Powered by WebAds

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The worst intelligence bungle evah

Some of you may recall that last fall I did a couple of posts that were based upon cabinet meetings held in the hours leading up to and during the Yom Kippur War. The JPost's weekend magazine has a stunning story about Marwan Ashraf, the son-in-law of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, who acted as an Israeli agent for several years starting in 1970.

The story is a book review of a new book called HaMalach (The Angel) by Haifa professor Uri Bar Joseph. The book is currently in Hebrew only. The book's thesis is that Ashraf was not a double agent as has been claimed by Eli Zeira, the IDF chief of military intelligence in the lead-up to the war, but that Zeira ignored Ashraf's warnings and did not pass them on to the political echelon until the morning that the war started. But what makes this book different is that it is based upon Mossad documents that had never been seen outside the Mossad before. Zeira is likely the perpetrator of the most massive intelligence failure in Israel's history.

I urge you to read the whole thing.

There's one thing you won't find online which is in the paper edition. In the paper edition, there is a sidebar that reports that Bar Joseph - a political science professor at the University of Haifa - and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland, have written a paper in Political Psychology that explains that Zeira and his chief deputy - Lt. Col. Yona Bandman - were both sufferers of something they call "cognitive closure," which means that they had a high need for closure which caused them to fixate on an early conclusion that Egypt was unlikely to initiate war, and therefore ignored any signs that suggested otherwise.

The description fits all of this country's leaders since 1992 with respect to the 'Palestinians' desire for peace. Hmmm.

The picture at the top is the Egyptians crossing the Suez Canal on October 6, 1973.

Labels: ,


At 3:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

That is a familiar theory of "group thinking" whereby every one thinks the same way and any evidence to the contrary is automatically dismissed because it doesn't fit in with that thinking. Eli Zeira's bungling of intelligence from Egypt revealing signs it was preparing for war is one example of this fixation and the peace process is another.

Israel's leaders are not very good at thinking outside the box.

What could go wrong indeed

At 5:21 AM, Blogger Y.K. said...

Enough with that myth. It deflects responsibility from the failure of the government and of the IDF brass.

First, Intelligence has always, always, failed. They did not predict the 67' war, the Iranian revolution, Intifadahs, etc. etc. This is equally true for other nation's intelligence services (did they predict Pearl Harbor?). Talking about an intelligence failure is a distraction - since no one should have relied on it that much in the first place anyway.

Second, the IDF actually did get enough of a warning, enough to let Golda and Dayan to *choose* to not strike first, and to not marshal the reserves early (the "World Community" might be pissed, y'a see?). If they had received an earlier warning, they would have simply decided to not do anything earlier... In short, while Intelligence failed, the biggest most responsible failures were elsewhere. Instead we ended up with a version of 'blaming the Shin-Gimel'.

This myth (no, _deception_) was intentionally propagated to excuse the Left's failure, and we shouldn't accept it at face value (Begin didn't, but somehow all his objections were lost to history). Instead, we should teach Israelis the actual history - in particular, how 'international guarantees' turned to ashes (e.g. no response to Egyptians violating Rogers), and how the decision to avoid acting because of an imagined fear of the 'International community' nearly led to disaster.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The same factors constrain Israel today from defeating hostile Arabs. As long as Israel has no intention of winning, the Arabs will rightly conclude Israel is the weak horse. The Arabs hate the Jews in part because they are perceived as weak and cowardly.

They are never going to love the Jews but if Israel defeats them, they will fear and respect the Jews. And fear is a stronger motivator of human behavior than love. Israel is not doing the Arabs any favor with the phony havlagah doctrine that's been around since the 1920s. Allowing your own people to be murdered to placate the Arabs is immoral as well showing them you have no self-respect. The Arabs have a certain way of dealing with others and Israel must deal with them on those terms.

Only then will there be peace in the Middle East.


Post a Comment

<< Home