Thursday, June 19, 2014

II. The Brink: October 1973

Sadat's surprise attack had caught the Israelis by surprise, and they were reeling. The Prime Minister was bluntly warned that "The Third Temple was falling. Ammunition and other military supplies were desperately short. The Soviets had already begun a massive resupply effort to Syria and Egypt. Wary of offending the Arabs, Washington first hesitated, then rushed supplies into Israel in an effort that was intended to be secret, but thanks to wind and weather, wasn't.

Simultaneously, the Arab Oil countries unilaterally raised the price of oil by 70% [to $5.11/barrel!]. The Arabs were deciding how to use the oil weapon.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the Saturday Night Massacre had occurred and Nixon became preoccupied with the ongoing Watergate induced collapse of his presidency. Kissinger was running US foreign policy. But resupply of Israel had succeeded, and then it became Egypt's Third Army that was on the brink of annihilation.

Soviet leader Brezhnev bluntly warned that the Soviets would not allow that to happen, and Soviet paratroops were at the ready. Soviets ships had moved into the area, and the ominous leaks of radioactive material suggested nuclear babies on board.

Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states declared an oil embargo.