Egyptian military trucks cross a bridge laid over the Suez Canal on October 7, 1973.

The War and the Future of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The 1973 War has had an enormous impact on all the complex of factors that enter into the Arab-Israeli conflict. The study of these changes will take many years and many hands. In this article, an attempt is made to examine that impact in several areas that seem to have a particular bearing on the immediate future.

The war has brought into full view what some specialists had long been pointing out: that the Arab-Israeli conflict is actually a complex network of which Arab-Israeli relations (so far, alas, mainly military) have only been one segment. Feeding into this network, in addition, have been the changing pattern of antagonism and association that makes up inter-Arab relations, the fluctuating rivalries among the big powers with interests in the area, and many features of the internal life of the antagonistic countries. This essay will touch upon each of the preceding dimensions of the conflict.

II

The military dimension of the 1973 War provides ample material for study and reflection at all levels-from tactics to strategy and from grand strategy all the way to the level where war merges into policy. Among the lessons, the following seem to stand out:

First, the Arabs were able to achieve virtually complete surprise for their initial thrust, and this in turn had crucial consequences. It gave them the initiative for a while, dictated to the Israelis the kind of war to be fought at least at several stages, caused the war to be costly and prolonged, made outside intervention necessary and possible, and in all these ways and others determined the general outcome of the war. It has already been pointed out that the failure of Israeli and American intelligence was due not to any dearth of information about the Arabs' war preparations, but to an incorrect evaluation of that information. Israeli analysts started from the premise that Sadat was convinced that Israel enjoyed a great margin of military superiority over any military coalition he could form; consequently, they could

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