By John W. Amos II
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Extra resources for Arab-Israeli Military/Political Relations: Arab Perceptions and the Politics of Escalation
Syrian imagery is very much the consequence of a minority group outlook, an outlook t h a t is the product of hundreds of years of group dynamics in t h e Levant, whose existing conflict imagery has been intensified by its c o n t e m p o r a r y a r t i c u l a t i o n in t e r m s of Ba'th Socialist ideology. Egyptian imagery, by c o n t r a s t , is more closely tied t o the personality of a single decision m a k e r , originally t h a t of 'abd alNasir, now President al-Sadat. In many ways t h e October 1973 War is a replay of t h e earlier June War.
Israel was incensed by periodic Syrian shelling of border s e t t l e m e n t s , and by Syrian aid t o F a t a h . Jordan's conservative regime opposed t h e Syrians on two counts; because of t h e radical implications of Ba'th ideology operationalized in r e p e a t e d Syrian i n t e r f e r e n c e in Jordanian politics, and because of long standing Syrian claims to Northern Jordan itself. The government of Iraq was outraged by Syrian pipe c u t t i n g t a c t i c s as part of a dispute over IPC t r a n s i t revenues on pipelines crossing Syrian t e r r i t o r y .
The Egyptians saw t h e Syrians as their chief ideological rivals t o leadership of t h e Arab nationalist movement and were more than a l i t t l e concerned over t h e escalatory possibilities inherent in t h e Syrian doctrine, and p r a c t i c e of a popular war of liberation against Israel. Last but not least, t h e r e m n a n t s of t h e ousted Ba'th pan-Ar ab command were aggressively exploiting every opportunity t o bring t h e neo-Ba'th regime down. In this tense situation, an a r t i c l e appeared in al-Jaysh al-Sha'b (The People's Army), t h e official magazine of the Syrian a r m y .