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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Deja vu all over again? US would not have accepted pre-emptive strike in '73

Haaretz's Hebrew edition reports that the United States was convinced that Egypt and Syria would not attack Israel in 1973 and therefore would not have allowed a pre-emptive strike.
Oren quotes from a report prepared by U.S. General Daniel Graham shortly after the war that studied the failure of American intelligence to predict the outbreak of the war. A similar study was carried out in Israel by the Agranat Committee. It turns out that Graham identified the problem that intelligence analysts failed to properly interpret information because of their blind adherence to a "concept" well before the "concept" problem was identified by the Agranat Committee.

Among the examples cited by Graham:

3 October 1973 DIA report: "The movement of forces in Syria and the military preparations in Egypt are considered a coincidence and are not planned to lead to a large attack."

6 October, 1973 CIA report [The day the war started. CiJ]: "There is increased mutual concern on the part of Israel and the Arab states regarding the military activity of the other side, but it appears that neither side intends to carry out an attack. From the Egyptian standpoint, there is no great logic in a military initiative. It is almost certain that an additional round will demolish Sadat's efforts to advance the economy. Assad is generally careful, a military adventure now would be suicidal, from his standpoint, and he himself says so."

In July 1973 a joint report by the CIA, DIA and the State Department concluded that the "Egyptian ground forces are not prepared to cross the canal in a large scale operation", and that the supply of SAM 6 ground to air missiles "did not significantly increase the military strength of Syria."

Oren closes his article by noting cynically that last week DM Ehud Barak said that a surprise like October 1973 won't be repeated.

"It is possible that he is correct," Oren warns, "that there won't be a new edition of the same surprise. There will be a new surprise, a different one."
There is a fuller summary of the Haaretz article in English here.

Golda Meir, who was Israel's Prime Minister in 1973, did not act on information that Egypt and Syria were planning an attack. Now, we may know why.


At 3:49 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel misread the signs and still survived. There will be no second chance if Israel should misread Iran.

That is why there can be no 1973 repeat for Israel ever again.


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