THE 1973 OCTOBER WAR
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THE 1973 OCTOBER WAR book
In March 1969, Israel and Egypt had become involved in a prolonged lowintensity war known as the War of Attrition. In many ways it was a continuation of the 1967 war, and the Egyptian decision to launch this war can be seen as an attempt to break the deadlock. It was a conflict characterized by sporadic bombardment, commando raids, fire and counter-fire against strongholds along the Suez Canal. Egypt’s principal aim was to keep the superpowers’ interest alive – without that the reclaiming of the Suez Canal seemed impossible (Peretz, 1996). Nasser wanted to create sufficient instability to provoke superpower involvement and pressure the Soviet Union into supplying the Egyptian army with arms (Bailey, 1990). In that sense, Nasser’s strategy was successful. Egypt received Soviet arms, technicians and combat personnel. In April 1970, Soviet pilots were detected flying Egyptian planes over the Suez Canal (Hopwood, 1991). A further aim of Nasser was the destruction of the Israeli Bar Lev Line fortification (Ovendale, 1992). He
sought to inflict such a heavy toll on Israel that it would be forced to withdraw. Between June 1967 and July 1970, more than 1,000 Israeli soldiers were killed (Peretz, 1996).