To the East of Libya lies the ancient land of Egypt. Located on the boundaries of Africa and Asia (Middle East), and home to the Suez Canal, Egypt has a unique geographic position that has aided in their early growth and sustainability as a power-base in the region. With her ability to cripple international shipping (as during the Suez Crisis in 1956) and ability to wage war (as during the Six Day War with Israel in 1967), courting of Egypt became a priority of the United States.
When Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power in 1970, Egypt altered her Cold War status of being pro-Soviet Union to pro-United States. But while Egypt sided with the West, they still went to war with US-ally Israel in 1973. With the US and USSR working to mediate the crisis, Israel gave up territories it gained years earlier in exchange for long-term peace with Egypt. This peace treaty has made Egypt pivital in the Israel-Arab nation negotiations over the decades. In return, the United States has been providing annual aid to Egypt in excess of $1.5Billion for economic and militaristic development.
With political unrest sweeping the region, it was unavoidable that the protests would hit Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak, who served for 30 year following the death of Anwar Sadat, faced a population that was tired of his political manipulation of elections and constant emergency rule. Weeks of protests and counter-protests waged on in Cairo eventually forced Mubarak to flee the city and relinquish control to the military (who remained relatively neutral during the uprising). With the military in control, steps are being taken to amend the Constitution and elect new leadership by the end of the year. While Mubarak’s strong-handed rule had ensured an ally in the region, it is assumed that the new government will continue the relationship with the United States once order has returned.