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Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Very Bad Sign in Egypt: Morsi Sees Yom Kippur War as an Egyptian Victory



Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi is celebrating Egypt's great "victory" against Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War in a rally attended by tens of thousands.

From the ynet news article by Elior Levy and Yonatan Gonen (h/t Instapundit):

"Addressing tens of thousands of Egyptians Saturday evening during a ceremony commemorating the 39th anniversary of Egypt's 'victory' over Israel during the October 1973 war, President Mohamed Morsi said, 'It was a monumental event. We will never forget the heroes and shahids (martyrs).'

"Morsi was elected president of Egypt after Hosni Mubarak, a hero of the Yom Kippur War, was ousted. Earlier this week, on Thursday, he laid a wreath on slain president Anwar Sadat's grave in a rare homage from an Islamist leader.

[...]

"During the memorial ceremony, which was held at Cairo's soccer stadium, Morsi said 'today is a day of victory. This has been a happy day for the past 39 years. The commanders and soldiers crossed the Suez Canal, demolished the Bar-Lev line and entered Sinai. It was a decisive campaign, and thanks to Allah Egypt retrieved not only its land, but also its dignity and pride.'

"Morsi linked Egypt's achievements during the war to the January 25 revolution, which led to Mubarak's downfall. 'The 1973 war was a historic victory that restored the dignity of all Egyptians. The second victory came during the January 25 revolution, when the people and the army united. The January 25 Revolution was peaceful before the hand of betrayal turned it violent.'"

Egypt was soundly defeated by Israel in the Yom Kippur War.

From Wikipedia:

"The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal during the first three days, after which they dug in, settling into a stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains against the greatly outnumbered Israelis. Within a week, Israel recovered and launched a four-day counter-offensive, driving deep into Syria. As Sadat believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during the negotiations, he ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but they were decisively defeated; the Israelis then counterattacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting while suffering severe casualties especially during the battle of the Chinese Farm.

"On October 22 a United Nations-brokered ceasefire quickly unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt's Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war. At the conclusion of hostilities, Israeli forces were 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Damascus and 101 kilometres (63 mi) from Cairo."

Quite the Egyptian victory, huh? No it wasn't quite the Six Day War's thrashing, but to interpret Egypt's outcome as victorious is delusional.

When a country begins celebrating historical defeats as victories, then there is nothing ahead but troubles.

Morsi is whipping up anti-Israel sentiment in his own country, while simultaneously attempting to create a myth about Egypt's performance in their last war. Coupling this drumbeating with Morsi's strengthening of Egypt's ties with Iran, dramatically increases the chances of a renewed open conflict with Israel. We'll have to see if Morsi continues this line in the near future.

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