Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War of 1973 is one of the most recent full wars in the Middle East. The naming of the war was because it took place on the Day of Atonement, (Yom Kippur). This is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar where Jews pray and fast. The battle is sometimes known as the October War. Golda Meir and Anwar Sadat commandeered the war.
The war began on October 6 1973, when Syria and Egypt attacked Israel. The two Arab States launched assault on Israel because they knew that its military would be busy taking part in the Yom Kippur celebrations. Israel was caught off guard, with its 150 tanks facing 1400 Syria’s at the Golan Heights. Egypt and Syria also received military and financial support from several Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan.
Because of the consolidated efforts, Israel lost the war at first, with Egyptian army advancing several miles into Sinai. By 7 October, Israel was in a hapless situation. However, Israel recovered on 8 October and pushed back the Egyptian troops 65 miles into Cairo. They also had the same success when it pushed back the Syrian army, 35 miles back into their capital city.
On October 24, the United Nation intervened and called for truce between the warring sides. To achieve this, the UN sent its troops in most affected areas. With this intervention, Israeli and Egyptian armies disengaged in March 1974 at Suez Canal. About 1200 UN soldiers formed a wall between Israel and Syria in May 1974. It is important to note that Dr. Henry Kissenger, U.S Secretary of State brokered the peace deal between Egypt and Israel and in September 1975, the two sides agreed to settle their differences through peaceful means devoid of military action. This led to negotiations at Camp David, which were sponsored by the United States in 1977, widely known as the Sadat Initiative.
However, the position by Anwar Sadat to sign a deal with Israel did not go down well with Muslims, who opined that it was sheer betrayal by their leader. This would cost Sadat his life following an assassination by Muslims in 1981. Earlier, many Arab nations saw Sadat as their savior after adopting warlike approaching in settling scores with Israel. They compared him to Nasser and liberator of Palestinians. For most Arabs, he went overboard to adopt a diplomatic course in solving the row. The Yom Kippur War presented a hard time for the United Nations, which could not take an active role because of allegations, which faced its Secretary-General, Kurt Waldheim. He had been implicated in war crimes during World War II. This negatively affected the reputation of the United Nations in finding a solution for the two sides.
Israel benefited from the war even though the initial stages were deadly as it was caught unaware. Its success in repelling Egyptian and Syrian forces proved the country’s military effectiveness. The U.S also had a hand in the success of Israel during the war. For example, it supplied it with artillery and intelligence. With America’s SR-71 Blackbird flying above the war zone, Israeli troops had information on where Arab Armies were concentrated, making it easier for a successful combat. The loss by Syria and Egypt was also a lesson for Arab countries, which surrounded Israel.
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