*Egypt’s centrality:-Lies between the Eastern and Western parts of the Arab world and constitutes the bridge between the 2 sectors. Has developed extensive contacts with the 3 continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Has been a distinct geographical unit for over 4,000 years, unlike other Arab states, whose legal status rested on artificial boundaries drawn up by old colonial powers.
-These perceptions found vigorous expression particularly during the Nasserist era (1952-70), resulting in a highly activist posture regionally and globally. -Egypt= largest population in the Arab world. Accepted that no Arab country could fight against Israel without Egypt. Short of a comprehensive peace with all the Arabs, neutralizing Egypt was the next best thing for Israelis. Population also provides Egyptwith a huge middle class that has helped her cultural domination of the region. -Even when Egypt withdrew from Arab politics after the signing of the peace treaty with Israel in 1979, it did not consciously relinquish its leadership role. Anwar Sadat saw this leadership as a structural property that could not be challenged or taken away, and thus did not feel a need to pursue an activist Arab policy to maintain this relationship. Egypt’s signing of the treaty itself testified to its centrality: no other Arabcountry could dare to do such a thing. *The Egyptian Revolution and Domestic Politics:-Centrality received a boost with the Nasserist revolution of 1952. Regionally interventionist and globally activist. CW had much to do with that, but some of the major changes that occurred also had little to do with the CW, e.g. the abolition of parliament and political parties. So the CW had little to do with the creation of Egypt’s authoritarian system under Nasser, but it did become an element of that system’s legitimation. Nasser constantly used the CW and the ambitions of its various antagonists as a reason for not allowing a multi-party system or a truly functioning parliament. If a multi-party system would be allowed, there would be ‘a party acting as an agent to the American CIA, another upholding British interests, and a third working for the Soviets’. -Same argument could be applied to the adoption of a socialist economic system, which was a function of power considerations rather than infatuation with the Soviet model. The revolutionary officers did immediately enact the socialist agrarian reform law, but also undertook the far from socialist policy of offering liberal incentives for business and industry, enacting laws that encouraged foreign capital, allowed tax exemptions for investments, lowered customs dues on imports, etc… This however wasn’t contradictory: feudalists were perceived as the backbone of support for the ancien regime, while businessmen and industrialists were seen as modernizers.