Soviet Middle East policy under Gorbachev

by Galia Golan

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This study examines the changes in Soviet foreign policy that Mikhail Gorbachev has introduced as "new thinking." In particular, it considers the application of new thinking to the Middle East, distinguishing between continuity and change, and, particularly, the tactical as distinct from the essential nature of this change. The analysis focuses on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the role of the Palestinians, and Soviet-Syrian relations. It also discusses the evolution of the Soviet position on the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet Union's relations with the Persian Gulf states. The author concludes that the Soviets have not entirely abandoned their interests in the Middle East, but have adopted a more flexible stance that fits in with the new thinking.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Joint note soviet series. The joint note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1986 to 1991 that included documents published jointly with other organizations, which reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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