The history of the June 1967 Six Day War started almost two decades ago when the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948 ended with the enactment of the state of Israel in the then day Palestine. This also coincided with the armistice agreements by Egypt, Syria and Jordan which took place in the supervision of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). During the year 1956, Israel deepened the enmity it had with Egypt by attacking Sinai having cooperated with Britain and France as a reaction to President Nasser’s nationalization of the Suez Canal (Yossef, 2006, p. 5).
As a result of the Syrian-Israelis conflicts in April 1967, a disagreement arose when Syria and the Soviet Union gave a report to Egypt on Israeli preparation to attack Syria. Nasser swore to assist Syria and made a decision a sequence of activities he wanted to accomplish like mobilizing the Egyptian military in Sinai on May 14, calling for the withdrawal of UNEF on the 16th of May as well as the declaration of the Straits of Tiran inaccessible to Israel ships in May 22 (Mor, 1991).In retaliation, Israel started a general war on the 5th of June and overcame the Egyptian, Syria and Jordan armies and going ahead to occupy Sinai, West Bank, the Golan Heights as well as the Gaza Strip. In fact the present day crisis of the Middle East is still facing the effects arising form this war and occupation (Yossef, 2006, p.
5). Conspiracy vs. Inadvertent War Two main explanatory models have been used towards explaining what could have led to the Six Day War. These are ‘conspiracy’ and ‘inadvertent war’ (Yossef, 2006, p.
5).In this regard, as had earlier been stated, it can be said that the Six Day War could have resulted form a miscalculation on the part of Egypt regarding the developments of the crisis. Then there was also the subtle coordination on the part of Israel and the United States. What needs to be noted is the fact that it is being referred to as a subtle coordination and not a conspiracy. What this implies is that there is s string debate as to whether the war was a result of a conspiracy or of the war started inadvertently.
Conspiracy as described by the Oxford English Dictionary is an agreement between to or more people to undertake an illegal activity. In line with this, history proves that conspiracies have taken place though they are never put in records. For instance the Treaty of serves of the year 1956 October 24, which was signed in Paris between France, Israel and Britain to invade Egypt presents a rare case in which the conspiring parties documented their intentions.According to Martin Parker, conspiracy is predicated on discovering a particular form of order as well as structure.
Parker continues to elaborate that the moment the elevated universe of conspiracy is elevated; it is not possible to have unexplained residues. The rationale is that all things have a cause and a meaning implying that nothing can be left out (Yossef, 2006, p. 5).The conspiracy theory support the idea that the June 1967 War resulted from a conspiracy which had been premeditated between Israel and the United States to overturn the regime of Nasser.
The initial claim of a Western conspiracy is capable of being attributed to Nasser himself the former president of Egypt (Yossef, 2006, p. 5). Nasser and his fellow administrators had occupied power in Egypt and made claims to the effect that they were modernizing the country while undoing the shame of the 1948 war.Though come 1956, Nasser having sealed the straits of Tiran and Suez Canal to the ships of Israel as well as moving terror gangs into the Sinai Peninsular, Egypt was attacked by not only Britain but also France and Israel.
The entire Sinai peninsular was overcome and captured by Israel in less than 100 hours. Just before withdrawing, the United States gave Israel an Aide de Memoire that the United States would support the rights of Israel to unlimited access to the straits of Tiran, in line with international law.At the same time, the United Nations agreed to establish an emergency force in Sinai (UNEF). Egypt Misperception and Decision-making Nasser being shocked by the fact that his forces were collapsing made a call to the king of Jordan, King Hussein to inquire if it was only both the United States and Britain were the ones attacking or if it was only the United States, to which the King Hussein responded that both the United States and Britain were actually attacking (Mor, 1991).What is mane here is that the conspiracy theory seeks to justify their case by the unique relationship which existed between Israel and the United States along with the US President Johnson’s advice to Nasser to restrain, as well as the US-Israeli communications which had been going ion before the Israeli strike (Yossef, 2006, p. 5).
Conversely, proponents of the inadvertent war theory maintain the opinion that the Six Day War is a representation of a textbook case of an inadvertent war. This is in reference to a war caused by a misperception or miscalculation.The reasoning behind this theory is that none of the parties harbour the intentions of making war ate the beginning of the crisis (Yossef, 2006, p. 7). As opposed to the conspiracy theory, the inadvertent theory is common outside the Arabic world.
According to Charles Yost, a Middle East expert working at the Embassy of the United States in Cairo, in his analysis of the May-June crisis no government had the intention of initiating a war in the Middles East during the spring of 1967. Still, Janice Stein, in a more comprehensive study makes a proposal of two scenarios which she describes as the miscalculated escalations of 1967.According to her, either Nasser misperceived the abilities of the Egyptian country, triggered a war which Israel had wished to prevent or Egypt did not read properly, the posture of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) which had been mobilized as offensive (Yossef, 2006, p. 7). It must be noted however that it is usually very difficult to establish the beginning point of a crisis, it can be stated that this crisis was triggered on 13th May by the warning form the Soviet Union to Egypt that Israel was in the process of mobilizing 10-20 brigades on the border of Syria with the intention of attacking.
Syria had earlier in the month passed a similar message to President Nasser. Well, the origin of the Soviet report is of course still contentious though the information did not prove to be true. Equally important to note is that it was not easy to prove the extent of the concentration of the Israeli troops pitting in mind the conflicting reports by the Israel-Syria Mixed Armistice Commission (ISMAC), UNTSO as well as General Fawzi, the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian forces, during the visit he made to Syria on the 14/15th of May to access the situation.False information leaked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), from the conversation by a Soviet official indicate that the USSR had the intention of creating another problem for the United State in addition to the already present Vietnam.
The sole intention of the Soviet was to create an environment in which the United States would seriously get not only financially but also politically and militarily involved. The end result of the involvement was supposed to be a serious suffering on the part of the United States for taking sides with Israel against the Arabs (Yossef, 2006, p. 7).This was off course false information which corresponded to the argument of Isabella Ginor that the report was a plan which had been authorized by the top notch leadership of the Soviet Union to stimulate Egyptian action which in turn would provoke an Israeli attack. What was to follow was the Soviet military attack against the ‘aggressor’. Well, the theory false short of an explanation as to why the intervention failed to materialize even with its pretext being met.
That notwithstanding, Ginor clearly authenticates the intentional Soviet action through the declassified East German and Soviet documents (Yossef, 2006, p. 7). Galian Golan argues the same way; pointing to the fact that since 1966 May, the Soviet Union had been coming up with reports to the same effect probably informed by the experience of 1960 Operation Rotem whereby the Egyptian mobilization in the Sinai region prevented an Israeli invasion on Syria.Israel’s War Golan however does not agree with the argument that the Soviet Union had the intention of provoking a war showing that there were no preparations made to that effect. Besides argues Golan, the military movements of the Soviet in the Mediterranean were purposefully for the intention of giving credibility to the Soviet warning messages to both the United States and Israel with a message to the later that, in the advent of an attack on Egypt, Moscow would not sit by and watch (Yossef, 2006, p.
9).Whether or not the soviet was practicing brinkmanship or intentionally instigating a war is also evident from the mixed signals they gave to the officials from Egypt during the crisis, thereby showing a division among the soviet leadership. From the above discussion, the inadvertent war model asserts the opinion that Israel was provoked by the Palestinian guerrilla operations as well as infiltrations from the Syrian border. Sometime later, the Egyptian mobilization in the Sinai as well as the closure of the Straits also contributed to the same.What is implied here is that the war was a defensive one in which Israel sought to stop an existential threat (Mor, 1991). According to Brecher, part of a commonly shared attitude between Israel and its leaders was the Holocaust Syndrome, the fear that the survival of Israel was at threat (Yossef, 2006, p.
9). However, from the history obtained from the United States and Israeli documents, it was actually the Israelis who were particularly aggravating the situation on the Syrian front. Conclusion It is important to remember that the sole decision maker in Egypt in 1967 was President Nasser.The cabinet got to meet only once on 14th May and appears not have reached an amicable decision pertaining to the crisis. The Supreme Executive Committee of then Arab Socialist Union (ASU), which comprised of Nasser, Prime Minister Suleiman Sidqi among many other veterans of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) played amore important role. Nasser attached a lot of value for the opinions and advice of the Foreign Minister Mahmoud Riad who unfortunately, was not consulted during the crisis.
From the point of view of Nasser, there were several enemies in the late 1966 and early 1967.Key among them was imperialism which was being represented by the United States and Britain (Laura, 2005). In the opinion of Nasser, imperialism more so that practiced by the United States, was the most powerful adversary during the initial stages of the 1967 crisis. This has the implication that Nasser considered the United States as a potential opponent with the intentions of destroying him as well as the Egyptian revolution. In the opinion of Nasser, the United States possessed hostile intentions towards the Arab community more so in terms of its constant favour of Israel.
In the final analysis therefore, Nasser neither made pertaining the Six Day War not did he make intentional decisions aimed at stimulating the conflict. (Laura, 2005). On the contrary, Nasser made decisions seeking to reap political gains which he was aware held a high probability of creating military hostility (Mor, 1991). In so doing, probably his greatest undoing was an underestimation of the potential of Israel for dependent and effective military aggression which was mainly informed by his perception of America as an all-powerful enemy, though his lack of control over the Egyptian army could equally have contributed.