A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, July 20, 2012

40 Years On: Sadat Expels the Russian Advisers

I'm two days late with this, but July 18 marked the 40th anniversary of Anwar Sadat's expulsion of Soviet advisers from Egypt in July of 1972.  In my musings last month on my own 40th anniversary of arriving in the Middle East for the first time, I noted that Soviet and East Bloc advisers were still very much on evidence when I got there. They remained so up to the 1973 war, but the expulsion of the military "advisers" (many of were actually flying aircraft, manning SAM sites, etc., though that was not acknowledged) in the summer of 1972, was memorable, however. I was living in an apartment along the Nile, and as we looked out from our balcony one day after we'd been there a month or so, we watched waves of big Antonov transports flying eastward over the city. In retrospect they were probably flying our of Cairo West and other bases to the west of the city, heading back to the USSR. At the time we feared it was a major buildup moving troops to the Suez Canal. Either later that day or the next day, all was explained when it was announced that the Soviet advisers (some 20,000 of them) had been kicked out.

A documentary on that era:

1 comment:

David Mack said...

Part of Anwar Sadat's grand strategy to reestablish Egypt's independence of action and, as a result, to gain our favorable attention. He served Egypt well. Too bad it did not insure him against extremist attacks.