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Europe’s Economic War of Attrition

December 4, 2012

European citizens – particularly in peripheral economies such as Greece, Portugal, and Spain – are anxious. Unemployment is unacceptably high, and is still rising. Their economies continue to implode, leading to cumulative contractions that are setting tragic new records.
-Mohamed A. El-Erian, ceo and co-chief investment officer, PIMCO

I was nine years old when Egypt entered what became known as its “war of attrition” with Israel. During this period of “no war and no peace,” underlying tensions festered, and a fragile tranquility was periodically interrupted by armed skirmishes.

The war of attrition followed the June 1967 war, in which Egypt – to the immense surprise of most of its citizens and the outside world – was soundly defeated. Its air force was crippled and its army was virtually overrun, with Israel capturing the entire Sinai Peninsula.

Positioned on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal, Israel’s army was just over 100 kilometers from Cairo. And, with Israeli jet fighters still controlling the airspace, Egypt’s capital and its major population centers were greatly exposed.


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