Surprise & the Yom Kippur War

A - G

The focus here is on intelligence-related aspects of the Yom Kippur War. For a substantial bibliography of English-language items on the Yom Kippur War generally, see Janet L. Seymour, "The Arab-Israeli War, 1973 (Yom Kippur War)" (Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University Library, Nov. 2006):

Abramov, S.Z. "The Agranat Report and Its Aftermath." Midstream 20, no. 6 (Jun.-Jul. 1974): 16-28.

The Knesset Speaker comments on the scathing report from the commission formed following the Yom Kippur War to delve into the failures of Israeli intelligence and military preparedness.

Aboul-Enein, Youssef H. "The Yom Kippur War: Indications and Warnings." Military Review 83 (Jan.-Feb. 2003): 52-54.

[Agranat Commission.] "The Agranat Report." Jerusalem Journal of International Relations 4, nos. 1 and 2 (1979): 69-90 and 95-128.

Reprint of Israeli commission report on failures in military preparation for the Yom Kippur war.

Amos, John. "Deception and the 1973 Middle East War." In Strategic Military Deception, eds. Donald Daniel and Katherine Herbig, 317-334. New York: Pergamon, 1982.

Bar-Joseph, Uri. "The Intelligence Chief Who Went Fishing in the Cold: How Maj Gen. (res.) Eli Zeira Exposed the Identity of Israel's Best Source Ever." Intelligence and National Security 23, no. 2 (Apr 2008): 226-248.

This article investigates how Eli Zeira, Director of Military Intelligence (AMAN) in 1973, "systematically leaked the identity" of Ashraf Marwan, President Nasser's son-in-law, as a "Mossad source to journalists, writers and academic students of the subject."

Bar-Joseph, Uri.

1. "Israel's Intelligence Failure of 1973: New Evidence, a New Interpretation, and Theoretical Implications." Security Studies 4, no. 3 (Spring 1995): 584-609.

2. "The Wealth of Information and the Poverty of Comprehension: Israel's Intelligence Failure of 1973 Revisited." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 4 (Oct. 1995): 229-240.

This is a Review Article of four Hebrew-language books on the Yom Kippur War. These include the memoirs of three officers "who served in key positions in 1973" (Yoel Ben-Porat, Arie Braun, and Eli Zeira) and "the full (though still sanitized) report of the Agranat Commission."

3i. "Strategic Surprise or Fundamental Flaws? The Source of Israel's Military Defeat at the Beginning of the 1973 War." Journal of Military History 72, no. 2 (Apr. 2008): 509-530.

From abstract: "Using recently released evidence, this article analyzes Israel's inadequate war deployment when firing commenced and its impact on the failure to repel the attack. It concludes that since this deficient deployment resulted from the absence of a sufficient intelligence warning, the intelligence failure was at the root of the Israeli failure at the war's start."

4. The Watchman Fell Asleep: The Surprise of Yom Kippur and Its Sources. New York: State University of New York Press, 2005.

Sheffy, I&NS 21.5 (Oct. 2006), 826/fn. 2, refers to Bar-Joseph's work as the "most comprehensive and updated academic study on Israeli intelligence and the [1973] war." For Whaley, Bibliography of Counterdeception (2006), The Watchman Fell Asleep is "[s]trong, indeed virtually definitive on details." However, it is "seriously weak on theory."

5. and Arie W. Kruglanski. "Intelligence Failure and the Need for Cognitive Closure: On the Psychology of the Yom Kippur Surprise." Political Psychology 24, no. 1 (2003): 75-99.

Ben-Israel, Isaac. "Philosophy and Methodology of Intelligence: The Logic of Estimate Process." Intelligence and National Security 4, no. 4 (Oct. 1989): 660-718.

Ben-Zvi, Abraham.

1. "Between Warning and Response: The Case of the Yom Kippur War." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 4, no. 2 (Summer 1990): 227-242.

2. "The Dynamics of Surprise: The Defender's Perspective." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 4 (Oct. 1997): 113-144.

The author uses three cases studies -- Pearl Harbor (1941), the Chinese attack on India (1962), and the Yom Kippur War (1973) -- to illustrate his point that misunderstanding the enemy's intentions may not be the cause of a nation being "surprised" by an attack. Rather, he argues that a tendency to misunderstand -- to undervalue -- the enemy's capabilities seems to be more important in explaining why surprise was achieved.

3. "Hindsight and Foresight: A Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of Surprise Attack." World Politics 28, no. 3 (Apr. 1976): 381- 395.

Whaley, Bibliography of Counterdeception (2006), finds that the author's "approach offers foresight." However, Ben-Zvi's use of only three case studies (Barbarossa, Pearl Harbor, and Yom Kippur) as the basis for his "conceptual framework" weakens the analysis.

4. "Perception, Misperception and Surprise in the Yom Kippur War: A Look at the New Evidence." Journal of Conflict Studies 15, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 5-29.

Bolia, Robert S. "Overreliance on Technology in Warfare: The Yom Kippur War as a Case Study." Parameters 34, no. 2 (Summer 2004): 46-56.

This article's interesting take on Israeli unpreparedness in 1973 goes well beyond the intelligence aspects. "That the Yom Kippur War began as a surprise to the IDF was a testament not so much to the ability of the Arab armies to conceal their actions as to the arrogance of the Israeli leadership.... [T]he IDF placed great confidence in AMAN.... But AMAN suffered the same delusions of invincibility as the remainder of the IDF, and held the same disdainful view of the Arab forces. This led to misuse of the considerable intelligence technology AMAN could bring to bear on the Egyptian and Syrian deployments, and consequently a failure to predict the war in a timely fashion."

Brecher, Michael, and Benjamin Geist. Decisions in Crisis: Israel, 1967 and 1973. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1980.

Brugioni, Dino A. "The Effects of Aerial and Satellite Imagery on the 1973 Yom Kippur War." Air Power History 51 (Autumn 2004): 4-13.

Clarkson, J.M.E. "Spark at Yom Kippur: Many Surprises in an Eighteen-Day War." Canadian Defence Quarterly 3 (Spring 1974): 9-22.

Cogan, Charles G. "Intelligence and Crisis Management: The Importance of the Pre-Crisis." Intelligence and National Security 9, no. 4 (Oct. 1994): 633-650.

"It is noteworthy that the intelligence mechanism generally functions better after a crisis erupts. It is in the area of anticipating crises that the intelligence community is often found wanting." (Italics in original) The author illustrates his point with the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962), the Yom Kippur War (1973), and the Gulf War (1990-1991). Cogan points to the institution of the Deputies Committee in the Bush administration as an approach to solving the policy approach to crises, but notes that there is no "institution for anticipating crises over the long term at the political level in Washington." (Emphasis added)

Cohen, Eliot A., and John Gooch. Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War. New York: Free Press, 1990.

Wirtz, I&NS 6.3, says that the authors "move beyond the traditional analyses of military disaster by demonstrating how the performance of military organizations influences the outcome of battle.... [They] offer extraordinarily keen insights into some well-known events," including Pearl Harbor, the Chinese intervention in the Korean war, and the Yom Kippur war.

Coleman, Herbert J. "Israeli Inquiry Hits Intelligence Unit." Aviation Week & Space Technology, 15 Apr. 1974, 26-27.

On report of Agranat Commission.

el-Gamasy, Mohamed Abdel Ghani. The October War: Memories of Field Marshal Gamasy of Egypt. Cairo: American University of Cairo Press, 1993.

el Shazli, Saad [Saad al-Shazli]. The Crossing of the Suez. San Francisco: American Mideast Research, 1980.

The author was Egyptian Chief of Staff at the time of 1973 war.

Faul, Karen W. Intelligence and the Analytical Perspective. Newport, RI: Naval War College, Feb. 1995.

Seymour: "Uses the Yom Kippur War as a case study."

Gooch, John, and Amos Perlmutter, eds. Military Deception and Strategic Surprise. London: Cass, 1982.


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