It is hard to over estimate the impact of the Six Day War on the Arab psyche, and the world at large. In fact, it would probably take several books to do justice to the significance of this war.
One day, I’ll write one of those books, but for now, you’ll hafta be satisfied with a few lines in a blog article.
Um…Â where was I? Oh yes. Significance.
The easiest one to point to is the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization).
In 1964, it was started by the ArabÂ League and dominated by Egypt. It was formed for the purpose of acting as a political tool, of legitimizing Arab intentionsÂ towardÂ eliminating the State of Israel.Â Up to 1967, it acted as little more than a political arm of the Egyptian government. But,Â for all of its cynical beginnings, it had captured the imagination of Palestinian nationalists.
Enter the Six Day War and the humiliating defeat of the Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian armies. This defeat of a conventional means of destroying Israel weakened the control of the PLO by Egypt and allowed the more hot-headed nationalists to gain power.
InÂ February of 1969, one of these hot-heads, an engineering graduateÂ from Cairo University, made a successful bid for control of the PLO. That hot-head was Yasser Arafat.
Under Yasser Arafat, the PLO became the flag bearerÂ for the political aspirations of the Palestinian people, and at the same time…
They became the premier terrorist organization in the world.
There has never been, nor shall ever be, a more effective terrorist organization, and that effectiveness inspired terrorism everywhere. From the 1970s onward, every terrorist organization in the worldÂ looked to the PLO for leadership. As the PLO model spread, thisÂ inspired radicalsÂ of every stripeÂ to form their own terrorist groups.Â
That’s bad enough, but the PLO went on to form an international terrorism exchange of goods and services. Weapons could be exchanged for training. One organization’s bomb expert would beÂ used by another organization in exchange for a network of safe houses. A shipment of drugs mightÂ ‘buy’ an attack on a target out of reach of another terrorist organization.
The PLO wound up with a finger in almost every left-wing terrorist pie (especially the IRA). But Al-Qaeda, you say, is Islamist – NOT left-wing. Whither the Islamists?
Would it help to know that Osama bin Laden, the founder of Al-Qaeda, was a disciple ofÂ Abdul Azzam?
Who was Abdul Azzam?
Abdul wasÂ one of the founding members of Hamas and broke with the PLO in 1970. Why did he split with the PLO? TheyÂ were too secular.Â I think that you can do the math from here.
The point is that the rise of the PLO led to theÂ global wave of secular terrorismÂ in the 70s and 80s and the global wave of Islamic terrorismÂ in the 90s and 00s.Â And, from where did the PLO arise? How did they REALLY get their start?
The Six Day War.