Two Deep Mysteries of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War

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18-10-20 09:55:00,

 BlogviewEric Margolis Archive

Two Deep Mysteries of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War


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    Forty-seven years ago, Egypt and Syria launched a massive surprise attack on Israeli forces dug into fortifications along the Suez Canal and Golan Heights. The ‘limited’ Arab objective was to recapture both strategic areas that had been seized from the two Arab states in Israel’s victorious 1967 War.

    Re-armed with modern – but by no means top drawer – Soviet weapons, Egypt and Syria sought to drive the Israelis back, then wait for the great powers to impose a truce. It was a badly flawed strategy, which assured the heavily armed Israelis would control the military initiative with their superiority in air power and armor.

    At first, the Arab surprise attack caught Israel flat-footed. Israeli reserve armored forces were still in storage when Egyptian and Syrian armor and infantry stormed across the 1967 cease-fire lines.

    Warnings of the impending assault from the most important Israeli spy, Ashraf Marwan – amazingly the son-in law of the late Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser – were ignored or shrugged off in Israel which was still filled with hubris over its lopsided, US-assisted victory in the 1967 War.

    This was the first big mystery of the 1973 War. Was Marwan really a Mossad spy or a double agent, as Egypt later claimed, disinforming Israel on the time of the Arab offensive? Marwan later fell to his death – or was pushed – from a London apartment.

    Syria’s armor drove into the Golan Heights from their starting positions on the plains east of Golan and the Mount Hermon massif.

    The opening Arab assault was a remarkable success. I walked much of the Suez Canal soon after the war and was awed that Egypt’s military engineers had managed to get so many tanks and men across the wide canal under enemy fire.

    Equally amazing was Egyptian infantry using highly effective new Soviet Sagger anti-tank missiles and air defense units employing SAM-6 anti-aircraft missiles to blunt Israeli counter attacks.

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    The Trump Mysteries: Inconsistent Inconsistencies

    the-trump-mysteries-inconsistent-inconsistencies

    18-03-19 10:07:00,

    The Trump Mysteries: Inconsistent Inconsistencies

    Unlike the American Democratic Party, the Western news media and most of my neighbours, I do not fully understand Trump. Although, unlike all of them, I thought from the start he had a good chance of winning and, as time went on, became more confident and finally bet he would win.

    One of the consistent themes of Trump’s campaign was that foreign entanglements were not to the country’s advantage and the wars were a waste of resources; bad for business, as it were. Now, I’m not so simple-minded as to believe campaigning politicians. Bush promised a quieter foreign policy and Obama was going to close Guantánamo; but what made me pay attention to Trump’s statements was that they weren’t just the disconnected laundry list of focus-groups handed out by most politicians, they had an internal consistency. (And consistent over quite some time: watch this interview from 1987.)

    That consistency could be found in his slogan Make America Great Again. It was the “again” that was the clue. Shattered tells us that Bill Clinton tried to get his wife to perceive the dissatisfaction in the USA, Sanders tapped into some of it but Trump saw and understood it early and based his campaign on it; Clinton never understood. Again, that’s the clue. I concluded that Trump saw a connection between the loss of “greatness” and the foreign entanglements: the “six trillion dollars” spent in the Middle East would have been better spent on infrastructure“. Of course he was right: there is a direct connection. But to stop that drain, Trump, now President, has to break the entanglements and that will not be easy. Last year I formed the theory that he would try to get the allies to break these entanglements and updated the idea recently. (It was written just before we heard that Trump is considering to charging allies 150% for the cost of US bases – something that is sure to cause a lot of re-thinking and disentangling.)

    So I expected a Trump Administration to cut entanglements and not create any more. But here we come to the inconsistencies. There have been three actions inconsistent with this view: important inconsistencies.

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