviet influence in Egypt - despite the regime's anti-communist attitude. For a long time, the Nazis were able to play on the contradictions between the great powers. But after the 1967 war with Israel, the "cooperation" with the Soviet got a distinct character of dependence on Egypt. Following the re-election of Nasser as president in 1965, Egyptian foreign policy had concentrated on the fight against Israel. Egypt tried to squeeze Israel financially through a blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, but the "6 Day War" in June 67 put this policy in ruin. The war ended with Israeli victory. Egypt had to relinquish the Sinai Peninsula, Jordan had to renounce the West Bank and Syria the Golan Heights.

In 1970, Egypt accepted the Rogers Plan, which recognized the state of Israel's right to exist as a state and involved the liquidation of the Palestinian revolution. When Jordan's King Hussein soon launched a genocide against the Palestinians (Black September 1970), the Nasser regime did not intervene. In 1971, Egyptian forces also helped to defeat the leftist forces in Sudan - following a coup attempt.

The opposition

The Egyptian Communist Party was formed in 1920. It has traditionally had great difficulty reaching beyond its middle-class intellectual base. Its atheistic ideology was an obstacle for the party to appeal to the broad masses that are deeply rooted in religion. Soviet participation in the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 weakened the position of the party in all Arab countries. The Communists met the Nazarene coup with sharp criticism of its hostility to workers and its anti-democratic practices. From 1955-56 the relationship improved, while the period 1959-64 was characterized by harsh persecution of the communists. In 1965, following pressure from Moscow and extensive internal strife, the party was shut down in favor of active participation in ASU, to influence politics in a socialist direction. The party had been operating illegally since 1953.


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