The October 1973 War

Politics, Diplomacy, Legacy

Edited by
September 2013 9781849042963 320pp


The October War of 1973 (also known as the ‘Yom Kippur War’) was a watershed moment in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the modern Middle East more broadly. It marked the beginning of a US-led peace process between Israel and her Arab neighbours; it introduced oil diplomacy as a new means of leverage in international politics; and it affected irreversibly the development of the European Community and the Palestinian struggle for independence. Moreover, the regional order which emerged at the end of the war remained largely unchallenged for nearly four decades, until the recent wave of democratic revolutions in the Arab world. The fortieth anniversary of the October War provides a timely opportunity to reassess the major themes that emerged during the war and in its aftermath, and the contributors to this book provide the first comprehensive account of the domestic and international factors which informed the policies of Israel, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, as well as external actors before, during and after the war. In addition to chapters on the superpowers, the EU and the Palestinians, the book also deals with the strategic themes of intelligence and political economy, as well as the socio-political legacy of the war on Israeli and Arab societies.


‘…offers rich perspectives on a forty-year-old war that somehow does not recede in time.’ — Abraham Rabinovich author of The Yom Kippur War, in The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

‘Siniver’s study of this watershed event will interest all who wish to understand the complexity of the Egypt-Israel relationship.’ — History Today

‘A comprehensive account of events leading up to the war and the actual course of the conflict.’ — Survival

‘Asaf Siniver has been able to assemble an impressive group of scholars to bring new light to bear on the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. … the chapters are well researched and present largely convincing pictures of aspects of this major crisis. an important book for anyone interested in the Arab-Israeli conflict at one of its seminal moments.’ — William Quandt, Journal of Cold War Studies

‘An important and authoritative reconstruction by one of the most talented stables of historians and experts ever assembled. “The Yom Kippur War” is highly relevant today, as the world faces a new era of upheaval with the potential for war in the Middle East. This comprehensive volume will help a new generation of readers — scholarly and otherwise — puzzle through the lessons learned from the region’s most violent clash between Arabs and Israelis.’ — Patrick Tyler, author of A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East from the Cold War to the War on Terror and Fortress Israel: The Inside Story of the Military Elite Who Run the Country and Why They Can’t Make Peace

‘Finally, forty years after the October 1973 War, a comprehensive, 360-degree analysis of a seminal moment in the long-running dispute between Israel and her Arab neighbours. By looking at the war from every perspective, not only from Tel Aviv, Cairo, Damascus and Amman, but from Washington,  Moscow, and Europe, the whole picture comes into focus. In the process, it shows those of us who covered the war, how little we knew and understood at the time.’ — Terence Smith, Israel correspondent for The New York Times during the Yom Kippur War

‘The book offers a comprehensive account of events leading up to the war and the actual course of the conflict.’ —Ray Takeyh, Survival


Asaf Siniver is Senior Lecturer in International Security in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include conflict resolution, international mediation and the Arab-Israeli conflict, and his work has appeared in various academic journals. He is the author of Nixon, Kissinger and US Foreign Policy: The Machinery of Crisis and the editor of International Terrorism post-9/11: Comparative Dynamics and Responses. He is a Leverhulme Research Fellow (2011-13) and Associate Editor of the journal Civil Wars.

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