A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Egypt Says There Will Be a Ground Campaign in Yemen: Perhaps They Should Ask Nasser about That

The Associated Press is quoting Egyptian officials as saying there will be a ground campaign in Egypt after the airstrikes have weakened the Houthis, involving Egyptian and Saudi troops..

Those who do not remember history  . . .

Between 1962 and 1967, Egyptian forces were deployed in then North Yemen, supporting the republican side in a civil war in which Saudi Arabia backed the royalist side. At its peak, Egypt deployed 70,000 troops; perhaps 26,000 died. Egypt was still engaged in Yemen at the time of the Six-Day War with Israel, weakening its abilities to resist the Israeli pre-emptive strike. The losses in Yemen and the defeat by Israel weakened Nasser and Egyptian troops were withdrawn from Yemen. Nasser died of a heart attack in 1970 at the age of only 52.

Of course, most Egyptians today are too young to remember that Yemen War (but not Husni Mubarak, who flew bombers there), and today they and the Saudis are on the same side.

But it's worth noting. President Sisi is often compared to Nasser, but he should also take a lesson from Nasser's biggest blunder.

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