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The Sinai Field Mission: A Step Toward Peace in the Middle East
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
The war began on 6 October 1973-Yom Kippur-along the eastern bank of the Suez Canal and along the entire ceasefire line of the Golan Heights. From the first hours of Operation Badr it was apparent that the Arab forces were not going to be dealt with as handily as in 1967. However, by 11 October, Israel had regained the initiative on the Golan Heights and had cracked the Syrian defenses. Damascus was then within range of Israeli artillery, In the Sinai, the Israelis suffered early losses, as five Egyptian divisions penetrated three miles during the first day of the war. With the arrival of reserve forces and stabilization on the Golan, however, Israel was able to blunt the Egyptian attacks of 13-14 October and go over to the offensive. By the time of the ceasefire of 24 October, Israeli forces had reached the west bank of the Suez Canal, had threatened the city of Suez, and had a stranglehold on the Egyptian Third Army, which was encircled on the eastern bank of the canal. An interim accord, the Sinai I Agreement, was signed at the conclusion of the Yom Kippur War, providing for the disengagement of forces and the establishment of UN-controlled buffer zone between the belligerents. Efforts to conclude a second-stage agreement began in early 1975 however, by March the talks had stalled. One of the critical reasons for the impasse was the issue of the strategic Giddi and Mitla Passes through the central Sinai.
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