The Ingenious General

Had Ariel Sharon never entered politics, he would still be known around the world as a military commander and tactician. In both roles, he was extraordinary, because his methods diverged from normal military practices, even in the unconventional Israeli army.

WASHINGTON, DC – Had Ariel Sharon never entered politics, he would still be known around the world as a military commander and tactician. In both roles, he was extraordinary, because his methods diverged from normal military practices, even in the unconventional Israeli army.

Consider the Yom Kippur War. On October 16, 1973, ten days after Egypt’s army surprised the Israelis by crossing the Suez Canal, Sharon turned defeat into victory by leading his own troops across the canal through a narrow gap in the Egyptian front. The Israelis swiftly spread out behind the Egyptians, overrunning anti-aircraft batteries and blocking supply and reinforcement routes.

Within six days, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had to plead for an immediate, unconditional ceasefire: so many Egyptian units were cut off, wrecked by air strikes, under attack, or fully encircled that no major forces were left to stop the advancing Israelis – not even to guard the road to Cairo.

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