USSR Was Planning Israel's Demise

The determining test of the Soviet leadership's intentions must remain in the facts of its preparation for military action. Pending the unlikely declassification of the directly relevant Soviet documents, the full scope and content of the Soviet operational plan can only be approximated by piecing together a growing number of partial but revealing and complementary accounts from participants. These outline deliberate and complex military moves which predated and parallelled the political-diplomatic efforts designed to manipulate Egypt into provoking Israel to launch a first strike, following which the USSR would intervene to support the Arab side against the "aggressor." Michael Oren cites numerous sources to establish that already in 1966, with Egypt ostensibly barred from deploying substantial forces in Sinai, the Soviets devised a master plan for such deployment codenamed "Conqueror." More revealing, perhaps, is the description of this plan's strategy as "shield and sword"--the motto and emblem of the KGB. One of this plan's basic features (a lightly defended front line) was specifically designed "to serve as bait for luring the Israelis into a frontal assault."(86)

Perhaps even more significant is that "Conqueror" was originated at the same time that Egypt signed its defense treaty with Syria, which was invoked by the warning of May 1967. Syria's role in the Soviet instigation of the 1967 crisis has not been adequately explored, partly because Russian sources--not to mention Syrian ones--are absolutely silent on it. The Egyptian-Syrian pact was signed in November 1966, just before Amer's visit to Moscow; but the USSR began pressing for its conclusion shortly after the coup on February 23 which put Damascus firmly in the Soviet camp and provided a test case for the activist foreign policy formulated at the Soviet Communist Party's congress a few weeks later. This official CPSU doctrine asserted "unity of the three revolutionary trends in modern times--global Socialism, national-liberation struggle of enslaved peoples and the international workers' movement."(87)

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