New Article: Orkaby, The 1964 Israeli Airlift to Yemen and the Expansion of Weapons

Orkaby, Asher. “The 1964 Israeli Airlift to Yemen and the Expansion of Weapons Diplomacy.” Diplomacy & Statecraft 26.4 (2015): 659-77.

 

URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09592296.2015.1096691

 

Abstract

Based on oral history accounts of surviving members of Israel’s first International Squadron and organisers of the military airlift to Yemen in 1964, this analysis examines the origins of the squadron, its mission to Yemen, and its impact on Israeli foreign policy in Africa. The founding of the International Squadron in 1963 incorporated the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser into the Israeli air force and gave the military and Foreign Ministry the country’s first long-distance transport capability. The initial successful military airlift to Yemen in May 1964 opened the possibility for additional clandestine military aid missions to sub-Saharan Africa and Kurdistan and marked the beginning of an era of Israeli “weapons diplomacy.” The Squadron’s incorporation of more advanced transport planes during the 1970s presented the Foreign Ministry with the capability of reaching Latin America and Asia, an essential factor in Israel’s expanding global arms market and later humanitarian missions.

 

 

 

New Article: Orkaby, Israel’s International Squadron and the “Never Again” Mentality

Orkaby, Asher. “Israel’s International Squadron and the “Never Again” Mentality.” Journal of the Middle East and Africa 6.2 (2015): 83-101.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21520844.2015.1051449

 

Abstract

Israel’s International Squadron 120, founded in 1964, embodied the “Never Again” post-Holocaust imperative of Israel’s identity ahead of its adoption on a national level. Beginning with an airlift mission to Yemen’s northern highlands in 1964, the squadron emerged as the long arm of Israel’s foreign policy during the nation’s “golden era” of the 1960s and subsequent decades. Through the continued influence of its early members, many of whom were survivors of the Holocaust, the squadron assumed the forefront of international humanitarian aid and rescue efforts. This article tells the story of this squadron through the oral histories of five of its original members.

New (in paperback): Ferris, Nasser’s Gamble

Ferris, Jesse. Nasser’s Gamble. How Intervention in Yemen Caused the Six-Day War and the Decline of Egyptian Power. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

NassersGamble

Nasser’s Gamble draws on declassified documents from six countries and original material in Arabic, German, Hebrew, and Russian to present a new understanding of Egypt’s disastrous five-year intervention in Yemen, which Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser later referred to as “my Vietnam.” Jesse Ferris argues that Nasser’s attempt to export the Egyptian revolution to Yemen played a decisive role in destabilizing Egypt’s relations with the Cold War powers, tarnishing its image in the Arab world, ruining its economy, and driving its rulers to instigate the fatal series of missteps that led to war with Israel in 1967.

Viewing the Six Day War as an unintended consequence of the Saudi-Egyptian struggle over Yemen, Ferris demonstrates that the most important Cold War conflict in the Middle East was not the clash between Israel and its neighbors. It was the inter-Arab struggle between monarchies and republics over power and legitimacy. Egypt’s defeat in the “Arab Cold War” set the stage for the rise of Saudi Arabia and political Islam.

Bold and provocative, Nasser’s Gamble brings to life a critical phase in the modern history of the Middle East. Its compelling analysis of Egypt’s fall from power in the 1960s offers new insights into the decline of Arab nationalism, exposing the deep historical roots of the Arab Spring of 2011.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Acknowledgments ix

INTRODUCTION – 1
The Golden Age of Nasserism 3
Idealism and Pragmatism in Nasser’s Foreign Policy 11
The Nature of Middle Eastern Politics 14
The Place of the Intervention in Egyptian Memory 16
Structure of the Book 21

CHAPTER ONE – The Road to War 24
The Coup in Yemen 29
The Struggle for Power in Egypt 37
The Accidental Intervention? 49
The Denouement of the Crisis in Cairo 61

Chapter TWO – The Soviet-Egyptian Intervention in Yemen 70
The Nature of Soviet Relations with Egypt and Yemen 71
The Egyptian Appeal and the Soviet Response 75
Explaining Soviet Behavior 88
Forms of Early Soviet Involvement 94

Chapter THREE – Food for “Peace”: The Breakdown of US-Egyptian Relations, 1962-65 102
Recognition 106
Disengagement 113
The Suspension of US Aid 127
The Balance of Payments Crisis 139

Chapter FOUR – Guns for Cotton: The Unraveling of Soviet-Egyptian Relations, 1964-66 142
Guns for Cotton 144
The Soviet Quest for Base Rights in Egypt 146
From Jiddah to Moscow 151
In the Cracks of Cold War Geology 159
The Final Unraveling 162

Chapter FIVE – On the Battlefield in Yemen–and in Egypt 174
Counterinsurgency 176
Casualties 190
Cost 195
Corruption 199
The Spread of Popular Discontent 206

Chapter SIX – The Fruitless Quest for Peace: Saudi-Egyptian Negotiations, 1964-66 215
The First Arab Summit 217
The Second Arab Summit 222
The Jiddah Agreement 232
From the Islamic Pact to the Long Breath Strategy 249
The Kuwaiti Mediation and the Return of Sallal 258

Chapter SEVEN – The Six-Day War and the End of the Intervention in Yemen 262
The Sinai Option 266
The Syrian Connection 272
The Soviet Spark 275
The Egyptian Initiative 284
The Impact of the Yemen War on Egyptian Military Performance in the Six-Day War 289
The Khartoum Conference and the Withdrawal of the Egyptians from Yemen 290

AFTERWORD – The Twilight of Egyptian Power 295

Bibliographical Note 313
Bibliography 319
Index 335

 

 

Jesse Ferris is vice president for strategy at the Israel Democracy Institute and a historian of the modern Middle East.

Cite: Morton & Shortt, The Arab Spring: Implications for Israeli Security

Morton, Jeffrey S. and Nicole Shortt. “The Arab Spring: Implications for Israeli Security.” Mediterranean Quarterly 23.3 (2012): 34-51.

 

URL: http://mq.dukejournals.org/content/23/3/34.short

 

Abstract

The popular uprising that started in Tunisia in December 2010 quickly spread across the Arab world, culminating in a historic regional realignment with far-reaching implications. This essay details the implications of the Arab Spring for Israeli security. After highlighting the history of Israel’s defense strategy and reviewing the Arab Spring revolts, the authors find that the recent uprisings exacerbate several issues faced by Israel, including geopolitical relations with other countries in the region, energy issues, and growing threats presented by nonstate actors.