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A brief analysis of The Yom Kippur War, 1973

(Term paper towards the fulfillment of the Assignment in the subject of World History)

SUBMITTED BY: SUBMITTED TO:

ADITYA PRAKASH M R. O M
ORAKASH

B.A.LL.B FACULTY OF
LAW

U.G SEMESTER III NATIONAL


LAW UNIVERSITY

SECTION A
JODHPUR

Roll no- 1296

National Law University, Jodhpur

Summer Session

(July- November 2016)


Acknowledgement

This project could never have been possible without co-operation from all sides.
Contributions of various people have resulted in this effort.

Firstly, I would like to thank God for the knowledge he has bestowed upon me.

Secondly, I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Faculty of Law of NLU,
specially our professor, Dr. Om Prakash. He has constantly helped and guided me in the
compilation of this project.

Thirdly, I would also like to thank the entire library staff for providing me with the various
sources of information that I utilized during the course of my project ,thereby, helping me to
complete this endeavor of mine successfully.

2
Index of Authorities

Treatises

Bickerton, I & Pearson, M, 1990, The Arab- Israeli Conflict, Longman Cheshire...................5

'Failures in National Intelligence Estimates: The Case of the Yom Kippur War',

Journal of World Politics, Vol 28, No 3 pp 348-380, Cambridge University Press.............17

Harris, N, 1998, Israel and the Arab Nations in Conflict, Wayland: Sussex..............................6

Joffe, L, 1996, Keesings Guide to the Middle East Peace Process, Catermill..........................7

Laqueur, W, 1974, Confrontation: The Middle East and World Politics, Quadrangle/ The New

York Times Book Co: New York............................................................................................7

Neff, D, 1988, Warriors against Israel, Amana..........................................................................8

Parker, R (ed.), 2001, The October War; a Retrospective, University Press of Florida.............8

Westwood, J, 1984, The History of the Middle East Wars, Hamlyn........................................10

Articles

In an interview published in Newsweek (April 9, 1973)..........................................................10

Isseroff, A, 2005, Zionism and Israel - Encyclopedic Dictionary: Yom Kippur War

Retrieved October 16 2010 from: <http://www.zionism-

israel.com/dic/YomKippurWar.htm>...................................................................................16

Rabinovich, A, 2003, 30 Years to the Yom Kippur War, Retrieved October 4 2010 from:

<http://info.jpost.com/C003/Supplements/30YK/new.02.html#new>.................................15

3
Table of Contents

Acknowledgement......................................................................................................................2

Index of Authorities....................................................................................................................3

Table of Contents.......................................................................................................................4

Introduction................................................................................................................................6

History of armed conflict between Israel and The Arab nations................................................7

The Six-Day War, 1967..........................................................................................................7

The Immediate cause which lead to the initiation of the Yom Kippur war, 1973......................8

Rogers Plan: A futile attempt by the USA to alleviate the strained Arab- Israel relations.....8

Into the War of Yom Kippur, 1973...........................................................................................10

Course of the War.................................................................................................................10

The lack of pre-emptive initiation of war by Israel..............................................................12

Intervention into the war by other nations...............................................................................13

Failure of the U.S. intelligence community.........................................................................13

Aid to the Arab Nations........................................................................................................13

Soviet threat of intervention.................................................................................................14

A brief purview of the War.......................................................................................................16

Reasons for an initial outburst of the Arab military.............................................................16

The Israeli counter-attack: how it changed the course of the War?.....................................17

4
Individual Analysis...................................................................................................................19

Introduction

The Yom Kippur War, fought in October 1973 by a coalition of Egyptian and Syrian forces
against Israel, was a highly significant event in the long running history of Arab-Israeli
conflict. The war had far-reaching economic and social implications for those involved. It left
Israel militarily weakened, destroying the widely accepted myth of Israeli invincibility. On
the other hand Arab morale was boosted considerably, their initial success in the war making
up for Arab defeat in the Six Day war. As a consequence of the war Arab oil producing states
established power in the international community by engaging in an oil embargo, creating a
degree of Arab unity never before achieved. 1 The war resulted in a considerable shift in the
regional balance of power, with Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat gaining the leverage needed
to initiate peace negotiations with Israel.

Yom Kippur War, also called the October War, the Ramadan War, or the Fourth Arab-
Israeli War. It was a damaging, inconclusive war and the fourth of the Arab-Israeli War. The
war was initiated by Egypt and Syria on Oct. 6, 1973, on the Jewish holy day of Yom
Kippur and during Ramadan, the month of fasting in Islam, and continued until Oct. 26,
1973. The war, which eventually drew both the United States and the Soviet Union into
indirect confrontation in defence of their respective allies, was launched with the diplomatic
aim of convincing a chastenedif still undefeatedIsrael to negotiate on terms more
favourable to the Arab countries.

1 Bickerton, I & Pearson, M, 1990, The Arab- Israeli Conflict, Longman Cheshire

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History of armed conflict between Israel and The Arab nations

The Six-Day War, 1967

As it has never been oblivious to the world about the strained relations between Israel and
the Arab nations. The roots of the fighting in 1973 lay in the Six-Day War of June 1967,
when the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) trounced combined Arab armies and took the Golan
Heights from Syria, the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and East Jerusalem from Jordan. The so-
called War of Attrition followed, with artillery duels, commando raids, air strikes, and
diplomatic forays, none of which shook Israels grip on its newly occupied territories.
Stymied, Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat determined to retake the lost lands with another
war. Sadat went to Syrian president Hafez el-Assad, who burned to recapture the Golan
Heights.

The Arab-Israeli war, the Six-Day War (1967), was followed by years of sporadic fighting,
which developed into a full-scale war in 1973. On the afternoon of October 6, Israel was
attacked simultaneously on two fronts by Egypt and Syria. With the element of surprise to
their advantage, Egyptian forces successfully crossed the Suez Canal with greater ease than
expected, suffering only a fraction of the anticipated casualties, while Syrian forces were able
to launch their offensive against Israeli positions and break through to the Golan Heights. The
intensity of the Egyptian and Syrian assault, so unlike the situation in 1967, rapidly began to
exhaust Israels reserve stocks of munitions. 2 Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir turned to
the United States for aid, while the Israeli general staff hastily improvised a battle strategy.
The reluctance of the United States to help Israel changed rapidly when the Soviet
Union commenced its own resupply effort to Egypt and Syria. U.S. Pres. Richard
Nixon countered by establishing an emergency supply line to Israel, even though the Arab

2 Harris, N, 1998, Israel and the Arab Nations in Conflict, Wayland: Sussex

6
countries imposed a costly oil embargo and various U.S. allies refused to facilitate the arms
shipments.

7
The Immediate cause which lead to the initiation of the Yom Kippur
war, 1973

The United States of America have always had a sympathetic corner for Israel and so in this
present factual matrix President Richard Nixon ordered Secretary of State William Rogers
to break the deadlock between the Arab nations and Israel. After a complete failure of the
Rogers Plan, there was a state of pandemonium arisen between the said nations, thus further
straining their relations.

This whole process as described by various historians could be pinned to be the immediate
cause for the War of 1973.

Rogers Plan: A futile attempt by the USA to alleviate the strained Arab- Israel relations

The 1973 Arab-Israeli War was a watershed for U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle
East. It forced the Nixon administration to realize that Arab frustration over Israels
unwillingness to withdraw from the territories it had occupied in 1967 could have major
strategic consequences for the United States. The war thus paved the way for Secretary of
State Henry Kissingers shuttle diplomacy and ultimately, the Israeli-Egyptian peace
treaty of 1979.

The Nixon Administration and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 19691973

President Richard Nixon came into office convinced that the Arab-Israeli standoff over the
fate of the occupied territories could damage Americas standing in the Arab world and
undermine prospects for U.S.-Soviet dtente. In attempt to break the deadlock, he ordered
Secretary of State William Rogers to negotiate with the Soviets on the parameters of a Middle
East settlement, with the goal of reaching an agreement that each superpower could sell to its
regional clients.3 By December 1969, however, the Soviet Union, Egypt, and Israel had all

3 Joffe, L, 1996, Keesings Guide to the Middle East Peace Process, Catermill

8
rejected the so-called Rogers Plan, which called for Israeli to withdraw to the 1949
armistice lines, with insubstantial alterations, in return for peace.4

The failure of the Rogers Plan led Nixon to suspend efforts to reach a settlement with the
Soviets and lent credence to National Security Advisor Henry Kissingers argument that the
United States should not push Israel for concessions so long as Egypt, the leading Arab state,
remained aligned with the Soviets. In the summer of 1970, Nixon broke with Kissinger and
allowed Rogers to present a more limited initiative to halt the Israeli-Egyptian War of
Attrition along the Suez Canal, in which the Soviets had become militarily involved.
Rogers II, which called for Israel and Egypt to agree to a three month ceasefire and
negotiations under the auspices of U.N. mediator Gunnar Jarring, was accepted by both
parties, who stopped fighting on August 7. Yet Nixons appetite for diplomacy was spoiled by
Egyptian and Soviet efforts to move anti-aircraft missiles closer to the Canal and Syrian
intervention in Jordans civil war. Until February 1971, Kissingers arguments against
prematurely rewarding Soviet clients again held sway.

In February 1971, however, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat presented the Nixon
administration with a new opportunity for Arab-Israeli peace-making. Sadat proposed that
Egypt would reopen the Suez Canal if the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) pulled back from the
Canals east bank and later agreed to a timetable for further withdrawals. 5 He also indicated

4 Laqueur, W, 1974, Confrontation: The Middle East and World Politics, Quadrangle/ The

New York Times Book Co: New York.

5 Neff, D, 1988, Warriors against Israel, Amana

9
that he would renounce all claims of belligerency against Israel if the IDF withdrew to the
international border. Rogers efforts to capitalize on Sadats statements by working toward an
interim settlement, however, were opposed by the Israelis, and received little support from
Kissinger and Nixon. Kissinger believed that Egyptian proposals for an interim settlement,
along with a Soviet peace plan tabled that September, would be rejected by the Israelis, and
did not want discord over the Middle East to undermine efforts at dtente before the Moscow
summit of May 1972. For Nixon, such reasoning was reinforced by a desire to avoid a crisis
in U.S.-Israeli relations before the 1972 presidential elections.6

In the wake of the Moscow summit, where the Americans and the Soviets deliberately
avoided discussing the Middle East, Sadat made two more moves to get the Nixon
administration to break the Arab-Israeli stalemate. In July 1972, he decided to expel Soviet
military advisors from Egypt, and opened a backchannel to Kissinger through Hafiz Ismail,
his national security advisor. In February 1973, Ismail met with Kissinger and informed him
that Egypt would be willing to sign a separate peace agreement with Israel that could involve
demilitarized zones on both sides of the international border and peacekeepers in sensitive
locations like Sharm al-Shaykh. However, Egyptian-Israeli normalization would have to wait
until Israel withdrew from all the territories it had conquered in 1967. The Israelis responded
haltingly, and Nixon and Kissinger made little effort to change their minds. Despite Sadats
public displays of frustration, as well as warnings from Jordans King Hussein and Soviet
Secretary-General Leonid Brezhnev, Nixon and Kissinger believed that given the military
balance, Egypt and Syria would not attack Israel, a view supported by much of the U.S.
intelligence community. Until the fall of 1973, the President and Kissinger held that any
American diplomatic initiative would have to wait until after Israels elections that October.

6 Parker, R (ed.), 2001, The October War; a Retrospective, University Press of Florida

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Into the War of Yom Kippur, 1973

Course of the War

Four months before the war broke out, Henry Kissinger made an offer to Ismail, Sadat's
emissary. Kissinger proposed returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egyptian control and an Israeli
withdrawal from all of Sinai, except for some strategic points. Ismail said he would return
with Sadat's reply, but never did. Sadat was already determined to go to war. Only an
American guarantee that the United States would fulfil the entire Arab program in a brief
time could have dissuaded Sadat.

Sadat declared that Egypt was prepared to "sacrifice a million Egyptian soldiers" to recover
its lost territory. Political generals, who had in large part been responsible for the rout in
1967, were replaced with competent ones.

The role of the superpowers, too, was a major factor in the outcome of the two wars. The
policy of the Soviet Union was one of the causes of Egypt's military weakness. President
Nasser was only able to obtain the materiel for an anti-aircraft missile defence wall after
visiting Moscow and pleading with Kremlin leaders. He said that if supplies were not given,
he would have to return to Egypt and tell the Egyptian people Moscow had abandoned them,
and then relinquish power to one of his peers who would be able to deal with the Americans.
The Americans would then have the upper hand in the region, which Moscow could not
permit.

One of Egypt's undeclared objectives in the War of Attrition was to force the Soviet Union to
supply Egypt with more advanced arms and materiel. Egypt felt the only way to convince the
Soviet leaders of the deficiencies of most of the aircraft and air defence weaponry supplied to
Egypt following 1967 was to put the Soviet weapons to the test against the advanced
weaponry the United States had supplied to Israel.

Nasser's policy following the 1967 defeat conflicted with that of the Soviet Union. The
Soviets sought to avoid a new conflagration between the Arabs and Israelis so as not to be
drawn into a confrontation with the United States. The reality of the situation became
apparent when the superpowers met in Oslo and agreed to maintain the status quo. This was

11
unacceptable to Egyptian leaders, and when it was discovered that the Egyptian preparations
for crossing the canal were being leaked, it became imperative to expel the Soviets from
Egypt.7 In July 1972, Sadat expelled almost all of the 20,000 Soviet military advisers in the
country and reoriented the country's foreign policy to be more favourable to the United
States. The Syrians remained close to the Soviet Union.

The Soviets thought little of Sadat's chances in any war. They warned that any attempt to
cross the heavily fortified Suez Canal would incur massive losses. Both the Soviets and
Americans were then pursuing dtente and had no interest in seeing the Middle East
destabilized. In a June 1973 meeting with American President Richard Nixon, Soviet
leader Leonid Brezhnev had proposed Israel pull back to its 1967 border. Brezhnev said that
if Israel did not, "we will have difficulty keeping the military situation from flaring up" an
indication that the Soviet Union had been unable to restrain Sadat's plans.

Sadat again threatened war with Israel. Several times during 1973, Arab forces conducted
large-scale exercises that put the Israeli military on the highest level of alert, only to be
recalled a few days later.8 The Israeli leadership already believed that if an attack took place,
the Israeli Air Force (IAF) could repel it.

7 Westwood, J, 1984, The History of the Middle East Wars, Hamlyn

8 In an interview published in Newsweek (April 9, 1973)

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Almost a full year before the war, in an October 24, 1972, meeting with his Supreme Council
of the Armed Forces, Sadat declared his intention to go to war with Israel even without
proper Soviet support. Planning had begun in 1971 and was conducted in absolute secrecy
even the upper-echelon commanders were not told of the war plans until less than a week
prior to the attack, and the soldiers were not told until a few hours beforehand. The plan to
attack Israel in concert with Syria was code-named Operation Badr (Arabic for "full
moon"), after the Battle of Badr, in which Muslims under Muhammad defeated
the Quraish tribe of Mecca.

The lack of pre-emptive initiation of war by Israel

The Israeli strategy was, for the most part, based on the precept that if war was imminent,
Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike. It was assumed that Israel's intelligence services
would give, in the worst case, about 48 hours notice prior to an Arab attack.

Prime Minister Golda Meir, Minister of Defence Moshe Dayan, and Chief of General
Staff David Elazar met at 8:05 am the morning of Yom Kippur, six hours before the war
began. Dayan opened the meeting by arguing that war was not a certainty. Elazar then
presented his argument in favour of a pre-emptive attack against Syrian airfields at noon,
Syrian missiles at 3:00 pm, and Syrian ground forces at 5:00 pm "When the presentations
were done, the prime minister hemmed uncertainly for a few moments but then came to a
clear decision. There would be no pre-emptive strike. Israel might be needing American
assistance soon and it was imperative that it would not be blamed for starting the war. 'If we
strike first, we won't get help from anybody', she said." Prior to the war, Kissinger and Nixon
consistently warned Meir that she must not be responsible for initiating a Middle East
war. On October 6, 1973, the war opening date, Kissinger told Israel not to go for a pre-
emptive strike, and Meir confirmed to him that Israel would not.

Other developed nations, being more dependent on OPEC oil, took more seriously the threat
of an Arab oil embargo and trade boycott, and had stopped supplying Israel with munitions.
As a result, Israel was totally dependent on the United States for military resupply, and
particularly sensitive to anything that might endanger that relationship. After Meir had made
her decision, at 10:15 am, she met with American ambassador Kenneth Keating in order to

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inform the United States that Israel did not intend to pre-emptively start a war, and asked that
American efforts be directed at preventing war. An electronic telegram with Keating's report
on the meeting was sent to the United States at 16:33 GMT (6:33 pm local time).

A message arrived later from United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger saying, "Don't
pre-empt." At the same time, Kissinger also urged the Soviets to use their influence to
prevent war, contacted Egypt with Israel's message of non-pre-emption, and sent messages to
other Arab governments to enlist their help on the side of moderation. These late efforts were
futile. According to Henry Kissinger, had Israel struck first, it would not have received "so
much as a nail".

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Intervention into the war by other nations

Failure of the U.S. intelligence community

The U.S. intelligence communitywhich includes the CIAfailed to predict in advance the
Egyptian-Syrian attack on Israel. A U.S. intelligence report as late as October 4 still stated
that "We continue to believe that an outbreak of major ArabIsraeli hostilities remains
unlikely for the immediate future".[287] However, one U.S. government source that was able to
predict the approaching war was Roger Merrick, an analyst working for the INR (Intelligence
and Research section in the State Department), but his conclusions were ignored at the time,
and the report he had written to that effect was only rediscovered by U.S. government archive
officials in 2013.

Aid to the Arab Nations

Based on intelligence estimates at the commencement of hostilities, American leaders


expected the tide of the war to quickly shift in Israel's favour, and that Arab armies would be
completely defeated within 72 to 96 hours. [289] On October 6, Secretary of State Kissinger
convened the National Security Council's official crisis management group, the Washington
Special Actions Group, which debated whether the U.S. should supply additional arms to
Israel. High-ranking representatives of the Defence and State Departments opposed such a
move. Kissinger was the sole dissenter; he said that if the U.S. refused aid, Israel would have
little incentive to conform to American views in post-war diplomacy. Kissinger argued the
sending of U.S. aid might cause Israel to moderate its territorial claims, but this thesis raised
a protracted debate whether U.S. aid was likely to make it more accommodating or more
intransigent toward the Arab world.

By October 8, Israel had encountered military difficulties on both fronts. In the Sinai, Israeli
efforts to break through Egyptian lines with armour had been thwarted, and while Israel had
contained and begun to turn back the Syrian advance, Syrian forces were still overlooking
the Jordan River and their air defence systems were inflicting a high toll on Israeli planes. [291]
[292][293]
It became clear by October 9 that no quick reversal in Israel's favour would occur and
that IDF losses were unexpectedly high.

15
On October 13 and 15, Egyptian air defence radars detected an aircraft at an altitude of
25,000 metres (82,000 ft) and a speed of Mach 3, making it impossible to intercept either by
fighter or SAM missiles. The aircraft proceeded to cross the whole of the Canal Zone, the
naval ports of the Red Sea (Hurghada and Safaga), flew over the airbases and air defences in
the Nile delta, and finally disappeared from radar screens over the Mediterranean Sea. The
speed and altitude were those of the U.S. SR-71 Blackbird, a long-range strategic-
reconnaissance aircraft. According to Egyptian commanders, the intelligence provided by the
reconnaissance flights helped the Israelis prepare for the Egyptian attack on October 14 and
assisted it in conducting Operation Stout-hearted Men.

Soviet threat of intervention

On October 9, the Soviet cultural center in Damascus was damaged during an Israeli airstrike,
and two days later, the Soviet merchant ship Ilya Mechnikov was sunk by the Israeli Navy
during a battle off Syria. The Soviets condemned Israeli actions, and there were calls within
the government for military retaliation. The Soviets ultimately reacted by deploying two
destroyers off the Syrian coast. Soviet warships in the Mediterranean were authorized to open
fire on Israeli combatants approaching Soviet convoys and transports.

During the cease-fire, Henry Kissinger mediated a series of exchanges with the Egyptians,
Israelis and the Soviets. On October 24, Sadat publicly appealed for American and Soviet
contingents to oversee the ceasefire; it was quickly rejected in a White House statement.
Kissinger also met with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin to discuss convening a peace
conference with Geneva as the venue.

The Soviets placed seven airborne divisions on alert and airlift was marshalled to transport
them to the Middle East. An airborne command post was set up in the southern Soviet Union,
and several air force units were also alerted. "Reports also indicated that at least one of the
divisions and a squadron of transport planes had been moved from the Soviet Union to an
airbase in Yugoslavia". The Soviets also deployed seven amphibious warfare craft with some
40,000 naval infantry in the Mediterranean.

16
The Soviets quickly detected the increased American defence condition, and were astonished
and bewildered at the response. "Who could have imagined the Americans would be so easily
frightened," said Nikolai Podgorny. "It is not reasonable to become engaged in a war with the
United States because of Egypt and Syria," said Premier Alexei Kosygin, while KGB
chief Yuri Andropov added that "We shall not unleash the Third World War." The letter from
the U.S. cabinet arrived during the meeting. Brezhnev decided that the Americans were too
nervous, and that the best course of action would be to wait to reply. The next morning, the
Egyptians agreed to the American suggestion, and dropped their request for assistance from
the Soviets, bringing the crisis to an end.

17
A brief purview of the War

Reasons for an initial outburst of the Arab military

A. Leadership: For the first time in its modern history, the Egyptian military from Sadat on
down turned on the leadership. They trained. They held folks accountable. And when the
fight started, they--those same leaders--were in the fray, rather than beating feet back to
Cairo.

B. Motivation. The same leadership used a combination of history, religion, and pride to
instill a sense of purpose in the ranks. The Egyptian soldier had on occasion done well against
the IDF--first battle of Abu Agheila (George Gawrych wrote a great study on Abu Agheila in
56 and 67, I did the terrain study and took the pics)--when he had a good position, was not
getting the crap pounded out of him from the air, and his officers fought with him.

C. Understanding of the enemy. The Egyptians really studied the IDF, doing especially well
in identifying the key assumptions on the Israeli side. The first assumption was of course that
the Egyptians could not cross Suez and penetrate the Bar Lev before they were destroyed.
Second was that the initial IDF reactions would involve flinging armor and air against the
Egyptian salient in the belief their enemy would run. Wired guided missiles, RPGs, and
tanks--even those old T34s--stopped the armor formations. IDF tanks had almost pure AT
munitions so suppressing Saggers and RPGs was made even tougher; we would call for
artillery. 9

9 Rabinovich, A, 2003, 30 Years to the Yom Kippur War, Retrieved October 4 2010 from:

<http://info.jpost.com/C003/Supplements/30YK/new.02.html#new>

18
Finally if you take those three factors: A. Leadership; B. Motivation; and C. Understanding
the enemy, the IDF failed. Correcting those failures was possible because the Egyptians did
mount a limited offense, which allowed the IDF to get its act together. Golan, however, was
different. One measley tank Platoon of the 7th Armor Brigade was still in the fight when the
Syrians gave up their onslaught. It was a very near thing.

19
The Israeli counter-attack: how it changed the course of the War?

THE SUCCESS OF ISRAELI FORCES IN THE GOLAN was not happenstance. Though the
Arab attack surprised them, Israeli leaders reacted swiftly and decided to concentrate forces
against the Syrians first; if defences broke in the Golan, they reasoned, the Syrians would
reach inside Israel itself. The Egyptian thrust could be contained in the vast Sinai, a natural
buffer, until the Syrians had been halted.

In the first four days of the fighting, it lost 49 warplanes and almost 500 tanks. Panic swept
through the Israeli government; unless the Egyptians could be turned, the entire country was
at risk. In an October 9 meeting with Prime Minister Meir, Dayan discussed using the
countrys nuclear arsenalat least 13 bombs deliverable via Jericho missiles. Unwilling to
deploy this ultimate weapon, Meir demanded American help. President Richard Nixon was
sympathetichis national security adviser and secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, believed
that the defeat of Israel by a Soviet-armed Syria would be a geopolitical disasterand
approved $2.2 billion in supplementary military aid. The U.S. Air Force launched Operation
Nickel Grass, which would airlift some 22,000 tons of jet aircraft, tanks, ammunition, and
other equipment to Israel. Another 33,000 pounds of materiel arrived by sea. This was more
than military aid; it was life support.

Even before President Nixon sent help to Israel, The Israeli commanders changed tactics.
Instead of launching head-on assaults, they struck at the enemys flanks and used heavy
machine guns to knock out infantry armed with antitank weapons. Soon, the Egyptian
advance slowed and stopped. But already parts of the army had pushed as far as nine miles
into the Sinai. Sadat had won his four inches of territory.10

The Israelis came within roughly 25 miles of Damascus. Retreating before this onslaught, the
Syrians made a stand on the second of three defensive lines built in the years after 1967.
Fighting on their own soil, they were tenacious. An Iraqi armoured division appearedpart
of the force promised Sadat before the warand smashed into the right flank of the IDFs

10 Isseroff, A, 2005, Zionism and Israel - Encyclopedic Dictionary: Yom Kippur War

Retrieved October 16 2010 from: <http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/YomKippurWar.htm>

20
240th Armoured Division. The Israelis wheeled to deal with this threat, which grew more
serious when the Iraqis were joined by an armoured brigade sent by Jordan. As things fell
apart to the North, Sadat felt compelled to order an offensive and press deeper into the Sinai.
Shazly, his chief of staff, and other top generals fiercely opposed this move. They
remembered how Israeli planes had devastated Arab ground forces in the 1967 war, and they
did not want to move the army from under its missile shield. Yet on October 14, as many as
1,000 Egyptian tanks and several mechanized brigades rumbled forward. The targets were
two gateways into Israel: the mountain passes at Mitla and Giddi, both at least 30 miles east
of the Suez.

This thrust was met by air strikes as well as some 800 tanks led by heroes of Israels previous
warsGeneral Avraham Adan and Major General Sharon. The two armoured divisions
outflanked the Egyptian units and ripped into them, destroying 265 tanks and at least 200
other vehicles. In contrast, only 40 Israeli tanks suffered damage, most of it minor. Worse for
the Egyptians, the Israeli assault opened a chink in their lines along the Great Bitter Lake,
which lay north of the Gulf of Suez. Adan and Sharon pounced and launched a
counteroffensive to bridge the Suez Canal and divide the Egyptian Second and Third Armies
on the west bank. Sharon was to boldly move his forces across the canal and push the Second
Army north, establishing a corridor for Adans men to cross and wheel south, where they
would destroy SAM missile launch sites and hit the Egyptian Third Army from the rear.11

It was a cumbersome end to a savage war. The armour clashes had been the largest since
World War II and remain some of historys costliest. The casualty counts for Egypt and Syria
topped 60,000, with more than 2,000 tanks destroyed. Though Israel saw losses of fewer than
12,000 men, the Arab attacks had delivered a body blow to its military might. By one
estimate, the war cost Israel the equivalent of its gross national product for a year. In the Sinai
alone, the Egyptians had destroyed 110 helicopters and aircraft, about a quarter of Israels air
power.

11

'Failures in National Intelligence Estimates: The Case of the Yom Kippur War',

Journal of World Politics, Vol 28, No 3 pp 348-380, Cambridge University Press

21
Israels psyche suffered perhaps the greatest damage. While the IDF had won militarily, the
Arabs had seriously threatened Israel in the wars opening days and proved its leaders were
wholly unprepared for war. A special commission fingered top leaders in both the IDF and the
intelligence service, and fallout from the war helped push Meir from power in 1974, along
with Dayan.

22
Individual Analysis

As a student of World History, I would like to pin down my opinions on The Gruesome Yom
Kippur War, fought in October 1973 by a coalition of Egyptian and Syrian forces against
Israel, was a highly significant event in the long running history of Arab-Israeli conflict. The
war had far-reaching economic and social implications for those involved. It left Israel
militarily weakened, destroying the widely accepted myth of Israeli invincibility. On the other
hand Arab morale was boosted considerably, their initial success in the war making up for
Arab defeat in the Six Day war. As a consequence of the war Arab oil producing states
established power in the international community by engaging in an oil embargo, creating a
degree of Arab unity never before achieved. The war resulted in a considerable shift in the
regional balance of power, with Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat gaining the leverage needed
to initiate peace negotiations with Israel. The Yom Kippur War came as a major shock to
Israel. Due to previous military successes, Israel had a heightened view of its military
capability. The military was complacent, feeling that the Arab states offered no serious threat.
In the first few hours of the war, Dayan stated that the it [would] end in a few days with
victory Arab success in the initial phases of the war destroyed theories of Israeli military
invincibility previously accepted world wide, particularly after Israeli success in the Six Day
War. Despite Arab success being mainly in the early stages, when combined with factors of,
surprise and Israeli lack of preparation it was felt to be a crushing defeat. It undermined the
Israeli aura of invincibility and left Israel feeling vulnerable and weak; hence the war is still
held in a very negative light by Israel today.

The war also signified a major turning point for Arab countries in the broader Middle East
conflict. Egypt and Syria went into the war hoping to win back land taken by Israel during the

In fact the success in the war changed the Arab image in the international community. It also
subsequently contributed to other forms of Arab cooperation particularly evident in the oil
crisis or embargo that began as a result of the war. Indeed, the use of Arab control of oil
supplies as a political weapon was one of the most significant consequences of the war.]
Reduced imports combined with the energy crisis occurring in the US, saw closure of US
petrol stations, US houses went without heating, and a general crisis in the petroleum market.
One consequence was change in US foreign policy, with a focus on achieving Middle East

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peace, ultimately to prevent renewal of the embargo. Another more long term consequence
was an increasing US focus on conserving energy, and regulating fuel efficient. In addition
the US developed policies to ensure that it could sufficiently finance inflating prices resulting
from the embargo.

Ultimately, the repercussions and major developments flowing from the Yom Kippur war
were felt in the Middle East and beyond. The most significant consequences for Israel
included the destruction of the myth of Israeli invincibility, changes in senior government and
Defence Force personnel, and changed policies on peace. On the Arab side, morale was
boosted and the oil embargos international impacts redefined the strength of Arab positions
in significant aspects of international relations. Amongst other things helping to set the stage
for peace negotiations between Egypt and Israel and contributing to some progress towards
achieving peace in the Middle East.

This War was a horrendous result of the conflict between Israel and Arab nations, supported
by the world acclaimed conflict of power between the USA and The Soviet Union. It yielded
such results which made the USA the supreme power and Israel won the war initially in
favour of the Arab nations. In my opinion this war changed the course of history if looked
through with a Realistic approach.

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