The Six-Day War currently stands as one of the CIA’s greatest ‘success’ stories in the Middle East. Good intelligence is credited with guiding policy makers in the UK and US to resist Israeli requests for military support and thereby containing a conflict that could have pitted a Western supported Israel against a Soviet backed Arab force. What made intelligence so effective in this instance? This chapter argues that analysts recognised the intentions and capabilities of the major players in this conflict. They knew that Nasser had no appetite for a war with Israel and acknowledged that he had been goaded by Syria into an aggressive rhetoric that became dangerously self-fulfilling. More importantly, analysts correctly identified that despite the numerical superiority of the combined Arab forces, the Israeli military would prevail. Yet looking beyond the catharsis of military conflict raises important questions about the utility of discourse such as ‘success’ in describing a war whose tragic legacy remains with us today.
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