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Egypt is a major Arab nation occupying a significant portion of its pre-doomsday territory. After a period of famine, nuclear attack, political fragmentation, and social collapse, the nation re-emerged in the mid-1990s and has slowly charted a recovery in the years since.
A series of hydrology and irrigation projects in the Western Desert, first commissioned by the Muslim Brotherhood before the collapse of the state, have been key to this recovery. The country lost control of the crucial Suez Canal and the Aswan High Dam during its collapse; the nation's growth and recovery has seen it part of joint international regimes that include Egypt.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Doomsday
- 1.2 The Tourist Trap
- 1.3 Famine and coup d'etat
- 1.4 Muslim Brotherhood rule
- 1.5 War with Israel
- 1.6 Fragmentation
- 1.7 Restored Arab Republic
- 1.8 Peace with Israel and Kemet
- 1.9 Western Expansion
- 2 Climate
- 3 Economy
- 4 Government
- 5 Military
- 6 International relations
- 7 See also
The Egyptian civilization is one of the world's oldest; its continuous history as a united country dates back more than five thousand years. Ancient Egypt's dynastic and religious traditions persevered through conquest by the Persians, Greeks and Romans, before fading in the face of an expanding Christianity and then Islam.
In the age of the early Caliphates, Egypt was governed from Arabia, then Damascus, then Baghdad. From the ninth century onward however, it was the seat of a succession of local dynasties - in particular the Fatimid, Ayyubid, and Mamluk - before being conquered by the Ottomans in 1517. In the nineteenth century, Muhammad Ali Pasha established a new dynasty, which gained increasing levels of autonomy from the Ottomans and achieved full independence in 1914. But the same era was marked by growing European, especially British, influence. Egypt was a virtual British protectorate from the 1880s until the fall of the kingdom.
In 1952 Egypt was declared an Arab Republic under General Muhammad Naguib, and then subsequently ruled by Gamal Abdel Nasser and Muhammad Anwar El Sadat until his assassination in 1981. In January 1982, Hosni Mubarak took control of the Republic. The most lasting achievement of the Arab Republic was the Aswan High Dam, built in part with Soviet funds between 1960 and 1971. The dam ended the annual flood cycle that had set the rhythms of Egyptian life for millennia, replacing it with more efficient and regulated irrigation throughout the year. It also provided a source of electricity and flooded a huge part of Upper Egypt under the new Lake Nasser.
At the outbreak of nuclear war, President Mubarak was sleeping before a trip to Paris scheduled for later that morning. Egypt was not a member of NATO or the Warsaw Pact. Since in 1983 its relations with both the United States and the United Kingdom were not good, it was not a target for any Soviet nuclear weapon; while the West classified it as a low-grade target, so it received no impacts from those nations.
Many of the nations bordering Egypt and in the surrounding area suffered after Doomsday, both from nuclear destruction and the ensuing chaos.
- Israel to the east suffered several detonations, however its government survived due to the weapon aimed at Jerusalem being shot down and the fallout blowing eastwards into the uninhabited desert.
- The Kingdom of Jordan also was hit by several detonations, and despite losing approximately half its population, the government also survived.
- Shortly after the attacks, even though they had no impacts, Sudan to the south of Egypt collapsed into civil war, as did Libya and Algeria to the west.
- Egypt itself faced famine conditions almost immediately; while it had plenty of good farmland (and the Aswan High Dam had nearly doubled yields), much of that land was devoted to water-intensive cash-crops such as sugarcane and watermelon rather than food crops such as wheat, and the country had depended on imports to feed its people. Famine also struck Saudi Arabia and many other nations in the arid Middle East and North Africa.
The Tourist Trap
One of the first main problems after Doomsday was the huge numbers of tourists trapped in Egypt due to the destruction of their home countries. These tourists made their way to their respective embassies in Cairo but due to the situation, many of the embassies and their staff where themselves in chaos and were of little help.
By the end of September, many hotels in Cairo had begun taking in the tourists that had been trapped across Egypt, with hotels in certain areas becoming what amounted to enclaves of nations destroyed on Doomsday. Over the next few weeks reports began filtering into Egypt of what exactly happened on Doomsday, though a lot remained unanswered.
After the reports reached the trapped tourists, many begin grouping together and on several occasions, the Egyptian police had to intervene as groups of tourist began attacking each other with home made or locally bought weapons in small mobs. A particularly bad attack occurred on the 22nd of October when groups of Americans, British, French and Canadians attacked the embassies of the USSR and the German Democratic Republic, attempting to burn the buildings and kill members of staff as they tried to flee. Thankfully, local authorities and the military were able to get there in time to violently break up the mob which had gathered and arrested many. Over three dozen members of staff were injured, although only a handful being seriously so.
After the October attacks it was decided that it would be best to re-home the tourists away from the capital city. Alexandria and Port Said were decided to be the best ideas for the re-homing the tourists - they were both port cities, and the hopes at the time were that the tourists' home nations would eventually send rescue craft to return them home. The English-speaking tourists as well as all others from NATO countries were re-homed to Alexandria, and all Soviet and Warsaw Pact tourists were re-homed in the smaller town of Port Said, as there were fewer people from those countries in Egypt. This also served to keep the two groups apart from each other and prevent further escalation.
On the 2nd November, President Mubarak declared Cairo under martial law, calling in the army to Cairo to maintain law and order. These extra soldiers also helped to ensure the transfers of the tourist population would take place peacefully and avoid any conflicts between the disparate groups as well as the tourists and locals.
Once the global situation became clearer, it was soon realised a vast number of these tourists would never be able to return home and would remain trapped within the nation. This was deemed as a significant issue, but the government also realised these tourists comprised an educated workforce that more often than not spoke English. The successor government would come to make use of this community in various projects across the nation.
Famine and coup d'etat
Egypt was not prepared to feed its own population due to historic mismanagement of its Nile resources, thus shortages started almost the day after Doomsday. Within a month people were beginning to starve. The government tried to crack down on discontent present within its population but seemingly had no plan to sort out the whole mess. Martial law was extended from Cairo to the rest of the nation but this did little to slow dissent and anger with the government.
Such chaos represented a golden opportunity for the Muslim Brotherhood, who with support from both a large portion of the public as well as the rank and file in the armed forces, staged a coup in late November, quickly taking control of the country. Former President Hosni Mubarak was captured in early December trying to escape across the border into Israel, and was executed in the first weeks of January 1984.
The Brotherhood were quick to pledge to feed the entire country, but made it clear hard times lay ahead. However, they played on mass emotion, making it a point to state that they must survive because the candle of civilisation was at stake. To the religious, it seemed as if Allah agreed, with their coming to power nicely coinciding with the extra rainfall now heading toward Egypt due to the effects of Doomsday. Farmers soon began noticing that rainfall levels were much higher than they usually were in Alexandria and by the end of the year the city has seen nearly three times as much rain as it usually would have in the months following doomsday. This story was found to repeat across the coast. Cairo too saw more rain, although it was not as noticeable due to its more inland location.
Muslim Brotherhood rule
The Brotherhood imposed Islamist policies that discriminated against Coptic Christians and other religious minorities. The country had been under "emergency" rule since the 1960s with only brief interruptions; despite promises, political freedoms were not restored as the very real emergency wore on. Women's freedoms faced gradual but steady curtailment while the character of the state grew more Islamist.
Within a month, the MB began its promised work to address the famine: deepening out the Toshka Spillway/Canal in order to store more water in the southern region. Massive work also began to create a canal from the spillway all the way to Kharga, to link up the oases on this path and provide a chance to both increase the amount of cultivable land and to try to make use of the silt sitting on the floor of Lake Nasser. The new regime then announced the even more ambitious plan to dredge the bottom of Lake Nasser for mud which could be useful in establishing new fertile valleys.
The Brotherhood also moved rapidly to solve the food situation, ordering a ban on the cultivation of sugarcane in favor of essential crops such as wheat. This was an unpopular move. Even less popular was a plan to move people out to the desert to try to make use of as much of the fertile Nile delta as possible. The worsening political situation and ongoing food crisis meant that the first harvest under MB rule was of the utmost importance. They had to make sure that enough bread would reach the nation's kitchens to stave off starvation.
MB leaders wanted to move people out of the cities to relieve population pressure and increase food production. One solution was to forcibly move Coptic workers to the south to work on the canal project, while also forcing other Coptic families from the cities downriver to the towns and cities upriver. This accomplished several things. It cleared space in central Egypt for Arab refugees from the Delta. It turned the Coptic minority into a target and a scapegoat, ironically making the Copts more willing to move away from the cities. It also made clear to the general population that moving into the new houses arising in the desert would be in their best interest - otherwise they too might be on the receiving end of this.
This provided a large number of manual labourers to now be available for the waterworks; a boon as there would be only a limited number of equipment the government could use. However, the plan did not go nearly as well as the Brotherhood expected - there was a greater feeling of solidarity between the Arabs and Copts, and although there was some vilification of the minority, it was not unanimous or full-blown. Even the men tasked with forcing the families to move seemed restrained. After all, some Arab families were also now being relocated to other cities in the desert.
The government also began to make use of the large tourist diaspora now trapped within the nation. Those with backgrounds in engineering and medicine were given priority to supply the nation's demand for medical professionals as well as engineers for the massive construction spree that had begun across the nation in a bid to combat the various problems the central government faced.
Start of the Nile hydrological projects
As work began simultaneously on all sections of the plan, the government quickly realised that cement would use up too much water to be viable as a construction material. Instead, workers began to dig and line the base of the Toshka spillway with bricks made from sand and lime. Though less effective against seepage, and more time-consuming to make, this material did reduce the dependence on water for concrete and avoided the need to build any new factories. It also made use of the large number of resources available to Egypt. A veritable army of workers was put to use.
The project adopted a multi-faceted approach. They tried to work on all elements of the project at the same time, as the government was in a rush to ensure food security. While the Toshka spillway was being deepened, copious amounts of explosives were deployed to widen and deepen the connections between the planned Toshka Lakes to turn them into one true lake. This meant that all factories in the nation making materials useful for explosives were guaranteed supply of raw materials needed to keep producing more while army munitions in stockpiles also began being diverted to this project.
At the same time, work began on the canal from Toshka to Kharga to ensure a continuous flow of water, thus significantly reducing the possibility of Nile water turning brackish. The biggest challenge here was ensuring that the water kept flowing onward from Kharga. Two possibilities were explored. One was trying to link up with an old, ancient riverbed, which would be some 50-100 m higher than any canal to Kharga. The second option was to blast a hole northward and excavate following the path of least resistance. This latter option was chosen, and work soon began on the extension further from Kharga in late 1985.
By this time, the government was growing more secure. Decent harvests had brought the nation out of famine. Work on new housing across the lower Nile was well underway, with Copts being forced to move upriver and Arabs replacing them in the Delta region. The cities of Sixth of October and Tenth of Ramadan, along with Cairo-in-the-desert (a new city just east of Cairo being built in the desert), were growing at an even faster pace than would have been anticipated by even former President Sadat. Alexandria, meanwhile, shrank somewhat as people were moved into housing in Borg El Arab. Cities with essential industries remained untouched. Helwan in particular saw substantial growth because the steel from its factories was badly needed in order to complete the government's projects.
It may have seemed confusing to an observer who remembered the state of infrastructure in Egypt before Doomsday to see such grand projects planned and then actually constructed - by only domestic Egyptian industry no less. But doomsday had awoken something within the people of Egypt - the sheer fear of death; the fear that such a long culture may be coming to the end of the road and that their lives may have amounted to nothing. Although the MB made use of this fear, they too were not immune to it. Indeed, many of those who lived through this time and are still alive remember it being a time of both fear and great promise. Buildings, roads and railroads that would have taken years to build were being completed in one, limited only by supply. Corruption disappeared, or at least seemed to, peer pressure and fear mixing in a lethal cocktail that made even the most corrupt think twice. Even religious restrictions seemed light - every pair of hands, whether they belonged to a man or woman were needed, something backed up by the modernist view of Islam common within the Brotherhood at the time. But throughout all this, hunger persisted. Even though most had enough for at least a meal, if not two, everyday the need for more farmland was stark.
The opening of Toshka
The opening of the new Toshka canal was accomplished by means of explosives in late 1986 - the temporary dam built to hold back Lake Nasser blown up. This proved to be a massive blunder however, as the water rushed down the canal and began to fill up the Lakes at a much quicker pace than anticipated. The explosion and movement of water has also dislodged a good deal of silt from the bottom of the Lake and this began to flow into Lake Toshka. This was to have a massive long-term benefit - but the state of Egypt would not survive to see it.
The flow of the Nile had now been significantly altered. The river's flow was nearly cut in half, and the increased rainfall could only partially offset this. The Toshka canal was deep enough that there was no reversing the process, so now work accelerated on the Kharga canal at a breakneck pace. This created a feedback loop: The government needed workers to complete the Kharga canal faster; this damaged its popularity; it forced more Coptic families to move in order to silence critics and appeal to prejudice; but this required more farmland, which in turn required water from the Kharga canal.
A few towns were founded on what was expected to become the boundary of Lake Toshka, dominated by Coptic families relocated from downriver. Towns and cities of the Upper Nile also grew, although outward toward the desert instead of sitting aside the fertile banks of the Nile. If the Muslim Brotherhood were unpopular in Lower Egypt, they were outright hated in Upper Egypt, with Sa'idi culture irrevocably changed. The once large Muslim majority was now much reduced, with Lower Egyptians causing strife, not least because of the differing dialects between the two groups but also due to the increased strength of Christianity, which now formed a majority in some towns of the region. Indeed, it was this period that saw a rebirth of the local Copt culture that had grown minor over centuries and old churches began seeing full attendance once more.
An emergency trade
Once the first harvest under the Muslim Brotherhood was a success, the government then began to focus on another crucial aspect of their plans: the need for oil. Although soldiers had been sent to maintain the border with a Libya descending into a civil war, it seemed as if not all regions of the neighbouring state had collapsed. Although the government seriously contemplated sending a military mission into Libya to capture the various oil fields, the problems associated with transferring the oil soon became a problem. Most, if not all of the resources were being poured into moving people out into the desert and increasing both farmland and crop yields. Thus, contact was made with the Egyptian embassy and thus the Tripolitan junta and a trade worked out: food for oil. Although Egypt had significant agricultural pressures, these were beginning to be lessened somewhat. A commitment to the nation had led to barges full of food running on time and the growth in the rail network allowed for trains to transport food at an efficiently not seen before.
Thus, quietly diverting food, a large merchant fleet was assembled using Libyan and Egyptian ships and send westward. In exchange, a large fleet of ships bearing oil came in exchange - although it would not be the first one. Egypt managed to leverage its larger population and army into an extremely favourable deal and used it to fuel its industries.
As Libya collapsed into civil war, Egypt shifted its attention to Benghazi, where the junta would declare independence with Hasan as-Senussi as monarch of Cyrenaica. Controlling most of the reserves of oil, as well as key pipeline refinery towns of Brega and El-Hariga, this new nation would continue the favourable relationship between the two powers as shipments for grain were exchanged for much more frequent shipments for oil. This relationship would continue until the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood government.
War with Israel
The Muslim Brotherhood regime had staved off famine, but its ambitions were quickly getting out of control. Too much had changed, too many people had been forced to relocate. To provide another focus of attention and an victory for the regime, leaders began to talk of war against Israel. Multiple factors contributed the decision of the government to pursue a war with Israel as a serious option. With the huge infrastructure projects beginning to yield the desired results, the government had come to believe they could accomplish things no previous government had managed. Rail coverage of the nation had more than doubled and new lines to the cities of 6th October and 10th Ramadan had allowed for a smoother relocation of people. Railroads in upper Egypt connecting up the city of Aswan to the new towns forming on the bank of Lake Toshka had been another major boon in moving construction materials.
All this, had however meant that the army's equipment had been left in a somewhat negligent state. Without Egypt's international partners, the equipment could only be maintained and not always to the best standard due to a lack of parts and the lack of focus on the armed forces itself. This had not been a concern of the central government, as the only major commitments it faced was maintaining internal stability and curtailing the expansion of violence and flow of refugees from Sudan.
Things began to change however, in the early months of 1988. The Nile, which so far had seen consistently three times the amount of water flow within its banks compared to what it historically saw began to reduce. The government had taken great pains to ensure a consistent flow of water down the Nile from Aswan with only a 20% increase to help expand irrigation projects downriver while water the majority of the water was diverted down the Toshka route and began filling up both Lake Toshka and Lake Kharga at a rapid pace. The significant weakening of the strength of the Nile began to cause a huge problem. Without the high pace of water flow, the level of Lake Toshka began to recede from its historic high as the water instead continued to flow to Lake Kharga. The loss of water caused a panic as many of the new farmers in the region were horrified at the prospect of losing their precious water and silt supply with the focus being given on maintaining water on the old valley route.
Due to the forced movement practices of the Egyptian government, the population of the upriver governates had grown from around 4 million and nearly trebled to around 11 million. Such a massive increase in population had lead to large problems such as internal refugee camps and a huge housing shortage that, although was being addressed, left over 4 million in non-permanent housing. This policy had also, however, lead to the creation of new cities on the banks of the growing "Green Nile" and the lakes. These cities, however, lacked any industry and were geared toward housing the workforce - a major issue which needed to be addressed. Government-sponsored local industry had sprung up as a result, specialising in the production of mechanical agricultural tools along with tools needed to continue the excavations of the various channels.
But the precarious drop in water levels led to the first organised rioting present within the region and as a result the number of soldiers in the region increased to nearly two hundred thousand troops. It was clear less water would be going down the old valley as anything else would endanger the huge amount of hard work done by the nation. This had the expected result of garnering significant unrest and bringing the war with Israel to the forefront of government priorities.
During this period, Israel had been undergoing its "Battle for Existence". With the country seriously damaged by nuclear strikes during Doomsday, the Egyptian government assumed that conquering the nation and appearing as liberators for the Palestinians would present only moderate challenges. This ignored the reality that Egypt had done nothing to aid the Palestinians post-doomsday and had rebuffed any attempts by Palestinians or Israelis to obtain humanitarian aid. Gathering as many forces it could, Egypt mustered around 250,000 to 300,000 soldiers. The plan was straightforward: a quick jolt through the Sinai into the Negev, and from there occupy what was left of Israel's heartlands.
The invasion began in November, with the hope that a land invasion would spur a rebellion among the Palestinian people and destroy what was left of the Zionist state once and for all. Israel had indeed been badly damaged by Soviet missiles in 1983 and despite some reconstruction was in no shape to fight a land war. It had, however, been keenly tracking the Egyptian buildup and was aware of what its neighbour had been planning. The Egyptian army crossed the border expecting an easy victory and a friendly reception.
Instead, Israel launched one of its last surviving nuclear weapons, a 20-kiloton device that detonated on the ground in central Cairo to the east of the Nile - the last nuclear detonation until the present day. The result was devastating, both to the Muslim Brotherhood government and to the Egyptian nation as a whole. Cruise missiles took out Egyptian troop positions, and the invasion quickly ground to a halt. What was left of the leaderless Egyptian army retreated in a haphazard route across the Sinai.
Around 250,000 people were killed within a month due to the blast, radiation, and fires. Many more died in the coming months from untreated injuries, radioactive fallout, and lack of food. Egypt's highly centralized state apparatus was completely wiped out. Its military fell into disarray. The only national institution to survive to any degree was the Navy, which had a headquarters in Alexandria. The rest of the country fell to local strongmen and communes. Infighting engulfed the country for at least a year.
But the damage was not limited to the capital. The nuclear groundburst also irradiated the silt and water of the Nile, which proceeded to flow down and contaminate parts of the Delta over the next three months. Much of Egypt's most fertile farmland was damaged. This immediately sparked a second famine even worse than that of 1983 - and this time there was no government that could do anything to mitigate the situation. Such an event was the catalyst of what is today referred to in Egypt as an-Nakba, or the Catastrophe and would come to define Egyptian culture in the following decades.
By the end of 1988, Egypt had experienced a complete societal breakdown. Refugees now headed in all directions. However, Egypt's nearest neighbors - Sudan, Israel, and Libya - were faring little better and could do nothing to save these multitudes. Many more made for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, which were also racked by famine but, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, still had stable governments.
In the Delta region, the remnants of the Navy held on to the coastline and parts of the interior. But it faced its own crisis of leadership. Officers who had lost their positions in the Muslim Brotherhood takeover now staged their own coup to seize control of the navy. This remnant state made contact with the Hellenic Republic based in Crete. The two rump regimes had some things in common; both had a strong naval background and both dreamed of reclaiming their respective countries. They exchanged mutual recognition. Greece was able to give some logistic and humanitarian support, just enough to keep the state going.
Up at Aswan, government officials were quickly overpowered by the oppressed Coptic population. The Copts, concentrated in the uppermost Nile and around the new Toshka and Kharga Lakes, began to organize the beginnings of a new state by 1989. Separatism had never been a major force within the community, but the experiences of the last few years had changed everything. Seeing the deteriorating situation and the sliding of the rest of Egypt into chaos, the divisions of the army stationed within the region quickly sided with the Copts in exchange for a share of power. Refugees from the north streamed in following the railroads and normal roads but the new government within Aswan was forced to set up checkpoints to the territory they governed and turn back those it could not afford to feed, condemning thousands to death.
In between, along the length of the Nile, survivors began to reorganize beginning at the town and village level. Fighting continued, here between different ex-military factions, there between military and local elements. Egypt was fragmented and disunited for the first time in centuries. The communities which had escaped the ecological impacts of the nuclear bomb suffered from the subsequent overpopulation and the lack of food. The delta had been the major source of food and only those desperate enough in the north remained to harvest their crops and eat the contaminated food. Eventually, in desperation, many of these towns sent forth people to the north to collect the damaged harvests in a bid to try to feed their people and abandoned communities briefly filled up to harvest whatever crops remained.
There were, however, regions which managed to pull together fairly rapidly with the help of local militias and soldiers which had been co-opted by local authorities. Faiyum managed to pull itself together fairly rapidly as the harvest managed to be mostly unaffected. This was mirrored in the larger city of Minya upriver which too managed to quickly establish authority using regional forces such as the police force and militias.
By late 1990, the seed of a new Egypt was planted when Faiyum and Minya began talks on reunifying things such as the police force and the army as well as organised a council of reunification at which several of the major survivor communities sent leaders to. The council was empowered to approve decisions made by the local governments and begin to plan the restoration of the state. The Coptic cities to the south, however, did not participate. This only added to the issues arising between north and south. The flow of the Nile river remained cut, significantly below what it had been before '83 with a large amount of water still flowing toward the new valley region. Armed intervention was not yet an option, given the catastrophic state of the armed forces but anger was growing.
Restored Arab Republic
With Minya now serving as the centre of what remained of former Egyptian authority, local leaders along with the military soon became the centre of power. With Minya's industries remaining untouched, although suffering from a lack of supplies, the city soon lead efforts to provide fertilisers for unaffected farms on the Nile and to produce stable harvests to be able to feed its people. Small expeditions downriver were undertaken to attempt to understand state of the matters. Their reports were not kind.
Cairo remained a burnt out husk of a city, with very few souls scraping by in the city. Giza, too, had become a remnant of what it once was - having been the first city to bear the brunt of the damage caused to Cairo as people fled into the city and chaos reined. However, over three hundred thousand people still remained in the city, with their food secured from the upriver farms which were under the control of the municipal authority. Although such an outcome was disheartening, seeing the Giza pyramids untouched was a source of great relief to many. Continuing on their journey toward the delta, they were shocked to see the devastation of what had been prosperous towns and cities. Many of the buildings were damaged or in disrepair - more hair raising were the buildings and houses which were completely untouched, with the occupants left in a hurry. Such a story was repeated across the delta, with many corpses littered around the various settlements with signs they had died from radiation poisoning. Amongst this tragedy there was superficial beauty however. Although it had taken time, much of the delta had grown wild with sunflowers growing everywhere. The few helicopters still operational observed yellow as far as the eye could see. Not known at the time, sunflowers were effective in growing on irradiated soil where other plants struggled. As a result, sunflower crops had spread rapidly along the whole delta, followed by other wildlife. Crocodiles and Hippos were spotted everywhere, their numbers rebounding spectacularly.
Eventually, in person contact would be made by the expedition with the naval government of Alexandria. Although having been in contact through the radio, this was the first time an official delegation from the south had arrived to the naval government. Initials relations were somewhat rocky, as elements of inter-branch rivalry made talks occasionally difficult. However this was overridden by the fact that both sides were somewhat happy the other existed and reunification talks proceeded at a decent pace. Alexandria too was somewhat depopulated as a city, but its saving grace had been land to the south not watered by the Nile. With the additional rainfall, the naval government had managed to establish a somewhat stable supply of food but it was no shock that less than a third of the city's population remained. El Borg had done slightly better with half its population still living, if somewhat malnourished but both cities were still standing - which was more than what could be said for the majority of the Nile delta.
With facts on the ground established, talks of reunification picked up pace. There was strong sense of urgency, a central government would be able to more effective affect the change needed to pick up the pieces.
Reunification was effected in 1993 when the council in Minya and the naval remnant of Alexandria cooperated to form a new government, reuniting Upper and Lower Egypt. The Arab Republic of Egypt was proclaimed again, with the capital now in Minya; Cairo being too badly damaged to use and Giza lacking the advantages present in Minya. The Coptic region of Upper Egypt, however, remained adamantly separate with no delegation even from the military government arriving. In 1995 they would formally declare independence, giving their nation the ancient Egyptian name of Kemet.
Kamal Ganzouri became the provisional President of Egypt upon reunification. His New Wafd Party was one of the leading forces for reunification and was expected to dominate elections, once they resumed. This proved to be the case, as on the 12th of August 1996, Egypt held its first parliamentary election. Three political parties formed to contest it and won the following voteshare:
- Progressive National Unionist Party (left wing) - 36%
- New Wafd Party (liberal) - 48%
- National Democratic Party (right wing) - 16%
Ganzouri's first official term as president began on the 21st of November, 1996 while his party became the largest in parliament by a comfortable majority. He would serve three terms before stepping down and being replaced on March 22nd, 2014, by Muhammad Ali Sa'id, also of Wafd.
Once in office, President Ganzouri took command of the surviving fragments of the military. The council had worked to knit the disparate pieces back together and a military actually worth its salt had thus arisen. Most were either veterans of the chaos or had actual experience. His first order to the army was to re-establish control over the Delta region. Retaking Aswan was also a major priority - "Egypt's faucet" was still under Coptic control. The delta remained the greater prize however.
The task to retake the delta proved to be fairly straightforward, especially with the support of the navy in Alexandria. Paid workers followed the military and worked to check the conditions of the roads and railroads with priority to repair both. The aim being to control all transportation links in the region so that whenever widespread agriculture returned it would allow for the quick transportation of food to the cities. In the process some surviving villages also returned to the control of the central government, although responses weren't always happy.
It would be a couple years before the land would be put under plow once more as the government in Minya decided a decade would probably have been enough time to risk planting crops. Realising, however, the fertility of the land would depend on the diversity of the wildlife there, large portions would remain wild and not be touched. It was clear this was the best way forward as many remembered what the delta had looked like a decade ago and the amount of wildlife then paled in comparison to what it was in 1998.
Peace with Israel and Kemet
A secure basis for the new Egypt was accomplished not by force, but by diplomacy. The most urgent question concerned Aswan and the far south. The Arab Republic was far too weak to take the far south by force, and Kemet's control of the Aswan High Dam gave them a great deal of leverage in the ensuing talks. Egypt's new regime had little choice but to agree to recognize the new nation's permanent independence - in exchange for joint control over the High Dam and the promise of cooperation on future hydrological projects in the Western Desert. The pot was sweetened by Kemeti recognition of the Egyptian claim over the Dakhla Oasis. Originally a string of sub-oases, the region had grown significantly greener and more fertile with the wadi from Lake Kharga now having become a permanent river and ensuring a freshwater supply to the region. The residents had on their own worked to expand the arable farmland of the region, having blissfully avoided the chaos and refugee crisis due to the distance from other Egyptian settlements, and with additional support Dakhla was seen as a region that could become another agricultural heartland. Thus both sides left somewhat content, if not exactly happy, with he treaty ratified in 1998.
Ganzouri also opened talks with the Persian Gulf States, by now clearly the strongest power in the Arab world despite ongoing food shortages. Egyptian refugees continued to put a strain on these states, and now Egypt offered to take them back in return for help to complete the Western Desert canal projects. The Confederation of Greece, long a supporter of the Alexandria government, gave some assistance as well, largely out of a concern to keep a geopolitical foothold in the region.
Remarkably, Egypt came to a similar agreement with its enemy Israel. Many Egyptian refugees were living in Sinai and the Negev, occupying camps in the nation that had destroyed their homes. Now they were offered new homes in the Delta, while Israel contributed some resources to dig the next phase of the canal. In 2000, Israel and Egypt concluded a permanent peace. With support from the Gulf and Greece, they agreed to an international regime that would reopen and manage the Suez Canal. These four powers - Egypt, Israel, Greece, and the GSU - ran Suez until 2008.
The final Kharga-Asyut leg of the Western Desert canals was completed before the end of the decade, to support the region now known as the "New Valley". Several tens of miles of the New Valley canals, left in poor condition for many years, were reinforced and upgraded in association with Kemet. Refugees were given homes in new settlements along it, as well as in the Delta.
In 2008, the newly formed League of Nations was given oversight of the Suez Canal. It exercises its control through a five-nation panel: the four powers from 2000 with the addition of Kemet. Various international observers also have a presence in the canal zone.
The peace deal with Israel was wildly unpopular. Israel had slaughtered millions of Egyptians, and now the government was not only making peace, it surrendered land that Israel had stolen. Especially galling was the fact that Israel had expelled thousands of Egyptian residents of Sinai, many of whom had only recently been resettled there, and given them nowhere to go except for the then-irradiated lands of the Delta. The permanent loss of Sinai was unpopular even among Egyptians who recognized the need for a permanent peace. Angry rallies and protests threatened the stability of the Wafd government.
It was in response to this anger that the Egyptian army began to organize expeditions further out into the desert on both sides of the border with Libya. Southeastern Libya had been Egyptian territory in the early twentieth century, and now Egypt wanted to extend its influence there again, in order to show that it would not continue to surrender its territory. In 2002 a force reached the main settlement, the remote oasis town of Kufra. The region had been mostly cut off for years from both Benghazi and Tripoli. Its old Italian fort and airport had been abandoned, its only connection to the rest of the world being desert caravans. The region had been the target of raids by fragments of the Libyan military until the late 90s, since which it had existed in relative calm.
In 2004 Egypt formally annexed southeast Libya as the Governorate of Al-Kufrah. In reality, it was little more than an outpost. Most of the desert between Kufra and the New Valley remained unoccupied; Egypt and Kemet never even bothered to define a border. A rather irregular connection by air kept the oasis tied to the Arab Republic.
In early 2007, Egypt expanded further north from Kufra after large resources of crude oil were found under the Saharan desert. This time, Cyrenaica demanded that Egypt relinquish the territory. The government complied, unwilling to try another war of conquest. But Egypt was able to win a concession to its national petroleum company, which was granted exploitation rights in the oilfields that had been discovered by Egyptians, with Cyrenaica keeping 40 to 50% of the profits.
By the late 1990's the climatic chaos caused by Doomsday had begun to settle down into a regular pattern and much to the surprise of everyone, the climatic changes have been advantageous to Egypt. Rainfall levels across the Sahara Desert have increased from an average of around one inch (25mm) to four to five inches (100-125mm) this has led to the desert to begin greening to form a dry savanna type environment known as Sahel. This assisted with the projects to improve the habitability of the Western Desert around Kharga.
The Western Desert and the New Valley
In 1985, work began on the ambitious plan to irrigate a large region in the Western Desert region from Toshka to the Kharga oasis. Construction was quick, if a little chaotic, and by the end of 1986 the work renovating and deepening the spillway from Lake Nasser into the Toshka region was complete. At this point, the large desert depressions and salt pans began to fill with water at a rapid pace, and by early 1987, substantial lakes were beginning to form. Soon the water levels reached the entrance of the large canal to Kharga, stabilising the levels of the Toshka Lakes. It is around this time that the Coptic townships on the shores of Toshka and downstream towards Kharga begin to form. The silt dislodged from Lake Nasser has helped in turning the shores of Toshka lakes into arable farmland, as well as fish stocks in the lakes gradually building over time.
The war with Israel in 1988 halted all progress on the canals, thus the flow of water ended at Kharga. At this point a large lake began to form in this region too, soon named Lake Kharga. Though the majority of the canals had been dug and foundations laid, a large proportion of the works were left in poor condition, prone to leaks and evaporation. Work to rectify many of these issues commenced in the 2010s, along with the construction of the remainder of the canals.
The heat of the Western Desert remains, however, thus further downstream the water got increasingly brackish and salty due to rapid evaporation. Initially, with the outflow from Lake Kharga to re-join the Nile incomplete, the water in the lake was gradually becoming less and less useful for irrigation. The poor quality of the original canals hastily constructed in the late 1980s compounded the evaporation issues. Upon the completion of the Kharga-Asyut leg in the mid 2010s, the through-flow of the Nile improved the quality of water reaching Lake Kharga, allowing the whole New Valley region to be open to farming projects, and able to support a more significant population. The Kharga-Asyut canal cuts deep through the high plateau between the two valleys, thus that region cannot be farmed - however this section is still vital for the quality of the land upstream.
The new canals have opened up a huge tract of the Western Desert between Toshka and Kharga to supporting large areas of farmland and towns, with the silt from Lake Nasser working in tandem with the new irrigation work.
Egypt's agriculture has rebounded and it is again a land of abundance. By 1996 the country had surpassed the subsistence level to which it had been reduced and begun to export food once more to the wider middle east. Yields have progressively increased since then, with agriculture remaining by far the largest sector of the economy. Food crops have risen in importance relative to cotton and sugarcane, which used to be major exports. Important food crops include wheat, rice, maize, beans, tomatoes, melons, oranges, and clover for livestock forage. Sunflowers are still widely grown in the Delta and around Cairo, and as a result is still known as the Sunflower Delta.
Egypt trades with neighbouring states of Cyrenaica, Kemet, Israel and Darfur. Trading has begun with the new Republic of Sudan to the south.
Government policy has emphasized food security above all other priorities; the country still remembers the two disastrous famines of the 1980s. This has led to a somewhat protectionist stance toward trade: the state is unwilling to allow precious food to be sold abroad without good reason. Such reasons include a mutually profitable trade of food for oil with neighbouring Cyrenaica as well as selling food to Kemet to maintain decent relations and avoid any problems with water supply and regulation.
Petroleum extraction in Cyrenaica
In 2007, after some tense talks with the government of Cyrenaica, Egypt's national petroleum company won some exploitation rights in oilfiends that had been discovered by Egyptian expeditions. These deposits were found under the Sahara Desert to the north of Egypt's annexed territory of Kufra. A new pipeline was built from the oilfields to the Cyrenaican coast. The government of Cyrenaica takes a share, but some would be allowed to be trans-shipped to El-Alamein.
The pipeline was built between 2008 and 2009 and began transporting oil in late 2009.
Three oil fields were drilled at As Sarie, Amal and Nafoora.
Large amounts of oil have been found in all three fields. The first pipeline runs from the Amal oil field to Ras Lanuf, and was completed in July of 2008. Diesel and petrol production began in Egypt in early 2009.
The Arab Republic of Egypt adopted a modified form of the Constitution of 1971. Its most substantial change was a provision devolving more power to the governorates. It did not create a federal country, but the autonomous local governments of the early 90s wanted to maintain self-rule.
More controversial was the retention of a 1980 amendment naming Sharia as the foundation of legislation. Islamism was discredited in the eyes of many Egyptians, but others insisted on keeping this religious foundation of the state. In the end it was retained, in part to deter the formation of a new islamist party that might organize and agitate based around the issue.
Egypt is not a one-party state in the strict legal sense, but the New Wafd Party has effective control of all branches of government. Wafd maintains its rule through a combination of popular support and a network of patronage that extends into each one of Egypt's governorates. Events like the unpopular 2000 treaty with Israel have shaken but never toppled the system.
Currently the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt is also the elected Head of State of Egypt. Under the Constitution of Egypt, the President is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and head of the Executive branch of the Egyptian government. Only two men have occupied the office since the restoration of the Arab Republic in 1993.
The sixth President of Egypt was Kamal Ganzouri, leader of the New Wafd Party. He became the provisional leader in 1993, started a first official term on November 21st, 1994, and he left office after three six-year terms on March 22nd, 2014. In 2011, in his third term, President Ganzouri announced changes in the Constitution of Egypt, the main one being a limit being set on consecutive presidential terms. The limit was set at 3 terms.
The seventh, and current, president of Egypt is Sami Hafez Anan. He won elections in 2014 and 2020.
The other half of the Egyptian government is the Egyptian Parliament, led by a Prime Minister. Out of a total of fifty-four seats, twenty-five are held by the New Wafd Party, twelve by the National Democratic Party, nine by the Progressive National Unionist Party, and the remaining eight are held by independents, who normally support the governing New Wafd Party. Amr Moussa, a former diplomat and ambassador to India, is the current Prime Minister.
The Egyptian military has a very large contingent of infantry, but its air force and armored vehicles were abandoned in the years after Doomsday due to the lack of internationally-imported fuel and parts. Since then, most have gone to the sands.
At present it is largely made up of a Regular Army, which numbers a total of 80,000 men in four divisions, and 12 reserve battalions of 2000 men each. A Navy also exists, with a presence in three locations: the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Nile. Between the three commands, it consists of 200 ships of varying sizes, mostly of small size, with the largest contingent on the Mediterranean.
Egypt is a founding member of the League of Nations. As part of the international arrangements to govern Suez and Aswan, it cooperates with numerous neighboring countries, namely Kemet, Israel, Greece, and the nations of the Gulf States Union: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. This network of relationships and Egypt's strategic location has caused the country to attract the League's attention from its very beginning.
Partly because of these complex international commitments, Egypt has mostly sought non-alignment and peaceful coexistence with its neighbors. It has followed this course even when it was politically unpopular, as with the 2000 peace agreement with Israel. Egypt stayed out of both the first and second "Sicily Wars".