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The Arab World and Western IntelligenceAnalysing the Middle East, 1956-1981$
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Dina Rezk

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748698912

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748698912.001.0001

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.325) Conclusion
Source:
The Arab World and Western Intelligence
Author(s):

Dina Rezk

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748698912.003.0012

Exploring these case studies through the secret prism of intelligence tells a dramatically different story of Anglo-American relations with the Middle East than the narratives of ‘failure’ and ‘misunderstanding’ that dominate extant accounts. Indeed for most of these seminal events, analysts had a remarkably good sense of the strategic context and provided warnings to policy makers accordingly. Predicting the tactical details of a revolution or war was considerably more difficult, particularly when these details were closely guarded or even unknown to participants themselves. This concluding chapter explores what lessons can be learned from these case studies. It highlights that assessments produced at the time often revealed an impressive degree of clarity and foresight, frequently foreshadowing the conclusions of later historical scholarship deprived of these valuable sources and writing with the benefit of hindsight. Surviving Egyptian diplomats were notably surprised by how well the analytic community read regional dynamics. ‘Culture’ was a complex and contested double-edged sword, serving as both an aid and an impediment to assessments of the Arab world.

Keywords:   Culture, assessments, analysis, success, failure

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