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The Soviet-Israeli War, 1967-1973The USSR's Military Intervention  in the Egyptian-Israeli Conflict$
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Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190693480

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190693480.001.0001

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What Triggered Kavkaz? Refuting Heikal’s Version

What Triggered Kavkaz? Refuting Heikal’s Version

(p.113) 9 What Triggered Kavkaz? Refuting Heikal’s Version
The Soviet-Israeli War, 1967-1973

Isabella Ginor

Gideon Remez

Oxford University Press

Conventional historiography holds that the massive deployment of a regular Soviet air-defense division and other units in Egypt, codenamed “Operation Kavkaz,” was initiated in January 1970. After Israel’s new Phantom jets began on 7 January a campaign of “deep-penetration” bombings in and around Cairo, a desperate Nasser flew secretly to Moscow and persuaded a reluctant Soviet leadership to undertake the protection of Egypt’s skies. This account is based almost exclusively on the version published by Nasser’s propagandist Mohammed Heikal. New evidence calls into serious question whether such a visit took place at all. It proves conclusively that the decision to activate “Kavkaz” was taken, the formations and command structure assembled, and the first detachments dispatched in the summer and autumn of 1969, well before the “depth bombings” began, in response to previous Israeli demonstrations of air superiority in the War of Attrition.

Keywords:   Operation Kavkaz, Mohammed Heikal, Leonid Brezhnev, Gamal Abdel Nasser, War of Attrition, Strela anti-aircraft missile, SAM-3 missile, MiG-21 fighter

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