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National Educational radio in cooperation with the British Broadcasting Corporation presents an analysis of the recent Middle East war by James Thompson BBC specialist in Middle Eastern affairs. In these talks Mr Thompson covers the Prairie View to the war the war itself and its aftermath. On this program Mr. Thompson discusses the consequences of the war and the problems it left for both Israel and the Arab states. Here now is James Thompson. It's extremely difficult even to begin counting the cost of a military operation like the latest Arab Israel war which by its very nature was bound to have so many nonmilitary repercussions. But this was no Miya formal engagement between two professional armies with victory going to the troops that remained in position of the battlefield. The Israeli soldiers are for the most part civilians in uniform and although it's still too early to judge just how much the economy of the country suffered by the transfer of so much civilian manpower to military duty is the cost must have
been heavy. But from the outset it was clear that there were other elements both natural and manmade which had contributed to the outbreak of hostilities and which must immensely complicate the outcome. There was the nature of the terrain particularly on Israel's southern front where the battle in Sinai desert presented not only special just stick problems to the opposing armies but also frightening inhuman hazards for tens of thousands of men. Then there was the whole historical background to the conflict which had provided the fuel to feed the flames and would certainly not burn itself out on the battlefield in the Gaza Strip and on the west bank of the Jordan what a million and a half Arab refugees left over from the 1948 war waiting either to be restored to their former homes in Palestine or condemned to yet another period of exile. Finally there was the deep and
longstanding involvement of the United Nations in the Arab Israel dispute and the conflicting attitudes adopted by the member nations. Whichever way the actual fortunes of war might go it was abundantly clear that the cost in terms of machines and men in terms of individuals and nations would be incalculable. In the event it was the mechanical cost that made the first shattering impact on the outside world within the first 24 hours of the war the Israelis destroyed nearly 400 and 50 aircraft most of them a Gyptian most of them the pic of the Russian aircraft industry. The final list of Russian built aircraft tanks guns and vehicles destroyed all captured by the Israelis is a catalog item by item of shattered Arab hopes and ambitions. The value of the military losses incurred by the three Arab armies within six days has been
estimated at the staggering figure of 300 million pounds the equivalent of three years revenue from the Suez Canal. And this figure does not include vast quantities of ammunition and stalls as most of this war material had been supplied on long time credit. The Russians have in fact lost in one week three times the amount they invested in the 10 year plan to build the high damaged us one. It's hard to believe that this enormous loss to the Russian taxpayer enormous even by civic standards has not given rise to serious heart searching in Moscow. Experts estimate that the cost of replacing the U.S. military supplies alone is likely to be nearly double the original figure between four hundred fifty and 500 million pounds. The Serbian government is unlikely to invest that sort of amount without at the very least some very firm
guarantee of tangible returns. In short the cost to the USA are in particular of any further Soviet investment is likely to be high in political if not in economic terms heavily indebted to other countries as well chiefly West Germany and the United States. The USA are will be under heavy pressure to reopen the Suez Canal which is worth two million pounds a week in revenue and will in turn press for the return of the Sinai desert with its highly promising oil reserves. The losses in military equipment suffered by Syria and Jordan were small by comparison but the damage done to their economies was anything but negligible. Jordan in particular has lost in old Jerusalem and Bethlehem. To tourist centers which since the incorporation of the West Bank in 1949 have been major sources of revenue accounting for one fifth of the country's total
budget. No statistics however accurate however staggering can possibly reflect the terrible cost to all three Arab countries in human lives and human suffering. Again although the fighting in both Jordan and Syria was savage It was the Egyptian soldiers who paid the highest price. How many of their 20000 dead were killed in battle. We do not know. We'll probably never know. All we need to know in drawing up this balance sheet is that the Sinai Peninsula is littered with the bodies of men who were victims either of war or of the waterless desert. The fact that loss of life amongst the Arab refugees in the Gaza Strip and on the west bank of the Jordan was negligible merely means that they survived to experience the humiliation of Israeli occupation or the bitterness of the exile. One can only hope that both Victor and vanquished will cooperate with the United Nations and the
United Nations will be able to resolve the vast human problem which has been on the conscience of the world for 20 years and that is 20 years too long. Unfortunately there are already depressing signs that both Victor and vanquished are primarily concerned with territory and prestige. One would feel more hopeful if one thought that both parties and those supporting them were prepared to act on the principle stated by the Israeli prime minister that every human being is a complete world by comparison with Jordan Syria and the USA are Israel lost very few of our own people in this war. But history will judge her on how she treats the people she has conquered. You can do a great deal to keep the ultimate cost of this war within bounds. At the same time the very speed and magnitude of Israel's victory clearly makes this more difficult. The almost automatic reaction of the US was to compensate
for sudden defeat on the military front by switching to another. The cost of closing the Suez Canal will fall much more heavily on the USA are than on World Shipping. The cost of imposing a selective embargo on supplies of oil to Britain and America can only do appreciable damage to the oil producing countries themselves. They and they alone can decide whether for political reasons they must continue to base their actions on the allegation of Anglo-American intervention and if so whether they can afford to pay the price in reduced revenues and a consequence laying down of their internal development plan. To a large extent this sort of decision can only be reached by the painful process of facing facts. Nothing that has happened since the main hostilities ended has been so symptomatic of the Arab need for unity than the widespread popular demand in the Arab world. On the 9th and the 10th of July
the president Nasser should withdraw his resignation to shrug this off as a brilliant piece of stage management would in my view be highly dangerous. At the same time if President Assad and his supporters really believe that the defeat suffered at the hands of the Israelis was no more than what their propagandists call a setback then they are deluding themselves and the soldiers whose bodies are littered around the Sinai Desert have died in vain. You have heard James Thompson BBC specialist in Middle Eastern affairs in another program analyzing the recent Middle East war on our next program Mr. Thompson will discuss the problems that face the countries of the Middle East and the United Nations now that the war is over. These programs were produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation and distributed by national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
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The Middle East War
Analysis, part four
Producing Organization
British Broadcasting Corporation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the fifth part of an analysis of the Six-Day War.
Episode Description
This program presents the fourth part of an analysis of the Six-Day War.
Series Description
A series of five 10-minute analyses of the Six-Day War by British Broadcasting Corporation Middle East correspondent James Thompson.
Global Affairs
War and Conflict
Media type
Producing Organization: British Broadcasting Corporation
Speaker: Thompson, James
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-Sp.10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:09:20
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Chicago: “The Middle East War; Analysis, part four,” 1967-06-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 19, 2024,
MLA: “The Middle East War; Analysis, part four.” 1967-06-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 19, 2024. <>.
APA: The Middle East War; Analysis, part four. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from