Focus Group Middle East:

Egypt is cradle to one of the world's most ancient civilizations.  Both African and Middle Eastern and home to many different religions, Egypt is both the center of the Arabic world yet also very different from a country like Saudi Arabia or Iraq; it is both Arabic and African, Muslim but with a significant Coptic Christian minority.  The leader of the anti-Zionist cause, Egypt under Gamal Abdul Nasser headed the cause of Arab nationalism and anti-imperialism.  Nevertheless, Egypt  risked the wrath of its fellow Arab countries by being the first to sign a comprehensive peace treaty with Israel, even as its moderate leader, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated by Muslim fundamentalists who opposed to its secular leadership and close ties to the United States.  Today Egypt still suffers great tension between the secular government and its Islamicist enemies; many worry that the future might see a destabilized Egypt groaning under the weight of poverty, unemployment, urban overpopulation and sprawl in the Cairo environs, and a host of other critical problems.  Inheritor of a long and distinguished history, Egypt's future is an open question.  Like much of the Muslim world, Egypt totters in indecision between secular and religious forms of governments, and only time will tell where she decides to tread. 

Questions to keep in mind:  What are the different ethnicities and religions in Egypt?  What are the sizes of the populations of various subgroups inside Egypt?  Why do some Egyptians consider themselves different than other Arabs?  What happened to Egypt during colonialism under the French under Napoleon and then the British?  How did the Egyptians feel about this?  What ancient historical events and cultures make the Egyptians proud of their nation?  Who was Gamal Abdul Nasser?  Why did some people call him the "Arab messiah?"  To what major country did Nasser turn to for arms and support in the 1950's?  What did Nasser do in 1956 with the Israelis, French, and British?  How did Nasser emerge from this conflict?  What did many common Arabs one might encounter on the street think about Nasser and his call to Arab unity and anti-imperialism?  What was Nasser trying to do with the United Arab Republic (UAR)?  What did Nasser think about Israel? What happened to Nasser's Egypt in the 1967 war with Israel?  What psychological effects did this have on Arab nationalism preached by Nasser?  What was the result of the war on Nasser and his power?  Was Nasser ultimately more of an Arab or an Egyptian?  What kind of man was Nasser?  Was he a despot?  To what does his political life amount to, in retrospect?  What limits does Egypt's physical environment place on its population?  How was Anwar Sadat different than Nasser?  To what large country did he turn to for help?  With what country did he no longer want to be friends?  Why did Sadat expell the "ugly Russians" from Egypt?  From the Egyptian point of view, what was the psychological result of the 1973 war?  How did Egyptians feel afterwards?  What historic agreement did Sadat and Begin sign?  How did other Arabs feel when Egypt did this?  What did this mean to Arab unity?  What did peace with Israel mean for Egypt as the "leader" of the Arab world?  Why did devout Muslims oppose Anwar Sadat?  Where, according to them, did he go too far?  If Hosni Mubarak has continued the pro-West policies of Sadat, who are the forces in Egypt that oppose him?  How do they oppose him? How serious a threat is Islamic fundamentalism and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?  How in the name of Islam do such persons seek a different path for Egypt?  What environmental and social problems un-related to Islam are there in Egypt?


Start here and read everything at: Egypt at Yahoo!  Also check out all the links at Open Directory's Egyptian section.  Get good basic Egyptian information at the CIA World Factbook.   Range far and wide in search of information over the World Wide Web!

Read about British occupation and Nasser and Nasserism.  This is an excellent summation of Sadat's reign in Egypt.  This is an excellent link about Mubarak as head of Egypt.

Read this article about fundamentalism in Egypt today and how it challenges the secular government.

Egypt's present leader, Hosni Mubarak.  Read this webpage and its links to get a view of why some Egyptians are opposed to Mubarak's government.  Pay attention to the Muslim Brotherhood, what they stand for, and how the government treats them.

Digging Ancient Egypt, Egypt Info. Highway, Egypt's Social Fund for Development, Egypt State Information Service, Guardian's Egypt

Check out all these Jim Lehr Newshour reports carefully:

November 17, 1997 --Terrorist Attack A terrorist attack in Egypt leaves scores of tourists and several Egyptians dead.

July 30, 1996 -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak In between meetings in Washington, Egypt's President talks to the NewsHour about his first, very straight forward session with Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, his thoughts on terrorism, and UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.