In the early hours of 5 June 1967, exactly 55 years ago, the Israeli air force carried out wave after wave of devastating strikes on Egyptian air bases, destroying, virtually completely, the entire Egyptian air force in what is called The so-called Six-day War.
In subsequent strikes on the same day, the air forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq suffered crippling losses, depriving Arab armies of air cover
Indeed, by the end of the first day of the so-called Six-day War of 1967, Israel achieved absolute air superiority over the Egyptian air force, Syria and Jordan. In fact, one would exaggerate very little by arguing that the outcome of the war was decided during its first six hours, which would make the appellation “Six-hour war” a more fitting description of the gargantuan Arab defeat.
By 10 June, the last day of the war, Israel occupied the Sinai desert and the West Bank including the holy city of Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Height.
“Red night and intoxicated pilots”
It was widely reported then that the bulk of Egyptian pilots had had a “red night” during which a strong liquor was served. Thus, the heavily intoxicated pilots simply couldn’t fly. Moreover, Egyptian warplanes were like “sitting ducks” as they had no hardened concrete shelters to protect them from aerial strikes. Another scandalous element contributing to Gamal Abdel Nasser‘s air-force destruction was the fact that the entire Egyptian air-defence system was shut off for the duration of a reconnaissance mission by War Minister Abdul Hakim Amer to “assess the situation.” Moreover, to ensure Amir’s safety, no plane was allowed to take off during his flight. The man was Gamal Abdel Nasser’s son-in-law and one of his closest confidants.
The Israeli Six-day War victory in 1967 was more logical than miraculous. Egypt, Syria and Jordan, were then as they are now, ruled by corrupt, bankrupt, and tyrannical rulers who viewed the preservation of the regime as their ultimate and most paramount strategy and priority.
Gamal Abdel Nasser’s responsibility
There is no doubt that Gamal Abdel Nasser is blamed for the greatest Arab-Muslim 1967 war defeat since the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusades on 15 July 1099, when the armies of the Franks made their entry into Jerusalem and massacred its inhabitants. The near megalomaniac Arab leader was a captive of his own irrational rhetoric, futile sabre-rattling, and rabble-rousing speeches as well as huge popularity from Bahrain to Casablanca. This gave him the impression that he was always on the right track no matter what he did. As he lacked any self-accountability, he would use the Ikhwan as a red- herring to justify and evade responsibility for his many failures and blunders.
Immediately after the end of hostilities on 10 June, a commentator on Sawt al-Arab or the Voice of the Arabs radio station sought to assure his devastated listeners that Israel actually failed in the war since its real goal was to remove Gamal Abdel Nasser from power, which it didn’t achieve!
Nasser: the Second Major Disaster hitting the Muslim World After Ataturk
I remember I once asked Professor Hamed Algar of the University of California at Berkley how he viewed Gamal Abdel Nasser. He described the famous idol of Arab nationalism rather tersely, saying Gamal Abdel Nasser was “the second major disaster afflicting the Muslim world after Mustapha Kemal Ataturk.” (see my article, Nasser revisited).
Read: The 1967 War Revisited
Gamal Abdul Nasser deserved this description. Besides bearing ultimate responsibility for the loss of al-Masjidul Aksa, he executed one of the most important Muslim intellectuals, Sayyed Qutub, for being affiliated with reactionary forces in the service of imperialism, Colonialism and Zionism. Qutub was a treasure of knowledge walking on two legs. His Tafsir “Fi Zilal al-Quran” is still considered second to none.
And while excelling in rhetorical overindulgence, rabble-rousing and making empty threats against Israel, as well as gasconading about the grandeur of the revolution, many of his aides, including Amer, were actually real presumed spies for Israel.
Gamal Abdel Nasser appointed communists and other anti-Islam figures in key positions in his regime while carrying out a sustained witch-hunt campaign against religious Muslims, calling them a fifth column.
The late Egyptian Muslim preacher and thinker, Sheikh Muhammed Metwalli Shaarawi “thanked Allah for the decisive Israeli victory in the 1967 war.” When asked why, the eminent imam said this: Had we defeated Israel, our people and the Arabs, in general, would have adopted atheistic communism as a religion instead of Islam and worshipped Gamal Abdel Nasser as God instead of Allah.”
The situation in Syria was by no means any better. There the Godless Baath party was trying to de-Islamize Syria and consolidate the domination of the small esoteric sect known as Nusayris, which worships Imam Ali as God incarnate. In Islam, this absolute idolatry and polytheism. Prior to the 1967 war, Baathists sought to sow sedition, anarchy, promiscuity and atheism throughout Syria in order to prepare the country for the complete domination of the Baath party. But the Baath party was actually a mere ladder for the Nusayris, used to arrogate power forever.
Hostility to Islam reached an unprecedented level of brazenness as Baathist leaders and intellectuals began assaulting and demonizing Islam, the Quran and the prophet Muhammad.
For example, on 25 April 1967, a prominent Baathist military officer named Ibrahim Khalaf wrote the following in the “Jaysh al-Shaab” (the People’s army) magazine, under the title “the new Arab man:
“We need a socialist, revolutionary Arab man, not one praying and supplicating for mercy from a God that doesn’t exist.
“The new socialist Arab must realise that things such as God, religion, virtue, morality, and paradise are mere mummified puppets in the museum of history.”
The Israeli intelligence penetration of the Syrian regime was phenomenal as it was clarion. A few years before the 1967 war, an Israeli spy named Eli Cohen was able to reach the highest echelons of the regime. In the process, Cohen, who was disguised as a Syrian immigrant in South America, obtained every conceivable piece of information about the country, the armed forces, the religious and ethnic minorities and the political parties. “He knew everything, even the colours of our leaders’ wives’ underwear’,” one unnamed Syrian official was quoted as saying.
Paramount strategic Asset to Israel
Interestingly, the public discourse of the regime contradicted rather starkly reality on the ground. For example, Hafez Assad, the former dictator and father of the current mass murderer despot Bashar, announced the fall of the Golan Height more than 24 hours before the strategic plateau did actually fall.
Moreover, the thousands of troops who were supposed to defend the area, confront and repulse advancing Israeli forces were ordered to abandon their positions and move quickly to Damascus to protect the Baathist regime from a possible coup by disgruntled officers.
Needless to say, the Syrian regime which brags unceasingly about its patriotism, Arab nationalism, liberty, liberation, and standing in the face of imperialism, Zionism and colonialism! has been and continues to be a paramount strategic asset for Israel. According to a documentary aired on Aljazeera several years ago, Hafez Assad reached a secret agreement with Zionist leaders in London in the early 1970s. Israel would cede the Golan Heights in exchange for the Zionist movement guaranteeing the continuity of the Nusayris r in power in Syria.
A few years ago, Ehud Barack, the former Israeli PM, told the Obama administration that the Assad regime represented a great strategic asset for Israel.
To conclude this sad piece I can say that it is contrary to the laws of God, man and nature that such bankrupt and evil regimes would be granted victory. This was true in 1967; it is still true today.