“THE DOORS” (ie the borders) “of Egypt rise so solid that they will not open either for the Westerners, nor for the Orientals, nor for those of the North and even for those of the South”. So says an inscription carved on a tomb of a pharaoh who lived in the third millennium BC. When still most of the populations of the Mediterranean basin lived in their primitive state, Egypt was already a powerful monarchy.
According to Abbreviationfinder, the ancient Egyptian monarchy had a very long life: its history goes almost from 3400 to 525 BC. They are therefore almost 3000 years, during which a great number of pharaohs, belonging to as many as 26 dynasties, succeeded the throne.
Scholars have succeeded in establishing three distinct periods in ancient Egyptian history, each of which takes its name from the city where the capital of the kingdom was later placed.
MENPHYTIC PERIOD (3400-2200 BC)
The Nile was the most responsible for the form of government that the Egyptians had since ancient times. The various tribes into which the Egyptian people were divided, soon realized that their existence depended only on the periodic flooding of the Nile. And they also realized that that river did not give free its benefits: great works were needed: dams, embankments, canals, to make the excesses of the floods less ruinous.
Of course, in order to be able to carry out such works, the work of a single tribe was not enough. So it was that at a certain moment the various tribes saw the need to unite under one head. Thus began the Egyptian monarchy. The first pharaoh of the Egyptian kingdom was Menes, to whom the foundation of the capital seems to be due, Memphis. From this city the first period of ancient Egyptian history took its name.
The task of the first Egyptian pharaohs was to ensure all the people the benefits that the Nile could bring. This is because their main concern was to carry out major works of public utility, such as basins for collecting water, dams, canals. irrigation.
The first ten dynasties of the Egyptian pharaohs belong to the mocking period. In over a thousand years, how long this period lasted, it can be said that there were no great war events, the only one of some importance regards the conquest of Nubia (later Sudan). More than for military exploits, the rulers of the Memphis period became famous for the grandiose monuments they had built. The pharaohs Cheops, Chefren and Mycerine procured for imperishable fame for having erected three grandiose pyramids on the Al Gizah plateau near Cairo. It is during the reign of Chefren that the Sphinx was raised, one of the most original monuments of antiquity.
These colossal constructions, which can still be admired today, demonstrate the great state of civilization achieved by Egypt in the Memptic period.
THEBAN PERIOD (2200-1200 BC)
Almost all the pharaohs of the Memphis period were absolute sovereigns: this way of governing made them unpopular and was the major cause of their ruin.
Around 2400 BC the government was practically in the hands of the nobles and most enterprising officials. Gradually they came to arrange even the royal succession. But two centuries later, the Prince of Thebes, Menthotpe, managed to seize power and be named Pharaoh. With him began the so-called ‘Theban Period’, because the capital of the kingdom was transferred to Thebes.
The first centuries of this historical period were characterized by numerous military conquests: the Sinai Peninsula, Palestine and Syria were occupied.
Great public works were also carried out: the pharaoh Amenemhet (around 1850-1800 BC) had a huge artificial basin (Lake Meride) built, to collect the waters of the Nile during the floods.
But around 1800 BC Egypt had to undergo an invasion; hordes of Icsos (nomadic population from Asia) entered the Egyptian territory.
Only around 1590, led by the pharaoh Ahmose I, the Egyptians managed to drive out the invaders. From this moment a period of great conquests began for Egypt: Thutmose III (1496-1442 BC) extended the Egyptian dominion over all Asia Minor.
During the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III, of the XVIII dynasty, Egypt reached its maximum splendor. But not many years later it was shocked by a very serious religious struggle, provoked by Amenhotep IV, the so-called “heretic Pharaoh”. At that time difficult for Egyptian history, the young Tutankamen ascended the throne.
In 1380 BC Pharaoh Amenhotep IV became. Unlike the other pharaohs who preceded him, this ruler did not bother to extend the kingdom, but did everything to impose his religious convictions.
The ancient Egyptians then worshiped many gods, at the head of which was the god Amen, better known by us as the god Ammon. Amenhotep IV had repudiated traditional religion to follow a religious principle from Syria. According to this principle, the only divinity to worship was Aton, who represented the radiant energy of the sun. In homage to the new divinity the pharaoh decided to change his name: he called himself Akhenaten, which means “Splendor of Aton”. Then he ordered that all the temples dedicated to the gods hitherto worshiped be destroyed and wanted to be considered the representative on earth of the god Aton.
Since Thebes was the city where the cult of the god Ammon was most respected, Amenhotep IV moved the capital of the kingdom to Tell El-Amarnah.
The first to rebel against the king’s religious ideas were the priests of the god Ammon: they did not hesitate to accuse the pharaoh of heresy. Then Amenhotep IV persecuted them: but almost all the Egyptian people sided with the priests. A bloody struggle was about to break out between the followers of Pharaoh and those who remained faithful to the traditional religion, when in 1362 BC Amenhotep IV suddenly ceased to live.
The young Tutankaton succeeded him on the throne. The new pharaoh was the son-in-law of Amenhotep IV and had enthusiastically embraced the new religion.
This fact therefore predicted that the religious struggle that had just begun should be furious.
But the new ruler, certainly recommended by some ministers given his young age, immediately made a wise decision.
He immediately brought the capital back to Thebes and let the people know that the ancient religion was restored. Egypt was thus saved from a terrible civil war. To demonstrate to the people that he renounced heresy forever, the young pharaoh changed his name of Tutankaton (image of Aton) to that of Tutankamen (image of Amen).
These are the only news we have about Tutankamen’s life, and this is due to the fact that he died not yet twenty years old, after a few years of reign. But this pharaoh made him talk more than 3000 years after his death. And this happened in 1922, when the English archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his wonderful tomb in the “Valley of the Kings” in Egypt. The now forgotten name of Tutankamen suddenly became famous.
Not far from Thebes opens a wild and deserted valley, separated from the Nile valley by a large rocky wall. It is the “Valley of the Kings”, so called because the tombs of many pharaohs were found in its subsoil.
The Egyptian kings who, while still alive, provided for the tomb to be dug in the “Valley of the Kings”, did everything to keep the position very secret and masked its entrance with boulders of rock. the reason was this: since the mummy of each pharaoh was placed in the grave together with the precious objects that had been dear to him when he was alive, it was feared that thieves could penetrate to remove them. But despite this, the tombs of the pharaohs were soon discovered and almost all desecrated and plundered. In the last century large excavations began in the “Valley of the Kings” and royal tombs containing precious objects and mummies of pharaohs were discovered.
The Theban period meanwhile registered a very important event. Around 1300 BC a warlike population of Asia Minor, the Hittites, wanted to snatch the territories conquered by Egypt.
He was then Pharaoh of Egypt Ramses II (1299-1233 BC), the greatest king of the Theban period.
The Egyptian kingdom and the Hatti kingdom (as the Hittite state was called) bordered almost where the borders between Syria and Lebanon are now and the Hittites penetrated more and more into the areas of Palestine belonging to Egypt.
The Egyptians had to decide to take action: in 1318 BC the pharaoh Sethos I fielded the most powerful army of which Egypt had ever placed and attacked the Hittite kingdom. The struggle between the two giants lasted for years and the Egyptians managed to recapture much of Palestine: but the war was not ended.
This was the situation when in 1299 BC Pharaoh Usirmare Ramsete II became, not yet nine years old. The young king practically grew up in a climate of war. And when he came of age, he decided to go to war against the Hittites. In Kadesh, northern Syria, he attacked the enemy.
It was a terrible war. Egyptian literature, in the inscriptions, made this war an amazing victory, since the Egyptians always believed themselves invincible warriors. In reality there were neither losers nor winners and the Hittites remained in Palestine.
But even for them a bad future was being prepared: the Assyrian state which became ever more powerful and domineering, occupied the Mitanni kingdom and thus reached with its frontier those of Egypt and Hatti.
The Hittites immediately understood that it would be foolish to continue tearing themselves apart with the Egyptians and in 1279 BC they asked to start peace talks with their opponents.
Ramesses II, who was an intelligent man, accepted the request and the following year he concluded with Hattusil, king of the Hittites, a bilingual treaty, in which equal obligations were established for the two states. Indeed he himself married a daughter of the Hittite king and he made a solemn visit to his ally in Egypt. The people went mad with joy in knowing that finally massacres and mourning had ceased.
The agreement between the two states, the masterpiece of Ramses II, was the first major international regulation in history and gave fifty years of peace to Asia Minor. During this half century of peace, Egypt enjoyed immense prosperity and was considered the most powerful state of the time.
Ramses II immediately began to tidy up the country: the state intervened in the social organization, fixing the working conditions which had hitherto been rather disastrous; laws on the hygiene of the people were promulgated, workers were resolved to resolve labor disputes and the poorer classes were exempt from taxes. The people thus lived well enough and the pharaoh himself was personally concerned about his condition.
The whole country was enriched: the small property developed, the bourgeoisie made a fortune with international maritime trade, the “banks”, then entrusted to formidable businessmen like the Syrians, were holders of huge sums of money. Of course, this wave of prosperity also advanced all the arts: artisans, furniture makers, potters, painters, sculptors, decorators did not have time to fulfill customers’ requests.
Thebes, the religious capital, and the port of Tani on the Nile delta, where Ramses II transported the capital of the empire, were the richest cities in the world.
Ramsete himself had astounding temples like Karnak built in his honor and even raised a beautiful city, to which he gave his name “Pi-Ramsete”. Thousands of Jews participated in these works. The great Ramsete, handsome, thin, with regular features, had five royal brides (plus other non-real ones) and 162 children. the reign of this great and human man was very long. Ramses II the Great, called by the Greeks Sesostri, reigned 67 years. He died in 1233 BC, at the age of 75. Ramesses’ mummy is located in the Cairo Museum.
SAITIC PERIOD (1200-525 BC)
With this name, derived from that of the city of Sais where the capital was moved, the last period of the history of ancient Egypt is indicated.
It is the least happy historical period because, for lack of great pharaohs, the Egyptian kingdom gradually declined.
The first to invade the Egyptian territory were the Assyrians (between 671 and 663 BC), led by Assarhaddon and then by Assurbanipal.
The proof that the power of Egypt had now decayed occurred in 525 BC, when the Persians managed to occupy the Egyptian territory with ease.
Since then, Egypt has only changed masters: the Persian domination was followed by that of the Greeks (332 BC) and then that of the Romans (30 BC).
When, at the end of the third century AD, the immense Roman Empire was administratively divided into two parts, the province of Egypt belonged to the Eastern Empire.
At the fall of the Western Empire (476), Egypt thus remained under the domination of Byzantium, which became the capital of the Eastern Empire. The dependence of Egypt on the emperors of Byzantium ended only around 640, when the Arabs invaded Egypt and occupied it. It was nothing more than a change of master.
Egypt was entrusted to the “Fatimids”, vassals of the Caliph of Baghdad. Thanks to them, in the year 969, Egypt regained its status as an independent state. The Fatimids in fact rebelled against the caliph, rose up and established a dynasty that lasted until the twelfth century.
The Egyptian state had risen. But his life was not very long. In fact, in 1171 the great Muslim leader Saladin brought down the Fatimid dynasty. During the rule of Saladin’s successors, a group of Turkish Hondurans, the Mamelukes, hired by the militias as mercenaries, managed to gradually take over the most powerful offices in the state. Eventually they managed to seize power. The kingdom they founded lasted until 1517. Only then were the Mameluks removed from the government of Egypt, as the land of the pharaohs was subdued by the Ottoman Turks.
These remained there for 280 years, until Napoleon, with his troops, landed on the Alexandrian coast.
The eighteenth century had come to an end and just then the history of Egypt made a truly decisive turn. On 10 July 1798 three divisions, disembarked from some ships flying the French flag, marched towards Alexandria under the orders of the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte.
With this conquest, France aimed to hit the economic interests of enemy England and to interrupt one of its communication routes with India. At the beginning of the campaign in the land of Africa, the French achieved success. Later, however, especially for the help given to Egypt by England, they were forced to withdraw. The country was once again in the hands of the Turks and violent riots broke out in the capital as the descendants of the Mamluks also wanted to return to power. However, these unrest soon ended as an extraordinary figure stood out among all the contenders: Mohammed Ali, an Albanian Muslim, who was determined to make Egypt a strong, modern and independent state.
Mohammed was a man of great cunning and intelligence; just think that, almost without knowing the language of the country, at the age of 32 he managed to become its head.
In fact, in 1805 he was elected governor of Egypt; he was to rule on behalf of the sultan of Constantinople.
Both the Turks and the Mamluks agreed on this election. Both were therefore his friends. But his aims tended to eliminate both. To resolve the question he thought of eliminating the nearest one first, that is, the Mamelukes who hoped to use him to create an independent kingdom to become sovereign.
On the other hand, he had little to fear from the sultan of Constantinople. He already knew that his vassalage to this authority would soon be reduced to a pure ceremony; Mohammed pretended, therefore, to accept with good face the collaboration of the Mamelukes, and one day, at the end of a sumptuous lunch, to which he had invited them, while passing through a narrow corridor, he had them all exterminated by his guards. Since then, the Egyptian chief had no rivals in the government of the country.
Mohammed planned and implemented economic, military and social reforms: he then started a campaign against Sudan and conquered it. In his military endeavors he was helped by his eldest son Ibraim, who invaded Syria and subdued it. Mohammed and his son obtained complete autonomy in 1839. It was the culmination of the power of Mohammed who, in 1848, becoming weak-minded, abdicated in favor of his son Ibraim. He did not stay in charge of the nation for long; after a few months he died.
His death was followed by the other descendants of the Mohammed Ali dynasty. Just as the last rulers of this race reigned, the work that changed the history of Egypt was accomplished: the excavation of the Suez canal.
Since then many citizens of different European nations, who had committed capital for the construction of the canal, went to Egypt where they settled.
At one point, there were even ministers of European nationality in the Egyptian government; these, of course, rather than dealing with the welfare of Egypt, sought to protect the interests of their countries.
Violent protests and unrest erupted in Egypt: England took advantage of this situation to establish its dominion in the country: it was the year 1882. But this occupation was not at all pleasing to the Egyptian people and then several “nationalist” parties arose whose only program was to hunt the British.
After long years of diplomatic battles and also following bloody riots, England was forced to grant independence (February 28, 1922). An independence which was not complete but which nevertheless remained a significant step forward for the Egyptian nationalists. Four reserve points were issues for which independence was not complete and were:
1) – security of British imperial communications;
2) – defense of Egypt against possible external aggressions;
3) -protection of minorities and foreign interests in Egypt;
4) – question of Sudan.
On March 15, 1922 Sultan Fuad became king of independent Egypt. He commissioned the head of the Moderate Party Sarwat Pascià to form a Ministry to elaborate the Constitutional Charter which was promulgated on April 19, 1923. The two branches of Parliament were constituted by the Senate with 121 members, some of whom are of royal appointment, and by the Chamber of Deputies with one member elected for every 60.00 inhabitants by universal suffrage. Parliament acquired legislative and political functions and the Crown executive power. The Constitution underwent changes in October 1930.
A “People’s Party” was formed which went to support the two opposition parties (nationalist and national-liberal) and in May-June 1931 the elections assigned the victory to the ruling party in both houses.
The vicissitudes of government recorded alternating phases, the Prime Ministers changed and on April 28, 1936 King Fuad died. His only son Faruk, only 16 years old, was proclaimed his successor. Given his minor age, power was managed by a Council of Regency, chaired by Prince Mohammed Ali until 29 July 1937, when 17-year-old Faruk I assumed power and took the constitutional oath before Parliament.
Moral and material disagreements and difficulties occurred within the country. On March 2, 1936 in London discussions began on the 4 British reserve points and the negotiations ended in August of the same year with a Friendship and Alliance Agreement containing 5 essential points:
1) – renewable alliance between the two countries for 20 years;
2) – aid from Great Britain for the defense of the Suez Canal until complete autonomy of management by Egypt;
3) – construction of roads, bridges, etc.; all at the expense of Egypt;
4) – apartment building in Sudan;
5) – English support for the entry of Egypt into the League of Nations.
This agreement was approved by the two chambers in November 1936. In April 1937 a treaty was signed in Montreux for the maintenance of foreign chapter privileges in Egypt until 1949. On May 26, 1937 Egypt was admitted to the League of Nations. On April 16, 1938, an Italian-Anglo-Egyptian good neighborly agreement was signed with Italy in Rome.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Egypt took sides alongside Great Britain, but not to take up arms, but because of the availability of communication routes through its territory. And even when Italy went to war in 1940, Egypt immediately broke diplomatic ties without ever reaching a declaration of war.
The government of Egypt alternated with Prime Ministers, whose task was made difficult, given the position of neutrality in a conflict where the greatest ally was a co-belligerent. And even when Alexandria was bombed by the Italian-German air forces, rather weak protests arose.
In the summer of 1942, the most acute crisis occurred when Rommel, head of the German armed forces, did not simply push the English 8th Army out of Cyrenaica, but he occupied the closest suburbs of Alexandria.
Within Egypt, Axis forces tried to lift the people against the British allies with the aim of total autonomy, but these stables remained unsuccessful because the allied forces soon prevailed and forced Rommel to finally clear the Egyptian soil.
In October 1944 the Cabinet in power, supported by independence and nationalists, and chaired by Ahmed Mahir, became the driving force and coordinator of the Arab League. In March 1945 its solemn constitution was decreed in Cairo and always in that period Egypt carried out the formal act, until then practiced, of the declaration of war on Germany, thus gaining, as a belligerent ally, the entrance to the Organization of the United Nations.
Meanwhile, on February 24, 1945, a nationalist fanatic killed Ahmed Mahir, who was succeeded by Foreign Minister Noqrashi Pasha.
As soon as the conflict ended, Egypt asked Britain for complete independence, canceling the reservations of the 1936 agreement, the withdrawal of all British troops also from the canal area, and to express their sovereignty over Sudan.
Meetings began in order to sign the related agreement, but after some time negotiations were stopped because the solution on Sudan could not be found. In fact, while Egypt demanded full annexation, within that territory an independence movement had been formed with the motto: “THE SUDAN TO THE SUDANESE”. The resolution of the dispute was entrusted to the UN which postponed it “sine die”.
Meanwhile, through the Arab League, another question was put on the table to be resolved by Great Britain, namely the independence of Libya.
Then Egypt re-established its relations with Italy in order to obtain compensation for the war damage caused, under penalty of expropriation of the Italian possessions on the spot. And for the first time Egypt entered into relations with the Holy See.
Italian assets were fully unlocked in April 1948 for a payment of 4 million and a half pounds. The agreement was signed in Paris on 10 September 1946, ratified by the Italian Constitution in May 1947 and the Italian Foreign Minister presented his credentials to King Faruk on 30 June the same year.
At that point a new fact occurred which disturbed the life of the town. The neighboring state of Israel, which had formed in those years, following the open hostility of the Arabs, entered the war with Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Libya and Iraq. All these states were sensationally defeated by the small Jewish state. Following this, very discontented people arose in the Egyptian population and in their knowledge: there was even talk of a betrayal in the high offices of the state. King Faruk was unable to calm the disagreements and on July 23, 1952 a young officer, Neghib, occupied Cairo. It was the beginning of an almost bloodless revolution that lasted a few days: but with it the monarchy ended and the Republic was established, under whose command succeeded first Neghib and then Gamal Abdel Nasser,
In 1955 the new state structure began and on January 26, 1956 the new Constitution was promulgated. Also in 1955, following a failure by the British to supply weapons that Egypt needed to defend itself against Israel, a secret agreement was signed for the supply of heavy weapons with the USSR and Czechoslovakia. And in the same year there was the question of the lack of financing by the United States and Great Britain and by the National Bank for development and reconstruction, for the planned Aswan dam.
Egypt then nationalized the Suez Canal and this triggered a serious military crisis with the consequent Israeli and Anglo-French action of October / November 1956. And on December 27, 1958 a Soviet-Egyptian agreement for financing and dam construction, through a $ 100 million loan plus technical aid.
On February 1, 1958, the union of Egypt with Syria was proclaimed for the formation of the RAU, United Arab Republic.
Meanwhile, on January 10, 1956, Sudan had proclaimed itself independent and on June 14 of the same year the area of the Canal was completely free from English troops.
Then, assuming the role of leader for a stronger Arab nationalism, he concluded military agreements with Syria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen while the already precarious relations with Iraq worsened, held responsible for communist penetration in the Arab world.
In 1959 relations with Moscow also deteriorated because accused of wanting to be part of the country’s internal affairs. And with the state of Israel there were always hostile attitudes that often resulted in border incidents.
In 1961 the secession of Syria dealt a heavy blow to the RAU and Egypt also had a loss of prestige, as well as men and means, when it was unnecessarily ingested in an internal Yemen guerrilla (1962).
Nasser’s policy was mainly aimed at opposing Israel, considered a real intruder in that context of Arab states. Another serious blow to Nasser’s prestige occurred, when after the closure of the Gulf of Aqaba and the imposition on the United Nations to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, Israel launched a sudden attack in the spring of 1967 and with what was called the ” 6-day war “wiped out the Egyptian army and conquered the Sinai Peninsula.
It was a huge blow. Nasser first resigned, but then concentrated the highest state positions in his hands and almost established a police regime. And when he died suddenly in 1970, his successor Sadat found a rather precarious situation. However, he adopted a softer policy on the inside, raising the population’s soul a little and partially resurrecting the nationalism through which it was possible to ease a little the Soviet pressure and bring all Russian military advisers back to their homeland.
After dismissing the idea of Egyptian “leadership”, so dear to Nasser, by refusing a merger with Libya, proposed by Gaddafi, Egypt was still in arms against Israel, and this time united with Syria.
This, which was called the “Kippur war”, was conducted by surprise and immediately gave some successes to the Egyptians who were able to regain part of Sinai. But the main result was having been able to prove false the invincibility of Israel and this was a real cure-all for the Egyptian pride, already so wounded in the previous war.
And with the armistice and the re-engagement of Sinai the way was opened for peace treaties. The Peace Conference was convened in Geneva but many diplomatic actions were needed between Kissinger, US Secretary of State, and Sadat, to achieve the first favorable results for the whole world.
Indeed, in 1975 the Suez Canal was reopened and in 1976 a close collaboration was established with Syria to try to resolve the Palestinian issue.
In September 1977 the Egyptian Foreign Minister, I. Fahmi, paid a visit to Washington, signed an agreement with Ford, agreed on a refusal to repay the loans to the USSR and, in the midst of numerous criticisms from the Arab allies , established direct relations with Israel, even going to visit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in November 1977.
And again with the mediation of the United States, a separate peace was reached with Israel in March 1979, while various problems remained, such as the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while no solution was expected for the Palestinian question.
In addition to the discontent of the Arab allies, Sadat, however, also had to face internal resistance since only a few minorities, linked to the interests of the West, saw his politics favorably. This did not bring to Egypt the advantages that had been desired and behind the discontent of almost all social classes, some repressive measures had to be applied. Then the neutrality of the country, already established by Nasser, was also left, the borders were opened to various political personalities, there even the Shah of Persia took refuge, driven out of his country. The military agreement was agreed with Sudan and with the United States and in the Sinai was allowed the allocation of a multinational force, expressed by the countries adhering to the Atlantic Pact.
The internal hostilities to Sadat’s regime resulted in his death by attack on October 6, 1981. His successor was Mubarak, former vice president of the republic and commander of the Air Force. He applied a more prudent policy. He immediately freed the political prisoners, confirmed the commitments made with Israel but without visiting, as had been requested.
He obtained the complete evacuation of Sinai by the Israeli side, but when they began the “escalation” of Lebanon, he immediately broke off relations and withdrew his ambassador, while assuming a more just attitude for the Arab allies. This fact bore fruit when Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO (Organization for the Liberation of Palestine) went to Cairo in December 1963 and in April 1984 Egypt was readmitted to the Organization for the Islamic Conference.
But the internal order was disturbed by episodes of discontent, violence and terrorism caused by the indigence in which the nation was pouring.
The year 1986 saw many dangerous episodes of hostility between terrorists and hijackers, maneuvered towards the solution also by the US military.
One question still remained: Israel’s occupation of the city of Taba. Through various negotiations and two meetings between Mubarak and S. Perez, the Israeli chief, the first in Alexandria in September 1986 and the second in Cairo in February 1987, the solution was reached. Israel evacuated Taba by March 1989, however, asking Egypt for compensation for the costs incurred for all public works carried out to improve the city.
In April 1987 new elections took place and Mubarak was reconfirmed for another 6 years. In December of the same year, at the end of his relaxing policy, a two-year commercial agreement was reached with Moscow for 1988/90.
On February 16, 1989 an “Arab Cooperation Council” was proclaimed between Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Northern Yemen to protect the progress of their respective economic systems.
On February 20, the Soviet Foreign Minister, E. Shevarnadze, arrived in Cairo and met there with the Israeli Foreign Minister, M. Arens and Arafat. All this confirmed Egypt’s aim in relaunching its “leadership” among Arab countries.
But a serious event disturbed what could have been a peaceful period for the people and was the invasion of Kuwait by the Iraqi side. This provoked American intervention and Egypt, in the circumstance, joined the United States by sending a military contingent. This intervention was rewarded by the Washington government through a significant reduction in Egyptian external debt and the easing of international financial pressures.
However, this intervention had also caused negative results such as the return from Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan of 600,000 people who had to be reintegrated into the Egyptian economy which was anything but thriving and also episodes of discontent and violence occurred to demonstrate the hostility that the people felt for the recent recent behavior of its president.
In the spring and summer of 1992 other episodes of violence began, this time by Islamic fundamentalists, culminating in the attack on Coptic villages and in the killing of the publicist Farag Fudah, guilty of having bitterly criticized “fundamentalism”.
Meanwhile, while Mubarak continued to mediate between Israelis and Arabs and between Washington and the Middle East, the Israeli head of state Rabin made two visits, one on July 21, 1992 in Cairo and one on April 14, 1993 in Ismailia.
Mubarak himself went to the White House, always with the intention of promoting the development of relations between the countries concerned.
In September 1994 the United Nations chose Cairo to hold the III World Conference. The proposed themes were abortion, contraception and women’s freedom.
Another meeting took place in Alexandria in December 1994 between the heads of state of Syria and Saudi Arabia on the peace process with Israel and in February 1995 in Cairo a summit between Egypt, Israel, Palestine and Jordan planned a collective plan to combat fundamentalism and terrorism.
This is because an extremist terrorist center was created in the northern part of Egypt mainly due to the situation of indigence of the local populations. The most well-known episodes of violence were: an attack in June 1995 in Addis Ababa against Mubarak and the killing of seven Greek tourists in Cairo in April 1996. Still in 1997, despite the extension to the already present state of emergency, they continued the killings of foreign tourists, as well as those of intellectuals and other personalities. Among many acts of violence perpetrated by terrorists, Luxor was very serious on November 17, 1997, which resulted in the death of 68 tourists.
Every effort was made to locate the assassin groups that were supposed to be an Islamic group, “al Gama’a al-Islamiyya” and one called “Destruction and Sabotage”, a derivation of the former.
Meanwhile in November-December 1995 with two electoral rounds the National Assembly was renewed which resulted in the majority constituted by the National Democratic Party, in power. On January 3, 1996, Kamal al-Ganzuri was elected Prime Minister, who continued work on the country’s economic development and strengthened the fight against terrorism. For this reason, on November 13, 1996, American President Clinton also attended the meeting that 29 heads of state held in Sarm al-Sayh.
During 1998 the government also put into practice some censorship to the press and in 1999 passed a law, strongly opposed by the opposition, with which it arrogated the right to control all those organizations known for their profession in defense of the rights of the man.