Do the Arabs acknowledge Israeli military prowess?

It’s as valid as your third person reports about people in countries that aren’t yours.

It’s not even remotely unbelievable. I’ve heard that sentiment myself, too. Why wouldn’t an Arab also say it?

Well, my Egyptian guides only briefly mentioned the topic of the war, only they seemed to be repeating the propaganda they learned growing up, that in 1973 the Israelis and Egyptians fought to a draw after some back and forth. (Or was it forth and back?)

“Ineffective” ???

Frequently defeated" ???

What a joke.

On the historical record, from the time of the 1948&ff Israeli War of Independence onward, the Arabs have stood no chance of putting a dent in the IDF, which has been held back not by military events, bui by international politics.

God I wish we could sent the IDF, all out, against ISIS. ISIS would be massacred.

Notice how ISIS doesn’t mess with Israel.

In one of the wars – 1973? – commentators dismissed Arab claims that Israel started it by pointing out that if it had, the army would have already pushed all the way to the various capitals. How can Israeli military prowess not be acknowledged? Perhaps the “frequently defeated” remark refers to various guerrilla actions against it such as the Intifada and not a formal war?

It’s just fodder for the locals, who don’t mostly don’t buy it anyway. As you say, Israel could control of everything in the triangle formed of Cairo, Beirut, and Amman. The only reason they don’t is because of interference from the west. The lack of wars started against Israel by the people who say they want destroy the country and all of it’s Jewish inhabitants is a tremendous acknowledgement of Israeli military prowess.

I mentioned message boards because it’s the way I keep in touch with the Musim point of view on a daily basis. Being a French speaker, I’m sure that you know that these boards are often linked to serious and reputable Muslim news sites., or come to mind. Are you saying that what appears in the articles from these sources is worthless? If yes, I disagree.

But that’s not even the point. From your posts, I often get the feeling that while you are definitely knowledgable on these subjects, you often come off as a kind of know-it-all who is prone to calling people ignorant. A bit of humility on your part would be welcome. And you know nothing about me and my experience. For all you know, I could be an Arab myself.

For the record, I have travelled extensively for the past decade in North Africa, staying with the people and talking to them on a daily basis, not hidden in one of those exclusive hotels that cater to foreigners. I’d never pose as a specialist of the Arab World, but I do have a first hand experience of how the people live, and what they think that extends well beyond message boards.

Yes. Anyone in the West with more than a cursory knowledge of WWII is or should be well aware that the Eastern Front is where the German Army bled out.

I was going to use the 1973 war to demonstrate that Israel’s Arab neighbors do in fact acknowledge Israeli military prowess. You’ve got a few things wrong here though.

The resupply efforts had more of an effect as political backing than doing anything to change the military outcome. Expenditures of ammunition by both sides were higher than anticipated, but neither side depleted their pre-war stocks during the war. The effect the resupply had was both sides were able to continue expending ammunition at a prodigious rate without having to restrict daily expenditures as they knew more ammunition was arriving by the thousands of tons. Actual losses of equipment - tanks, aircraft, artillery, etc - could not be replaced by the resupply during the course of the war.

This is simply not true; the Egyptians had meticulously planned the crossing of the Suez, and stunned the Israelis with the speed with which they were able to cross it, bridge it, breach the 60 foot high sand berm (they did it with high pressure water cannons) and get large amounts of armor onto the far side. What they did not do was to then try charging half-way across the Sinai, the deepest they advanced was a dozen or so miles at which point they stopped and dug in. Map here. Advancing further would have meant leaving the protective umbrella of their fixed SAM sites on the western bank of the Suez, exposing them to the full fury of the Israeli Air Force, and would have meant engaging the IDF in fluid, mobile combat which it had demonstrated in every previous war it was far superior at. The Egyptian Army stayed on the defensive from Oct 6-13th, repulsing every Israeli tank-heavy counterattack on their bridgehead. By the 14th, however, the situation on the Syrian front had grown so bad that Egypt could not politically afford to be seen doing nothing while its ally was being pummeled by Israel. The Egyptians launched a disastrous attack against the Israeli lines, immediately after which the Israeli superiority in conducting rapid, fluid, mobile operations was again demonstrated as they swiftly delivered a riposte which re-crossed the Suez and pinned the Egyptian 3rd Army against the Suez, map here.

Let’s cut the garbage.
In print, the ME Nations accuse the Israelis of witchcraft, sorcery, an omniscient Intel service, & everything else you can think of. They babble accusations of secret US support/spies, secret UK support/spies, secret UN support/spies, vast conspiracies trying to hide the “fact” that Arabs are great, Space Aliens blocking Arab victories…etc-etc-etc.

At no time do the accept responsibility for their failures, nor out & out admit the Israelis are better fighters.


This is absolutely, positively NOT the same thing. Whether someone does or does not acknowledge the contributions of the USSR, UK, and others does not change the fact that the Germans lost the war in the most conclusive and indisputable terms.

We are talking about people whose governments refuse to even acknowledge the fact that they lost the wars. Egyptians annually celebrate their “victory” in the Yom Kippur War, for example.

Reminds me of a fine joke from the 1970s.

Two old Israeli men are sitting on a park bench reading their newspapers. One has the Tel Aviv Times, the other the Cairo Daily Word.

The one man says “Shlomo, I’ve known you for decades and you are a fine man and a good observant Jew. But why do you read the newspaper of our enemies the Egyptians?”

The other replies “But Yitzhak, look at your own paper. In it we are desperately outnumbered, beset on all sides by hostile forces and under constant attack both at home and abroad. But in *my *paper we Jews rule the world, controlling all we don’t already own. Our all-knowing agents are everywhere; our leaders are clever and all-powerful. I like my paper’s news much better.”

And? They did win a victory in the 1973 war, no need to put it in quotes. Militarily their crossing of the Suez, one of the most difficult water obstacles on the planet and overcoming the Bar Lev Line was both a victory and a tremendous military achievement. It tends to be what Egyptians think of when they recall the 1973 war. Israelis tend to recall the IDF re-crossing the Suez and on the outskirts of Damascus on the Syrian front. Politically the war achieved its aims for Egypt; it led directly to the peace talks with Israel that resulted in the Camp David Accords in which Egypt got the Sinai back from Israel in exchange for formally making peace with Israel, which made Egypt a pariah in the Arab world.

Arabs can be excellent soldiers. The British-trained Jordanian army in the Arab-Israeli war of the late 60s more than held their own against the Israelis.

What are you talking about? The Egyptians indisputably lost by every conceivable measure. They suffered more dead and they lost territory.Their third army was encircled. Israeli forces were within 100k.m of Cairo. The Syrians did even worse. The lowest Arab casualty estimates are still double that of Israel. The Arabs lost 334 aircraft to Israel’s five. FIVE.

So, aside from the hilariously lopsided ass-kicking, let’s look at the Egyptian political fallout. Egypt’s second and third army commanders were fired. The second army commander was getting his ass kicked so hard he had a mental breakdown in the middle of battle. General Shazly, Egypt’s overall commander, was fired and exiled. He wrote a book panning Sadat, which was banned in Egypt.

So please, explain to me again, what indisputably victorious army loses more men, loses territory, sacks it’s commanders, and blackballs it’s supreme leader? Because all that sounds to me like the exact opposite of what “victory” is supposed to be.

Your argument is that Egypt won an indisputable victory because the first offensive went well for them, which completely ignores the fact that everything that followed was a farce.

I don’t understand what part of MD2000’s post was “simply not true.” The Israelis DID massively underestimate Egypt and Syria. The Egyptian offensive was very well executed, but Israel’s failure to predict it is extremely well documented and regarded as a historic case study in hubris, groupthink, and failed intelligence analysis. The Israelis massively and indisputably did underestimate their opponents.

Yes, the IDF did such a good job getting Hezbollah out of south Lebanon, and pacifying Gaza permanently, not once but three times in a row… and will probably do again.

There are some things even the smartest, biggest or best supplied army in the world cannot do, as Dick Cheney also discovered the hard way.

Thanks. That was my point, that the Egyptians got as far as they did considering how good the Israelis are was a major surprise.

(BTW, the Israelis never got within 100km of Cairo. They stopped at the Kilometer 101 point, IIRC, because otherwise the Russians threatened to flatten Israel with nukes.)

Uh, you gotta cite for that?

Wikipedia says:

Tension… ceasefire imposed. Nudge nudge wink wink.

More likely, the IDF recognized at the same time that trying to control a massive crowded city (or two, if you include Damascus) was not a good idea anyway, and they’d made their point.

I think the part about getting halfway across Sinai.

The two sides are using different metrics for “victory”.

The Israelis did underestimate the Egyptians, and the Egyptians did win a notable battle.

However, they then when on to lose the war in very convincing style - and ended up totally at the mercy of their enemy (protected by the UN Ceasefire and, even in the absence of that, Israeli desire not to over-reach).

To use the WW2 analogy raised above, no-one would claim Germany really “won” because of its initial successes against the West and East. Typically, what counts in war is winning the war - not a battle in the war. The “winner” can lose every battle except the last one!

The notion that Egypt “won the peace” is also a trifle more complex: Egypt had signed on to the “Three Nos” after 1967 (which effectively meant, no consideration of the ‘land for peace’ deal Israel was offering). What 1973 did was more significant for the psychology of the Egyptian leadership than anything else: it simultaneously recovered their military ‘honour’ (because they at least made a good showing, unlike the total humiliation of 1967), and made them tired of being the ones to always pay the price for Arab unity - so enabled them to accept a deal that the Israelis already had on the table. Of course, the war also had its effect on the Israelis, who came to acknowledge that they had to take the Egyptians more seriously and not discount them as they had after 1967.

This is indeed what I meant.

And again, this is precisely what I meant; there is nothing at all odd about Egypt celebrating a very difficult and hard fought victory in the 1973 war regardless of its ultimate outcome.

Just to note a couple of things: they were protected by more than just the UN ceasefire. The USSR had placed 7 airborne divisions on alert and was threatening to intervene; marshalling the airlift for them caused a temporary reduction in the Soviet airlift of supplies. How at the mercy of their enemy the Egyptians actually were is also a matter of some debate. Regarding the trapped Third Army:

See above; you are also way, way,** way** off on Israeli aircraft losses. The lowest figures from the IAF itself are 102 aircraft lost:

I’d also note that since it had a population base so much smaller than its neighbors a 2-1 casualty ratio was more painful for Israel than its neighbors. That was the entire point of the War of Attrition from 1967-70.

Regarding losing territory, to reiterate it led directly to the Camp David Accords in which Egypt recovered the Sinai in exchange for a peace treaty with Israel.