Historical Security Council
United Kingdom


Cite as

Position paper

United Kingdom in Historical Security Council
Subject: Yom Kippur War

I.                    October 13th , 1973

Israel’s victory in the 1967 war has left the Jewish state in control of territory four times its previous size. In Egypt, President Anwar el-Sadat has taken office in 1970, after Nasser has suddenly died. He quickly found himself as a leader of a very troubled nation. He intended to maintain peace with Israel and recover Sinai through diplomatic means, but this has quickly proven to be incredibly unlikely.

Thus, he made the decision to attack Israel. He has declared that he is prepared to “sacrifice a million

Egyptian soldiers" to recover Egypt’s lost territory. In 1972, Syria, Egypt and Libya have formed the Federation of Arab Republics and prepared for war.

On Oct. 6, 1973, on Yom Kippur Day, which is the holiest day for Jews, most Israeli soldiers were away from their posts. The traffic on streets was practically non-existent and shops were closed. Nobody suspected the imminent assault. El-Sadat knew exactly how to use this to his advantage. At 2:00 pm on October 6, Operation Badr started. Egypt and Syria launched a coordinated attack on Israeli positions along the Suez Canal and in the Golan Heights starting the Yom Kippur War. Equipped with modern Soviet weaponry, Egyptian troops have crossed the canal and secured a beachhead in the eastern portion of the Sinai Desert, breaching Israel’s Bar-Lev line. Iraqi forces have soon joined combat and helped the Syrian troops to defeat Israeli forces in Golan Heights.

For several days, the Israeli were unable to push back the attackers. Their first attempts to counterattack were majorly unsuccessful. Israeli forces couldn’t have matched the Arabs in terms of equipment. It wasn’t until Oct. 9 that President Richard Nixon authorized an airlift of military supplies to Israel. On Oct. 10, Israeli forces were finally on par with the attackers and have managed to reconquer a significant part of their territory in southern Golan. They haven’t stopped there and continued to advance up in the direction of Damascus. This has put the Soviet forces on alert, as Syrian Arab Republic was their major ally in the Middle East. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has warned the USSR that if they were to send troops to the Middle East, US would as well, leading to an increase of tensions between those superpowers.

On the day of the conference, October 13, the war is largely undecided. It has become clear to the world that this is a case of a proxy war, a conflict were big superpowers fight for influence using indirect means, such as supplying sides with arms and other means of support, but without direct involvement.

II.                  Background

The conflict between the Arabs an...