September 29, 1998
Mubarak: Israeli claims on Egypt's growing military power, unacceptable
President Hosni Mubarak said that peace should be supported with power. "Israel wants to monopolise all types of nuclear weapons and missiles and wants to deny others the right to procure the same weapons," said Mubarak in an exclusive interview with the mass circulation daily "Al Ahram".
"It is quite surprising that while the whole world is playing the deaf at such Israeli attitude, questions surface up whenever "we" obtain a missile, said Mubarak in the, first part of the interview which is published in Al-Ahram newspaper Tuesday.
"There must be a balance of power," said Mubarak, noting that Israeli allegations about the growing Egyptian military power is unacceptable. "What does this mean at a time Israel owns all kinds of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, wondered President Mubarak.
"Is the talk about Egypt's growing military power a pre-emptive attack to cover up the launch of the missile they (Israelis) tested. Or is it an attack they launch so that we, as they imagine, may get bored of their attitude and ask the Palestinians to approve what they are presented with and end up the whole matter to aveid headache, is that possible" he exclaimed.
In his interview with "Al-Ahram," President Hosni Mubarak deplored the sabre-rattling way of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at a time when Egypt and the Arabs want peace and co-existence to materialize in the Middle East region.
"Netanyahu has attacked Camp David peace agreements and Oslo accords," said Mubarak, arguing that had it not been for Camp David, Netanyahu would not have become a Premier.
"Camp David accords were the driving force behind peace with Egypt, negotiations with the Palestinians and the initiations of talks with Syria," he noted.
Mubarak said the Israelis seem to be oblivious and that the danger lies in the power-arrogance enveloping them, noting that war will not sort out the problem.
If Netanyahu is threatening to launch a war, "I want to remind everybody that war has not ever settled an issue and we have so many living examples for this," said President Mubarak.
Mubarak reminded of the lessons taught by the war of attrition that preceded the glorious victory of October 1973.
"The Egyptian Armed Forces acquired a lot of experience from the war of attrition as regards dealing with the enemy, its tactics and combat means," the President said. "Preparation of the war took tremendous efforts from both the Air Forces and other army forces as well," he stressed. He praised the marvellous role of the Air Force and lauded their magnificent performance at a time when some of the equipment they used were not quite well advanced.
The President termed the October War as an ideal one as far as planning, preparedness, task-defining and performance are concerned.
"Egypt carried out the first air strike with the least possible losses," said Mubarak, remarking that out of some 230 planes, the Egyptian Air Force lost only 11.
The Russian war experts estimated the primary losses in the first air strike at 25 percent of the total Egyptian planes, and at 33 percent in the second one, said Mubarak. He emphasised that the early strike was a smashing success and helped raise the army morale. President Mubarak also recalled how the pre-war rumours attempted to intimidate the Egyptians that the Suez Canal crossing was not possible even with the use of an atomic bomb and how the Russians alleged that half the Egyptian forces will be burned in the Canal water because of the liquid napalm.
"The aim was to drive us to abject frustration," noted Mubarak.
When the first strike succeeded, the soldiers rushed to cross in mass without even waiting for orders, he said. "We crossed the Canal and fought bravely and defeated the Russian allegations that the crossing was impossible even with an atomic bomb in our hands," added Mubarak. "The Israeli penetration of the Egyptian forces frontline in Sinai was no more than a diehard
operation of despair on the part of Israel," remarked Mubarak.
(To be continued)