INTERAGENCY INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT; IMPLICATIONS OF ISRAELI ATTACK ON IRAQ

Created: 7/1/1981

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

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INTELLIGENCE1

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IMPLICATIONS OF ISRAELI ATTACK ON IRAQ

Summary

Israel's raid on Iraq's nualtar facilityun* couldatershed even: in tha Middle East, creatine new military and political realities. Tha 'JS-Isreeli ralationahip once moraentral iaaue in regional politica, and new strains have been added to US-Arab relation*. Washington's ability to promoteovist threat or to bringabs and Israelie to the bargaining table has bean ard blow. Arab leadara fir from then tha Levant have been shown that thair military"and eco-nomia facilities are not beyond the reach of Xeraal't striking pouar. Rather than drauing them into aprocess, Israel's demonetraved proves* will oily speed the arms race. Tel Aoio has aada the point that it uill not allow en Arab atatt touclear veapone capability. In tha absence of US restraint on Tercel, Arab leaders will intensify thair saaroh for alternative ways to boost their security and protect their interests; this presente opportunities for the VS5a. ?

This assessment was prepared under Che auspices ot the NationalOfficer Cor Hear East anda by the Central Intelligenceof. Political Analysis. The aasesssent respondsequest froa It -as coordinatedat the working level with the Intelligence and Research of Che Department of State, Che Defsnse Che National Security Agency, tha Depaxtaent of Energy, and .tha. lnte-li^

gence organizations of the nilitary services. -rtT

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The nuclear issue alone hasuclear weapons option ia now part of theEast Former Defen.eD.yan hJ,

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dispelled tha ambiguity that surrounded Israel's nuclear program by acknowledgingapability to produce nuclear weapons, and the raid on Iraq has laid Tel Aviv's challenge before the Arab world in clear term..

Iraq's President Sadden Hu'asein responded by suggesting that wo. overnments provide the Arabsuclear deterrent to el's formidable nuclear capabilities. His message to other Ar s that they can have no security as long as leraol alone co, -inds tho nuclear threat.

Saddam Husaain will find sympathy tor his position throughout much of the Third World.recent OAJ meeting In. Nairobi noted that the destroyed Iraqi rTactor is now viewed by aany confereesymbol of Third world aspirations. Anger over its destruction taints general attitudes toward the United States and Egypt, as well as toward Israel.

Arab reaction will indicate if Israel's raidurning point or simply another example of the region's instability, on the popular level, Arab anger will be directed at the United States foresponsible for Israel's ascendancy and at Arab leaders for having failed to protect Arab interests. Under such pressure. Arab leaders will seek protection in tha always nebulous Arab unity, intensify their conventional arms buildup, look for naw ways to restrain Israeli power, and, in some caaes, might reevaluate their relations with Washington and alter their view of the_role the United states should play in the Middle East. )

Arab Reactions So Far

Neither deep-seated anger nor widespread conviction within tha Arab world that the United States was aomehow involved has been translated into action. Calls for retaliation have come from some Arab radicals and Arab media, but Iraq's agreement to tho compromise resolution at tht United Nations Security Council undercut demands for the use of tha oil weapon. Use of oil or financial leverage would in any case probably require an Arab consensus similar to that reached in Baghdad following Egypt's aigning of thu Camp David accords. An Arab summit meeting for lata summer to discuss th* caid is being considered in some circles. *

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Israel's raid oa Iraq gives the USSR an opportunity to improve ita position in tha Middle East and to furthertha Camp David process. The Soviets have encouraoed the view that the United States was involved in the attack in an attempt to unify tha Arabs against Washington and Tel Aviv. Moscow will also try to exploit the added strains in relations between tha United States and the conservative Arab states, such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to promote its own relations with those countries. rf)

the Soviets are disappointed with US-Iraqi cooperation at the UN in tho wake of tha Israeli attack, they are using the raid to demonstrate Soviet support of Baghdad and to try to reverse Iraq's shift toward the West.

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Iraq probably will pursue its opening the Soviet efforts. hlTOU)

The USSR is unlikely radically to change its cautious policy toward providing nuclear technology to other countries. Moscow's perceptions of the dangers of nuclear weaponscoincide in many respects with us concerns. Soviet nuclear exports generally carry controls at least as stringent es those applied to US nuclear transfers. The 'Israeli attack on Iraq will reinforce these Soviet concerna about theinherent in nuclear proliferation^ especiallyegion aa volatile aa the Middle East.

Prsbleas

Israel's raid will produce in the Arab world askepticism that the United States- can. or intends to. play an unbiased peacemaking role in the Middle East. In Arabashington has transformed Israelajor nilitary power.that threatens Arab security and then refused ts restrain Tel Aviv's use of that power. The Sovieta will exploit this sentiment.

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At the same time,raidmoderate Arab leaden atthat they have few, if any, immedi ate ways themselves to check Israel's power and fewto continued US involvement in Che peaceThe raid, then, will cause them to redouble their efforts to influence tha Middle East policy of the Reagan administration, especially if they believe that policy is in its formative stage.

Danger of New Shocks

Dramatic Arab action against US 'interests does not seem likely in the near term, but Arab policymakers and public opinion will be highly sensitive to new shocks for several months. The greatest danger is that some new Israeli action or US position which tha Arabs regard as inimical will develop before the anger over the-raid on Iraq has subsided. If such actions occur, risks to US interests increase substantially. Terrorist actions are, of course, an always present danger. Je&T'

Events such as these could make the pressures on Arah governments to retaliate against the United States irresistible. Domestic opinion would be an important

factor. it is virtually impossible to predict when Arab leaders, either individually or collectively, will judge that their political survival depends on store forceful action to placate popular sentiments. It is likely, hew-ever, that Israel'a raid on rrag has moved some Arab leaders closer to that theoretical point. trT)

Protests Fron US Friends

The most heated Arab reactiona to the raid have cone from governments in the Middle East generally supportive of the United States. Each presumably believes its US ties make it especially vulnerable to critics. *

Jordan. Jordan's reaction waa highly emotional and strongly anti-US. Many prominent Jordanians have called for review of the regime's ties to the United Statea. They argue that Washington must have known about the raid in advance and that Jordan's close link to the United Statea is an embarrassmentiability. >Ci

SOFOR^WC*OWTRACT ORCON

Nonetheless, Sadat seems resigned to Begin'sand he probably is prepared to resume the stalled autonomy negotiations. The Egyptian leader does not want to give Tel Aviv any excuse for refusing to return the eastern Sinai on schedule la

The raid probably has increased the chances, however, that after April Egypt will look for new alternatives to the autonomy talks and seek to reestablish its position in the Arab world by substantially cutting back ita ties to Israel. Egypt will not abrogate che peace treaty, but Sadat may be prepared to halt the normalization process

Saudi Arabia. The impact of the raid on US-Saudi relatione will not be fully felt until Saudi leaders can more completely aaaeas attitudes within the royal family, among the Saudi public, and in Arab councils. Saudi leaders have been able to use US support for the UNcondemning Israel to deflect question's about the value of close ties to the United states. JJSrf*

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Iraq and Libya. Saddam Hussein's reaction to the raid hai been governed largely by his concern over -he war with Iran. He ii tryi.ig to use the heightened anti-Israeli sentiment to improve Iraq's ties with Syria and Libya, Iran's principal Arab backers. He would like to end Libyan and Syrian military aid to Iran, toolid Aram front against Tehran, and to put pressure on Tehran to negotiate an end to the war. Ke also hopes to .unify the Arabs against Israel. ore realisticis simply to gain greater sympathy for Iraq'sagainet Iran, and Co embarrass the Syrians and Libyans for their continuing aupport for Tehran. >Si

Saddam Hussein's temperate behavior has probahly strengthened his ties with moderate Arab states, which have supported his moves away from Moscow and his waragainst Iran. It also has drawn favor from West European and Third World states, which are accustomed to more extreme Iraqi reactions. Saddam Hussein hascriticism of the United states for its role in arming Israel, but he did not repeat even standardof the United States in his first public speech after the raid. This restraint aay reflect hisdetermination to balance his relations with the Israel's raid, however, plus deep suspicion that the United States was an accomplice, have bolstered the hand of hardline fla'thiat's who oppose Saddam Hussein's recent tilt toward the west.

It is too early to Judge how seriously Saddam" Hussein's domestic position has been damaged by the raid. Histoompromise resolution at the UN was opposed by some Iraqi officials. The raid alsodissatisfaction over the war with Iran. S-i,

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Libyan President Qadhafi quickly saw in tho raid an opportunity to refurbish his regional credentials and to regain entry into Arab councils. Playing upon the theme of Arab unity in the face of Israeli and US aggression. Libya is moving aggressively to reestablish relationsumber of Arab states, including Morocco, Jordan. Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Underlying motives for hismay be fear of US intentions as well as of anattack on Libya. To facilitate his reentry into the Arab mainstream, andreater degree of regional respectability, it is possible, although by no means certain, that Qadhafi will temporarily moderate hia support for subversion of his Arab neighbors.

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