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Anwar Sadat

Anwar Sadat (أنور السادات) (December 25, 1918October 6, 1981) was an Egyptian politician and President of Egypt from 1970 to 1981. He participated in the 1952 coup which dethroned King Farouk I. In 1969, after holding many positions in the Egyptian government, he was chosen to be Vice-President to his friend Gamal Abdal Nasser. When Nasser died the following year, Sadat became President.

Anwar Sadat

In 1973, Sadat, together with Syria, led Egypt into the Yom Kippur War with Israel, trying to reclaim parts of the Sinai Peninsula, which had been conquered by Israel during the Six-Day War. Sadat's victory managed to restore the Egyptian morale, laying the ground for a peace settlement several years later. For many years after Sadat was known as the "hero of the Crossing".

On November 19, 1977 Sadat became the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel when he met with Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and spoke before the Knesset in Jerusalem. He made the visit after receiving an invitation from Begin and he sought a permanent peace settlement (much of the Arab world was outraged by the visit). In 1978, this resulted in the Camp David Peace Agreement, for which Sadat and Begin received the Nobel Peace Prize. However, the action was extremely unpopular in the Arab world and especially amongst Muslim fundamentalist groups. Many believed that only a threat of force would make Israel negotiate over Palestine, and the Camp David accords removed the possibility of Egypt, the major Arab military power, from providing such a threat.

In September of 1981, Sadat cracked down on Muslim organizations, including student groups, and Coptic organizations, making nearly 1600 arrests and earning worldwide condemnation for the extremity of his techniques.

On October 6 of the same year, Sadat was assassinated during a parade by army members who were part of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization, who opposed his negotiations with Israel as well as his brutal use of force in the September crackdown. He was succeeded by the vice president Hosni Mubarak (also an air force pilot), who, in the aftermath of the assassination, made use of illegal arrests, torture and detention without trial to suppress radical Islamic groups.\n