Inter-Arab Conflict Contingencies and the Gap between the Arab Rich and Poor

by Malcolm H. Kerr, Nathan Constantin Leites, Charles Wolf, Jr.

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Abstract

Documents a portion of RAND work on the military, political, and economic balance in the Middle East. The report considers how income and wealth disparities among Arab countries in the mid-1980s might affect the occurrence and course of any military conflicts. The range of possible conflicts being wide, the report examines only a limited set of cases. It concludes that general demands by the poor for federation with the rich are much less likely than bilateral projects of union not necessarily motivated by economic need. Because some of these unions could lead to inter-Arab military conflict, and because the contingencies are complex and fraught with uncertainties, the United States should proceed cautiously with any policy interventions. The report considers possible U.S. actions with respect to general policy considerations, U.S. force planning and deployment, and policies on security assistance and economic assistance. (See also R-2250.)

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