Inter-Arab affairs in 1990 were defined by a single, overriding event: Iraq’s invasion, subjugation, and incorporation of Kuwait. The renewal of Iraqi-Egyptian rivalry also marked the end of what many Arab and Western observers alike had thought was the beginning of a new era of more sober, mature, and stable inter-Arab relations, which would place a premium on economic development and interstate cooperation in order to cope with both pressing domestic needs and changes in the international system. At the end of 1989, Syria restored diplomatic relations with Egypt after a 12-year hiatus, thus easing its long-standing oppositionist posture in the inter-Arab milieu. In inter-Arab terms, Syria’s absence rendered Egypt and Saudi Arabia less able to modulate Iraq, giving Saddam a relatively freer hand. Egypt, instead of presiding benignly over a new era of inter-Arab harmony, was now taking the active lead in combating Saddam Husayn’s bid for the mantle of all-Arab leadership last worn by Egypt’s Jamal Abdel Nasser.