Anwar Sadat

(1918-1981) Third President of Egypt from 1970-1981. Sadat succeeded Gamal Abdul Nasser upon Nasser’s death on September 28, 1970, and was elected president in a plebiscite on October 15. He guided the country through economic liberalization as well as gradual political liberalization, and increased ties with the West. In 1973, Sadat co-led an Egyptian and Syrian coalition, backed by Jordan and Iraq, and attacked Israel in an attempt to regain land lost in the 1967 War. Despite not regaining the Sinai Peninsula, some saw the war as a political victory for Sadat. By 1978, after years of negotiations with the Israelis (including an unprecedented official visit to Israel where he spoke to the Israeli Knesset, an act that greatly impressed many Israelis), Sadat secured the return of the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for bilateral peace with Israel. This agreement, signed at Camp David and implemented in 1979, won Sadat the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Israeli Prime Minister Menachim Begin and Shimon Peres. Sadat lost support in Egypt, due to opposition to the treaty, political repression, and economic crisis. On October 6, 1981, Sadat was assassinated in Cairo by extremist Islamist officers in the army who were thought to be members of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. See "Sadat Assassinated at Army Parade as Men Amid Ranks Fire Into Stands; Vice President ‘Affirms all Treaties,’" William E. Farrell, New York Times, October 7, 1981.

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