With Arab countries throughout the Middle East marking the 35th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak called on his countrymen to embrace the “spirit of October,” while a Syrian newspaper called for unity among Arab nations.
Speaking on Sunday in Cairo, Mubarak called on the people of Egypt to strengthen their nation by demonstrating the victorious spirit that supposedly prevailed in Cairo during their last war with Israel. An Egyptian media outlet also called on the government to release documents about the war that have been classified up to now, in order to underscore the “great Arab victory” in 1973.
Meanwhile, the Syrian newspaper Tishrin called on the Arab nations to unite “just as they did 35 years ago.” The newspaper also pointed to the ongoing negotiations with Israel over the Golan Heights, and reminded readers that “even the prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, said that there would not be peace with Damscus unless all of the land was returned.” Syria has been in an official state of war with Israel since 1973, as it continues to refuse to sign any kind of armistice deal with its neighbor.
Arab nations are known to regard the Yom Kippur War as a victory against the Zionist aggressor. According to some historians, Egypt, which started the war by attacking Israeli fortifications along the Suez canal, knew that it would not be able to completely destroy the Jewish state. Rather, Egyptian and Syrian leaders hoped to use the war to awaken Israel to the reality of a much stronger Arab military and to force Israel to negotiate away some of the land it won in the previous 1967 war.
Within a decade of the 1973 war, Israel indeed gave away the entire Sinai peninsula, and is currently considering the return of the Golan Heights to Syria. Therefore, according to certain analysts, the Arab nations can indeed claim victory.
According to Army Radio, another Egyptian media source used the opportunity to urge the Egyptian government to release classified documents about the war. Declassifying the documents, the news agency said, would help maintain the "heritage of the great Arab victory."