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Anwar Al-Sadat and the Crossing: A Strategy of Necessity

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Research paper

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Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadats initiation of warfare on 6 October 1973 set in motion a train of events that changed the political face of the Middle East for at least the remainder of the century. A variety of influences and considerations contributed to Sadats decision to go to war -- Kissinger believes he decided in the summer of 1972 -- and to his strategy for its beginning, conduct, and aftermath. Some elements of Sadats strategy can be instructive to U.S. strategists. From Sadats vantage point in Cairo in 1972 and 1973, the international system imposed steadily increasing constraints on movement toward liberation of Arab lands conquered in 1967. Like most Third World leaders during the Cold War, Sadat saw himself operating in a bipolar world at the pinnacle of whose international system were the two superpowers. The relative strengths of the United States and the USSR and the intensity of friction between them globally were critical guides to the activities of lesser powers regionally. Beyond the obvious lessons in strategic surprise and the consequences of complacency that have by now become fixtures of writings on the October War, and despite Sadats shortcomings, the planning for The Crossing can still be instructive to U.S. strategists. Sadats strategy achieved his near-term goals for a variety of reasons, not the least of them the unwitting complicity of his enemies. Among the principal sources of his success, however, were the following 1 he first established overarching, but limited, political goals and 2 he then picked the ablest military leaders available to devise and implement a military strategy to attain those political goals.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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