Soviet Goals and Policies in the Middle East.

by Thomas W. Wolfe

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Western observers have been speculating on the purpose of the USSR's increasing military and political activity in the Middle East and the Mediterranean since the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, particularly as manifested by its growing naval presence there, its military support of the Arab cause, and its apparent collusion in the cease-fire violations. In the mid-1950s, the USSR obtained a strategic-political foothold in this region by supplying arms to the Arab states and by supporting Arab aspirations against Israel and the "neocolonialist" powers. It rearmed the Arab states following the June 1967 war. The USSR's military moves obviously are intended to reduce Western and increase Soviet influence in the region, to deter Israeli aggression against the Arabs, and to reduce Western access to the eastern Mediterranean and the southern borders of the USSR. Other political goals remain unclear as the USSR contends with increasingly uncontrollable forces--especially inter-Arab conflicts, Arab nationalism, and the Fedayeen. 27 pp.

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