Edited transcript of an Airlie House conference talk discussing the unprecedented speed and depth of the Soviet penetration of the Arab world in the past 15 years. Soviet Middle East policy is a classic example of flexible, opportunistic adaptation to events, rather than deliberate continuity. Soviet policy since at least 1968 has been multitracked, simultaneously pursuing a variety of related, overlapping, and conflicting objectives, letting opportunities determine priorities. Now six local regimes are almost completely Soviet-equipped, 40 to 60 Soviet ships patrol the Mediterranean, USSR pilots fly regular reconnaissance from, and provide fighter protection for, UAR airfields, and there are thousands of Soviet military instructors and advisors. Shoring up the client regimes is a major Soviet preoccupation in the area. 23 pp.
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