Who was responsible for the Kippur War?

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Ariel Sharon (in the middle) and Moshe Dayan (on the right) during the Kippur War.

I have always been interested in the origins, the conduct and the military actors who participated in the 1973 Kippur War, which was launched against Israel by Egypt and Syria.

I was therefore very pleased to find this recent article written by David Tal and published in the pages of Middle Eastern Studies recently.

According to Professor Tal, the responsibility of the Kippur War lies at Egyptian president Anwar Sadat doorstep.

Contrary to the school of thought supporting the assumption that “[…] the 1973 October war could have been avoided if Israel had responded positively to Sadat’s peace offers during 1971-1973”, David Tal goes in detail to demonstrate that Egypt did everything to arrive at a settlement through the battlefield, advancing proposals that were unacceptable to Israel and refusing to move an inch on its demands.

But why was that?

“[…] Sadat was offended by the Egyptian military defeat in 1967”, Egypt’s pride was damaged by this outcome and the only way to repair the situation would be either through “[…] regaining the territories without having to negotiate with Israel, or by going to war.”

Sadat’s war aims were nevertheless very modest. A symbolic gain of territory would permit Egypt to proclaim a victory and wash its humiliation.

Everyone knows that Israel won the war, but less known is the fact that the terms accepted by Sadat within the Camp David Agreement framework were those espoused by Israel before the October war and rejected by the Egyptian president.

This war of choice solely happened for Sadat to claim a symbolic victory allowing him to don the mantle of peacemaker few years later.

For anyone interested in the contemporary history of the Middle East and Israel, David Tal’s work is great food for thought.

David Ben-Gurion and the rebirth of Israel

In the Gregorian calendar, which we Catholics use, May 14th marks the anniversary of the rebirth of Israel. On that day, in 1948, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the State of Israel at Dizengoff House (now known as Independence Hall) on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv.

Few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting this historical building. For any friend and supporter of Israel, this is a very humbling and profound experience. Mostly when you understand that, from there, Israel directly went to war against the Arab armies to guarantee its very survival.

Whatever your political inclinations (he was a left-winger and I’m a conservative), you can’t be indifferent to that giant of history. Ben-Gurion certainly was not the only one who contributed to the rebirth of Israel. But he was the man who paved the way to Independence Hall.

Jabotinsky and Gallipoli

I just started reading Bruce Hoffman’s recent book, Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947

Here’s what I found on page 8: Jabotinsky

“His [Jabotinsky] efforts resulted in the formation of the Zion Mule Corps, which participated in the ill-fated invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli in 1915.”

For the record, Vladimir “Ze’ev” Jabotinsky was a Zionist leader and he was co-responsible of the creation of the Jewish Legion during World War I.

While I was aware of the existence of the Jewish Legion, I ignored the Gallipoli component of its involvement for King and Country (or, I should write Empire). Modest as this contribution might have been, it is nevertheless an excellent example that Israel – even before it was reborn under this name in 1948 – stood with the Allies (I think we can call them the West) when the going got tough.

Enough for now. I’ll publish a review of the book when I finish the last page of it. But I can already say that this is a very enjoyable read and a good investment.

The Heroes of the Israel Defense Force (IDF)

I’ve been blessed to travel to Israel on several occasions for professional purposes. Every time, I was always amazed and impressed by those young men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

While other young people go to University, travel the world with friends, find a good job or establish a family, young Israelis devote an important part of their life to be on the vanguard of protecting and defending their homeland. For your information, “Males serve for three years and females for just less than two years.

So this video has it all right. It’s not a metaphor. The heroes of the IDF really have Israel’s back. And they’re the first line of defence of the values that are important for us – freedom and democracy.

RT’s article about ISIS

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ISIS-occupied territory in the Middle East source: http://snipurl.com/29uu75t

I don’t know about you, but I like to read news reports and analysis from RT (Russia Today). I like their unconventional way of doing things. Their journalists sometimes irk me, but, overall, this is a very interesting News Agency. They may have an agenda, but which news media doesn’t?

All of this to say that RT reported today the revelations contained in an article from Der Spiegel with some interesting revelations supporting the fact that ISIS is an offspring of the miscalculations and mistakes of the US intervention in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

According to RT’s article:

“The reason why ISIS are so successful as a terrorist organization is partly because many of their founding members, including the top strategist, were part of Saddam Hussein’s professional security apparatus. By shattering the well-trained army of Saddam, the US apparently created a group of very intelligent enemies.

Bakr [ISIS mastermind Haji Bakr, whose real name was Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi] was a “highly intelligent, firm and an excellent logistician,” as an Iraqi journalist described the former officer. But when the US suddenly dissolved the Iraqi army after the 2003 invasion he became “bitter and unemployed.””

Here is a powerful reminder to Western leaders and military planners that one needs to be very careful when approaching the Middle East. It’s also a reminder that we should stick even closer to our friends – lsrael being at the top of that list, but there are others like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for example – who are our best allies to confront these threats.

They might not be perfect, but they are reliable, unlike Iran. In a context like this, a staunch friend is 100 times better than a would-be, potential, circumstantial ally.