|Acknowledgement: Gus contributed very heavily to the outstanding research below...|
New evidence summarized in this article indicates that the Soviet intervention was not only planned but actually set in motion before being aborted. Soviet officials interviewed insist that such operations were meant only to deter Israel from overwhelming Egypt and, especially, Syria, as well as to stop the United States from intervening on Israel’s side. In order to achieve this outcome, however, the projected action had to be made known to these adversaries, and this was carefully avoided by the Soviets. Yet details of the operation were kept in total secrecy, have been denied to this day, and remained generally unknown to Israeli and American intelligence.
Thus, unless the Soviets grossly overestimated the other side’s intelligence capability, this indicates that the operation was to be implemented, not just threatened. Moreover, preparations for this operation began well before the Soviets even accused Israel of offensive designs, the supposed reason for the intervention.
Well before 1967, Israel had been targeted by the KGB's Foreign Intelligence (First) Directorate as a theater of operations during a larger East-West conflict. Preparations had been made there for parachuting at least diversionnye razvedyvatelnye gruppy (DRGs--sabotage-intelligence groups) to destroy Israeli targets. During 1964-66, according to documents supplied by the defecting KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, Israel was one of the countries where caches of arms and radio equipment were prepositioned for such operations. Mitrokhin claims some of these were boobytrapped and may be in place to this day.(3) The direct involvement of Soviet personnel on Israeli soil, at least on a small scale, had thus already been considered and approved.