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In the north its Mediterranean coastline is about 620 miles (1,000 km), and in the east its coastline on the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is about 1,200 miles (1,900 km). For about 750 miles (1,200 km) of its northward course through the country, the river cuts its way through bare desert, its narrow valley a sharply delineated strip of green, abundantly fecund in contrast to the desolation that surrounds it.From Lake Nasser, the river’s entrance into southern Egypt, to Cairo in the north, the Nile is hemmed into its trenchlike valley by bordering cliffs, but at Cairo these disappear, and the river begins to fan out into its delta.It is about 100 miles (160 km) long from Cairo to the Mediterranean, with a coastline stretching some 150 miles (240 km) from Alexandria to Port Said.As many as seven branches of the river once flowed through the delta, but its waters are now concentrated in two, the Damietta Branch to the east and the Rosetta Branch to the west.With opposition political activity tightly restricted, decades of popular frustration erupted into mass demonstrations in 2011. Ḥosnī Mubārak to step down, leaving a council of military officers in control of the country.Power was transferred to an elected government in 2012, and a new constitution was adopted at the end of the year.

But in 1517 the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamlūks and established control over Egypt that lasted until 1798, when French army in a short occupation of the country.

Though totally flat apart from an occasional mound projecting through the alluvium, the delta is far from featureless; it is crisscrossed by a maze of canals and drainage channels.

Much of the delta coast is taken up by the brackish lagoons of lakes Maryūṭ, Idkū, Burullus, and Manzilah.

Egypt led the Arab states in a series of wars against Israel but was the first of those states to make peace with the Jewish state, which it did in 1979.

Egypt’s authoritarian political system was long dominated by the president, the ruling party, and the security services.

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