On 24 October 1973, when Israel had finally implemented the cease-fire agreement, nothing stood between its advancing troops and the Egyptian capital, and the forces led by Ariel Sharon were about 'sixty miles from Cairo and at the gates of the Ismailia'.l Israel had gained complete control over the entire front. Even though it did not expel the Egyptian forces from Sinai, bypassing these positions, it had established a firm presence and control on the western banks of the Suez Canal. Facing an imminent threat to Cairo and hence to the regime itself, President Anwar al-Sadat was desperately seeking heightened Soviet intervention and even direct military involvement to secure an early cease-fire. But for the intense American pressure preceded by a US-Soviet nuclear alert, Israel would have annihilated the stranded and encircled Egyptian Third Army. The story was more or less the same in the north where the Syrian advances on the Golan Heights were stopped and reversed, and the outskirts of Damascus were brought within the range of Israeli artillery.