The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East

By Richard Bordeaux Parker | Go to book overview
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With the exception of document 1, which is from the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, and documents 5 and 6, which are from the United Nations Archives, the documents in this appendix were obtained by the author from declassified files of the U.S. Department of State.
CIA report, June 1967 (TDCS-314/08242-67)Subject: Soviet official's comments on Soviet policy on the Middle Eastern WarSource: A medium level Soviet official
1 The Soviet told . . . there had been "miscalculations" by the Soviets and by the Arabs. The Soviets overestimated the Arabs' ability to employ their substantial military strength against the Israelis while the Arabs overrated their own strength and underrated the Israeli military capability and determination to win. When source asked if that meant that the Soviets had encouraged the Arabs in their hostile attitude toward Israel, the Soviet replied affirmatively, stating that the USSR had wanted to create another trouble spot for the United States in addition to that already existing in Vietnam. The Soviet aim was to create a situation in which the US would become seriously involved economically, politically, and possibly even militarily and in which the US would suffer serious political reverses as a result of its siding against the Arabs. This grand design, which envisaged a long war in the Middle East, misfired because the Arabs failed completely and the Israeli blitzkrieg was so decisive. Faced with this situation the Soviets had no alternative but to back down as quickly and gracefully as possible so as not to appear the villains of the conflict.
2 The Soviet thought that Nasser "must go" and that he would "most probably" be assassinated in the near future by his own disillusioned people. He said that Nasser's charge that US and British aircraft had aided the Israeli forces was a desperate attempt to save face in the Arab world after suffering a humiliating military defeat and that no one, certainly not the USSR, believed the charge. In a final comment, the Soviet said the war has shown that the Arabs are incapable of unity even when their vital interests are at stake.

Department of State telegram no. 194188, from Secretary of State to U.S. Embassy, Cairo, May 15, 1967
1 Chargé should return to FonMin soonest and state USG (U.S. Government) greatly concerned at increase in tension and resulting military movements.
2 Chargé should inform FonMin that we have urged restraint in strong terms at highest level Israel Government. We have cautioned against unsettling effects of threatening statements made by GOI (Government of Israel) leaders. We are


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