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Egypt celebrates the 45th anniversary of October war victory

Saturday 06/October/2018 - 08:53 AM
Sada El Balad
Sada ElBalad: Basant Ahmed
Today، Saturday، 6-10-2018، marks the 45th anniversary of the 6th of October war victory.

‘October War’ is also known as the ‘1973 Arab–Israeli War’، was a war fought by the coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against Israel from October 6 to 25، 1973.

The war began when the Arab coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israeli positions in the Israeli-occupied territories on Yom Kippur، the holiest day in Judaism، which occurred that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan On this specific holiday (unlike any other) the country comes to a complete standstill; both religiously observant Jews and most of the secular majority fast، abstain from any use of fire، electricity، engines، communications….etc.، all road traffic ceases and airports are shut down. Many soldiers also go home from military facilities for the holiday، and Israel is more vulnerable with much of its military on leave.

Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively، which had been captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war and this led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.

The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal. After crossing the cease-fire lines، Egyptian forces advanced virtually unopposed into the Sinai Peninsula. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains into Israeli-held territory. Within three days، however، Israeli forces had managed to push the Syrians back to the pre-war ceasefire lines. They then launched a four-day counter-offensive deep into Syria.

Within a week، Israeli artillery began to shell the outskirts of Damascus. As President Anwar Sadat began to worry about the integrity of his major ally، he believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during the negotiations. He therefore ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive، but the attack was quickly repulsed. The Israelis then counterattacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies، crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt، and began slowly advancing southward and westward towards Cairo in over a week of heavy fighting that inflicted heavy casualties on both sides.

On October 22 a United Nations-brokered ceasefire quickly unraveled، with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24، the Israelis had improved their positions considerably but failed in the encirclement of Egypt’s Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result، a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war.

The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab World، led by Egyptian–Syrian–Jordanian alliance in the Six-Day War، felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in the conflict. In Israel، the war led to recognition that there was no guarantee it would always dominate the Arab states militarily. These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process.

The 1978 Camp David Accords that followed led to the return of the Sinai to Egypt and normalized relations—the first peaceful recognition of Israel by an Arab country. Egypt continued its drift away from the Soviet Union and left the Soviet sphere of influence entirely.

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