Nowhere in the world are historical rights and wrongs held onto so bitterly and for so long as in the Middle East. And all too frequently, the subsequent divisions end up in violence and armed conflict.
This volume in Osprey’s Campaign series is a companion to Simon Dunstan’s earlier book on the Six Day War in the Sinai. Following the swift and pre-emptive strike on Egyptian Forces, Israel turned its attention towards Jordan and Syria further north. Having signed a mutual defence pact with Egypt, both of these countries were obliged to attack Israel. With varying levels of morale.
By the end of the war, the Israelis had launched a daring and succesful invasion of the daunting Golan heights. Whilst victory against Jordan was not in the Israeli Generals plans, they could not resist a symbolic assault on the Holy City. Whilst they may have won plaudits for recapturing Jerusalem, this highly volatile act sowed the seeds of resentment and division in the Middle East for a generation, and arguably beyond. What the Israelis hold up as one of their greatest victories has also proven to be the cause of many of their problems.
Simon Dunstan gives us a comprehensive look at a very complex conflict. The incredibly bitter international politics of the middle east and the historic background to the state of Israel are key factors that underpin this war. Israel, for most of its existence, has lived under the threat of annihilation, and this has left its armed forces with no choice but to train to a high state. People fighting to defend their homeland more often than not fight the hardest, and this is a thread that Dunstan stresses. To view anything that happens in the Middle East without looking at this background is to lose all context. Crucially, the whole conflict in the Middle East was also broadly part of the range of proxy wars that took place during the Cold War. This was a very important war – the outcome was always likely to shape the future of the Middle East, evidenced by how the US and the USSR forced a ceasefire when it looked like the outcome might be too emphatic.
With Osprey’s trademark map graphics, and some pretty smart illustrations, Dunstan goes effortlessly from grand strategy and international diplomacy to low level unit actions, and the stories of inidividual soldiers.