Today in Middle Eastern History: the Six Day War begins (1967)

This piece was supposed to go up around 11 this morning, but instead spent all day saved locally on my iPad, because I am A Idiot. Here it is anyway.

Because I’m most likely going to be out all day, but am committed to bringing you fresh #content anyway, I’m directing you to Michael Collins Dunn’s blog at the Middle East Institute. This is also a good idea because Professor Dunn is an actual expert in this stuff, whereas I am Some Guy With a Blog until further notice. Professor Dunn has been doing an annual series on the Six Day War since 2009, which I highly recommend, and this year’s entry covers Operation Moked, the Israeli strike that began the fighting:

The first wave took off from various Israeli bases and proceeded out over the Mediterranean skimming close to the water. In a carefully coordinated move the aircraft assumed formation in Egyptian airspace and began their attack.. The Wikipedia numbers generally track with others: 183 IAF aircraft destroyed 197 Egyptian aircraft and eight radar stations. A second wave (9:30 AM) was also aimed at Egypt, but after the Syrian and Jordanian Air Forces chose to enter the fray, the third wave (12:30 PM) turned against those air forces and Iraq’s, hitting th Iraqi base at H3 just east of the Jordanian border.

By a bit past noon most of the Arab air forces were gone, and a great many runways cratered. It was a stunning blow, and made the remaining five and a half days of the war inevitable. By the end of the war Israel had destroyed 452 Arab aircraft, 79 in dogfightsand the rest on the ground; it lost 46. It desteroyed 338 Egyptian aircraft, most on the first day; 61 Syrian (out of perhaps 100 at most); 29 Jordanian; 23 Iraqi (at the H3 base); and one Lebanese.

The Six Day War helped to create the Middle East of today. Israel took control of Jerusalem, Gaza, the West Bank of the Jordan, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula (returned to Egypt in stages, but fully back under Egyptian control by 1982). The Israelis conclusively demonstrated that they weren’t going anywhere (and the Arab nations stopped talking about whether Israel should exist at all and instead began to focus on containing Israel and rolling back the territorial gains it had made), but the siezure of the Occupied Territories dealt a blow to the idea of Palestinian statehood that still hasn’t been remedied.

One thought on “Today in Middle Eastern History: the Six Day War begins (1967)

  1. The Golan Heights are such a commanding position that it would take a LOT to get Israel to give them up. I don’t envy th Syrian troops who assaulted in 1973.

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