The Superpowers in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1970-1973

by Abraham S. Becker


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An examination of the interactions of the United States and the USSR in the Middle East from the heating up of the War of Attrition to the explosion of the Yom Kippur-Ramadan War. The focus is on the changing nature of Soviet involvement in the Arab-Israeli conflict and the pattern of U.S. reaction thereto. The author argues that if the pattern of Soviet-American relations in the Middle East in earlier years is defined as "detente," then the term also characterizes superpower interactions during October 1973. The actions of Moscow (and of Washington, too) in the fall of 1973 are not inconsistent with behavior patterns in previous crises since the Six Day War; indeed, the October War events confirm the generalizations derived from examination of the record of superpower interaction in the last three or four years.

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