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Allies at Arm’s Length: Redefining Egyptian-Soviet relations in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-113
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number1
Early online date27 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019


King's Authors


This article examines Egyptian-Soviet relations in the run up to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It argues that Egypt and the Soviet Union stumbled into brinkmanship with little coordination and no agreement on common objectives or goals. The article demonstrates how frustration and mutual disappointment were recurring features of the interactions between the two allies during the critical weeks prior to the war. In doing so, the article exposes new aspects of how Cairo and Moscow managed their alliance and assesses what that means to our understanding of the origins of this transformative war. These conclusions challenge revisionist accounts that attribute the start of the war to Egyptian-Soviet collusion and some traditional narratives that present the Soviet Union as an enterprising risk-taker invested in regional brinkmanship. The article draws heavily on Egyptian and Arabic language sources to examine Egyptian-Soviet interactions during this key period of Middle Eastern history.

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