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Muhammad Anwar al Sadat
محمد أنورالسادات

In office
15 October 1970 – 6 October 1981
Preceded by Gamal Abdel Nasser
Succeeded by Hosni Mubarak

Born 25 December 1918(1918-12-25)
Mit Abu al-Kum, Egypt
Died 6 October 1981 (aged 62)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Political party Arab Socialist Union
(until 1977)
National Democratic Party
(from 1977)
Spouse(s) 1) Ehsan Madi
2) Jehan Sadat
Religion Islam

Muhammad Anwar El Sadat, or Anwar El Sadat (Arabic: محمد أنور السادات‎, Muḥammad Anwar as-Sādāt) (25 December 1918 - 6 October 1981), was the third President of Egypt, serving from 15 October 1970 until his assassination by Islamists on 6 October 1981. He was a senior member of the Free Officers group that overthrew the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, and a close confidant of Gamal Abdel Nasser, whom he succeeded as President in 1970.

In his eleven years as president he changed Egypt's direction, departing from some of the economic and political principles of Nasserism by re-instituting the multi-party system and launching the Infitah. His leadership in the October War of 1973 made him a hero in Egypt, and for a time throughout the Arab World.

His visit to Israel and the eventual Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty won him the Nobel Peace Prize, but was an act enormously unpopular amongst Egyptians and other Arabs, and resulted in Egypt being suspended from the Arab League. The peace treaty was the primary reason given by Khalid Islambouli, one of Sadat's assassins, for his opposition to Sadat.


Early life

Anwar El Sadat was born on 25 December 1918 in Mit Abu al-Kum, al-Minufiyah, Egypt to a poor family, one of 13 brothers and sisters. His father was Egyptian, and his mother was Sudanese.[1] He spent his early childhood under the care of his grandmother, who told him stories revolving around resistance to the British occupation and drawing on contemporary history.[2]

During Sadat’s childhood, he admired and was influenced greatly by four individuals. The first of his childhood heroes was Zahran, the alleged hero of Denshway, who resisted the British in a farmer protest. According to the story, a British soldier is killed. Zahran was the first Egyptian hanged in retribution for the soldier's death. Stories like the Ballad of Zahran introduced Sadat to Egyptian nationalism, a value he held throughout his life.[2]

The second individual was Kemal Ataturk who was leader of the modern Turkey. Sadat admired his ability to overthrow the foreign influence and his many social reforms. He also idolized Mahatma Gandhi and his belief of nonviolence when facing injustice. As Egypt was under the occupation of the United Kingdom, Sadat was fascinated by Hitler’s Nazi German army for their quick ability to become a strategic threat to Britain.[2]

He graduated from the Royal Military Academy in Cairo in 1938 and was appointed in the Signal Corps. He entered the army as a second lieutenant and was posted in Sudan (Egypt and Sudan were one country at the time). There, he met Gamal Abdel Nasser, and along with several other junior officers they formed the secret Free Officers Movement committed to freeing Egypt from British domination and royal corruption.

During the Second World War he was imprisoned by the British for his efforts to obtain help from the Axis Powers in expelling the occupying British forces. Along with his fellow Free Officers, Sadat participated in the military coup that launched the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 which overthrew the King Farouk I on July 23 of that year. Sadat was assigned to announce the news of the revolution to the Egyptian people over the radio networks.

During Nasser's presidency

During the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Sadat was appointed Minister of State in 1954. In 1959, he assumed the position of Secretary to the National Union. Sadat was the President of the National Assembly (1960–1968) and then Vice President and member of the Presidential Council in 1964. He was reappointed as Vice President again in December 1969.


Sadat with US President Ronald Reagan, 1981

After Nasser's death in 1970, Sadat succeeded him as President, but it was considered widely that his presidency would be short-lived. Viewing him as having been little more than a puppet of the former President, Nasser's supporters in government settled on Sadat as someone they could manipulate easily. Indeed, their view was shared by many ordinary Egyptians at the time , who referred to his presidency of that of "a donkey succeeding a lion (i.e. Nasser)". Nasser's supporters were satisfied for six months until Sadat instituted The Corrective Revolution, purging the government, and political and security and purged establishment of the most ardent Nasserists.

In 1971, three years into the Soviet-sponsored War of Attrition in the Suez Canal zone, Sadat endorsed in a letter the peace proposals of UN negotiator Gunnar Jarring which seemed to lead to a full peace with Israel on the basis of Israel's withdrawal to its pre-war borders. This peace initiative failed as neither Israel nor the United States of America accepted the terms as discussed then.

Sadat likely perceived that Israel's desire to negotiate was directly correlated to how much of a military threat they perceived from Egypt, which, after the Six-Day War of 1967, was at an all time low. Israel also viewed the most substantial part of the Egyptian threat as the presence of Soviet equipment and personnel (in the thousands at this time). It was for those reasons that Sadat expelled the Soviet military advisers from Egypt and proceeded to whip his army into shape for a renewed confrontation with Israel. During this time, Egypt was suffering greatly from economic problems caused by the Six Days War and the Soviet relationship also declined due to their unreliability and refusal of Sadat’s requests for more military support.[2]

On 6 October 1973, in conjunction with Hafez al-Assad of Syria, Sadat launched the October War, also known as the Yom Kippur War, a surprise attack against the Israeli forces occupying the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights in an attempt to retake the territory captured by Israel six years earlier. The Egyptian and Syrian performance in the initial stages of the war (see The Crossing) astonished both Israel and the Arab World. The most striking achievement was the Egyptian military's advance approximately 15 km into the occupied Sinai Peninsula after penetrating and largely destroying the Bar Lev Line. This line was popularly thought to have been an impregnable defensive chain.

The American military strategist Edward Luttwak made a comparison between the Egyptian forces in 1973, and those of the Lebanese Hizbullah guerrilla organization in the 2006 Lebanon War:

...hundreds of Israeli tanks were damaged or destroyed by brave Egyptian infantrymen with their hand-carried missiles and rockets....In 1973, after crossing the Suez Canal, Egyptian infantrymen by the thousands stood their ground unflinchingly against advancing 50-ton Israeli battle tanks, to attack them successfully with their puny hand-held weapons. They were in the open, flat desert, with none of the cover and protection that Hizbullah had in their fortified bunkers or in Lebanon's rugged terrain.... Later, within the few square miles of the so-called Chinese farm near the Suez Canal, the Israelis lost more soldiers fighting against the Egyptians in a single day and night than the 116 killed in a month of war in Lebanon - including the victims of vehicle accidents and friendly fire....Hizbullah certainly did not run away and did hold its ground, but its mediocrity is revealed by the casualties it inflicted, which were very few."[3]

As the war progressed, three divisions of the Israeli army (IDF) led by General Ariel Sharon had crossed the Suez Canal, trying to encircle first the Egyptian Second Army and when it failed, the Egyptian Third Army. Prompted by an agreement between the United States of America and Egypt's Soviet allies, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 338 on 22 October 1973, calling for an immediate ceasefire.[4] Although agreed upon, the cease fire was immediately broken by Israel with full knowledge of the US Government. The aim was to allow Israel to enter negotiations from a stronger position by threatening to starve and eventually destroy the trapped Egyptian Army. The encirclement was completed on the 25 October three days after the cease fire was brokered.

The initial Egyptian and Syrian victories in the war restored popular morale throughout Egypt and the Arab World, and for many years after Sadat was known as the "hero of the Crossing". Israel recognized Egypt as a formidable foe, and Egypt's renewed political significance eventually led to regaining and reopening the Suez Canal through the peace process.

On 19 November 1977, Sadat became the first Arab leader to visit Israel officially when he met with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and spoke before the Knesset in Jerusalem about his views on how to achieve a comprehensive peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which included the full implementation of UN Resolutions 242 and 338. He said during his visit that he hopes "that we can keep the momentum in Geneva, and may God guide the steps of Premier Begin and Knesset, because there is a great need for hard and drastic decision."[5]

The Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledge applause during a joint session of Congress in Washington, D.C., during which President Jimmy Carter announced the results of the Camp David Accords, 18 September 1978.

The EgyptianIsraeli Peace Treaty was signed by Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Washington, DC, United States, on 26 March 1979, following the Camp David Accords (1978), a series of meetings between Egypt and Israel facilitated by US President Jimmy Carter. Both Sadat and Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for creating the treaty. In his acceptance speech, Sadat referred to the long awaited peace desired by both Arabs and Israelis.

“Let us put an end to wars, let us reshape life on the solid basis of equity and truth. And it is this call, which reflected the will of the Egyptian people, of the great majority of the Arab and Israeli peoples, and indeed of millions of men, women, and children around the world that you are today honoring. And these hundreds of millions will judge to what extent every responsible leader in the Middle East has responded to the hopes of mankind”[6]

The main features of the agreement were the mutual recognition of each country by the other, the cessation of the state of war that had existed since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and the complete withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the rest of the Sinai Peninsula which Israel had captured during the 1967 Six-Day War.

The agreement also provided for the free passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal and recognition of the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba as international waterways. The agreement notably made Egypt the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel. The peace agreement between Egypt and Israel has remained in effect since the treaty was signed.

President Jimmy Carter shaking hands with Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty on the grounds of the White House.

The treaty, which gained wide support among Egyptians, was extremely unpopular in the Arab World and the wider Muslim World.[7] His predecessor Nasser had made Egypt an icon of Arab nationalism, an ideology that appeared to be sidelined by an Egyptian orientation following the 1973 war (see Egypt). By signing the accords, many non-Egyptian Arabs believed Sadat had put Egypt's interests ahead of Arab unity, betraying Nasser's pan-Arabism, and destroyed the vision of a united "Arab front" and elimination of the "Zionist Entity". Sadat's shift towards a strategic relationship with the US was also seen as a betrayal by many. In the United States his peace moves gained him popularity among some Evangelical circles. He was awarded the Prince of Peace Award by Pat Robertson.[8]

In 1979 the Arab League expelled Egypt in the wake of the Egyptian–Israel peace agreement, and the League moved its headquarters from Cairo to Tunis. It was not until 1989 that the League re-admitted Egypt as a member, and returned its headquarters to Cairo. Many believed that only a threat of force would make Israel negotiate over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Camp David accords removed the possibility of Egypt, the major Arab military power, from providing such a threat. As part of the peace deal Israel withdrew from the Sinai peninsula in phases, returning the entire area to Egypt on 25 April 1982.

Sadat's relationship with the Shah of Iran

Before the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979, the relationship between Cairo and Tehran was so friendly that the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, called Sadat his "dear brother". The Shah's first wife was Princess Fawzia of Egypt. She was the eldest daughter of Sultan Fuad I of Egypt and Sudan (later King Fuad I), and his second wife, Nazli Sabri.

After his overthrow, the deposed Shah spent the last days of his life in exile in Egypt. When the Shah died, Sadat ordered that he been given a state funeral and be interred at the Al-Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo, the resting place of Egyptian Khedive Isma'il Pasha, his mother Khushyar Hanim, and numerous other members of the royal family of Egypt and Sudan. [9]

Unpopularity and conspiracy theories

The last years of Sadat's reign were marked by turmoil and there were several allegations of corruption against him and his family. In January 1977, a series of 'Bread Riots' protested Sadat's economic liberalization and specifically a government decree lifting price controls on basic necessities like bread. Dozens of nightclubs on the famous Pyramids Street were sacked by Islamists. Following the riots the government reversed itself and recontrolled prices.[10][11]

Islamists were enraged by Sadat's Sinai treaty with Israel, particularly the radical Egyptian Islamic Jihad. According to interviews and information gathered by journalist Lawrence Wright, the group was recruiting military officers and accumulating weapons, waiting for the right moment to launch "a complete overthrow of the existing order" in Egypt. Chief strategist of El-Jihad was Aboud el-Zumar, a colonel in the military intelligence whose "plan was to kill the main leaders of the country, capture the headquarters of the army and State Security, the telephone exchange building, and of course the radio and television building, where news of the Islamic revolution would then be broadcast, unleashing - he expected - a popular uprising against secular authority all over the country."[12]

In February 1981, Egyptian authorities were alerted to El-Jihad's plan by the arrest of an operative carrying crucial information. In September, Sadat ordered a highly unpopular roundup of more than 1500 people, including many Jihad members,the Coptic Orthodox Pope, Bishop, and highly ranked clergy members, but also intellectuals and activists of all ideological stripes.[13]

The round up missed a Jihad cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli, who succeeded in assassinating Anwar Sadat that October.[14]

According to Tala'at Qasim, ex-head of the Gama'a Islamiyya interviewed in Middle East Report, it was not Islamic Jihad but the Islamic Group (al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya) that organized the assassination and recruited the assassin (Islambouli). Members of the Group's 'Maglis el-Shura' ('Consultative Council') - headed by the famed 'blind shaykh' - were arrested two weeks before the killing, but they did not disclose the existing plans and Islambuli succeeded in assassinating Sadat.[15]

Assassination and aftermath

On 6 October 1981, the month after the crackdown, Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo to commemorate Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal. A fatwā approving the assassination had been obtained from Omar Abdel-Rahman, a cleric later convicted in the US for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Sadat was protected by four layers of security, and the army parade should have been safe due to ammunition-seizure rules.

As air force Mirage jets flew overhead, distracting the crowd, a troop truck halted before the presidential reviewing stand, and the lead assassin, lieutenant Khalid Islambouli strode forward. Sadat stood to receive his salute, whereupon, Islambouli lobbed three grenades at Sadat, only one of which exploded, and additional assassins rose from the truck, firing assault rifle rounds into the stands hitting Sadat. After Sadat fell to the ground, people threw chairs around him to protect him from the hail of bullets.

The attack lasted about two minutes. Eleven others were killed, including the Cuban ambassador, an Omani general and a Coptic Orthodox bishop, and 28 were wounded, including James Tully, the Irish Minister for Defence, and four US military liaison officers. Security Forces were momentarily stunned but reacted within seconds. Two of the attackers were killed and the others were arrested by military police on-site. Sadat was rushed to a hospital, where eleven doctors operated on him, but was pronounced dead within hours. Islambouli was later tried, found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed in April 1982.

In conjunction with the assassination, an insurrection was organized in Asyut in Upper Egypt. Rebels took control of the city for a few days and 68 policemen and soldiers were killed in the fighting. Government control was not restored until paratroopers from Cairo arrived. Most of the militants convicted of fighting received light sentences and served only three years in prison.[16]

Sadat was succeeded by his vice president Hosni Mubarak, whose hand was injured during the attack. Sadat's funeral was attended by a record number of dignitaries from around the world, including a rare simultaneous attendance by three former US presidents: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. Sudan's President Gaafar Nimeiry was the only Arab head of state to attend the funeral. Only 3 of 24 states in the Arab LeagueOman, Somalia and Sudan – sent representatives at all.[17] Sadat was buried in the unknown soldier memorial in Cairo, across the street from the stand where he was assassinated.

Over three hundred Islamic radicals were indicted in the trial of assassin Khalid Islambouli, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, Omar Abdel-Rahman and Abd al-Hamid Kishk. The trial was covered by the international press and Zawahiri's knowledge of English made him the de facto spokesman for the defendants. Zawahiri was released from prison in 1984, before travelling to Afghanistan and forging a close relationship with Osama Bin Laden.

Despite these facts, the nephew of the late president, Talaat al-Sadat, claimed that the assassination was an international conspiracy. On 31 October 2006, he was sentenced to a year in prison for defaming Egypt's armed forces, less than a month after he gave the interview accusing Egyptian generals of masterminding his uncle's assassination. In an interview with a Saudi television channel, he also claimed both the United States and Israel were involved: "No one from the special personal protection group of the late president fired a single shot during the killing, and not one of them has been put on trial," he said.[18]


Sadat was married twice. He was first married to Ehsan Madi at age 22, and divorced her several years later, just 17 days after the birth of their third daughter, Camelia. He then married Jehan Raouf (later known as Jehan Sadat), who was only 15 years and 9 months at the time,[19] on 29 May 1949. They had one son, Gamal, and three daughters: Lobna, Noha and Jehan (named after her mother). It was Gamal who represented his father when he was presented, posthumously, with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan. Jehan Sadat was the 2001 recipient of the Pearl S. Buck Award.

Anwar Sadat's autobiography, In Search of Identity, was published in the US in 1977. Currently, Mrs. Sadat is an Associate Resident Scholar at the University of Maryland where The Anwar Sadat Chair for Development and Peace was established and fully endowed in 1997 to honor her husband's legacy. A nephew, Talaat Sadat, was imprisoned in October 2006 for accusing the Egyptian military of complicity in his uncle's assassination.[citation needed]

Media portrayals of Anwar Sadat

In 1983, Sadat, a miniseries based on the life of Anwar Sadat, aired on US television with Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett, Jr. in the title role. The film was promptly banned by the Egyptian government, as were all other movies produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures, over allegations of historical inaccuracies. A civil lawsuit was brought by Egypt's artists' and film unions against Columbia Pictures and the film's directors, producers and scriptwriters before a court in Cairo, but was dismissed; the court held that "the distortions and the slanders found in the film took place outside the country," so that "the crimes were not within the Egyptian courts' jurisdiction."[20]

Western authors attributed the film's poor reception to racism—because of Gosset Jr. being African American—in the Egyptian government or Egypt in general.[21] Sadat himself was an ethnic Nubian and is considered by Egyptians to have been of black skin color. Either way, one Western source wrote that Sadat's portrayal by Gosset Jr. "bothered race-conscious Egyptians and wouldn't have pleased [the deceased] Sadat."[22] – The two-part series earned Gossett an Emmy nomination in the United States.

The first Egyptian depiction of Sadat's life came in 2001, when Ayam El-Sadat (English: Days of Sadat) was released in Egyptian cinemas. This movie, by contrast, was a major success in Egypt, and was hailed as Ahmad Zaki's greatest performance to date.[23]

Anwar Sadat is mentioned in the motion picture "I Love You, Man." The character Sydney has a puggle named Anwar Sadat, because, "He looks just like him."

Additionally, in the 2006 Night of the Notables at Washington Middle School, Anwar Sadat was portrayed by William Godbe. He got an A.


  • "Fear is, I believe, a most effective tool in destroying the soul of an individual - and the soul of a people."[24]
  • "Most people seek after what they do not possess and are enslaved by the very things they want to acquire."[25]
  • "Peace is much more precious than a piece of land... let there be no more wars."[26]
  • "Russians can give you arms but only the United States can give you a solution."[27]
  • "There can be hope only for a society which acts as one big family, not as many separate ones."[28]
  • "There is no happiness for people at the expense of other people."[citation needed]
  • "He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never therefore make any progress"
  • "I should like them to write on my tomb... he has lived for peace and he has died for principles"


  • Sadat, Anwar (1954) (in Arabic). قصة الثورة كاملة (The Full Story of the Revolution). Cairo: Dar el-Hilal. OCLC 23485697. 
  • Sadat, Anwar (1955) (in Arabic). صفحات مجهولة (Unknown Pages of the Revolution). Cairo: دار التحرير للطبع والنشر،. OCLC 10739895. 
  • Sadat, Anwar (1957). Revolt on the Nile. New York: J. Day Co. OCLC 1226176. 
  • Sadat, Anwar (1958). Son, This Is Your Uncle Gamal - Memoirs of Anwar el-Sadat. Beirut: Maktabat al-ʻIrfān. OCLC 27919901. 
  • Sadat, Anwar (1978). In Search of Identity: An Autobiography. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0060137428. 

Further reading


  1. ^ Finklestone, Joseph (1996). Anwar Sadat: Visionary Who Dared. Routledge. pp. 5–7,31. ISBN 0714634875. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Anwar Sadat". Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  3. ^ Jersualem Post. Misreading the Lebanon war. August 21, 2006.
  4. ^ Mary Ann Fay (December 1990). "A Country Study". The Library of Congress. pp. Chapter 1, Egypt: The Aftermath of War: October 1973 War. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  5. ^ "Sadat Visits Israel: 1977 Year in Review."
  6. ^ "Anwar Al-Sadat". Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  7. ^ Vatikiotis, P.J. (1992). The History of Modern Egypt (Fourth Edition ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University. pp. 443. ISBN 080184214X. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ An Ideology of Martyrdom - TIME
  10. ^ Olivier, Roy (1994). Failure of Political Islam. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 56. ISBN 0674291409. 
  11. ^ Weaver, Mary Ann (1999). Portrait of Egypt. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 25. ISBN 0374235422. 
  12. ^ Wright, 2006, p.49
  13. ^ 'Cracking Down', Time Magazine, September 14, 1981
  14. ^ Wright, 2006, p.50
  15. ^ For an account that uses this version of events, look at Middle East Report,'s January-March 1996 issue, specifically Hisham Mubarak's interview with . On pages 42-43 Qasim deals specifically with rumors of Jihad Group involvement in the assassination, and denies them entirely.
  16. ^ Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, pp. 33-34
  17. ^ Tuhoy, William (October 11, 1981). Most of Arab world ignores Sadat funeral. The Spokesman-Review.
  18. ^ Sadat nephew in court appearance. BBC News. October 18, 2006.
  19. ^ Sadat, Jehan. Interview with Diane Rehm. "The Diane Rehm Show." National Public Radio. WAMU, Washington, DC. 2009-03-30.
  20. ^ Reuters (1984). Suit Over Film 'Sadat' Is Dismissed in Cairo New York Times (retrieved 7 Januar 2009)
  21. ^ Benjamin P. Bowser, Racism and Anti-Racism in World Perspective (Sage Series on Race and Ethnic Relations, Volume 13), (Sage Publications, Inc: 1995), p.108
    Upset by 'Sadat,' Egypt Bars Columbia Films
  22. ^ Walter M. Ulloth, Dana Brasch, The Press and the State: Sociohistorical and Contemporary Studies, (University Press of America: 1987), p.483
  23. ^ Adel Darwish (2005-03-31). "Ahmed Zaki: 'Black Tiger' of Egyptian film". The Middle East Internet News Network. Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  24. ^ Anwar el-Sadat quotes.
  25. ^ Anwar el-Sadat quotes.
  26. ^ Anwar el-Sadat quotes.
  27. ^ Simpson, James (1988). Simpson's contemporary quotations. Houghton Mifflin. p. 14. ISBN 978-0395430859.
  28. ^ Cochran, Judith (2008). Educational Roots of Political Crisis in Egypt. Lexington Books. p. 76. ISBN 978-0739118986.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Abdul Latif El-Bughadi
President of the People's Assembly of Egypt
1960 – 1968
Succeeded by
Dr. Mohamed Labib Skokeir
Preceded by
Gamal Abdel Nasser
President of Egypt
1970 – 1981
Succeeded by
Sufi Abu Taleb acting
Preceded by
Aziz Sedki
Prime Minister of Egypt
1973 – 1974
Succeeded by
Abdelaziz Muhammad Hejazi
Preceded by
Mustafa Khalil
Prime Minister of Egypt
1980 – 1981
Succeeded by
Hosni Mubarak
Party political offices
Preceded by
Chairman of the National Democratic Party
1978 – 1981
Succeeded by
Hosni Mubarak

Simple English

Muhammad Anwar al Sadat
محمد أنورالسادات
File:Anwar Sadat

3rd President of Egypt
2nd President of the United Arab Republic
In office
15 October 1970 – 6 October 1981
Preceded by Gamal Abdel Nasser
Succeeded by Hosni Mubarak

Born 25 December 1918(1918-12-25)
Mit Abu al-Kum, Egypt
Died 6 October 1981 (aged 62)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Political party Arab Socialist Union
(until 1977)
National Democratic Party
(from 1977)
Spouse 1) Ehsan Madi
2) Jehan Sadat
Religion Islam
Signature File:Anwar El Sadat

Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat[1] (25 December 1918 – 6 October 1981) was the third President of Egypt. He served from 15 October 1970 until he was assassinated by Islamic extremists on 6 October 1981.


Early life

Sadat was born in 1918 into a family with 13 children, and attended a military school.[2] After his graduation, he was sent to an outpost where he met and became a close friend of Gamal Abdel Nasser. There, the two of them became part of a group of young soldiers who later became the Free Officers group that overthrew the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.[2] Nasser became the president after the revolution, and Sadat served as one of Nasser's ministers until he died in 1970.


Sadat was chosen as president because Nasser's supporters saw him as someone who they could control. They did not think he would be president for very long.[3] However, in his eleven years as president Sadat changed a lot of the things Nasser had set in place, and made Egypt respected for its military strength and political power in the Middle East. On 6 October 1973, Sadat started the October War together with Syria, to try to take back the land Israel had taken from them six years earlier in the Six-Day War. The Egyptian army was very successful at the start of the war, and their advance across the Suez Canal into the Sinai Peninsula surprised Israel and the rest of the world. This success made Sadat a hero in Egypt, and for a time throughout the Arab World.

Sadat visited Israel in 1977 and made a speech in front of the Knesset about what he thought was the best way to bring about peace with them.[4] He was the first Arab leader to visit Israel and recognize that it was a country.[5] In 1978, after the Camp David Accords, he signed a peace treaty with Israel.[6] This won him the Nobel Peace Prize,[4] but made him very unpopular among other Arabs who did not support peace with Israel. This led to Egypt being suspended from the Arab League at that time.[7][8][9][10]

Death and funeral

Many Islamists were very angry about the peace treaty. They made plans to take over the Egyptian government and kill all the main leaders, so that they could bring Egypt back to having an Islamic government instead of a secular one. In February 1981, the Egyptian government heard of this plan. In September that year, Sadat ordered over 1500 people arrested because he thought they might be part of the plot. These people included Islamists, but also the Bishop and other clergy, and many of Egypt's top intellectuals and activists.[11] This arrest was very unpopular. However, Sadat missed a group of Islamists in the military who were led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli. This group assassinated Sadat on 6 October during the victory parade celebrating the crossing into the Sinai Peninsula.[11] Eleven other people were killed in the attack, and 28 were wounded. At the same time, Islamists also took control of the city of Asyut for a few days.

Sadat's funeral was attended by many important people from around the world, including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, but only three Arab nations sent representatives, and only Sudan's head of state attended. Sadat was succeeded by his vice-president Hosni Mubarak.[5]


  1. Arabic: محمد أنور السادات, Muḥammad Anwar as-Sādāt
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Anwar al-Sadat". Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  3. "The Corrective Revolution in Egypt 1971". Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Alagna, Magdalena (2004). Anwar Sadat. Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN 0823944646. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "1981: Egypt's President Sadat assassinated". Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  6. Kelman, Herbert (1997). "Group processes in the resolution of international conflicts: Experiences from the Israeli-Palestinian case". American Psychologist. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  8. Vatikiotis, P.J. (1992). The History of Modern Egypt (4th edition ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University. p. 443.
  10. "Egypt and Israel Sign Formal Treaty, Ending a State of War After 30 Years; Sadat and Begin Praise Carter's Role". The New York Times. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Goldschmidt, Arthur (2008). A brief history of Egypt. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 0816066728. 


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