'Panagiotis Dimitrakis covered, in a most satisfactory manner, the ground of archival evidence available to researchers, mostly at the National Archives of the United Kingdom.'

 
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Secrets and Lies in Vietnam

Spies, Intelligence and Covert Operations in the Vietnam Wars (International Library of Twentieth Century History)

 

cyprusmilitaryThe Vietnam War lasted twenty years, and was the USA's greatest military failure. An attempt to stem the spread of Soviet and Chinese influence, the conflict in practice created a chaotic state torn apart by espionage, terrorism and guerilla warfare. American troops quickly became embroiled in jungle warfare and knowledge of the other side's troop movements, communication lines, fighting techniques and strategy became crucial. Panagiotis Dimitrakis uncovers this battle for intelligence and tells the story of the Vietnam War through the newly available British, American and French sources - including declassified material. In doing so he dissects the limitations of the CIA, the NSA, the MI6 and the French intelligence- the SDECE- in gathering actionable intelligence. Dimitrakis also shows how the Vietminh under Ho Chi Minh established their own secret services; how their high grade moles infiltrated the US and French military echelons and the government of South Vietnam, and how Hanoi's intelligence apparatus eventually suffered seriously from 'spies amongst us' paranoia. In doing so he enhances our understanding of the war that came to define its era.

The Hidden Wars in China & Greece

The CIA, MI6 and the Civil Wars

 

cyprusmilitaryIn the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, China and Greece were the only countries which experienced civil wars; recognised nationalist governments confronted communist movements. In China, Mao led his fighters to victory. In Greece, the communists under Zachariades lost. The outcome of both conflicts shaped part of the enduring Cold War geopolitics. This book provides the first comparative account of secret operations of British and US intelligence services, notably the MI6, the OSS, the Central Intelligence Group and the CIA in the civil wars in China and Greece. The reader will discover the role of secret sources, psychological and other special operations and, threat estimating in the evolving policies of London and Washington.

The Secret War in Afghanistan

The Soviet Union, China and Anglo-American Intelligence in the Afghan War

 

cyprusmilitaryThe Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, in support of a Marxist-Leninist government, and the subsequent nine-year conflict with the indigenous Afghan Mujahedeen was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Cold War. Key details of the circumstances surrounding the invasion and its ultimate conclusion only months before the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 have long remained unclear; it is a confidential narrative of clandestine correspondence, covert operations and failed intelligence. The Secret War in Afghanistan undertakes a full analysis of recently declassified intelligence archives in order to asses Anglo-American secret intelligence and diplomacy relating to the invasion of Afghanistan and unveil the Cold War realities behind the rhetoric. Rooted at every turn in close examination of the primary evidence, it outlines the secret operations of the CIA, MI6 and the KGB, and the full extent of the aid and intelligence from the West which armed and trained the Afghan fighters. Drawing from US, UK and Russian archives, Panagiotis Dimitrakis analyses the Chinese arms deals with the CIA, the multiple recorded intelligence failures of KGB intelligence and secret letters from the office of Margaret Thatcher to Jimmy Carter. In so doing, this study brings a new scholarly perspective to some of the most controversial events of Cold War history. Dimitrakis also outlines the full extent of China s involvement in arming the Mujahedeen, which led to the PRC effectively fighting the Soviet Union by proxy. This will be essential reading for scholars and students of the Cold War, American History and the Modern Middle East.

Failed Alliances of the Cold War

Britain's Strategy and Ambitions in Asia and the Middle East

 

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The Cold War was a period of intense geopolitical rivalry, in which diplomacy and international relations in Asia and the Middle East acquired huge global significance. In this study, Panagiotis Dimitrakis explores British policy towards SEATO (South East Asia Treaty Organisation) and CENTO (Central Treaty Organisation). Designed in the 1950s to counter the Soviet Union's attempts to expand its global influence, these alliances with Asian and Middle Eastern powers were the focus of Western efforts to maintain their regional presence. Yet they failed to bring together the differing aims and ambitions of their regional members, and were dissolved in 1977 and 1979 respectively. This study, based on recently declassified documents, examines the Cold War policies of the United States, Iran and Turkey as well as Pakistan's relations with India and the effects of British diplomacy on the war in Vietnam. Charting the repeated failures of Britain and the United States to come to the defence of their allies in Asia and the Middle East, Failed Alliances of the Cold War will
be a crucial point of reference for scholars of the Cold War.

 

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Military Intelligence in Cyprus

From the Great War to Middle East Crises

(London: Tauris Academic Studies, forthcoming 2010).

 

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New research reveals the role of British intelligence on Cyprus since the Great War. The Foreign Office, the MI5, the Special Branch, and the Special Operations Executive played a key part in retaining the island within the British Empire, despite calls of the Greek-Cypriots to be united with Greece. Britain planned for the defence of Cyprus staging intelligence operations in the Middle East. Winston Churchill feared a German airborne assault after the fall of Crete in May 1941. The SOE was called in to set up stay-behind guerilla groups. Anthony Eden witnessed the 1955-59 revolt and the decline of British power after the Suez crisis. However, the sovereign bases on the island contributed to British strategy on the Middle East. RAF bombers carrying nuclear weapons based on the island were the only deterrent capability of the Central Treaty Organisation, a West-inspired alliance with member states the United Kingdom, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. In addition, details of the Turkish invasion of July 1974, the performance of British intelligence and the policy of Harold Wilson and James Callaghan towards Greece, Turkey and the United States have been unearthed with the help of the latest declassified archives. Callaghan himself admitted being deceived by the assurances of the Turkish government that they would not invade. As the Middle East became a region of terrorist activities, Cyprus faced the asymmetric threat. In February 1978 the battle of the Larnaca airport between the National Guard and an Egyptian anti-terrorist unit showed the world that a hostage crisis could damage considerably the relations of sovereign states. Readers of military history, contemporary strategy, security studies and regional studies of the Mediterranean and the Middle East will find a reference book of what Cyprus has meant to the Whitehall military and security apparatus throughout the 20th century.

 

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Greek Military Intelligence and the Crescent

Estimating the Turkish Threat:
Crises, Leadership and Strategic Analyses, 1974-1996

(Plymouth: University of Plymouth Press, 2010).

 

greekmilitaryThis book examines the perceptions of Hellenic military intelligence of the Turkish threat to Greece from 1974 to 1996, intelligence in Greek civil-military relations, and the performance of Greek intelligence during the two most serious Greek-Turkish crises - those of March 1987 and January 1996. In addition, this study examines how intelligence on Turkey influenced Greek policies. The author analyses the assessments of Turkish military deployments and capabilities made by Greek politicians, military officers and diplomats, and the part played by intelligence in the relations between the politicians and the military officers under Prime Ministers Andreas Papandreou and Costas Simitis. The argument advanced here is that Greek intelligence downplayed the immediate threat of a Turkish surprise invasion of an Aegean island or an attack on the free Cyprus Republic. Prime Ministers Papandreou and Simitis had extremely different personalities and their attitudes towards intelligence also varied considerably. During the 1987 crisis under Papandreou, intelligence provided useful information about Turkey's limited preparations and so helped to prevent an escalation to confrontation. During the 1996 crisis under Simitis, a serious failure in tactical intelligence occurred about two disputed Aegean islets. Military intelligence failing to provide timely information on the tactical situation. This failure allowed the Turks to turn the tables on the Greeks. It also reinforced Simitis's low opinion of the overall efficiency of the Greek armed forces and caused a breakdown in civil-military relations at a critical moment. As a consequence, the prime minister seeking to avoid a bilateral resolution with Turkey, accepted a short term settlement brokered by US President Bill Clinton. Greek forces withdrew from the disputed area but the Greeks continued arguing that the Imia islets were part of their national territory.

 

'With one step, Panagiotis Dimitrakis has extended the study of contemporary intelligence and crisis management into the Aegean, providing a unique account of how Greek policymakers forged their assessments of the Turkish threat during a tense two decades following the Turkish occupation of half of Cyprus. He draws on the conceptual literature on intelligence and surprise attack, largely developed in the AngloSaxon world with some notable Israeli contributions and uses it as a template against which to evaluate the performance of successive Greek governments. It soon becomes apparent that while the familiar dilemmas concerning the relationship between intelligence and policy may take on distinctive forms in quite different political cultures in many respects they are all too recognisable. In the process fascinating light is thrown on how Greece has sought to manage its relations with Turkey. Even during the Cold War these two NATO allies were as prepared to fight each other as they were the Warsaw Pact, creating great anxiety among their alliance partners.'
From the Forward by Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman
KCMG, CBE, FBA, FKC, Vice-Principal (Strategy & Development)

 

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Greece and the English

British Diplomacy and the Kings of Greece

(London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2009).

 

greekandtheenglishThe transition to a truly muscular democracy affected the royal families of both Greece and Great Britain throughout the tumultuous twentieth century. Here Panagiotis Dimitrakis unearths the details of British policy towards the kings of Greece, the special connection between the Windsors and the Glücksburgs during the Second World War, the Cold War and the Cyprus revolt, and finally the coming of the junta in Greece in 1967. He sheds light on notable members of the Greek royal family and the controversies and secret diplomacy they were implicated in. This engaging and comprehensive history of Anglo-Greek relations provides an overview of Greek history with a unique focus on international relations. Drawing on Foreign Office and declassified American diplomatic and intelligence files as well as Greek archives and recently published diaries, the author provides a well-documented assessment of the role of King George I, King Constantine, King George II, King Paul, Queen Frederica and King Constantine II in politics and their relations with Buckingham Palace and the British government in times of crises and war. 'Greece and the English' will appeal to all those interested in Greek history, British history as well as the fate of monarchies in the modern world.

 

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