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September 1998 
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First major Yom Kippur military parade since Sadat's assassination


MER - Washington - 29 Sept:

Israel remains the preeminent military power throughout the Middle East region. Nearly all analysts believe the Israelis capable of defeating any and all adversaries for the foreseeable future. Plus of course the Israelis have a significant quantity of nuclear weapons, which provides a tremendous deterrent as well as "the Sampson option".

Even so, tensions continue to rise in the region, especially with power transitions possibly coming soon in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the "Palestinian Authority". What's happenening today in so far as the arms build-ups and the rhetorical/theatrical displays of military might are primarily designed to push forward the various political positions. But even so it cannot be ruled out that continuing tensions could be set off by political sparks and terrorism which are sure to continue, regardless of further Israeli "redeployments" and more White House photo sessions.

On Wednesday Egypt will put on a major celebration to mark the anniversary of the Yom Kippur War some 25 years ago. Among other events there is to be a huge military parade, the first such parade since the assassination of President Anwar Sadat 17 years ago. Also this week Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak pardoned 2,300 criminals in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War while at the same time rebuffing Israeli concerns over the size and power of the revamped Egyptian army saying that Israel has such military might it has nothing to worry about.

The following report comes from a right-wing Israeli press organization known as Arutz-7.


Egypt's advanced plans for war against Israel were outlined in an extensive article in the weekend edition of HaTzofeh. HaTzofeh editor Gonen Ginat told Arutz-7 today that "Egypt's war plans have been discussed and boasted about openly by top members of the country's security establishment. For example, during Egypt's largest-ever military exercise in the fall of 1996, its Defense Minister Muhammad Dantawi told reporters straight out that the training was in preparation for an upcoming war with Israel." The article details Egypt's increased levels of arms, both in quality and quantity, in air, rocket, naval, and ground power. "The Egyptian military has become increasingly advanced," Ginat said, "thanks in part to more sophisticated U.S. tanks which the Americans have not only provided, but have trained the Egyptians to build independently. These tanks surpass those of Israel on a number of counts." When questioned as to why his paper, and not the political establishment, is disseminating this information, Ginat noted, "The issue of war with Egypt is taboo.

The attitude of the average Israeli is not to disturb one of the only peace treaties we have with a neighboring Arab state. As such, politicians are afraid to raise the issue with a public that is unwilling to confront it. This hesitance to upset people's perceptions reminds me of the story of my former editor, Ya'akov Erez, who was a military correspondent in 1973. He had written a report prior to the Yom Kippur War, warning of Egypt's imminent plans to attack Israel. The censor blocked the story. Erez has the report hanging over his desk to this day as a reminder that we can't afford to bury our heads in the sand." [Arutz-7's Yehoshua Mor-Yosef noted that the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot reported today that prior to the Yom Kippur War, exactly 25 years ago, the government received over 1500 intelligence reports regarding an imminent Arab attack.]



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