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[War in Egypt]


On the other hand, we have to deal with a bold, audacious, and unscrupulous enemy. All the inevitable delays of the last month have told immensely in his favour. Though Arabi's military prudence and skill have yet to be tested, his energy and resources are great. He has potent allies in the noble river, with which he can flood the country; in the trackless desert, to which he can retreat when in danger of being worsted; in the ignorant fanaticism of on Oriental population, which he has already fanned into a flame; and in a climate, the intolerable heat of which, at this season, might prove disastrous to all invading force. The rebel leader, who may possibly become, as he is already termed, "a national hero," may elect to remain in his fortified position at Kafri Douar, some fifteen mile, from Alexandria, and flanked on either side by a lake; or he may have the temerity to assume the aggressive, and try to storm the heights of Ramleh, now occupied by our troops, before large British reinforcements can arrive. In either of these cases, the campaign would probably be short. The early defeat of Arabi would react with prodigious effect at Cairo, where he is distrusted by the most powerful Notables, and quickly undeceive his dupes throughout the country. But apparently he will make no permanent stand at Kafri Donar—the best of his infantry soldiers being concentrated at Rosetta. It is barely possible that Arabi may develop the qualities of a great military commander, which will indeed be needed if he is to hold his ground with undisciplined levies against a corps d'armee of British troops led by such accomplished strategists as Sir Garnet Wolseley, Sir John Adye, and Sir Edward Hamley.

Source: The Illustrated London News, No.2256—Vol. LXXXI, Saturday, July 29, 1882, p.102