lundi 7 octobre 2013

Forte odeur de pétrole: Pompidou, Heath et la guerre du Kippour

Israeli soldiers during the Battle of Ismailia.
One of them has a captured Egyptian 
"In his memoirs, Heath expressed satisfaction that his government’s policies during the 1973 war had led to Britain being ‘treated, along with France, as a “friendly” nation by Saudi Arabia, the main oil producer.’"

Tout est dit:
"I was appalled when the Foreign Secretary, Lord Home, and Prime Minister, Edward Heath, refused to supply, during the actual fighting, shells for the Centurion tanks that Israel had bought from us.  I considered it then, and still do, the most cynical act of British foreign policy since Suez.  It showed not just Arab influence within the Foreign Office but a total lack of principle in standing by one’s commitments from two politicians whom I had hitherto respected…. British influence with Israel never recovered, for perfectly understandable reasons…. It was a craven act which had everything to do with the threat of being cut off from Arab oil and for which I had nothing but contempt." (David OwenTime to Declare (London: Michael Joseph Ltd, 1991), p.209.)

Un aspect peu connu de la guerre du Kippour. James Vaughan @ Harry's Place ‘Oily Blackmail’: The Conservative Government, British Intelligence and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War

"[...] 40 years ago this week, on 6 October 1973, the armies of Egypt and Syria took advantage of the Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, to launch a surprise attack against Israeli positions in Sinai and on the Golan Heights.   [...] Less well known are some of the problems experienced by British intelligence agencies in the immediate aftermath of the war.  Intriguingly, these were difficulties that stemmed directly from the policies adopted towards Israel by Edward Heath’s Conservative Government.

Despite Egypt and Syria’s early successes, by the time a ceasefire came into lasting effect on 25 October, it was clear that Israel had won another convincing victory.  A consequence of that victory was that vast quantities of state-of-the-art Soviet weaponry had fallen into Israeli hands.   The intelligence value both of the captured Russian arsenal and the tactical knowledge that Israeli forces had acquired in the process of defeating two modern, Soviet-equipped armies was obvious.  Even before the shooting had stopped, Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence, Peter Carrington, admitted to being ‘disturbed’ at the success that
Soviet-supplied SAM defence systems had enjoyed against the Israeli Air Force.  On 18 October he asked the Chief of the Air Staff for a report on ‘the current capability of our own forces to cope with a similar threat in the European context.’[3] Shortly after the war, Edward Heath wrote to Carrington demanding an MOD response to reports that the balance between infantry and armour had been radically altered by the proven success of Russian infantry anti-tank weapons.  ‘Do you think that any adjustments are required in British ordnance?’ a worried Prime Minister asked.[4]

Under political pressure to produce ‘intelligence appreciations, both technical and tactical’, the Director-General of Intelligence at the MOD, Vice Admiral Sir Louis Le Bailly, cabled the British Defence Attaché in Tel Aviv.  Recalling instances of Anglo-Israeli intelligence sharing after the 1967 ‘Six Day War’, Le Bailly asked whether Israeli cooperation in ‘the mutual exploitation of Soviet equipment’ would be forthcoming.[5] A second telegram, sent by Le Bailly the following day to the Earl of Cromer, Britain’s Ambassador in Washington, revealed the answer. ‘You will be aware of our unpopularity in Israel,’ he noted, ‘so any crumbs you can glean from US sources will be most welcome.’[6] Complaining that ‘the political stance which the Government has taken has rendered it extremely unlikely that we shall get very much from the Israelis’[7], Le Bailly stressed the importance of close intelligence cooperation with the Americans.  Even here, however, the MOD ran into obstacles.  ‘Crumbs will be sent back as gleaned,’ Cromer assured him, but ‘we are somewhat inhibited by the present resentment of our failure to live up to US expectations of us during the crisis.’[8] Days later, the Embassy reported that although the Americans had admitted that an intelligence analysis of the war was being conducted, its subject matter was ‘too sensitive to Israel at this time to be released to the UK.’[9]" Lire l'article complet ICI.

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