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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August, 1967

GENERAL STAFF OF THE CZECHOSLOVAK PEOPLE'S ARMY, 'REPORT ON THE CAUSES, THE COURSE AND THE RESULTS OF THE ISRAELI AGGRESSION IN THE NEAR EAST FROM THE MILITARY-POLITICAL POINT OF VIEW'

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    Detailed analysis of Western foreign policy toward the Middle East, the outcome of the Six-Day War, and Czechoslovakian military support of the United Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic.
    "General Staff of the Czechoslovak People's Army, 'Report on the Causes, the Course and the Results of the Israeli Aggression in the Near East from the Military-Political Point of View'," August, 1967, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Security Services Archive/Hlavni sprava rozvedky, I. sprava SNB, box 566. Obtained by Jan Koura and translated for CWIHP by David Růžička. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/144976
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General Staff of the Czechoslovak People's Army

August 1967   

Top Secret!

1. 9

2. 30

Report

on the causes, the course and the results of the Israeli aggression in the Near East from the military-political point of view

Amendment [Handwritten]

1)      Imperialism strategy with special regard to the crisis areas

Imperialism's final strategic aim consists in establishing the capitalist order as an all-embracing societal and economic system. Due to the inability to achieve the final strategic aim in one step, imperialism focuses on a flexible and complex system of partial targets whose gradual implementation is being regarded as more feasible taking into consideration the current balance of power and the development of the situation.

Currently, the following partial global strategic aims of imperialism are becoming significantly more prominent:

- halting worldwide socialism by weakening the socialist camp, lowering its fighting capacity and setting limits to the socialist sphere of influence;

- destroying anti-imperialist activities and preventing further anti-imperialist activities, fueled by nationalist motives coming from the developing countries;

- preventing the third world's gradual transition towards a real anti-imperialist and anti-colonialism focused political as well as military power.

In order to achieve these aims, the West is using all components of the power apparatus with increasing flexibility and sophistication – be it in the political, economic, psychologically-moral and military area. The respective means, methods and tactics is selected according to the strategic line defined for the respective area.

 In the case of the countries belonging to the socialist camp, and especially with respect the Warsaw Pact Countries, the West is making especially use of differentiated activities within the diplomatic, economic, cultural and psychologically-moral sphere, primarily directed against the socialist camp union and solidarity, whereas as far as third world countries are concerned, the West is using a wide range of already existing methods including armed violence.

The USA remains the main organizer and initiator of these activities. According to the situation within the given area, the United States are making use of either their own troops /e.g. in Vietnam/ or are trying to use their allies and countries depending upon the USA. Especially the buffer-zone states in crisis areas outside Europe /Israel, Thailand, South Korea, South Vietnam etc./ and military unions such as CENTO, SEATO, OAS and others play an important role.

They are using their satellites [Handwritten in s prestige in the eyes of worldwide public opinion.

An example of this second alternative is the way in which the USA used Israel in trying to stop the progressive development within the Arab world, which profoundly threatens the imperialist powers' positions in the Middle East and on the entire African continent, when seen from the long-term perspective. [Handwritten addition at bottom of page: Making use of the tiered intimidation strategy]

The Middle East area is of an extraordinary economic, political and military-strategic importance. Within this area, the Imperialism is mainly interested in using the vast crude oil resources in the Arab countries. Yet the Arab world, and especially its progressive regimes appear to be a strong anti-imperialism policy area which is influencing not only the whole African continent, but also the anti-imperialism movement in the other developing countries from the so-called third world. The Near East is a strategically important area that's connected to three continents, with the Suez Canal being especially important, mainly for Western capitalist countries.

Thus, the imperialist policy's aim in the Middle East area is to maintain and strengthen its influence in this strategically important area, halting the progressive anti-imperialism development within the main Arab countries and achieving a change of their regimes that are relying on help from socialist countries and another aim is to weaken the socialist countries' influence in this area.

Lately, especially Syria and the United Arab Republic witnessed a significant progressive anti-imperialist development, due to which the balance of powers shifted in favor of progress and a threat to imperialist interests.

The imperialist block is mainly focusing against the United Arab Republic and Syria which play a leading role in setting up the anti-imperialist front within this area. The imperialist powers hope that weakening these two countries' military and political sphere, and especially by replacing the current regimes by more right-wing, Western-oriented ones, will help them in getting rid of the Arab movement leadership where after it will be easier to destroy this movement.

The Israeli aggression is also meant to help in achieving this partial imperialism strategy aim in the Near East area.

 […]

    

4) Military policy state of affairs with respect to the Arab states prior to the aggression

The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic's military policy regarding the Arab states has been based upon the overall socialist countries' political concept, and directed at supporting progressive development in the developing countries.

In line with this, military-technical aid has been oriented especially for the United Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic. Within the cultural cooperation area, the organizational foundation for a stronger cooperation has been laid down.

The main insufficiencies in our help provided for the Arab states was that there was no interdepartmental coordination nor an interdepartmental concept regarding the Arab states and also the military-political concept for approaching these countries has not been defined. This conceptual area even hasn't been coordinated within the Warsaw pact countries.

Technical and political education aid was provided via the Ministry of Foreign Trade on a business basis. Thus, the Ministry of Foreign Trade virtually organized the help in building the Arab armies. The Ministry of National Defense helped within this sphere and didn't make use of its influence on the type and form of technical help and this help's targeted use.

There were several duties that had to be fulfilled by our army in connection to this technical aid provided to Arab states, all this included selecting the politically appropriate staff, teaching these countries' staff in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, distributing technology and numerous organizational and other measures – both at home and abroad. The significant fragmentation during these operations was a characteristic trait of such activities. Help was provided by the Antonín Zápotocký Military Academy (Czech abbrev. VA-AZ) that bore the vast part of the load regarding the politically appropriate staff, the Main Political Administration (Czech abbrev. HPS) as far as policy and politically appropriate staff was concerned, the Ministry of National Defense (MNO)/Military School Administration (SVŠ) helped in political education, the General Staff (GŠ)/ Foreign Relations Administration (SZS) helped in the area of technical help, the Deputy Commander of the General Staff (ZNGŠ) was responsible for technical matters, and the General Staff (GŠ)/ Intelligence Service (SZ) helped with intelligence-related topics. These activities were not coordinated by a joint plan, they were isolated and frequently, the individual decisive actors didn't know about the others' activities.

Military-technical aid

Military technical help was based upon the framework agreement from 1957 concluded between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Arab states regarding basic armament supplies. This agreement was coordinated in detail with the USSR with the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic taking over 25 % of the armament deliveries and the USSR 75 %.

The foundation for concluding individual contracts was laid down by the United Arab Republic's and the Syrian Arab Republic's requirements that were presented to the USSR, and these requirements stated the need to have armed forces. We didn't have the option of either checking or influencing whether these requirements were justified.

According to this contract, there were also 270 fighter-airplanes, approx. 400 tanks and self-propelled cannons, 250 cannons equaling to a total amount of approx. 1.5 billion Czechoslovak Koruna trade parity that were delivered to the United Arab Republic apart from infantry weapons. The Syrian Arab Republic received 36 tanks and self-propelled cannons and 30 fighter-airplanes equaling to a total amount of half a billion Czechoslovak Koruna trade parity.

Apart from this, there were also independent contracts concluded with the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic within the sphere of material-technical supplies for the United Arab Republic's and Syrian Arab Republic's armed forces /e.g. the construction of cannon repair facilities, car repair facilities, tank repair facilities and jet repair facilities, as well as ammunition manufacturing sites and spare part supplies/.

The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic participated in establishing the Military Technical College in Cairo and currently, there are 174 military and civil experts who are employed as lecturers, lab assistants and instructors. Their activity is limited purely to education and the proposals of the leader of the Czechoslovak experts to link the development of schools with the establishment of the army were rejected by the Egyptian party [almost ineligible handwritten commentary]

Our military and civil experts had been fulfilling their mission in the United Arab Republic prior to the aggression and have been doing so also during the aggression without any interruption, with the exception of two persons /from 178/, who requested to be sent back home.

There were 128 jet pilots for the MIG 15, 17, the IL 28 and L 29, 33 weapons officers and navigators and 347 technical personnel as well as other specialists that had been trained in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and in the United Arab Republic prior to the aggression.

There were 38 pilots and pilot-instructors, 108 technical personnel and 85 other flight specialists trained for the Syrian Arab Republic in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Apart from the initial basic contract that had been coordinated with the USSR, the subsequent military aid has not been coordinated even within the socialist countries.

According to our knowledge, the experts within the United Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic, who had been, in some cases, educated in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic even for several years and who were also politically influenced apart from receiving specialist education, were not assigned to higher posts that would correspond to the specialist education that was provided to them – this in turn made it more difficult to make use of their expertise and political influence.

A characteristic trait of the Czechoslovak military aid provided to the United Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic is that apart from the first contracts, where aid was provided both in relation to being able to operate the technical equipment, and in relation to exercise, the United Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic requested help exclusively in the technical sphere through the subsequent contracts concluded from 1960 onwards /training technologists and engineers, constructing repair facilities, educating ammunition specialists and aid in establishing the military technical academy/. As far as tactical and operational skill is concerned, there was no aid requested from our side, which meant that we had no other experts in the United Arab Republic's or the Syrian Arab Republic's army.

[…]

7) Conclusions and proposals for further measures

Imperialism's strategic aims for dominating the world economically and politically remain unchanged. Apart from economic and political means, the military factor as a means of intimidation, or possibly direct intervention, plays an important role in achieving these targets.

Imperialism is trying to achieve the final strategic aim of establishing a capitalist order which consists of an all-embracing societal-economic system by accomplishing partial missions and the developing countries also play an important role in this overall concept.

Within this sphere, world imperialism led by the USA is trying to achieve the following:

- destroying the current anti-imperialist motivations coming from nationalist motives in the emerging movements also preventing the further emergence thereof, and

- preventing the transformation of the third world into a really anti-imperialist-oriented and anti-colonialist-oriented political and military power.

In order to achieve this aim, the imperialists are trying to prevent a further unification of the anti-imperialist powers making use of the help provided by countries depending upon Western powers, also trying to weaken the influence progressive states have on other developing countries and thus, prevent the socialist countries' influence within these states. In order to regain its influence, methods of economic infiltration, political pressure and, depending upon the situation, also violence, be it direct violence or violence exerted by using their satellites, or through direct prominent figures of imperialism are being applied. Upholding crisis locations in different parts of the world is part of this plan, and when it suits them, the imperialists do not hesitate to create even direct military conflicts according to the theory of limited war.

They are using these military adventures also for checking in how far the socialist camp is willing and able to carry out an effective intervention helping the anti-imperialist powers in different parts of the world.

This policy negatively influences the overall international situation, aggravating the tension and it may even lead to provoking a larger-scaled armed conflict.

Thus, the Israeli aggression against the Arab states needs to be interpreted as part of practically carrying out imperialism's Middle East strategy.

In spite of Israel’s military success, none of the fundamental disputes in the Middle East has been solved. Neither the regimes in the United Arab Republic, nor in the Syrian Arab Republic have been overthrown. Imperialist and socialist interests are clashing further on, with the socialist countries' influence gaining weight in some countries. The relation between Arab states and Israel is becoming more complicated, territorial disputes spread and they need to be resolved even more urgently. Also the Palestinian refugee problem aggravated and the relation between the Arab states and imperialism deteriorated.

This aggravation of Near East disputes further complicated the situation and it's obvious that the imperialist states are not giving up in achieving their aims within the Near East and that merely the subsequent development that will clarify whether they will be able to achieve them in the short and medium term.

The Arab states' military defeat shifted the military power distribution in the Middle East. The renewal and establishment of Arab states armed forces is being run at increased speed, helped by the socialist countries. Given this aid, it will become possible in near future to renew the United Arab Republic's army technology in relatively near future, yet renewing and achieving the staffs' required operational skill level the army's combat readiness and mastering the new weapon technology will need another, if not a longer period.

Also the solution of economic and political issues caused by the conflict will require more time and a more effective aid from the socialist countries.

The Near East conflict has been a tremendously big lesson both for the socialist countries in general, and for the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.

Especially the following aspects regarding the socialist countries were demonstrated:

- although they are trying via their policy - directed at supporting progressive Arab states - to paralyze world imperialism's intentions of twisting the progressive development in one of the important spheres of the developing countries and the third world, they are not sufficiently acquainted with the situation in this area;

- sufficient influence on these states foreign policy whose scope would correspond to their engagement in these states is not provided for;

- they have not issued joint plans and procedural steps for preventing and facing crises in this area, which is why they are not able to promptly and aptly react when a crisis emerges in order to prevent a development adverse to them.

The following proposals for measures within the Ministry of National Defense are being presented as a conclusion of this experience and on the basis of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia's resolution from June 20th 1967:

a) in the sphere of military policy

- active participation in establishing a concept regarding the developing countries, especially in crisis areas; processing a military-political concept with respect to the Arab states with focus on the United Arab Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic.

b) in the sphere of military intelligence

The aim is to independently provide the bodies of the party and government bodies as well as the leadership in the crisis areas with the necessary information:

- define the main crisis areas and developing countries where the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic has its national interests – in cooperation with the respective departments – and set up a ranking of their importance

- provide for the necessary information from the crisis areas as far as the organizational part, political education and material aspects are concerned, permanent monitoring of these areas and a qualified evaluation of the findings regarding potential sources of war which would increase our contribution to a necessary comprehensive and joint evaluation,

- creating the conditions for a more effective Czechoslovak military intelligence operation in the Federal Republic of Germany, which represents the main threat of war in Europe.

c) within the sphere of military-technical aid

- Providing that the Ministry of National Defense has a fundamental and primary influence on defining the scope and type of military-technical aid for developing countries, also influencing the way combat technology is being used when establishing the armed forces or when training them; the Ministry of Foreign trade shouldn't have a decisive, but an executive role when providing military-technical aid;

- put more emphasis on the political and information preparedness for fulfilling military intelligence tasks when recruiting military experts and providing for their state-wide management system directed from the Ministry of National Defense;

- focus the aid provided in the Middle East especially on the United Arab Republic and on Syria;

d) measures in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic armed forces

The war in the Middle East has confirmed that the concept for establishing the Czechoslovak army and the operating skill fundamentals is appropriate. These concepts and plans for the development and preparation of the army do not need to be significantly changed. Making use of specific information gained through the Israeli-Arab conflict can be provided for within our armed forces through the Minister of National Defense issuing an order and rules for the central administration military leaders that will be valid for the respective training year.

The main measures resulting from evaluating the Israeli-Arab conflict are the following:

- As far as combat readiness is concerned, changes have to be made in the system of increasing the army's combat readiness, especially as far as the early dispersion of aircraft is concerned, as well as the preparation of a secret and safe command center, communication and radiotechnical equipment. Create conditions for introducing an emergency system as well as a frontline air force including a system, network of prepared and hidden airfields. Increase the air force alertness and skills and the air defense skills for an effective fight against low-level flying targets. Strict monitoring both the military training measures and the requirements for a permanent combat readiness and removing the command of frontline units. Strictly introducing the new "Směrnice pro uvádění ČSLA do bojové pohotovosti" [Guideline for bringing the Czechoslovak People's army into combat readiness", ] which entirely builds upon a presupposed sudden assault and creates conditions for raising the overall quality of the Czechoslovak People's Army combat readiness.

- As far as leadership and communication is concerned: refining the measures for delegating command during combat operations to the soldiers and significantly raising the quality as well as the of the communication system's permeability both on the tactical and the operational command level. Modernize the radio-relay communication system in accordance with the available options and the technical development plan and doing so via introducing gradually radio- and radio-relay stations with tropospheric dispersion and using field wiring along the main communication channels. Setting up a plan of establishing a covert radar system able to operate independently on the current radiotechnical safety system. Consequently putting through effective radiotechnical safety measures, masking and radiotechnical research decoys.

- As far as the operational and the military tactical sector is concerned, set up and train the operations command using the entire range of elements of operational/strategic/ surprise, the concentrated and surprising air raid in order to rapidly achieve air superiority and effectively carrying out para-drops. Training commanders, the Staff and the soldiers exclusively under combat conditions that correspond to the real shape of the presupposed combat scene. Planning an increased number of operational and tactical trainings in order to achieve a value that would reach a level near the NATO armies and Staff training intensity. Achieving a high operational speed through training under field conditions and with focus on the joint operation of tank units and the air force, which was typical of the Israeli army approach. Working out issues regarding the use of napalm in a conflict and the protection against napalm effects;

- As far as the organization and army recruitment is concerned, focusing on modernizing the army more profoundly and in line with the prospective plan for the 1970-1980 period. Carrying out an analysis and the conclusions resulting from it with respect to soldier recruitment in consideration of the date when draftees start their compulsory military service. Focusing on questions of raising the army's quality in a way that sophisticated and decisive combat and safety technological equipment be operated only by qualified professional soldiers / warrant officers and officers /.

- As far as cooperation is concerned, focusing as much as possible on issues regarding the joint action with other Warsaw Pact member armies. Strengthening the integration within the command and in the training of Warsaw Pact countries armed forces - in line with further military-political development. >

The planned measures for training the commanders, the Staff and the soldiers are listed in Amendment no. 1.

e) As far as interdepartmental cooperation in concerned

- Coordinating the activities in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Trade in the developing countries, especially in the crisis areas based on the political concept, with the Ministry of National Defense participating in establishing this concept. This will distribute the tasks among these ministries in a more effective manner;

- specify the information tasks regarding military-political and military issues, the awareness of which is necessary for the ruling bodies of the Party and the ruling state bodies to take proper decisions as far as the relations towards developing countries are concerned;

- draft and take part in the informational training of diplomats regarding military and military-political issues;

- prepare proposals for establishing a central information center in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, so that this center would summarize information of all types of intelligence services and present the findings to leading bodies within the Party ant to leading state bodies.

f) Proposals for a joint Warsaw Pact Command

We have to face imperialism strategy through coordinated effort of all Warsaw Pact countries.

To do so, it would be rational:

- To work out a joint opinion among the Warsaw Pact member state General Staff regarding imperialism's strategy,

[ineligible handwritten remarks with red pencil]

- work out principles for facing imperialism's aggression, especially in crisis areas;

- agree upon the principles of activities in the military-political, the military-technical and the intelligence sphere in order to face and solve conflicts in crisis areas;

- formulate a joint analysis of experiences resulting from the Arab-Israeli conflict and a proposal for joint measures to increase Warsaw Pact countries armies' combat readiness;

- work out a proposal of joint measures to improve the cooperation among military intelligence services intelligence services from the Warsaw Pact member countries in order to provide for a permanent monitoring and objective awareness of the situation.

Attachment n. 1 – Planned measures……………….6 A3 pages