In the days following the Yom Kippur war, after the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, agreed to a ceasefire and subsequent peace treaty with Israel, he faced questions at home about his climbdown. When confronted on his capitulation, he is reported to have said that he was prepared for battle with Israel but not with America. On the third day of the war, President Nixon had authorised Operation Nickel Grass, an airlift from the United States with the purpose of replenishing Israel’s military losses up to that point. In November of 1973, the New York Times reportedthat “Western ambassadors in Cairo confirm Egyptian accusations that American Galaxies were landing war equipment in the Sinai.”
There was something of Sadat’s realpolitik in the realisation over the past few weeks that Saudi Arabia has no intention of letting Sudan’s revolution achieve its objective of removing the military once and for all and installing a civilian government. In the period preceding the revolution, Saudi Arabia had grown relatively lethargic and jaded about Sudan, a country it saw as good only for providing bodies as battle fodder for its war in Yemen. When Sudan’s then president, Omar al-Bashir, fearful of his demise, took his begging bowl to his allies in the region, Saudi Arabia demurred. But this lack of interest evaporated the moment it became clear that there was real power in Sudan’s streets, and Bashir was deposed.