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Tuesday, July 26, 2011     GET REAL

Documents reveal U.S. doubted Israeli victory
in 1973 Yom Kippur War

WASHINGTON — The United States, in a sharp reversal, assessed that Israel's military was unlikely to defeat its Arab enemies in the 1970s.


Government documents released by the State Department on July 21 disclosed a pessimistic U.S. assessment of Israel's military strength. The assessment by the Defense Department determined that Israel's military could not stop an Arab onslaught as that which took place during the 1973 war.

"However well they come out of the present conflict, the Israelis can no longer be confident of quick, decisive victories in the future," the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) wrote.

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The Pentagon assessment, dated Oct. 24, 1973, was in sharp contrast to that issued only six months earlier, Middle East Newsline reported. In the first document, DIA determined that the Arabs would be quickly defeated by Israel.

But the Yom Kippur War, in which Israel lost 2,700 soldiers in the campaign with Egypt and Syria, resulted in a U.S. dismissal of the military of the Jewish state. DIA said Israel could require U.S. or international guarantees for its safety.

"Among the options are: an international guarantee of Israel's borders; a unilateral U.S. military guarantee of those borders; or a public declaration of Israeli determination to employ nuclear weapons to guarantee its territorial integrity," DIA said.

Washington's view of the Israeli military again changed significantly in the 1990s. At the time, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that the Arabs did not possess a veritable conventional weapons threat against the Jewish state.

The DIA assessment in October 1973 came despite a determination by the U.S. intelligence community that Israel could produce nuclear weapons. DIA said Israel could threaten Arab states with nuclear weapons in an attempt to maintain deterrence.

"Their threatened use against such targets as Arab forces, cities, ports, holy places, and the [Egyptian] Aswan High Dam could serve to deter future armed attacks," DIA said. "Such an avowed Israeli policy would occasion world-wide opposition. The U.S. would, therefore, find it extremely difficult to associate itself with such an Israeli policy. Meanwhile, the Arabs might be willing to attack, despite the deterrent threat."

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