Re: Congratulations on 6 October!
- Dear Eric,
Congratulations indeed. It was a minor victory. Egypt gained the east
side of the canal an ultimately leverage for the Sinai, though Sadat would
have done better not to sign that dishonourable peace. Given Zionist air
superiority, it was probably about the best that could be expected.
When the Egyptian Army ventured out of range of the surface-to-air missile
protection, the Zionists had the upper hand.
Now it seems the Zionists have bombed Syria, and neither the Syrian Air
Force nor ground forces are doing anything about it. I hope there is some
kind of retaliation, otherwise one wonders why Syria bothers to keep armed
forces. As the Chinese say, "An army is maintained for 1000 days to be
used on one." The Americans are hyperextended in Iraq. The Zionists are
hyperextended in Palestine. If they want Syria involved, the more the
>Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the
>Crossing of the Suez by the Egyptian Army at the start
>of the October war of 1973! Although in the end it
>was another defeat snatched from the jaws of victory
>by regimes intent on making deals with America, the
>crossing, together with the simultaneous Syrian
>advance in the north, and the officers and men who
>took part deserve high commemmoration.
>If nothing else the exploits of that day can remind us
>of how far we have retreated in the last 30 years and
>help show us the way forward.
>Here is how Egyptian writer Muhammad Hasanayn Haykal
>dramatically described the launch of the offensive:
>"At 1405 hours on Saturday, 6 October  4000
>guns, rocket launchers and mortars opened up on the
>Egyptian front and 1500 on the Syrian front. This
>artillery barrage was supported by strikes from over
>300 aircraft. Fifteen minutes later 8000 troops in
>1000 rubber boats were crossing the Suez Canal, and
>the first fortress on the Bar-Lev Line was captured by
>elements of the Second [Egyptian] Army at 1500 hours
>exactly. Many others fell soon afterwards.
>Simultaneously the engineers and their water cannons
>were breaking down the sand rampart on the eastern
>bank of the canal and in four and a half hours had
>breached it in eighty places. At 1710 the first
>officer prisoners were taken by units of the Second
>Division north of Ismailia. By 1930 hours the first
>formations of the two Egyptian armies were established
>on the east bank of the canal along a front of 170km.
>Eighty thousand men in twelve waves had penetrated
>Sinai to a depth of three to four kilometers and were
>well dug in inside the Bar Lev fortified area."
>Mohamed Hasanein Heikal, The Road to Ramadan, New
>York: Ballantine, 1975, p. 211.
- ================= Begin forwarded message =================
Dear Eric and Kevin,
The strike was indeed coordinated with Washington, and American responses on
Syrian support for 'terrorist' groups highlights this. However, don't be
alarmed at the lack of Syrian response. For one thing, the Syrian military
is severely outdated, relying heavily on Soviet pre-Prestroyka hardware. So
it would have been futile to launch a counter-raid or anything of that sort.
For another thing, the Syrians are masters at playing brinksmanship. THE
RESPONSE WILL COME INSIDE "ISRAEL" THOURGH ANOTHER HUMAN BOMB. And it will
bear the name of a Palestinian group, so "Israel" will have to look like the
aggressor again when it attacks deep inside Syria. Finally, most Arab
armies are useless really, mired in corruption and internal politics and
power struggles. During the siege of Lebanon in 1982, a combined force of
Lebanese and Palestinian resistance fighters managed to keep Beirut
International Airport against several Zionist attacks, when Syrian units
besieged in Beirut took over the airport, they lost it in about three hours.
The Syrian army lost about five thousand troops during the siege just
trying to WITHDRAW from its positions inside areas in Lebanon being attacked
by the Zionists. Regular PLO troops collapsed in a more humiliating way.
On the other hand, a few thousand Palestinian, SYRIAN, and Lebanese
irregulars managed to keep West Beirut for over months until Yasser Arafat
struck a compromise to withdraw under American sponsorship, that is, the
defeat was political, not military in essence. It's true that when Zionist
troops approached the Syrian borders at a point between 40 and 60 miles from
Damascus that the Syrians special units put up a fierce fight that stopped
the Zionist encroachment in its tracks on that particular front only.
However, if the Syrians are going to draw any lessons whatsoever from the
aggression on Iraq, they must assign a great deal of trust and
responsibility to the people (arming them and what have you). But that is
something I don't see the gov't doing in the near future actually. So the
alternative for the Syrian gov't is to rely on very flexible political
maneuvaring and to play their cards well in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq
through the resistance there (it's common knowledge now over here that at
least some of the Iraqi resistance is supported by Syria).
On the War of 1973, defeat was indeed snatched from the jaws of victory.
After the initial advances, the cease-fire lines on the Syrian front were
closer to Damascus than before the war started. And had it not been for the
intervention of the Iraqi army at the time, Zionist troops would have ended
up making deep incursions into Syrian territory. On the Egyptian front,
Sadat's betrayals left a whole army under siege when he started negotiating
from a weaker position. He could have gone on to improve the odds as his
military commandars told him, but that is not something Sadat was likely to
do. It's not his style!
Having said all that, Eric's point about the how the 1973 showed there was
great potential for victory remains very valid. That war also showed,
nevertheless, that a prerequisite for that victory has to be a determined
leadership willing to take the fight to the end. But that was not the case,
especially on Egyptian front. We needed a Stalin for that war, but only got
a Trojan horse.