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Anwar al-Sadat

President of Egypt / Political Leader

Born: 25 December 1918
Died: 6 October 1981 (assassination)
Birthplace: Tala District, Egypt
Best known as: President of Egypt, 1970-81
Anwar al-Sadat was Egypt's president from 1970 until his assassination in 1981. He came to political power as an associate of Gamal Abdel Nasser, leader of the revolution that overthrew the monarchy (and British colonial rule) in 1952. Sadat graduated from military school in 1938 and straight away went about working to dismantle colonialism, initially pinning his hopes on Hitler's Germany as Britain's enemy. He spent most of the 1940s in jail for his agitations against the British in Egypt, but after Nasser took power (1954) Sadat rose in the ranks of the new government, holding various high-level positions, including vice president (1964-66, 1969-70). Nasser died in September of 1970 and Sadat became president in October. In an effort to regain control of losses from the 1967 Six Day War, Sadat ordered an attack on Israeli forces in 1973 and showed enough strength to force peace negotiations. He made overt gestures of peace to Israel and wooed U.S. president Jimmy Carter into assisting with negotiations. The resulting peace agreement, the Camp David Accords, earned Sadat the 1978 Nobel Prize for Peace (he shared it with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin). But his domestic economic plan was a failure, and his negotiations with Israel led to violent criticism at home; Sadat's attempts to crack down on public dissension only made things worse. He was assassinated in 1981 by Islamic fundamentalists who opposed the peace treaty with Israel, and he was succeeded by Hosni Mubarak.

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