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The June 1967 Six Day War – mega bonus to the USA

The expanded strategic cooperation between Israel, Saudi Arabia and other pro-US Arab Gulf States in 2017 – in the face of clear, present and lethal threats posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs and Islamic terrorism – has its roots in the June, 1967 Six Day War and the civil war in Yemen during the early 1960s.

The impact of the June, 1967 Six Day War transcended the Arab-Israeli conflict.  It highlighted Israel as a unique national security producer for the US, extending the strategic hand of the US and upgrading the US posture of deterrence, without requiring US personnel and bases.

In June, 1967, the Israeli beachhead delivered a critical geo-strategic bonus to the US, while dealing a major setback to the USSR, by devastating the military power of the anti-US, pro-Soviet Egyptian President Nasser, who was fully-engaged in his megalomaniacal goal to dominate the Arab world. Nasser transformed Egypt from a conservative pro-Western monarchy (until the 1952 revolution) to a hotbed of anti-US, intra-Arab revolutionary fire, which almost consumed the conservative Jordanian Hashemite regime in 1956 and consumed the conservative regimes of Iraq and Yemen in 1958 and 1962 respectively. 

Supported by the USSR, Nasser harnessed terrorism, subversion and conventional military means – mostly in Yemen, the Achilles Heel of Saudi Arabia – in order to control Yemen as a platform to surge into the Arabian Peninsula, aiming to bring-down the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.  Nasser aspired to gain control of the vitally strategic straits of Bab-el-Mandeb (Red Sea) and Hormuz (Persian Gulf), which would have dealt the US and the West a major military and economic blow in the Middle East, Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Red Sea and the Mediterranean arenas.

While intra-Arab terrorism and subversion has remained an integral part of the Middle East, the resounding defeat of Nasser, in 1967, shattered the regional profile of the Egyptian dictator, forced him to withdraw his substantial military force from Yemen, ended a five-year Egypt-Saudi Arabia war by proxy and tilted the intra-Arab balance of power against the pro-USSR radical Arab regimes in favor of the pro-US conservative Arab regimes.

It snatched the Saudi King Faisal from the jaws of a potential defeat in Yemen – which could have toppled the House of Saud – and, therefore, bolstered the life-expectancy of the Saudi royal family, Saudi Arabia’s power-projection, Riyadh’s intra-Arab prestige, and US-Saudi Arabian strategic cooperation. The same applies to the other pro-US Arab regimes in the Arabian Peninsula.

The 1967 War, also, terminated Nasser’s military training of Iranian Arab separatists in Khuzestan (western Iran) and Iranian dissidents, opposing the Shah of Iran, who was America’s “Policeman of the Gulf.”

Simultaneously, Israel defeated the military force of the pro-Soviet Syria – which was a major Arab power until the 1967 War – thus denying the Hafiz Assad regime an opportunity to invade, and annex, the pro-US, militarily inferior Jordan, which was perceived by Damascus as part of (southern) Greater Syria. Furthermore, a September 1970 Syrian invasion of Jordan – during the September 1970 civil war between Jordan’s King Hussein and the Palestinians – was withdrawn after three days due to the US mobilization in the Mediterranean, the effective Jordanian military performance, and the
deterring deployment of Israeli troops to the joint Israel-Syria-Jordan border, as well as Israel’s readiness to activate its air force (at the request of the US and Jordan).

While the House of Saud condemned Israel and the USA in a fury of talk: “We consider any country supporting or aiding Zionist-Israeli aggression against the Arabs as aggression against us,” the
Saudi walk took a different turn, as highlighted by University of Michigan’s Prof. John Ciorciari. Realizing the regional impact of the Six Day War, Riyadh extended mere symbolic support to Egypt (e.g., dispatching a military brigade, which arrived after the war had ended), refrained from switching to any anti-US, or non-aligned, international bloc, and minimized the economic consequences of the short-lived oil embargo (fully lifted on September 2, 1967), focusing on the critical long-term relationship with the US and on the real threat (which was just crippled by Israel): Arab radicalism and Communist penetration.

While proclaiming publicly and feverishly its allegiance to the Palestinian cause, Riyadh made it clear – just like all other Arab capitals – that the Palestinian issue was not a crown-jewel of the House of Saud (notwithstanding Saudi/Arab rhetoric, which overwhelms most Western policy makers and media); they expelled hundreds of Palestinian activists from the kingdom, in order to keep dissent in close check. 

Prof. Ciorciari submits the following assessment of the US strategic priorities made on May 23, 1967 by Prof. Eugene Rostow, Special Assistant to President Johnson: “The main issue in the Middle East, today, is whether Nasser, the radical states and their Soviet backers are going to dominate the area. A related issue is whether the US is going to stand up for its friends, the moderates, or back down as a major power in the Middle East.”

Will the US foreign policy establishment heed Rostow’s assessment, which is as accurate in 2017 as it was in 1967, scrutinize the larger context of US-Israel relations, concentrate on the Arab “walk” and not on the Arab “talk,” and focus on top – and not low – national security priorities?!


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Open letter to Prime Minister Bennett ahead of visit to USA

(Hebrew edition in “Israel Hayom,” Israel’s largest circulation daily)

During your first official visit to Washington, DC, you’ll have to choose between two options:

*Blurring your deeply-rooted, assertive Israeli positions on the future of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), which would be welcome by the Biden Administration, yielding to short-term political convenience and popularity inside the beltway;


*Tenaciously advocating your deeply-rooted, principle-driven positions, which would underscore a profound disagreement with the Biden Administration and the “elite” US media, while granting you and Israel long-term strategic respect, as demonstrated by some of your predecessors.

For example, the late Prime Minister Shamir honed the second option, bluntly introduced his assertive Israeli positions on Judea and Samaria, rebuffed heavy US pressure – including a mudslinging campaign by President Bush and Secretary of State Baker – suffered a popularity setback, but produced unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation. When it comes to facing the intensified threats of rogue regimes and Islamic terrorism, the US prefers principle-driven, reliable, patriotic, pressure-defying partners, irrespective of disagreements on the Palestinian issue.

Assuming that you shall not budge on the historical and national security centrality of Judea and Samaria, it behooves you to highlight the following matters during your meetings with President Biden, Secretary of State Blinken, National Security Advisor Sullivan, Secretary of Defense Austin and Congressional leaders (especially the members of the Appropriations Committees):

  1. The 1,400-year-old track record of the stormy, unpredictable, violent and anti-“infidel” Middle East, which has yet to experience intra-Arab peaceful-coexistence, along with the 100-year-old Palestinian track record (including the systematic collaboration with anti-US entities, hate-education and anti-Arab and anti-Jewish terrorism) demonstrates that the proposed Palestinian state would be a Mini-Afghanistan or a Mega-Gaza on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria.

It would dominate 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructures in the 9-15-mile sliver between Judea and Samaria and the Mediterranean, which is shorter than the distance between RFK Stadium and the Kennedy Center.

Thus, a Palestinian state would pose a clear and present existential threat to Israel; and therefore, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria is a prerequisite for its survival.

  1. The proposed Palestinian state would undermine US interests, as concluded from the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which has transformed the Palestinians into a role-model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and ingratitude. Arabs are aware that a Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, teaming up with their enemies (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Erdogan) and providing a strategic foothold to Russia and China. Consequently, Arabs shower Palestinians with favorable talk, but with cold and negative walk.

Hence, during the October, 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty ceremony, Jordan’s military leaders asserted to their Israeli colleagues that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, and lead, subsequently, to the toppling of all pro-US Arab Peninsula regimes.

  1. There is no foundation for the contention that Israel’s retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which are the cradle of Jewish history, religion and culture – is required in order to sustain Israel’s Jewish majority. In reality, there is unprecedented Jewish demographic momentum, while Arab demography – throughout the Middle East – has Westernized dramatically. The Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel benefits from a robust tailwind of fertility and migration.
  2. Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights, bolsters its posture of deterrence, which has daunted rogue regimes, reduced regional instability, enhanced the national security of all pro-US Arab regimes, and has advanced Israel’s role as a unique force-multiplier for the US. An Israeli retreat from Judea and Samaria would transform Israel from a strategic asset – to a strategic liability – for the US.
  3. As the US reduces its military presence in the Middle East – which is a global epicenter of oil production, global trade (Asia-Africa), international Islamic terrorism and proliferation of non-conventional military technologies – Israel’s posture of deterrence becomes increasingly critical for the pro-US Arab countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan), who consider Israel to be the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.

Contrary to NATO, South Korea and Japan, Israel’s defense does not require the presence of US troops on its soil.

  1. Sustaining Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge is a mutual interest for the US and Israel, which serves as the most cost-effective battle-tested laboratory for the US defense industries and armed forces. Thus, Israel’s use of hundreds of US military systems has yielded thousands of lessons (operation, maintenance and repairs), which have been integrated, by the US manufacturers, into the next generation of the military systems, saving the US many years of research and development, increasing US exports and expanding the US employment base – a mega billion dollar bonanza for the US. At the same time, the US armed forces have benefitted from Israel’s military intelligence and battle experience, as well as joint training maneuvers with Israel’s defense forces, which has improved the US formulation of battle tactics.

Prime Minister Bennett, your visit to Washington, is an opportunity to demonstrate your adherence to your deeply-rooted strong Israeli positions, rejecting the ill-advised appeals and temptations to sacrifice Israel’s national security on the altar of convenience and popularity.

Yours truly,

Yoram Ettinger, expert on US-Israel relations and Middle East affairs

Support Appreciated







The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb