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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gang of Eleven Arab States in 1973 War Against Israel

Nadene Goldfoot
The 1967 Six Day War set the scene for the 1973 Yom Kippur War.  The Arabs wanted their land back, even after attacking in a mob and losing.  

Egypt's Sadat  was  demanding in 1971 that they would sign an agreement with Israel IF all occupied territories were returned to them from 1967. The next year he said war was inevitable and he was prepared to sacrifice one million soldiers in a showdown.  It remained a threat in 1972 and much of 1973 and he wanted the USA to accept his interpretation of Resolution 242;  total Israeli withdrawal from territories taken in 1967.  The USA agreed with Israel that Egypt needed to engage in direct negotiations, and Kissinger had opened a new dialogue for peace at the UN.  They all thought war was not on the table.  The surprise attack came on Yom Kippur, October 6, 1973.  This is the holiest day of the year for Jews, the day almost all are fasting and in the synagogues.  

The odds were awesome on 1st day!  
180 Israeli tanks against 1,400 Syrian tanks on Golan Heights
Abt 490  Israelis against 80,000 Egyptians along Suez Canal

By October 22nd, Resolution 338; cease fire called just when Israel cut off and isolated the Egyptian 3rd Army and was ready to destroy it. Israel had lost 2,688 soldiers in this war, which was more than any previous.  Consider that the population in Israel in 1972 was only 3,164,000 makes this a very high % lost in a war.  This war undermined the  growth record of Israel from May 1961 to May 1972 of 944,500.  Israel had had 315,000 immigrants.  This was a growth of 44%.  The Israeli Navy had sunk 34 ships and helped to save the population.   

Sadat  went to Jerusalem on November 20, 1977 and was highly welcomed. After attending the Camp David Accords in 1978, Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel on March 26, 1979.   He was gunned down by the Muslim Brotherhood (fundamentalists)  in 1981 because the killers had a different vision of Egypt, not the one Sadat had of believing in the development of a good relationship with the West.  Israel had returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt but kept the Gaza Strip which would go to the Palestinians for a state at the right time.  Since then Israel has withdrawn all from Gaza.  

We know that Egypt and Syria started the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Israel.  Their compatriots involved 11 other Arab states as well.  There's nothing like a gang to gang up on one tiny state and yet couldn't win with those odds.

1. Jordan was one of them, being Israel's neighbor, but he was probably the least enthusiastic.  It looks like he was kept out of the plans of Egypt and Syria.  He sent his 2 best units to participate, the 40th and 60th armored brigades--to Syria.  They were along the southern sector, defending the man Amman-Damascus route and attacked Israelis along the Kuneitra-Sassa road on October 16th.  3 Jordanian artillery batteries were also involved, carried out by almost 100 tanks.  

2. Iraq transferred a squadron of Hunter jets to Egypt a few months before the war started.  An Iraqi division of 18,000 men and around 200 tanks were deployed in the central Golan and were also in the October 16th attack against Israel.  Iraqi MiG's were over the Golan Heights by October 8th, the 3rd day of the war.  

3. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had men in the battle.  Saudis had a brigade of about 3,000 troops sent to Syria where they fought along the approaches to Damascus.  

4. Libya transferred Mirage fighters to Egypt to help out.  This was in violation of the Paris's ban on transferring French-made weapons.  From 1971 to 1973 Qaddafi had given Cairo over $1 billion in aid to rearm Egypt and pay the Soviets for weapons delivered.  

5. Algeria sent 3 aircraft squadrons of fighters and bombers, an armored brigade and 150 tanks.  
6. Tunisian soldiers numbering from 1,000 to 2,000 were positioned in the Nile Delta.  
7. Sudan stationed 3,500 troops in southern Egypt.
8. Morocco sent 3 brigades to the front lines including 2,500 men to Syria.  
9. Lebanon had radar units that were used by Syrian air defense forces.  
10.-11. Palestinians fought on the Southern Front with the Egyptians and Kuwaitis.  Lebanon also allowed Palestinian terrorists to shell Israeli  villages and towns from its territory.  

Resource: Myths and Facts-a concise record of the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb Sadat speech, part I

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