Camp David and the Peace Process
In a momentous change from the Nasser era, President Sadat shifted
Egypt from a policy of confrontation with Israel to one of peaceful
accommodation through negotiations. Following the Sinai Disengagement
Agreements of 1974 and 1975, Sadat created a fresh opening for progress
by his dramatic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. This led to President
Jimmy Carter's invitation to President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin to
join him in trilateral negotiations at Camp David.
The outcome was the historic Camp David accords, signed by Egypt and
Israel and witnessed by the U.S. on September 17, 1978. The accords led
to the March 26, 1979, signing of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, by which
Egypt regained control of the Sinai in May 1982. Throughout this period,
U.S.-Egyptian relations steadily improved, but Sadat's willingness to break
ranks by making peace with Israel earned him the enmity of most other
The Muslim Brotherhood
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Egypt's armed forces, among the largest in the region, include the army, air
defense, air force, and navy. The armed forces inventory includes
equipment from the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the
former Soviet Union, and China. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is
being progressively replaced by more modern American, French, and
British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in
Egypt. To bolster stability and moderation in the region, Egypt has provided
military assistance and training to a number of African and Arab states.
Egypt remains a strong military and strategic partner of the United States.
Despite these achievements, the economy is still hampered by government
intervention, substantial subsidies for food, housing, and energy, and
bloated public sector payrolls. Moreover, the public sector still controls
most heavy industry.
The Egyptian economy, however, relies heavily on tourism, oil and gas
exports, and Suez Canal revenues, much of which is controlled by the
public sector and is also vulnerable to outside factors.