The Six-Day War is an armed conflict that happened between Israel and the Arab coalition in 1967 (Wawro, 2010, p. 255). The united Arab army that consisted of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria fought against Israel for the territory. However, it is possible to state that the local interests of those countries only hid the global political game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the period of Cold War.
It is necessary to note that the relations between the Arab countries and Israel were difficult after the war of 1948, consequently tension and hostility were present both on the highest political and social levels (Wawro, 2010, p. 255). The sudden mobilization of the forces of the United Arab Republic near the frontier of the Sinai Peninsula led to several preemptive steps taken by the Israeli air force. Despite the military aid of the Soviet Union that provided the coalition with weapons and advisers, the Arab countries with Egypt in their head were disorganized and lacked combat efficiency. In addition, the cultural differences between the belligerents were striking. The majority of the Israeli soldiers and officers, which was 80 percent, had graduated from technical schools or universities while almost 70 percent of the Arab military personnel were illiterate (Wawro, 2010, p. 257). It is not strange that even the most well-equipped Egyptian army was unable to use all its possibilities. It is also necessary to mention that the Arabic coalition did not have one language to communicate with each other while the Israeli army did not have such problems. Moreover, the countries in the united Arab coalition were politically fractioned as they were united only by the idea that Israel should not exist. On the contrary, the level of troop morale, unity, and desire of the Israeli army to defend their country were very strong.
The Egyptian army was commanded by Gamal Abdel Nasser, Abdul Munim Riad, and Abdel Hakim Amer. The Israeli forces were commanded by Levi Eshkol, Moshe Dayan, and Yitzhak Rabin. The aim of the military operation was the territorial expansion. In the result of the Six-Day War, the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Gaza Strip were occupied by Israel (Wawro, 2010, p. 272).
The US government collaborated mainly with the government of Israel. In addition, Israel had security guarantees from the United States, which was not official, but still existed. The American government was not interested in the wars in the Middle East region and any aggression was perceived negatively by Washington. Such position is explained by the fact that economic interests of the United States were the first priority, and the destabilization on the Sinai Peninsula led to numerous possible problems in the oil industry. Washington stated that Tel Aviv had the right to guard its own security and well-being. However, the active military expansion in the region was unacceptable and caused the increase of hatred towards Israel from the Arab neighbors. People on the both sides of the conflict were unable to understand each other, and what was even more important, they were unwilling to do it.
It is possible to assume that the direction of the American foreign policy in 1967 was set by Henry Kissinger and Lames Schlesinger, the Secretary of Defence. Nixon was the President of the United States at that time (Wawro, 2010, p. 258). Kissinger and Nixon were not sure whether it would be wise to stop the conflict themselves. Prime Minister Meir was absolutely against any armed conflicts in the Middle East region. Among the main issues that determined the policy of the United States concerning Israel and Arab countries were the economic and political ones. First of all, the wars in the region were closely connected with the prices of oil and the ability of the American companies to work there. Secondly, there was a broader political context in the war between the Arabs and the Israeli. Egypt and the Arabic coalition were indirectly supported by the Soviet Union while Israel was the center of the American military presence in the Sinai region. The active participation of the United States in the conflict might have been the reason for the Soviet Union to start a serious military campaign (Wawro, 2010, p. 275).
The influence of the oil lobby in the American government was very strong. That sphere was actively developing at that time and much money was concentrated in the oil production industry. However, the main aspect that influenced the Arab-Israeli conflicts like the Six-Day War was the Cold War. The opposition between the two main centers of the world power, the Soviet Union and the United States, led to the division of spheres of influence outside the two empires. As it was mentioned earlier, the United States supported Israel and guaranteed them military support in case of the aggression from the side of the Arab neighbors. The Soviet Union provided the Arab countries with weapons and military specialists; therefore, the countries like Egypt were the allies of the communist regime. Both the United States and the Soviet Union used the desires of minor players in their big game to expand their borders. The hatred between the Israelis and the Arabs became a good reason to divide the Middle East into two parts. Such division emphasized that the Cold War was not the problem between the United States and the Soviet Union. It was an international disaster and even the least influential countries were not able to avoid the inevitable choice between the opposite sides (Wawro, 2010, p. 277).
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The history of the Six-Day War is closely connected with the materials studied earlier in this course. For example, Friedman investigates the explanation of the reasons that have led to the appearance of the terrorist menace in the United States. He shows it using the example of the terrorist attack that occurred on September 11, 2001.