MIDDLE EAST: Maxi-Plots Behind a Strange Mini-War

Publicly, Egypt insisted that its bitter four-day mini-war with Libya (TIME, Aug. 1) had been no more than a minor border skirmish. A series of frontier infiltrations and espionage attempts had forced Cairo to teach Libya's erratic strongman, Muammar Gaddafi, a lesson in good manners. Rather like a stern uncle rebuking a wayward nephew, President Anwar Sadat described Gaddafi as "a second Napoleon" and "just a child"—inspiring Tripoli spokesmen to dismiss the Egyptian President as "a Zionist tool."

Privately, Egyptian spokesmen conceded that there was a serious political purpose behind the armored...

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