De ingenieuze generaal

WASHINGTON, DC – Ook als Ariel Sharon nooit de politiek was ingegaan, zou hij nog steeds bekend staan als militair commandant en tacticus. In beide rollen was hij uitzonderlijk, omdat zijn methoden afweken van de normale militaire praktijk, zelfs in het onconventionele Israëlische leger.

Neem de Jom Kippoer-oorlog. Op 16 oktober 1973, tien dagen nadat het Egyptische leger de Israëli's had verrast door het Suezkanaal over te steken, liet Sharon een nederlaag in een triomf omslaan door zijn eigen troepen over het Kanaal te leiden via een klein gaatje in het Egyptische front. De Israëli’s verspreidden zich snel langs de achterhoede van de Egyptenaren, overrompelden het luchtdoelgeschut en blokkeerden de aanvoer- en versterkingsroutes.

Binnen zes dagen moest de Egyptische president Anwar Sadat pleiten voor een onmiddellijk, onvoorwaardelijk staakt-het-vuren: er waren zo veel Egyptische eenheden afgesneden, vernietigd door luchtaanvallen, belaagd of volledig omsingeld, dat er geen troepen meer over waren om de opmars van de Israëli's tegen te houden – zelfs niet om de weg naar Cairo te beschermen.

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