13 October 1973
Arab-Israeli Hostilities:.. Two Scenarios

The Arab-Israeli war is approaching a decisive turning point. Because of the lack of detailed information concerning
several critical variables, it is impossible to predict with great confidence how events on the battlefield will develop.
We have, however, in this paper constructed what seem to be the most likely alternative scenarios and their

Scenario. I: Israeli Retribution


When the fighting began on Saturday, the Israeli reserves were not mobilized. Only blocking forces were deployed in the
areas where the Syrians and the Egyptians attacked. Israel's strategy was to hold on until their mobilized strength could
be pressed against the Arabs.. This strategy appears to be working. The small number of Israeli. troops initially deployed
on the Golan Heights held long enough for the mobilized force to get into position and the tide of battle has turned in
Israel's favor. Along the Suez Canal, the Bar Lev defense line has done the job of tripping the Egyptian offensive. The
attacking Egyptian forces have not driven deep into the Sinai. The Israeli strategy at this point appears to be to destroy
the Syrian military forces while simply containing the large Egyptian force that has crossed over to the east bank
of the Suez Canal. Once the job on the Syrian front is completed--probably within a few days--the Israelis will most
likely attempt to launch a major offensive against the Egyptians.

Assessment at Mid-Week

On the Golan Heights, the Syrians have fought better than anticipated. To stop the drive, the Israelis relied primarily
on their air power, but this has proved to be costly in aircraft losses. Time was bought, however, and sufficient armor
strength is now in the area for the Israelis to press the counterattack across the 1967 cease-fire line and on to
Damascus. The highest Israeli priority will be the destruction of the Syrian forces rather. than additional territorial

In the Sinai, the overall levelof action has been less intense. The Egyptians moved quickly and. easily. across the
Canal and were able to rapidly establish several bridgeheads. The Israeli forces along the Canal itself at the time numbered
only a few thousand men, equipped with .about two .hundred tanks.
- -These outnumbered units fought a delaying action before being forced to abandon virtually all the Bar Lev Line. outposts on
the east bank of the canal. Israel's main force in Sinai has not yet been committed,
however. It now appears that..the Israelis are holding back until the reserves from Israel can link up. When all is in
place, the Israelis will strike back with a counterattack intended to destroy the Egyptians forces now in Sinai.
- Israel's Capability to Do It

The major determining factor in the overall strategy is whether Israel still has the strength to launch major counterattacks.
Because the Arabs have fought well, Israel's .losses have been higher than anticipated. Measured against the .size
of the total .force, however, it still appears that the Israelis have sufficient numbers of aircraft, tanks, and men to achieve
their objective--to roll back the attackers to the 1967 line and destroy the attacking Syrian and Egyptian forces.
A Jordanian entry into the war would draw off Israel's strength from the Syrian front. The Israelis can probably
handle the Jordanian forces without heavy losses, but they would be forced to alter the timetable of.their plans on the
other more important fronts. Israel's aircraft losses are probably the most serious element in the equation. About 100 planes have been lost out of Israel's total. inventory of some 350 combat aircraft. The Israelis reportedly have now cleared most of the SAM defenses from the Golan Heights; unless the Syrians receive major re-supply of SAM's Israeli aircraft losses probably
will be low on the Syrian front.



    On the Egyptian front, the Israelis can expect to lose more planes. Egypt's SAM defenses are still largely in place
    and only a small part of its air force has been committed. Once the Israelis begin counterattacking in force, however, the total strength of the Egyptian air force should enter the battle. To conserve their aircraft, the Israelis may rely on their armor to destroy the Egyptian forces in Sinai. In terms of tanks, the Israelis have lost some 600 tanks. Although their loss is about 30 percent of the total tank inventory, the Israelis have more tanks now than they did when. the 1967 war broke out. In the absence of a new threat on the Eastern Front, the Israelis have sufficient ground and air combat strength to destroy the Egyptian forcesin the Sinai. The Israelis also may decide to cross the Canal to destroy the remaining elements of the Egyptian Army, even at the expense of heavy casualties. And finally manpower. The Israelis may. have suffered losses of more than 1,000 men--already several hundred more than were lost in the Six Day War. This is still a .small percentage of Israel's entire mobilized force of some 300,000 men, however. Manpower losses are not. likely to be a determining factor in Israeli strategy at this stage of the war. The losses will only fill the Israelis with greater resolve to strike back hard.


    In the Israeli mind, this war is the "Day of Judgment War". It has become a no-holds-barred affair., and the
    Israelis are determined to punish the Arabs. Chief of Staff David Elezar has said that the objective now is to "break their bones."Given this mental state, the Israelis probably are willing to pay the high cost in men and equipment necessary to demonstrate the consequences of attacking Israel. This war is becoming .increasingly bloody, and from Israel's point of view, cannot continue over a long period of time.

  • It almost let the Israel using nuclear weapons as it forces were routed. Something to ponder and think about.
  • In 2006, the Hezoballah beat and kicked out the Israeli army of Lebanon.
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