Egypt's Foreign Relations With the United States and the Arab Term Paper

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¶ … Egypt/U.S. Relationship in a new Arab World

The world has historically had many hotspots. One, for instance, was the area surrounding Austria Hungary, which later morphed into the area surrounding Germany. Countless wars were fought in those regions, with tens of millions dead, and families constantly uprooted and moved to different locations from "homes" that were no longer friendly to them.

One hotspot that has stayed violent for much of recorded history is the middle east. Today, of course, is no exception. That is why it is ever so important to understand the role of every key player in the current crisis. One such key player has been a traditional Arab world leader, Egypt. Beginning with the peace treaty in 1979, let us trace Egypt's foreign relations with the United States and view the manner in which it affected and continues to affect Arab and middle eastern relations.

Egypt/Israeli Peace Treaty, 1979

1979 saw the signing of perhaps the most significant treaty of the modern era. After more than a year of intense negotiations following Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's famed visit to Israel, the Israeli/Egypt peace treaty was signed in Washington. There was a genuine fear that no peace treaty would be signed, and Egypt was under a lot of pressure from other Arab nations not to sign a treaty.

In fact, the Israeli Prime Minister, Begin, refused to budge on the Palestinian state issue, so many experts thought all bets were off on a treaty. However, the United States stepped into pressure Israel into dealing with Egypt in separate accords, noting that aid and other concessions would depend on Israel's cooperation. (

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As a result of this multilateral effort, a treaty was finally signed. The main facets of the treaty were legitimate rights and just claims for the Palestinians, and return of all the Israeli held territories.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Egypt's Foreign Relations With the United States and the Arab States Assignment

The treaty ended 30 years of war and marked an historic event. Public interest was high, as well as the public relations selling job by the United States: The signing was broadcast live on television from the White House lawn. ( a smiling President Jimmy Carter looked on as Sadat and Begin signed the historic document.

Mr Sadat praised President Carter as "the man who performed the miracle." "Without exaggeration," he said, "what he did constitutes one of the greatest achievements of our time."

Mr Carter, however, was more cautious, saying the treaty was "a first step on a long and difficult road." "We must not minimalise the obstacles that lie ahead," he said. (

But all was not perfect. In retrospect, here are the upshots of the peace treaty: The Egypt-Israel peace treaty was a direct result of the Camp David Peace Accords, signed in September of 1978. President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin were jointly and ceremoniously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.

Under the accords, Israel agreed to withdraw its troops from the Sinai Peninsula in return for Egypt's open recognition of the state of Israel. Palestinians were also granted the right to some self-determination of their people.

President Sadat died for his decision to deal with Israel, assassinated in 1981 by extremists in the Egyptian army who were opposed to the treaty.

The last Israeli troops finally left the Sinai Peninsula in 1982. However, not all was rosy here either: Less than two months later Israel invaded Lebanon. There was little further notable progress towards peace in the Middle East until the Oslo Peace Process began in 1993.

Although Palestinians now have some degree of self-determination, the central issues remain as intractable as ever, especially for Egypt. ( Egypt was expelled from the Arab League for negotiating with Israel, and very few Arab states gave their support to Carter's, Sadat's, and Begin's hard work.

In longer retrospect, the terms of the Egypt/Israeli treaty can be seen to have set an unfortunate precedent. Egypt had been an actual aggressor against Israel four times and had lost four times. Israel was the nation that had been attacked four times and had won four times. But under the peace treaty, Israel returned to the aggressor's role, Egypt, everything the aggressor had lost. This had never been done before in the long and violent history of warfare between nations, and is very bad policy because it makes aggression a "no lose" bet for the aggressor country. The Israel-Egypt agreement set expectations for all the later peace negotiations between Israel and the Arab countries that have repeatedly tried to destroy it, not to mention the Palestinian Arabs, so they are all looking for the same style of "no lose" treaty, which, of course, is not at all a practical bargaining table issue. (

Egypt's Leadership in the Arab League

Egypt has long been a leader in the middle east, especially among Arab states. However, with its dealings with Israel in 1979, their position of leadership was put in serious doubt.

The Arab League was founded in Cairo in 1945 by Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Transjordan (Jordan, as of 1950), and Yemen. Countries that later joined are: Algeria (1962), Bahrain (1971), Comoros (1993), Djibouti (1977), Kuwait (1961), Libya (1953), Mauritania (1973), Morocco (1958), Oman (1971), Qatar (1971), Somalia (1974), Southern Yemen (1967), Sudan (1956), Tunisia (1958), and the United Arab Emirates (1971). The Palestine Liberation Organization was admitted in 1976. Egypt's membership was suspended in 1979 after it signed a peace treaty with Israel; the league's headquarters was moved from Cairo, Egypt, to Tunis, Tunisia. In 1987 Arab leaders decided to renew diplomatic ties with Egypt. Egypt was readmitted to the league in 1989 and the league's headquarters was moved back to Cairo. (the Volume Library).

The Arab League is involved in political, economic, cultural, and social programs designed to promote the interests of member Arab states. The Arab League has served as a forum for member states to coordinate their policy positions and deliberate on matters of common concern, settling some Arab disputes and limiting some potentially horrific conflicts such as the Lebanese civil wars of 1958. The Arab League has served as a platform for the drafting and conclusion of almost all landmark documents promoting economic integration among member states, such as the creation of the Joint Arab Economic Action Charter, which set out the principles for economic activities of the Arab League. It has played an important role in shaping school curricula, and preserving manuscripts and Arab cultural heritage.

The Arab League has launched literacy campaigns, and reproduced intellectual works, and translated modern technical terminology for the use of member states. It encourages measures against crime and drug abuse and deals with labor issues (particularly among the emigrant Arab workforce). (Volume Library)

The Arab League has also fostered cultural exchanges between member states, encouraged youth and sports programs, helped to advance the role of women in Arab societies, and promoted child welfare activities. (Volume Library)

The Egyptian government first proposed the Arab League in 1943. Egypt and some of the other Arab states wanted closer cooperation without the loss of self-rule that would result from total union. The original charter of the Arab League created a regional organization of sovereign states that was neither a union nor a federation. Among the goals the league set for itself were winning independence for all Arabs still under alien rule, and to prevent the Jewish minority in Palestine (then governed by the British) from creating a Jewish state. The members eventually formed a joint defense council, an economic council, and a permanent military command. (Volume Library)

Even with Arafat's recent death, all Arab states looked again to Egypt for guidance on how to react. The incidents showed Egypt's continuing power as a force in the Arab world, a force that cannot be put aside even by a temporary eviction from the Arab League: Egypt's President, Hosni Mubarak, called Mr. Arafat a "historic leader," while King Fahd of Saudi Arabia said he shared the pain of the Palestinian people. King Abdullah of Jordan called his death a tragedy. (

Egypt Today, in the World, and its relations with America

Today, Egypt is a huge economic force, and its impact on the world is partially through its relations with America.

Traditionally, the foreign policy of the Arab Republic of Egypt has three major facets: Arab, Islamic and African. To these, Presidents Sadat and Mubarak added the strategic alliance with the United States, a the afore-mentioned settlement with Israel and active support for the Middle East peace process. Egyptian diplomacy plays a visible role in all Third World bodies, the United Nations and cooperation with Europe, advancing its own interests along with those of its partners in multilateral foreign relations. (World Book)

Relations with the European Union

Today, Cairo is seeking closer relations with the European Union. It welcomes the EU's contribution to promoting the Middle East peace process, although in the face of the latest developments it is skeptical about the prospects of successfully implementing the much-troubled 'Road Map', the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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