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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 preview to the war the war itself and its aftermath. On this program Mr Thompson describes the fighting itself and discusses Arab allegations of Anglo-American intervention. Here now is James Thompson. The first intimation that war had finally broken out in the Middle East game. Early on Monday morning the 5th of June when Israel Radio announced in Hebrew that Israeli forces were attacking an Egyptian obligate force which was moving towards Israel. From the moment the fighting began the air hummed with claims and counterclaims But one thing was very soon clear from both Israeli and Egyptian reports Israeli aircraft had launched a massive attack on airfields in the USA are in the early hours of
Monday June 5th. Within three hours of the outbreak of hostilities Cairo was claiming that forty two Israeli aircraft had been shot down. It seemed rather a high figure at such an early stage. But the Israeli claim to have destroyed one hundred twenty eight Gyptian aircraft seemed frankly incredible. Events were to prove that the incredible was true. For the next two days once credulity it was constantly being strained by the apparent exaggeration of the Israeli claims. But nothing quite so incredible as the fact that the Egyptian air force was almost totally destroyed in that first attack. There Tijoux 16s the MIGs and their illusions were drawn up wingtip to wingtip on the airfield ready for rapid takeoff. And what a sitting target for mass destruction. Once this initial blow had fallen the military and broadcast comments from
Cairo and Damascus at least for the first two days presented a picture which as we now know became more and more remote from the harsh reality. But by the morning of the third day the U.S. Supreme Command was forced to admit that its forces had fallen back to 2nd line positions. The only other front large scale fighting was taking place was the Jordanian front. The Syrians hold out violent words confined themselves to shelling Israeli frontier settlement. But the Jordanians had moved out of their defensive positions following a personal assurance from President Nasr to King Hussein that Egyptian air cover would be provided and they found themselves exposed to merciless bombardment by Israeli aircraft. Within three days the Jordanians had to give up the unequal struggle and comply with the Security Council cease fire resolution a resolution which
incidentally that it had taken the council an unconscionable time to reach. The Security Council had met in emergency session within a few hours of the outbreak of hostilities on Monday June the 5th. The Serbia delegate obviously not yet aware of the extent and the speed of Israel's victory refused to support a simple cease fire resolution which did not condemn Israeli aggression and require the Israeli forces to withdraw to their previous positions. But by Tuesday the position was sufficiently clear for the Syria to him to drop its conditions. It was not until Thursday afternoon however that Egypt accepted the cease fire. By that time the Israelis had reached the east bank of the Suez Canal and had occupied Sharm el-Sheik on the Straits of Tiran in Jordan. They had occupied the old city of Jerusalem and a large part of the west bank of the Jordan. The Syrian army which eventually fort with commendable
determination accepted the ceasefire on Saturday June the 10th by which time the Israelis were only 14 miles from Damascus. In the meantime however the Egyptian government had launched a new offensive on quite another front on the morning of Tuesday June the 6th. The US Armed Forces Supreme Command issued a statement to the effect that as it had been as it put it categorically established that British and American aircraft had given active support to the Israelis in their attacks on Jordan and the USA Ah it had been decided to close the sewage canal at the same time President RF announced in Baghdad that the pumping of oil had been suspended. The other oil producing countries Algeria Kuwait Saudi Arabia Libya Bahrain and gutta quickly followed suit and several of them together with the Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with London and Washington. Despite categorical denials
by both governments that the aircraft had been anywhere near the fighting. From the beginning the allegation of Anglo-American intervention was to say the least highly suspect. It's alleged to have begun with a telephone conversation very early on Tuesday morning between President Nasser and King Hussein who is said to have stated that aircraft had been seen on radar screens taking off from British and American aircraft carriers the previous day to support Israel. King Hussein has since admitted that he had no conclusive evidence that British or American aircraft were engaged of a joint. It seemed in any case I'm likelier that the king who was a trained pilot would be foolish enough to claim that British or American aircraft could actually be identified on radar screens. But as the British government pointed out the only two British aircraft carriers were in Aden and Malta much too far away to be
spotted. And as both aircraft carriers what Anka new jet aircraft could have taken all the radios since gone so far as to claim that Israeli pilots were actually ferried by helicopter to these British aircraft carriers a distance of 1000 miles where they took over a fighter bomber aircraft. As for the allegation that the American aircraft had come from a carrier in the Sixth Fleet which was in the eastern Mediterranean the American ships were being served closely shadowed by Russian warships a kind of commentator had even put the distance at 900 meters that it was quite impossible for any aircraft to fly to Israel without the Russians seeing that. That in fact was the object of the Russian exercise. Well the Soviet government had committed itself to a determined come to action. If there was any intervention in the circumstances it's hardly surprising that the Serbian government gave no support whatsoever to the
allegation of Anglo-American intervention. It's not surprising either that the Egyptians stuck to their story. Some story was obviously needed to explain why the Egyptians had allowed their craft to be destroyed before they even took off. And why as a result they had failed to provide their own and the Jordanian armies with the promised call for allegations of Anglo-American collusion with Israel had been literally in the air ever since the crisis began. It had become an integral part of the subversive revolutionary propaganda from Cairo and Moscow directed largely against the Arab oil producing countries oil as one Cairo commentator put it is the decisive weapon which is available to you and with which you can defeat the enemy. When the demand finally came for the oil supplies to Britain and America to be stocked.
It made no difference whatsoever. Whether the governments of the oil producing countries agreed with Carter's allegations or not. They knew that if they did not stop the oil flowing there were enough militant Arab nationalists on hand to blow up the pipeline. Looking back on that dramatic week from the fifth to the 10th of June one fact naturally stands out. The Israelis who were heavily outnumbered in manpower machines and who it was widely assumed had lost the element of surprise in the weeks of military buildup took the Egyptians completely and catastrophic lead by surprise. By Tuesday morning when the allegation of Anglo American intervention was produced in Cairo like a rabbit out of a hat the Egyptians must have known that military defeat was staring them in the face. It was perhaps not unnatural in the circumstances that they should turn to the second line of attack which they had
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The Middle East War
Analysis, part two
Producing Organization
British Broadcasting Corporation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents the first part of an analysis of the Six-Day War.
Episode Description
This program presents the second part of an analysis of the Six-Day War.
Episode Description
This program presents the third part of an analysis of the Six-Day War.
Other 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: 00:10:07
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Chicago: “The Middle East War; Analysis, part two,” 1967-06-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 11, 2022,
MLA: “The Middle East War; Analysis, part two.” 1967-06-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 11, 2022. <>.
APA: The Middle East War; Analysis, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from