Nasser's Gamble: How Intervention in Yemen Caused the Six-Day War and the Decline of Egyptian Power

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"Nasser's Gamble tells the story of Egypt's intervention in Yemen, a venture that was supposed to last weeks but which dragged on for more than five years before Egyptian troops were finally withdrawn. The point Ferris makes—and he does it exceptionally well—is that the Yemeni episode bears much of the responsibility for the decline of Egyptian power in the 1960s."—Adeed Dawisha, author of Iraq: A Political History from Independence to Occupation

"An engrossing and lively narrative. Ferris has taken advantage of the release of many important Soviet documents and has also made very extensive use of documents from U.S. and British archives, a host of memoirs and other sources in Arabic, and some exceedingly useful items in Hebrew. Nasser's Gamble is a model of how a true international history should be written."—Mark Kramer, Harvard University

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Editorial Reviews

History Today - Laura James
[R]equired reading for those interested in the history of the Middle East.
International Affairs - Richard Phelps
Nasser's Gamble draws on an impressive selection of Russian, US and British diplomatic archives, as well as the Arabic language memoirs of politicians and senior military officials and contemporary press coverage. The book provides a precise and deeply researched analysis of the conflict.
[Nasser's Gamble] offers a refreshing new perspective on an understudied topic.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2013 Reuven Chaikin Prize, University of Haifa

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2013

"[R]equired reading for those interested in the history of the Middle East."—Laura James, History Today

"Nasser's Gamble draws on an impressive selection of Russian, US and British diplomatic archives, as well as the Arabic language memoirs of politicians and senior military officials and contemporary press coverage. The book provides a precise and deeply researched analysis of the conflict."—Richard Phelps, International Affairs

"[Nasser's Gamble] offers a refreshing new perspective on an understudied topic."—Choice

"In masterly fashion, Ferris explains the consequences of those adventures for Egypt, inter-Arab relations, the Middle East, and the broad lines of its future development. Reading this book is indeed a most rewarding experience."—David Sultan, Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691155142
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 12/23/2012
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 1,016,360
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jesse Ferris is vice president for strategy at the Israel Democracy Institute and a historian of the modern Middle East.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

The Golden Age of Nasserism 3
Idealism and Pragmatism in Nasser's Foreign Policy 11
The Nature of Middle Eastern Politics 14
The Place of the Intervention in Egyptian Memory 16
Structure of the Book 21

CHAPTER ONE - The Road to War 24
The Coup in Yemen 29
The Struggle for Power in Egypt 37
The Accidental Intervention? 49
The Denouement of the Crisis in Cairo 61

Chapter TWO - The Soviet-Egyptian Intervention in Yemen 70
The Nature of Soviet Relations with Egypt and Yemen 71
The Egyptian Appeal and the Soviet Response 75
Explaining Soviet Behavior 88
Forms of Early Soviet Involvement 94

Chapter THREE - Food for "Peace": The Breakdown of US-Egyptian Relations, 1962–65 102
Recognition 106
Disengagement 113
The Suspension of US Aid 127
The Balance of Payments Crisis 139

Chapter FOUR - Guns for Cotton: The Unraveling of Soviet-Egyptian Relations, 1964–66 142
Guns for Cotton 144
The Soviet Quest for Base Rights in Egypt 146
From Jiddah to Moscow 151
In the Cracks of Cold War Geology 159
The Final Unraveling 162

Chapter FIVE - On the Battlefield in Yemen—and in Egypt 174
Counterinsurgency 176
Casualties 190
Cost 195
Corruption 199
The Spread of Popular Discontent 206

Chapter SIX - The Fruitless Quest for Peace: Saudi-Egyptian Negotiations, 1964–66 215
The First Arab Summit 217
The Second Arab Summit 222
The Jiddah Agreement 232
From the Islamic Pact to the Long Breath Strategy 249
The Kuwaiti Mediation and the Return of Sallal 258

Chapter SEVEN - The Six-Day War and the End of the Intervention in Yemen 262
The Sinai Option 266
The Syrian Connection 272
The Soviet Spark 275
The Egyptian Initiative 284
The Impact of the Yemen War on Egyptian Military Performance in the Six-Day War 289
The Khartoum Conference and the Withdrawal of the Egyptians from Yemen 290

AFTERWORD - The Twilight of Egyptian Power 295

Bibliographical Note 313
Bibliography 319
Index 335

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