Mohamed A. El-Erian
During the war of attrition that followed Egypt's defeat in the June 1967 war with Israel, underlying tensions festered. While the parallels with today's European debt crisis are far from perfect – the threat is economic rather than military – there is a real sense of “no peace and no war.”
NEWPORT BEACH – I was nine years old when Egypt entered what became known as its “war of attrition” with Israel. During this period of “no war and no peace,” underlying tensions festered, and a fragile tranquility was periodically interrupted by armed skirmishes.
The war of attrition followed the June 1967 war, in which Egypt – to the immense surprise of most of its citizens and the outside world – was soundly defeated. Its air force was crippled and its army was virtually overrun, with Israel capturing the entire Sinai Peninsula.
Positioned on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal, Israel’s army was just over 100 kilometers from Cairo. And, with Israeli jet fighters still controlling the airspace, Egypt’s capital and its major population centers were greatly exposed.
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