LONDON (Oct. 15)
Diplomatic sources in Cairo believe that the post-Nasser regime in Egypt is too weak to remove Soviet missiles from the standstill cease-fire zone without risking an Army revolt, it was reported today. They say that only the late President Nasser commanded sufficient support to make such a move and even then it would have been no more than a token removal of one or two missiles. According to the sources the Suez cease-fire may remain in effect after its Nov. 5 deadline but it will never revert to a standstill cease-fire. The pace of materiel movement into the truce zone is believed to have increased since the Jordanian civil war and diplomats in Egypt say it is unrealistic for the United States to expect a pull-back. They express hope that after the U.S. elections Washington will temper its tough stand on truce violations.
Sources here believe that despite the Egyptian build-up Israel would still have a military edge should the cease-fire end next month, though Israel would probably have to take higher casualties and aircraft losses than they did during their one-sided pounding of Egyptian missile sites and bases before the Aug. 7 truce. Meanwhile, nearly eight million Egyptians are casting ballots today in a national referendum that is believed virtually certain to give acting President Anwar Sadat an overwhelming endorsement as successor to the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Mr. Sadat was unanimously nominated by the Egyptian National Assembly to serve a full five year term. He was selected for the office by the executive committee of the Arab Socialist Union, Egypt’s only political party. Voters must mark one of two circles on the ballot card beneath the question, “Do you agree to the election of Anwar Sadat as President of the Republic?” The red circle signifies yes and the black circle no. Egyptians on the electoral list, including 700,000 women, face a penalty or fine if they fail to vote without good cause such as illness.