chapter  5
68 Pages

The Triangular Relationship Deepens

WithMelvin A. Friedlander

Sadat's moves to secularize Egyptian society and to rehabilitate the Wafd Party underscored the delicacy of his political position and had serious implications for Egypt's relations with its Arab neighbors. Saudi Arabian refusal to respond positively to Western enticement to join in the peace process gave Cairo a pretext to cool relations with Riyadh. A Saudi endorsement of Sadat's peace effort might worsen relations with Damascus and Baghdad. The promise of US arms for Egypt and the obvious amity between the US and Egyptian presidents suggested a solid bilateral relationship that could only result in tangible security advantages for Cairo. The downturn in Israeli relations with Egypt and the United States, however, did not meet only regret in Israel. The Begin government tended to discount nationalism as a determinant of future relations with the Palestinians. Sadat's moves aimed to create popular will and acclaim for improved relations with Jerusalem.