The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East

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The Politics of Miscalculation in the Middle East

By Richard B. Parker
Indiana University Press, 1993
273 pp. $45.00

A former diplomat with a wealth of experience in the Middle East has set out to explain why governments so often seem to miscalculate. He has picked three episodes for detailed study: the Six Day War of June 1967, the Egyptian-Israeli war of attrition in 1969-70, and the Israeli-Lebanese negotiations of 1982-83. The best of these fine case studies is on the 1967 crisis, where Parker surveys Egyptian, Israeli, American and Russian sources to find answers to many of the remaining mysteries surrounding the conflict. That he is unable to close the les on some conundrums such as why the Soviets misleadingly warned Egypt in mid-May 1967 of a large-scale mobilization of Israeli forces demonstrates no lack of investigative zeal, but the problem of sources. Sometimes the reader wishes that Parker would at least give his best guess after wrestling with the questions he raises, but the author is careful not to go much beyond what the evidence can prove. Serious analysts of the Middle East will not want to miss this fine piece of research.

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