Forty-Three years since the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War
The October 1973 War was 43 years ago this month. What follows is the US Intelligence Estimate when the war started on October 6; Records of its unfolding as seen from Washington are found in 900 pages in the Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume XXV, pp.283-1202.
US Special Intelligence Estimate
SNIE 35/36–73 | Washington, October 6, 1973.
ARAB-ISRAELI HOSTILITIES AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS
Heavy fighting is almost certain to be short in duration—no more than a week. Neither side is logistically prepared for lengthy hostilities. The Israelis have the strength to blunt the Syrian offensive capability within a few days and, as quickly, to push the Egyptians back across the canal. Fighting on a lesser scale, say an artillery duel across the canal, however, could be more prolonged.
The hostilities pose serious threat to American interests. All Arabs, even those most well disposed to the US, will press Washington to be at least even-handed, if not to join in sanctions against Israel. The more radical states—Libya, Syria, and Iraq in particular—will be strident in attacking the US. They will not limit themselves to oratory and maneuvers in the UN but will also foster moves against US personnel and property in their own countries and elsewhere. Even moderates like Kings Husayn and Faysal will be under increasing pressure to distance themselves from the US.
Some interruption of oil supply to the West is likely, whether through Arab government action or through sabotage of oil facilities. Libya is almost certain to be the first to retaliate against Western oil interests. Particularly if the fighting does not end immediately, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are likely to limit oil production and may join in a general oil embargo. Though this would most hurt Western Europe and Japan in the first instance it would also aggravate the present supply problems in the US. The Arabs would hope that the West Europeans and Japan would press the US to bring influence to bear on Israel.
The Soviets will have to give political support to the Arab side, but they are following a cautious policy and would probably be willing to concert with the US in dampening tensions.