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Egypt’s Effectiveness in New Conflict with Israel Assessed

The chances of renewed warfare with Egypt and that country’s effectiveness in a new conflict with Israel were assessed by Israeli sources today. The concensus was that while Egypt possesses vastly superior equipment and fire-power than it did in 1967, the quality of Egyptian soldiers has changed little and they could probably not sustain an all-out drive to recapture the Sinai.

The Israeli sources said the main pressure for a new war was coming from the junior and middle echelon officers of the Egyptian Army and that it was being exerted on the political leadership through the Arab Socialist Union. Egypt’s political party. As a result, sources said, while the idea of talks has not been abandoned in Cairo, the Egyptian Army has made every preparation for a resumption of war.

According to the Israelis, the Egyptians have three options: To attempt a large scale crossing of the Suez Canal which is a very complicated operation and stands little chance of success given the quality of the Egyptian soldier; to resume the war of attrition, applying its superior fire power; or to secure a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal and to hold it until the United Nations imposes a cease-fire which would freeze the situation.

The Israeli sources believe that if Egypt went to war again, Syria would follow and would provide bases for Egyptian aircraft. The Israelis are convinced that a new arms deal was concluded by President Sadat when he visited Moscow in Oct. and that it apparently included the new Tupolev-16 bombers that were delivered to Egypt recently. The Israelis noted that Egyptian war preparations in the Suez area included the construction of paved roads to points along the waterway apparently selected as crossovers for an impending amphibious thrust to the east bank.

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