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Did the Soviet Union Deliberately Instigate the 1967 War in the Middle East?

Research output: Other contribution

Original languageEnglish
TypeBlog post
PublisherSources and Methods, Wilson Centre
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2017

King's Authors

Abstract

The origins of the 1967 Six-Day War have long been a source of controversy among historians. Discerning the motives of regional and international actors through the thick fog of war and the preceding crisis is a challenging task. Many historians see the war as part of a deliberate, premeditated plan by specific regional actors (either Israel, or Egypt and Syria). However, historians also emphasize the role of the United States and the Soviet Union in the war. Much has been written on the US providing an ‘amber light’ during the visit of Meir Amit (Chief of Mossad) to Washington, as well as of Soviet warnings to Egypt of an imminent Israeli attack on Syria. Whether through tacit or explicit encouragement, provision of arms or political backing, many argue that the superpowers were intertwined in the unfolding of war. Egyptian records of contact between Cairo and the Soviet Union immediately preceding the war help to clarify a key question: whether Moscow pushed for an Arab-Israeli war during the crisis leading up to the 1967 War. These sources suggest that the Soviet Union, rather than fanning the flames of war, was a force for restraint and de-escalation in its contacts with Egyptian officials.

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