I love the New York Times archive.
Since I get the paper delivered to my doorstep every morning, I get access to every word they've published since 1851. If I were a smarter person (or at least an actual coder), I would use their API tools to do all sorts of things, including the automation of my NYT Anonymity Project.
But earier this week it was the elevation of Ayman al-Zawahri to be the new leader of Al Qaeda that made me think of another thing I like to do: look up what happened the day before.
Zawahri had a major role in the assasination of Anwar Sadat. The news coverage surrounding that event always struck me, because it was so brazen and surprising— he was killed monitoring a military parade in hos own country.
So I wondered what the NYT had to say about the killing of Sadat and— maybe more enlightening— what the had to say the day before. Here are the stories they filed in the days before Sadat was killed:
SADAT URGES U.S. TO SELL AWACS TO SAUDIS, DESPITE THEIR 'CONNIVING'
President Anwar el-Sadat tonight strongly urged the United States...his National Democratic Party, Mr. Sadat criticized opposition to the Awacs sale...Arabia, one of its friends?'' Mr. Sadat asked. The Saudis, Mr. Sadat said...
October 1, 1981 - By WILLIAM E. FARRELL, Special to the New York Times - World - 403 words
SADAT SENDS DEPUTY TO U.S. WITH PLEA FOR ARMS FOR SUDAN
President Anwar el-Sadat today sent his Vice President on a hurried...tomorrow, officials here said. Mr. Sadat told reporters that Mr. Mubarak was...to the security of the region, Mr. Sadat replied, ''No comment.'' Egyptian...
October 2, 1981 - By WILLIAM E. FARRELL, Special to the New York Times - World - 559 words
EGYPT URGES REAGAN TO BOLSTER SUDAN FORCES
...American officials in Khartoum. Sadat Supports the Sudan Officials in Washington said that President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypthad frequently taken it...its neighbor to the south. Mr. Sadat sent Mr. Mubarak to Washington to...
October 3, 1981 - By BERNARD GWERTZMAN, Special to the New York Times - World - 571 words
And here's the story on the day Sadat was assasinated:
SUDANESE, DISPERSING POWER, DISBAND PARLIAMENTS
By WILLIAM E. FARRELL, Special to the New York Times
Published: October 6, 1981
CAIRO, Oct. 5— President Gaafar al-Nimeiry of the Sudan dissolved his country's two parliaments today in a move that Sudanese officials described as a further step in Mr. Nimeiry's plan to decentralize power in the vast and troubled nation.
It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Nimeiry's step was related to the crisis between the Sudan and Libya. For several weeks now, there have been skirmishes on the Sudan's western border with Chad, where Libyan troops have been stationed since December and have aided one side in the Chadian civil war. There have also been charges from Sudanese officials that Libyan planes have been raiding Sudanese border towns.
On Thursday, President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt, which has a mutual defense pact with the Sudan, sent Vice President Hosni Mubarak on a hurried missi on to Washington to press the Reagan Administration for a quick infus ion of American arms to the Sudan. The Egyptians assert that the Sovi et Union backs aggression by the Libyan Government of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi against the Nimeiry regime. U.S. Aid Not Yet Approved
The Reagan Administration, which has pledged to help any country threatened by Libya, requested $100 million for the Sudan earlier this year, but the money has not yet been authorized. The previous United States military loan was $30 million.
Today Mr. Sadat affirmed his intention to intervene if the Sudan is attacked by ''the maniac Qaddafi,'' and repeated his contention that Mr. Qaddafi was acting with the sanction of the Soviet Union. Mr. Sadat's remarks were made in Mayo, the news magazine of the ruling National Democratic Party.
In Khartoum, a statement from the official Sudanese press agency, Suna, said that the nation's two parliaments were being dissolved. One of them is in the north and the other is in the south, which has been autonomous since 1972.
The statement said that new elections for a smaller National People's Assembly in the north would take place in 60 days. The other parliament, called the Southern Region People's Assembly, would have six months to call new elections, according to Suna. Decentralization at Issue
As part of Mr. Nimeiry's decentralization plan, the new National Assembly, which now has 366 members, would have a total of 155 members and would delegate responsibilities to the provinces in matters such as health, education and welfare.
Mr. Nimeiry, who has survived about half a dozen coup attempts in a dozen years in office, has used decentralization in an effort to end civil strife.
The Sudan is Africa's largest and probably most culturally disparate nation, with 18 million people scattered over nearly a million square miles. It has more than 1,000 languages and tribal dialects.
In today's move, Mr. Nimeiry said that the elections in the south, which is Christian and animist, would determine if the residents there wanted to follow the decentralization example of the Moslem north.
An unanswered question here tonight was whether Mr. Nimeiry's dissolution of the legislative bodies was related to his troubles with Mr. Qaddafi, which have been accentuated since the Sudan resumed relations with Egypt a few months ago after a break because of Mr. Sadat's signing of the peace treaty with Israel. '76 Libyan Plot Failed
In 1976, a Libyan-backed army of mercenaries attempted to oust Mr. Nimeiry but failed. Another sign that Mr. Nimeiry may be girding for a confrontation with Libya was the appointment two days ago of the chief of the Sudan state security organization, Gen. Omar Mohammad Tayeb, as the nation's third vice president.
In recent days there have been reports out of the Sudan of arms smuggling into the nation and of attempts by Libya to once again recruit an army of disaffected Sudanese to try to topple Mr. Nimeiry. There were reports out of Khartoum today th at Sudanese workers in Libya were being pressured into joining a gro up called the Salvation Army to strike at Mr. Nimeiry. The Sudanese p ress agency said that hundreds of Sudanese workers were leaving Lib ya and quoted some of them as saying that the Libyans threatened to torture them unless they joined.
This was the news the day before.