As it does every year, Egypt this year celebrated the 1973 "October War" (the Yom Kippur War) with a slew of festive performances, laser shows and media coverage highlighting their heroic "victory."
If there is truth to the Israeli conspiracy theory that we aimed to restore Arab's wounded pride from the 1967 Six-Day War by means of a calculated "defeat," then judging by steps that brought the peace between Israel and Egypt and by the annual celebrations, the lost Arab pride has indeed been restored.
Since 1973, Egyptian pride has been reinforced by nostalgic films showing the fighting on the Suez Canal, the brilliant decision-making by Egyptian generals in battle and the amazing success story of Egypt's military intelligence, which successfully fooled "the Israeli enemy." The hostile terminology used by some of the speakers brings concern that things have not changed and Israel, with which Egypt has signed peace accords, remains the enemy. Not one of the speakers mentioned, even for history's sake, the fact that at the end of Syria and Egypt's surprise attack on Israel and numerical superiority were thwarted and pushed back to the outskirts of their own capitals, the IDF being only 101 kilometers (63 miles) from Cairo.
Arab pride was salvaged and the achievements of the October war were used as restoration glue and a tranquility spell for the masses in Egypt and Syria, to cover up poverty and their regimes' failed attempts to advance their nations.
This year, following the dismal interim results of the Arab Spring, the October victory celebrations were accompanied by a sense of falling astray. October War "victor" Hafez Assad's son Bashar and murderous Islamist movements continue to massacre each other in Syria, the price of the fighting being paid by the Syrian people their disintegrating military.
Egypt's celebrations have been mired by a sense of gloom. The interim Egyptian government has been fighting to stamp out the Muslim Brotherhood, a battle which seems to be almost won. The apparent victors, President Adly Mansour and his defense minister, Col. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, are proceeding to make populist and pro-Palestinian speeches, and hinting at starting a civilian nuclear program.
During his October War speech, Sissi claimed that his country was saved at the last minute from the choke hold of the Muslim Brotherhood, which sought to establish a dark, Islamist, sectorial dictatorship that brought Egypt to the brink of civil war. Sissi told the Egyptians they had the strength of the pyramids.
Egypt's victory this October appears to be a bitter one. The Egyptian government has been embroiled in fighting Islamist terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula, is now facing global condemnation for the deaths of Muslim Brotherhood protesters at the hands of security forces. Despite the interim government's announcement that they will ratify a new constitution and hold new elections as dictated by the "road map," the Muslim Brotherhood continues to incite the masses to protest the military coup "peacefully," when they are in actuality using fire arms against the Egyptian military.
The situation in Egypt continues to escalate. After the Egyptian mufti banned protests for the haj season, the Muslim Brotherhood staged a series of attacks which amounted to dozens killed. Among their attacks were: a massive car bomb at a military intelligence compound in south Sinai, firing on military vehicles in Ismailiyah and a rocket attack on a satellite relay station in Cairo.
The Sunni world has been facing another rift opening up as well. Qatar (like Turkey) is an ardent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and has turned the Egyptian street against the government using their television station Al-Jazeera. The government responded by closing Al-Jazeera's affiliate in Egypt, confiscating their equipment and returning all the money Qatar pledged to the country as aid. Saudi Arabia quickly moved in to fill the void and aside from inviting Mansour to Riyadh, has pledged to provide financial support to the interim government. It turns out there are many people in the Middle East who want Sissi to celebrate another victory this October as well.