THE USSR AND THE ARAB OIL WEAPON
The oil weaponurely Arab strategy. Allhough in the past the Soviet press has encouraped such action, all availing evidence indicates 'hat the USSR had no hand in the planning and implementation of th- Arab oil supplydi Arabia and Kuwajt. both states with conrfrvative, anti-Communist governments, initiated and are leading theaction. These twon consultation with the other Arab producers plus Egypt andill decide when to abandon the embargoes and restore production.
Moscow appears lo be of two minds aboul the Arab oil weapon.
It welcomes Ihc split in Western unity caused by the oil cutbacks.
It applauds lhe reduction of US influence in the Middle East as reflected in the nationalisation of US oil interests in Iraq and the possibility of nationalization in other countries.
profits from higher prices for ils own oil exports. On the other hand. Ihe Arabs' action has created some problems for
Saudi Arabia haseader in the Arab World at the expense of lhe radical. pro-Soviet stales. If the Arabs succeed in achieving some of their goals regarding Israel, more of the credit will go lo Saudi oil than to Soviet nrms.
Communis! nations are not on the Arabs' favored list, and some cutbacks in Arab oil dclivenes lo Eastern Europe have rcsulled. The USSR feels obligated lo maintain East European supplies by dn-erting some of its exports from Western Europe
The Soviets fear that they may bc partly blamed by West Europeans for their oil shortages.
Moscow is concerned that ita support of Arab actions could adversely affect US-Soviet detente.
The uncertainty with which the Soviets view the Arab oil weapon is reflected in their actions and statements. To maintain credibility in the Arab World, they have supported the Arab action in the press. Although they have restricted oil shipments to Western Europe, they stress that these restrictions axe necessary to supply Eastern Europe and should not be considered at support for the Arabs. Moscow obviously is worried about maintaining its hard-won reputationeliable trading partnerifficult political situation.
* **Original document.