camerohold "99 percent ofthecards" in the region, roborrow Anwaral-Sadat's telling phrase.This tactic was dangerous for the Arab states becauseit assumedthat theAmericans sowanted asettlement that they wouldput pressureon Israelroger it. This assumption was overly optimistic. Taking theinitiative onthe Arab-Israeli disputewas politically riskyfor Americanpresidents,particularly iftakingtheinitiative involved putting pressureOnIsrael.Asa result, after the1967war the United Stateswas all too181..
THE ISRAEL-PALESTINECONFLICTwilling to sit back andwait for the Arab statestocome round.IftheArabstares wanted theirland back, American policymakers argued, alltheyhad to dotogetitbackwastosignpeacetreaties with Israel. Andifthey did not want tonegotiate directly withIsrael, they could cometothe United Statesfirst.Asamatter offact,inthezero-sum gamethatwas the Cold War - agamein which againforthe United Stateswasaloss for the SovietUnion, and vice versa - itwould be all the betterifthey did. To foreclosethe war option onceand for all, the UnitedStates adopted thepolicyofsupplying Israelwithenough weaponry tokeep it stronger than thesum total of itsenemies.This policy beganin1968with the saleoffiftyofAmerica's latestPhantom fighter-bombers.toIsrael and continues tothe present day.The American policywaslogical but certainlynot foolproof. Asearlyas1969,Egypt launched the so-called War ofAttrition against Israeltobreak the stalemate that had sertled inafterthe1967war. The warstarted with artillery duels,then aerial dogfightsbetween Egyptians andIsraelis across the SuezCanal. When the Israelisbegan deep penetra-tion bombing runs overEgypt, Soviet pilots began flying missions fortheEgyptians. The Americanscertainly didtakenotice. American poli-cymakers were horrifiedat the idea that theirallymight trigger WorldWat III by shooting downa Soviet-piloted MIG.The Americans there-fate launched the RogersInitiative and the Rogers Plan (both namedafter Secretary ofStateWilliam Rogers) to bringabout acease-fire and,once both sides cooledoff, a solution. Afterthefailure of the RogersPlan, the United Statesonce again "bought into a stalemate"(touseaphrase from the Nixon administration). American inattention lasteduntil October1973,whenEgypt and Syriaonceagain launched awaragainst Israel.Unlike1967,the Egyptians and Syrians did not launch the1973war to revise the resultsof1948.Rarher, they launched their attacktobreak the stalemate and capture superpower attention once again.Anwar al-Sadat wasparticularly distressed thatnotonly had theUnitedStates bought into astalemate, it had gotten theSoviet Uniontodosoaswell. At a summit meetingheld in April1972,the United Statesandthe Soviet Union agreedthat, when it cametothe Middle East, theywould "do everything intheir power so that conflictsorsituations donot arise which would seemtoincrease international tensions" and thatneither would seek"unilateral advantage attheexpense of the other."182
THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICTAnwar al-Sadat and his Syrianalliesneededtodo somethingto get the.