Left and Right Egyptian Dissident Trends and the Issue of the Unity of the Nile Valley

Rami Ginat

The question of the unity of the Nile Valley constituted one of the major components of the Egyptian national agenda before and after WWII. In Egypt, there was a consensus among nationalists of various schools regarding the unity of the Nile Valley and the integrity of Egypt and the Sudan under the Egyptian crown.

This article examines the remarkably diametrically opposed views of the Egyptian right (the movements of the Muslim Brothers and Young Egypt) and of the left (the communist organizations) towards the issue of the unity of the Nile Valley. It shows that the radical right, which challenged the Egyptian political centre, constituted, exceptionally, part of a broad national consensus on the Sudanese question. However, within the consensus, they embodied the most extreme current that resolutely opposed making any compromise. Conversely, only the communist organizations swam against the nationalist current. They vehemently called for the full liberation of the Nile Valley from British colonialism and granting the Sudanese people the right to self-determination, including the right to determine its own future. This unpopular approach, which was rejected with disgust by the establishment and the entire political spectrum, was embraced and realized several years later by the leaders of the July 1952 revolution.