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A paper for the Middle-East Institute's annual conference, October 1969, Washington, D.C., on Soviet policy toward the Near East. The best evidence of Soviet policy is the new deployment of naval power in the Mediterranean, meant to show that it is no longer exclusively a Western preserve. They may also intend to repair damaged prestige in the Arab world, and deter Israel from major military moves against Arabs; retain some local control over provocative actions by Arab clients; and reduce access by Western forces to the eastern Mediterranean and southern border area in time of crisis. Will the USSR uncompromisingly support the Arab position or try to persuade Arabs to agree to mutual concessions? The Soviets have recently attempted to smooth over internal antagonisms, encouraging conservative Arab regimes to subsidize more radical ones to support Nasser's economy. The Soviets are more likely to seek their objectives through conventional foreign-policy methods.

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