Monday, August 06, 2007


Here's an interesting little development that brings back old times.

For the first time since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia plans to re-operate the Tartus and Latakia ports in Syria as permanent bases for the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean basin, according to recent western media reports...

Israeli officials estimated on Sunday that a renewed base in Syria will help the Russians carry out spy missions also against Israel, particularly electronic spying aimed at observing new weapon systems and the flow of information in channels used by the army and the defense establishment.

The old times I was referring to were just over 40 years ago. Between May 1966 and January 1967, the Soviets warned the Syrians four times that, according to their intelligence reports, the Zionist imperialists were massing on the border. Vigorous denials and lack of said imperialists in the stated positions meant that the fuss came to nothing.

But later in 1967, in early May, with the tension higher, Anwar Sadat paid a visit to Moscow on his way home from Mongolia and North Korea. He had expected a quiet chat, but was informed by the Soviet leaders of the latest intelligence: the Israelis had already massed between 10 and 12 brigades on the Syrian border and were poised to invade and bring down the Ba'athist regime sometime between the 16th and 22nd of May. Sadat promised that the Syrians would not fight alone and went home to Nasser.

The next day, Nasser moved his army into Sinai and told the UN force to move out. Thus began the countdown to the Six-Day War. Obviously, the Soviets didn't cause it. But it could be said that they, and their intelligence, helped to start it when it did.

Just what was needed in the current situation - intelligence.

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