NE ESTIM AtV
OUTLOOK FOR THE SYRIAN SITUATION2!
The /oOowhtg tntoMcenet orgontoaUont rartWpatrfWj tebnote: The Central Ir.UUtcenoe Agency and the intelligence oreanttattona of the Departme>itt Of State, the Amur. fAeht Air Teroe. end The Joint Staff.
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onHmoAtxr tut. Connrrbnj were tht Special Aeetstant, iKltOhjenct, Department of Stare; (Ac Auiitantf Staff,epartment of the Army; the Director of Hoval tntelhoence; the Director of Intelligence, VSAP; en* the Deputy Pfractor for tnUOIgence, The iotnl staff. The Atomic Snertfy Cematlwton Ptpreimlattfe toC. oii the Aittstont Dtreetor, Federal Bureau of Investigation, abetatned.
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OUTLOOK FOR THE SYRIAN SITUATION
To assess the situation in Syria with particular reference to possible moves by: (a) the USSR; or (b) oneombination of the following powers: the UK, France, Israel, Iraq. Turkey.
b* highly unstable but strategicallystate of Syria has long beenajor target and an active arena In the poaer struggles ln the Middle East. WhileSoviet influence in the area was exerted chiefly through Egypt, the USSR Is nowdirect attention on Syria as well. Soviet efforts arearge measure ofprimarily because theble to cater to the desire of key elements in the army and government, backed by widespreadopinion, for support against Israel, Iraq, and the West Sentiment tn Syria ln this re spect has become even more Intenseesult
the attacks on Egypt by Israel, the UK, and France.
The latter three powers, In turn, have long been troubledaltogether for the same reasonsover Syrian trends; and thethey have recni'Jy experienced In the Middle East, taken with the USSR's cur-anl forward policy inave addedto Lhelr concern. Their fears shared by Turkey and Iraq In particular.
Tha Presenl Internal Situation
S. Those Syrian groups which lean toward the West were on the defensive even before the Brlllsh-French-Israell action In Egypt, and are now increasingly overshadowed by leftist-oriented, extrementi-Western politicians and their counterparts In the Syrian army. The action In Egypt appears to be aolkhfying control of the armythe locus of powerin the hands of the pro-Egyptian 'little RCC" officer gioup led by Lt Colonelhead of Syrian Intelligence, and the army followers of the leftist-oriented Arab Socialist Resurrection PartyP) and the Communist Parly. Despitewithin the ASRP, the pro-Soviet elements
ue still In the ascendant and appear to be moving toward consolidation of their control over the government The latter are now using their power totrictof news media and to exclude all but ex-treme'natlonal Jt and pro-Sovieturge of antileftlsts from positions ofmay be in the making.he relatively pro-Western partiesthe Pojullsts and Nationalistsare divided, not well-organized, and plagued by weak leadership. Although nominalhold major offices ln the government, some of them, including the president and prime minister, are currently riding thewave. Others are intimidated by the ever present threat of an army coup, of antigov-ernment demenstrations and strikes by the leltist-controlled "street" and labor unions, and by the dangers of appearing to be agents of the West or trailora toight-let army elements are not well-organized and their ranks have been weakened by dismissals. Imprisonment, and transfers from positions of influence. umber havebeen recalledservice in the face of the Israeli threat. There are also certaingroups that are dissatisfied with the oresent polietes of the Syrian goverrmjent.
e. Stronger Soviet influence ln Syria would open up greater political and subversiveto the Arab world.
d. Further Soviet influence over Syria would provide additional means of exacerbating Arab-Israeli tensions which the USSR can exploit in pursuing its pro-Arab, anti-Israeli, and anti-Western policy.
Syria represents an extremely promising target for Soviet effortsmilitary, political, and economicthe Arab world. Aof the present trend would give theumber of advantages,
a. It would beosition to encourage and aid Syrian blackmail and boycott tactics and further physical sabotage againstoil pipelines transiting Syria from Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Especially as long as the Western Powers are denied passage through the Sues Canal, this would be of critical importance to the ussr js aand economic weapon against the West.
ore pro-Soviet government in Byria would further weaken the military position of the Baghdad Fact countries and raise theof Turkey's being encircled.Original document.