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Why did israel fail to anticipate the surprise. Attack that...
Why did israel fail to anticipate the surprise. Attack that initiated the yom Kippur war and what did egypt do to ensure its initinal success ?
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ISRAEL’S INTELLIGENCE FAILURE: THE YOM KIPPUR WAR OF OCTOBER 1973
Why did Israel fail to anticipate the attacks by Egypt and Syria on October 6, 1973?
The long running Arab-Israeli conflict is well-enough known and does not need further
However, a few points need to be made about the geo-strategic situation in the
region after the “Six Day War” in 1967.
In the aftermath of that war, in which Israeli forces
completely outclassed and routed the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, Israel now controlled
large new areas: the Golan Heights, the West Bank and all of Jerusalem, and the Sinai Peninsula,
including the east bank of the Suez Canal.
This territorial expansion provided Israel—the
protected core—with substantial buffer areas, but it also extended its interior lines of defense and
At its closest point, for example, the Suez Canal is 170 to 180 kilometers from the
post-1948 Israeli border.
This could be an advantage, giving Israel greater defense in depth, or a
disadvantage, presenting it with greater logistical challenges and forcing it to spread its forces
more thinly in the event of a conflict.
After the 1967 War, Israel still faced a painful war of attrition, painful because, with its small
population and individualistic culture, Israel feels each casualty deeply.
According to Hughes-
Wilson, “In the month of July 1969 alone, the Israeli Defense Forces lost 36 killed and 76
wounded in action,” a rate of attrition that was unacceptable (Hughes-Wilson, p. 221).
under Gamal Abdul Nasser and Syria under Hafiz al-Assad refused to accept more than a truce
after the 1967 war and both states covertly enabled Fedayeen attacks on Israeli settlements and
Egypt and Syria also periodically conducted artillery strikes on Israeli positions.
Twice in 1969, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) crossed the Suez Canal and conducted punitive raids
in response to Fedayeen attacks.
The most successful of these occurred on 9 September 1969.
In what became known as the “ten hour war” Israeli forces crossed the Suez Canal
and, using captured Egyptian armoured vehicles manned by 150 Arabic-speaking
soldiers, invaded Egypt on an extended punitive raid.
This tiny force…spread mayhem
in the Suez town area, causing 450 casualties, collecting vital intelligence and
destroying three air defense radar installations.
After ten hours, the Israeli commandos
cooly re-embarked, and, to add insult to injury, brought with them two of the latest
Soviet T62 main battle tanks, captured in the confusion.
To make the point, the Israelis
crossed the southern end of the canal again later in 1969 and dismantled a brand new
Soviet P-12 radar system under the very noses of the Egyptians and their alarmed
Soviet advisers. (Hughes-Wilson, pp. 221-222.)
Israel opted for a static line of defense along the 150 meter-wide Suez Canal.
This was a series
of block houses, or strong points, linked by a military road, and protected by a high sand berm.
Answer & Explanation
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