The 1973 October War


Origins and Causes

A) Arabs didn’t want to make peace when they were already facing utter defeat after the 67’ war. They needed to create another war to ensure better peace terms.
· Egypt continued a war of attrition against Israel in order to maintain the Soviet Unions interest. Egypt also had no chance of re-claiming the Suez Cannel if they just continued sit on their hands.
· This tension stirring conflict discontinued in August 1970 as Nasser signed a cease-fire with the understanding that the US would pressure Israel into accepting the land section of UN 242.
· Sadat attempted to negotiate indirectly with Israel to move back their lines to no avail. He was therefore forced to engage with Israel for a variety of reasons
1. A successful (recapture of Sinai) would distinguish Sadat from Nassers failures with Israel.
2. If Egypt distanced itself from Israel after a successful campaign it would greatly help the struggling economy that was almost completely focused on military funding.
3. Peace after the war would re-establish international investments and aid.
· In November 1972 Sadat and Syria’s Asad decided to come together to form a two front war against Israel.
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B) Israel was absolutely not going to give up the land they had gained from the 67’ war. They refused to listen to UN 242.
· Israel retaliated against civilian and military targets along the Suez during the war of attrition.
· Israel was unwilling to withdraw from its 1967 armistice lines, believing that Egypt proposed withdraw from the canal would be a threat to national security.
· Israel became relaxed after the war of attrition ended in 1970. They had no plausible reason to believe that the Arabs would fight another war. Yes, of course they knew the Arabs were angered but they greatly underestimated this fury and determination to win back the territory had gained in 67’.
D) USA and USSR lacked will and ability to negotiate peace.
· In essence the two superpowers could do little about the start of 1973 war as the US was dealing with their own issues, Vietnam, Watergate, and the many Soviet military advisors had been expelled from Egypt shortly after Sadats’ term began.
· When the War began America felt reluctant to send arms to Israel as Sad at had clearly stated his intentions which were to push back Israel from solely from the territory they lost in the 67’ war.

Nature of 20th Century War
    • The Yom Kippur War was the first war in which Israel had suffered high causalities. Over 3,000 Israeli’s were killed and over 8,000 wounded.
    • The traumatic effects of war led Israel towards the peace movement.

Effects and Results
    • Heightened tensions between USSR and US because each side was threatening intervention unless the other “puppet” pulled back. As Israel pushed across the Suez and trapped the Egyptian army that had originally pushed back the Israeli forces into the Sinai, the USSR threatened intervention unless Israel forces stopped. This pressured the US into commanding this order to Israel.
    • Oil embargos were imposed on those states which “overly supported” Israel. These embargos cut supplies to the states and increased overall prices tremendously.