Sadat has always been blamed by the Pan Arab nationalists and Nasserites that Sinai is still big desert with no development what so ever for real despite the fact that Sinai did not return totally to Egypt when he was alive not to mention he did not stay too long after Camp David accords ; he was killed in 1981 for God sake. Of course no one can blame President Mubarak and ask him why Sinai has been neglected for real in the last 28 years.
I am not here speaking about the tourism development in Sinai , we did not return back Sinai by war and Peace so it would turn in to a big hotel; the Israelis for 6 years did not do this , they built settlements and started to reclaim this desert. Famous Yamit was an example in its agricultural production as legend says. I also remember than Ben-Gurion in 1956 wanted to send settlers and start judaizing of Sinai as soon as possible.
It is a fact that Sinai weakness has always been its emptiness from people , it is not enough to have military bases there only ; you have to have people there , a real population along with the local population there. Sinai is 1/3 of Egypt total size and the huge development of Sharm El-Sheikh proved that you can make something great from this desert. Sinai fell in to occupation twice last century because of it was easy target , of course beside our poor preparations in both 1956 and 1967
Those who lived and remembered the days of late Sadat , remember that he had huge strategic plans for Sinai starting with the liberated parts in order to change demography of the peninsula through reclamation projects and transferring a population from the valley to Sinai. People still remember the Fairoz and the New Ismailia projects which for some unknown reason died just like Anwar Al Sadat.
Now back to the first paragraph ,usually the blame on Al Sadat is associated with the secret articles in the camp David accords ; legend says that he signed on an unannounced article in the accords that banned any real development or reclamation ; well guess what ?? Camp David did not ban any real development in Sinai and there is no secret article at all.
Egyptian journalist and poet Farouk Goweida has exposed this myth in a series of articles in Egyptian Al Shorouk under the title “ Sinai between Camp David and the governmental neglect” . Here are parts “1” and “2” of his report which I am not surprised that it was not published in Al Ahram Daily. This is not the first time he is speaking about Sinai , we all remember how he exposed the great scandal of selling thousands of acres in Sinai to Qatari investors who were cover to Israeli investors.
The second part of the report is very important because it included interesting facts about President Sadat. In the second part Farouk Goweida interviewed former minister of housing “Hasaballah El-Kafraway” who served in both Sadat and Mubarak’s cabinets ; he is from the most respectable ministers in Egypt and it is enough to know that he wrote a letter to Mubarak complaining about the corruption in the country and then found himself out of the ministry in the next reshuffle. I believe “El-Kafrawy” especially what he said goes to what I read and know.
- President Sadat asked him to prepare studies for Sinai reclamation and reconstruction with special focus on the Middle Sector , the Middle sector has a very important military strategic importance and it was called “The field of tanks” where we had our famous 1973 Yom Kippur tanks battle there.
- President Sadat wanted to reclaim 400,000 acres in this particular area and he also wanted to establish 400 villages there with special requirements.
- President Sadat wanted the army veterans from soldiers to live in those villages , most of them were from the country side and know how to reclaim a land.
- President Sadat requested a special design for the houses in those villages and Kafraway supervised the design of these houses along with General Fouad Aziz ; the commander of the second army then.
- The design of the house would be normal outside but from inside there would be bunker for weapons and safety bunker from women and Children in the basement.
- The prototypes of these houses are already there in Ismailia , you can see it by yourself in the New Meit Abu El-Kom village east Ismailia and in Sinai itself in Romana and Ballouza.
- President Sadat wanted to be buried in Sinai so every Egyptian knows that this is an Egyptian land where an Egyptian President was buried there.
- President Sadat seemed to know that 1973 war would not be the last war with the Israelis and Sinai will always be part from the Grand Israel dream , he believed in Peace but also he was taken his precautions.
This was late President Sadat and do not ask me why or how suddenly those 400,000 acres project had become part of history.
Sinai now is under the NDP tycoons control , you got the south where you can find Mubarak’s only best friend Hussein Salem and his empire and you got in the North Hassan Ratab and in between tribes with no right to own the land they live on , resorts and acres of drugs.
I read that we can have a similar “2012” scenario in Nile Delta in the future, Sinai could provide as a new hope for millions of citizens , I am not saying that this will happen but real civilized countries think about the future from now and we are facing a real danger and God gave us a lot of land that only needs few effort to turn in to a real paradise ; why we would leave it !!??
Mubarak could have done a lot of things in 28 years.