What effect did the involvement of outside powers

What consequence did the engagement of outside powers have on the Six Days War in 1967? How does this explicate the Israeli triumph of the struggle?

The Cold War was characterised by a series of alleged ‘proxy wars’ , in which tenseness between the United States and the Soviet Union were played out in assorted struggles across the Earth. Indeed, the bulk of clangs throughout the Cold War period can be explained with mention to one or both of the world’s two ‘superpowers’ , and the Arab-Israeli War of 1967 is no exclusion. It is good documented that both the Americans and the Soviets were eager to avoid struggle in the Middle East, peculiarly given the black effects of action in Vietnam, yet it is impossible to discourse the eruption of the Six-Day War without mentioning to the engagement of these two powers. This paper contends that the engagement of the United States and the Soviet Union, every bit good as the actions of the United Nations, contributed greatly to the eruption of belligerencies. However, it besides repudiates the impression that the aforesaid engagement of outside powers influenced the Israeli triumph of the struggle. Alternatively, my thesis is that although war may non hold occurred at all had it non been for the actions of outside powers, Israel’s licking of the Arabs was the consequence of its ain superior military scheme, leading and decision-making both in readying for, and during, the struggle.

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Without diging into a narration of the lead up to the eruption of war, an analysis of the cardinal incidents whereby American or Soviet actions ( or failure to act ) contributed to the escalation toward struggle, demonstrates the of import consequence of the engagement of outside powers in assisting trigger belligerencies. Having moved in to make full the power vacuity left by the backdown of Britain and France, the United States, like the Soviet Union, had important involvements vested in the part, and President Nasser’s recent political additions badly threatened these involvements. Despite a reluctance to go excessively involved in any possible struggle, America could non disregard what it regarded as increasing “recklessness” in Egypt’s foreign policy, and the possible effects for her close ally, Saudi Arabia, every bit good as the lifting menace to Israel. Nasser had to be contained, and his progresss reversed, and although the United States urgently wanted to accomplish this without going straight involved, this would merely be possible if the Soviet Union were to withdraw every bit good.

This would turn out to be impossible since the Soviet Union’s committednesss and involvements in the Middle East had strengthened through an progressively close relationship with Nasser. The Soviet authorities began to see Egypt as the gateway through which they could derive influence in the Arab universe and in Africa. Consequently, Soviet assistance to Egypt increased dramatically in the sixtiess, to the point where Egypt became about dependent on this aid. Furthermore, Soviet influence increased in Syria, peculiarly when the two grew ideologically closer following the leftist putsch of 1966. [ 1 ] A Soviet-Egyptian confederation, and the engagement of Russia in the more radical Syria, was as badgering for the Americans as it was delighting for the Soviets. Therefore, as tensenesss grew in the early months of 1967, it was clear that neither the Soviet Union nor the United States were prepared to retreat wholly and hazard yielding influence in the part to their challenger. As David Kimche remarks, “This common call offing out of the Great Powers paved the manner for the direct confrontation between the local forces – Israeli and Arab – on the battlefield.” [ 2 ] They had therefore failed to forestall the slide toward war, and continued to play a portion in the struggles that ensued.

The Soviet Union was peculiarly guilty of fuelling the longstanding tenseness between the Arab states and Israel. Undoubtedly, the Soviets made a ruinous mistake when it attempted to ‘scare’ Syrian leaders into discontinuing their terrorist onslaughts on Israel with studies of an at hand Israeli onslaught. Security experts are by and large convinced that the Soviets knew they were purporting a false study, or at the really least failed to look into the rumor decently. [ 3 ] Despite purportedly seeking to debar direct struggle, the Soviet Union managed to make the complete antonym. The Soviet leading took a major hazard as they attempted to on one manus avoid a Syrian-Israeli struggle and on the other retain their ain influence in the part. A serious struggle of involvements on the portion of the Soviet Union caused it to undervalue the effects of such action. As an American Intelligence study into Soviet policy during this period stated, “The USSR was seeking to play the function of operator, but it did non hold direct control over the primary actors.” [ 4 ] This was the key job, as Nasser failed to move harmonizing to Soviet appraisals. Rather than vouching support for Syria and therefore discouraging Israel from farther belligerencies, Nasser set in gesture a series of aggravations that the Israelis intelligibly interpreted as Acts of the Apostless of war. The Soviet Union must take a important grade of duty for the eventual result, as the false narratives of Israeli soldiers accumulating along the boundary line, and its claims of a ‘Western conspiracy’ , designed partially to call up the Arab universe against the West, triggered the concatenation of events that culminated in the six-day war.

Furthermore, the Soviet compulsion with this Western ‘plot’ caused it to practically overlook what David Kimche footings “the storm clouds assemblage in the south” . [ 5 ] There is no conclusive grounds to propose that the Soviet Union were implicated in Nasser’s determination to shut the Tiran Straits to Israeli transportation and to order the emptying of UNEF, nevertheless, it is extremely likely that they were kept in the image. Crucially, when the Soviet leading finally realised the badness of the state of affairs that they had allowed to develop, they were decelerate in their attempts to convert Nasser to draw back. Self-interest, in the signifier of keeping influence in the Middle East at the disbursal of the United States, took precedency over the security of the part. Although the Russians did try to broker a peaceable colony through altering its attitude toward Israel, they made another fatal error. Russian intelligence disregarded the cardinal point that the people of Israel had prepared to contend for endurance and there was no manner back at this point. The aforesaid misreckonings rendered war inevitable, as the Soviet attempts should hold been concentrating on drawing the Arabs back from the threshold of catastrophe.

Given the grade of influence of the Soviet Union in the struggle, and the long history of American engagement in other parts when her involvements have been under menace, one may presume that the United States played a similar function in act uponing Israel’s behavior. This, nevertheless, does non look to hold been the instance to the same extent. That is non to state that American engagement had small or no consequence on the eruption of war ; so, a different attack by the United States might good hold altered the class of events. American policy, normally so determined and comprehendible, was extremely equivocal, giving the Soviets the upper manus in the part, and therefore allowed them to order the way of the struggle. Scholar Fawaz Gerges analyses certain errors made by the Americans in the old ages taking up to the six-day war, and emphasises the failure to cover efficaciously with President Nasser from the beginning. “ The sarcasm is that US behavior contributed to the enlargement instead than to the contraction of Soviet influence in the country, ” he writes. [ 6 ] During the crisis, the American leaders, desperate to avoid being seen as working in concurrence with Israel, flip-flopped from one policy to another until the determination was made that the Israelis could efficaciously travel it entirely. America’s failure to firmly assure Israel that she would be protected in the event of an onslaught added fuel to the Israeli position that it was contending a war of endurance, and her opportunities of triumph depended on covering the first work stoppage.

It is erroneous to propose that the Soviet Union and America entirely passed up important chances to hold farther escalation towards war. Nasser himself might hold reacted otherwise to the Soviet ‘stories’ and he doubtless made fatal mistakes through hyperbole of both the Arab’s military strength and the planetary place of the Soviet Union. It is besides sensible to propose that the United Nations could hold done more. Secretary General U Thant was doubtless constrained by the firm places of the United States and the Soviet Union, but he might hold helped quiet the state of affairs with a direct personal entreaty to Nasser sing his determination to retreat UNEF. Alternatively, he could hold called a meeting of the Security Council under Article 99, as this would hold bought some clip, and may hold persuaded Nasser to take stock of the state of affairs and possibly set about a more compromising attack.Furthermore, Indar Jit Rikhye, in his bookThe Sinai Blunder,criticises the U Thant for his failure to forestall the slide to war, and besides points out that the UN rank as a whole should hold acted “more forcefully” in seeking enterprises. [ 7 ] Ultimately, the United Nations represented the last gleam of hope through which the struggle might hold been settled by diplomatic agencies. Its failure to make so rendered war ineluctable.

Therefore, it is clear that the engagement of outside powers had a powerful influence on the class of events taking up to the eruption of the six-day war. However, given that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union was willing to put on the line imparting open support to their several ‘client states’ , the rapid Israeli triumph must be explained by other factors. This paper contends that Israel’s victory, an event wholly unanticipated by the Arab leaders and many international perceivers, occurred because of Israeli high quality in footings of military philosophy and scheme, leading, resources and the right application of the rules of war – the Israel Defence Force displayed all of these strengths on the forenoon of June 5, 1967.

In his work on military scheme, Michael Handel wrote, “the basic premise underlying the Israeli political-military philosophy is the apprehension that thecardinal purpose of Arab states is to destruct the province ofIsraelwhenever they feel able to make so, while making everything to hassle and upset its peaceable life.” [ 8 ] While he may challenge the footing of this philosophy, there is no uncertainty that in the lead up to the six-day war, the Israelis believed that their very being was under menace. Therefore, Israel’s military scheme became one of endurance, with the realization that a preemptive work stoppage may be necessary to accomplish this end.

The Arab’s political-military scheme focussed on the obliteration of the Judaic province, which they aimed to accomplish by arousing Israel into a confrontation. In this regard, the Arab leadership’s scheme was a success, as the series of events taking up to the eruption of war – the encirclement of the Straits of Tiran, the massing of military personnels along Israel’s boundary lines and the ceaseless terrorist onslaughts – did force Israel into war. Crucially, nevertheless, President Nasser and his Alliess lacked a conjunct program of how to cover with an Israeli onslaught once it had been provoked. Therefore, within Israel’s military philosophy at that place existed a cardinal scheme – the premiss that air high quality was indispensable and that they could accomplish this through a first work stoppage, which would later guarantee high quality on the land. The Arabs lacked an tantamount position of how to do certain triumph, and this played a cardinal function in the slightly unexpected victory of Israel.

In add-on to possessing a military philosophy with a clear scheme for triumph, one might besides explicate Israel’s triumph over a quantitatively stronger Arab antagonist with mention to other cardinal advantages, including better leading and combat techniques. Thomas E. Glazer provides a utile history of Israel’s public presentation as he uses the rules of war to analyze the struggle. He excessively refers to the usage of the preemptive work stoppage as a scheme for triumph, underscoring the importance of “surprise” – for him, a cardinal rule of war – which Israel managed to accomplish “on both the operational and tactical degrees of war.” [ 9 ] Furthermore, Glazer points out that Israel deployed delusory techniques to deviate Arab attending from her planned onslaught by directing out big air patrols near the Gulf of Aqaba, and assailing the landing fields from an unexpected way. The Israelis continued this tendency, by presenting assorted diversionary onslaughts throughout the conflict of the West Bank, and catching Syria off guard by choosing to assail over the most hard terrain at Golan Heights.

In maintaining with this thought of utilizing the rules of war as a frame of mention, it is clear that Israel’s triumph owed much to a superior integrity of bid ( demonstrated in the air operation ) , than the Arabs. Had the Arabs been better coordinated in their response to the initial onslaughts, they would hold denied Israel the luxury of being able to concentrate on each state one at a clip. This might good hold denied Israel air domination, and would later hold lessened its freedom of motion on the land. The Arab forces besides failed to fit the Israelis in footings of tactic – by non fixing adequately for the possibility of desert warfare, they were left with no pick but to construct up fixed defensive places that were excessively easy exposed. [ 10 ] As any military strategian will emphasize, it is impossible to win a war from such a defensive place.

Therefore, it is clear that readying and administration were cardinal to the Israeli triumph. A farther advantage was that of security, as Israel managed to keep operational security despite two old ages of planning and practising for the air onslaughts. In contrast, the Arabs leaked critical information that Israel could so work. As a survey into air scheme during the war pointed out, the Arabs were so predictable that “their aircraft qui vive agenda might every bit good been posted in every Israeli winging squadron.” [ 11 ] Undoubtedly, their biggest error was that of leting the bulk of Egypt’s combat aircraft to be clustered at a smattering of easy-to-reach landing fields. [ 12 ] Finally, the Israelis proved far superior to the Arabs in footings of ‘economy of force’ – refusing to be drawn into unneeded struggles and therefore utilizing her force to its greatest potency.

The aforesaid model for analysis is extremely utile in explicating Israel’s triumph in the six-day war. Israeli intelligence, combined with the superb preparation and planning of Brigadier General Mordechai Hod, ensured that the war was efficaciously won in a affair of hours. This had really small to make with the influence of outside powers ; so, any technological advantages enjoyed by the Israelis thanks to old American backup were equalled or outweighed by the fact that the U.A.R had the more firm support of the Soviet Union, who had been supplying them with advanced arms and preparation for more than a decennary.

In decision, it has been necessary to split this paper into two parts. In measuring the function of outside powers on the six-day war, it focuses on the lead up to the eruption of belligerencies. Self-interest on the portion of the Americans and the Soviets, based on keeping their several domains of influence in the Middle East, led them to do determinations frequently contrary to the public assistance and security of the part. The Soviet Union in peculiar helped trip the concatenation of events that led to direct struggle, and the inactivity of the United Nations and, to an extent, Britain and France, signified the failure of outside powers to direct the class of events to a peaceable result. However, the war itself was really much an Israeli triumph. The surprise air onslaught was planned and executed ( with souped up Fouga Magisters built in Israel ) brightly by the Israel Defence Force – and the failure of the Arab powers to react efficaciously was due to a series of mistakes related chiefly to military scheme. Outside powers may hold been instrumental in triping the struggle, but they had small bearing on its eventual result.


Edgar O’Ballance,The Third Arab-Israeli War, Hamden: Archon ( 1972 )

David Kimche, The dust storm: the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, preliminary and wake, London ( 1968 )

Fawaz A. Gerges,Americaand political Muslimism: clang of civilizations or clang of involvements?Cambridge ( 1999 )

Indar Jit Rikhye, The Sinai Blunder: backdown of the United Nations Emergency Force taking to the Six-Day War of June 1967, London ( 1980 )

Walter Laquer and Barry Rubin, Eds,The Israeli-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict, Penguin Books, New York ( 1984 )

Michael I. Handel,Israel‘s Political-Military Doctrine,Occasional Documents in International Affairs, No.30. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Centre for International Affairs, July 1973

Major Charlie Hughes, United States Marine Corps ‘Air Strategy in the 1967 Arab/Israeli War’ – An Executive Summary ( CSC 1997 ) . Accessed through GlobalSecurity.org on the 22neodymiumSeptember 2007.

Lt Col Thomas E Glazer, ‘The 1967 Arab-Israeli six-day War – An analysis utilizing the rule of War’ , Report for the Naval War College, USMC. Accessed 22neodymiumSeptember 2007.

John Kerry King, CIA Intelligence Report, ‘Soviet Policy and the 1967 Arab-Israeli War’ ( 16ThursdayMarch 1970 ) Released June 2007, Accessed 24ThursdaySeptember 2007


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