PROBABLE SOVIET OBJECTIVES IN REARMING ARAB STATES (SNIE 11-13-67)

Created: 7/20/1967

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SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

NUMBER7

Probable Soviet Objectives in Rearming Arab States

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL

DEPUTY DjfttCTOR OF CEWTRAL INTELLIGENCE Concurred in by lhc UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD Ai indkaled ovacloo'7

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Acting

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Concurring!

. J. Smith, foi Ih, Ocpul,Confrol Intelligence

f Intelligence ond Reworch, Department of Mule

It. Gon ioteph f. Canoll. Director. Defense Intelligence Agency Ll. Ooo. Marshall S.h* Oi.ociOf. Nolionol Smri, Agency

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PROBABLE SOVIET OBJECTIVES IN REARMING ARAB STATES

CONCLUSIONS

Moscow's dismay at the Arab debacle, ilsstill to expand ils influence in lhe Middle East and, with thcthc radical Arab regimes, to undermine lhat of the US. Bulthe Soviet leadersilemma: to gain favor with theby providing arms, and yet to avoid fomentingwar.

Soviets have already replaced much of the fighterand some of thc other materiel lost in thc war, andthat they have, at least in general terms, given thethat the losses will be restored. But we think thatdefer final decision concerning the ultimate level ofwill wish to confine its material and political support of thea scope and nature that will avoid severe risk of provocativeor of Israeli preemption.

demonstrate Soviet support of thc Arabs against IsraelUS, Moscow has already expanded its presence in the area.likely tourther influx of Soviet advisers, instructors,And, though the USSR will continue to be warybase agreements and will almost certainly avoid signingpacts, there is likely to be an increased Soviet militaryArab ports and mibtary facilities.

Soviets will probably try to exercise more influencepolitical leaders and the military establishments of thestates. Wc do not believe that the latter wish to Join thecamp, but they mayloser relationship with thc I'SSIl

DISCUSSION

I. RESUPPLY OF ARAAAMENIS

Over (he Aorta years price lo Ihe outbreak oi hostilitieshe USSR supplied military equipmentalue of aboutillion to the UAR, Syria. Iraq, and Algeria. This consistedide variety of ground, sea, and air armaments, including such up-to-date equipment as theighter bomber,5 tank, and the Kotnar missile patrol boat. The USSR has also provided extensive training and technical assistance.rab military personnel have been trained in the Soviet Union,he but two years an average ofoviet military advisers were preseni innn Syria,n Iraq. Most of these advisers were located at training centers, although there were Soviet icehnlclam at Egyptian SAM sites and Soviet officers stationed with the units in southwest Syria.

The war severely damaged the Arab armed forces. Thc UAH lost about two-thirds of its fighter aircraft,ercent of its bombers, and half Ns ranks. The Sinai fighting eliminated from the Egyptiannfantryrmored division, andl itsndependent brigades. Personnel losses were heavy. While casualties among .igyptian pilots were probably light, as mr*s( aircraft were destroyed on the ground, losses among armored vehicle crews almost certainly were high. There was also considerable damage to radar installations and SAM sites. Piobably at least as significant was the damage to morale and to leadership. Tbe UAR military is unlikely to have much stomach to fight the Israelis soon. The military command ami control structure was apparently shattered, at least temporarily, and the top command has been changed.

Thc Syrian aimed forces also suflcred heavily. They lost most of their fightersuarter of their tanks The Syrian top command was badlyprior to hostilities and is now probably in worse shape, reducing its ability to engage In military actions.

Tho Iraqis and the Algerians played little part in tlvo actual hostilities. The Iraqi ait forceightersombers, some in combat over Israel, others on the ground. The Iraqi infantry was only slightly engaged and suffered few losses. The host iii ties had little effect on the command and control structure of the Iraqi army. The Algerians played no direct role io the fighting, confining their activity largely to transferring Soviet equipment from their Inventory to the- UAR. Their armed forces were thus almost entirely unaffected by tho war and they continue toesumption of thc conflict.

In thc period just before thc war. Moscow was apparently willing to meet Arab requests for military equipment, late in May. the USSR agreed to dispatchanksumber of vehicles to thc UAR. During thc war. the Sovietsmall number of flights which we believe lo have carried military

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nuitcriel to Syria and bar)

The emergency airlift lastid aboul thine weeks. During this period, wc believe that at leastercent and perhaps much asercent of the Egyptian fighter losses were replaced, although we do not know how many of tlie new aircraft were of thc moie advanced types. No bombers were provided directly by the USSR, though Algeria senl abouto Egypt, The tanks which have been delivered since theabout half the number destroyed -were parthipment agreed on before the fighting began Military shipments by sea to thc UAR are continuingace somewhat hlglier tlian before the war. We believe that the USSIt has replaced only about one-fifth of the fighter aircrafl lost by Syria. Both lhe Algerians and the Iraqis Isave also received some Eghtci aircraft from the Soviel Union, possibly enough lo bring them bade to piesrar strength.

To return the military equipment of Syria and the UAR fo about their prewar levels wouldcalift of ai leastdditional voyages by the vessels available in the Soviet Black Sea merchant fieri With considerable disruption of ciisting tradeeahft of ihis magnitude could beIn asime as Ihree months. If. as wc believe hJcery. resupply continues at about thc present pace, it might takeear. It would in any case take at least that long Io reform Ihe shattered Egyptian units and Irain them in the use of this equipment. Thc Syrian units could probably be brought back to their prewar status somewhat earlier.

II. GENERAL SOVIET POLICIES TOWARO THE ARABS

S- Thc Soviet leaders seem to have been surprised and dismayed by the Outbreak of the war and shocked by the speed and extent of the Arab defeat. Nonelhelcss, they are seesdng to exploit the situation to further tbeir continuing objectives in the Middleo expand the USSR's influence and, with thc aid of nationalistic and revolutionary Arab regimes, to reduce or eliminate tho Western position in the area. But Soviet policy In the Middle Eastilemma. On the one hand, Ihe most efioctis'c means of keeping Arab nationalist leaders on the Soviet side is to furnish them arms- On the other hand, this risks encouraging the Arabs to make war onourse running cannier to Soviet policy in the Middle East and one which could, in addition,ovict-US confrontation. Thc USSR certainly hopes to be able to find some middle way, to give the Arab countries enough material and poUtical support to expand thc Soviet presence but not enough toenewal of major hostilities In any case, Moscow knows (hat forown purposes it must maintain its ties with Ihe Arabs; tlie radical Arabs, with nowhere else to turn, are aware that they too must sustain the relationship. Arab nationalism, directed againsi Israel, and Soviet caution, bom of the USSR's positionorld powei, place limits on Ihe reUtiooship. hut within Ihose limits the two sides clearly have much to gain from each olher.

Ft

Whileib-Israeli fighting was still in progress, the Sovicl leadership appeared to he most concerned about avoiding dirccl Soviet involvementossible confrontation with the US. To these ends, it communicated directly with lhe US in an efiort to get thc fighting stopped and, at the UN, votedimple ceasefire, rather than holding out in hopes of gaining terms moreto the Arabs. Since tbc end of the lighting, however, the Soviets have moved rapidly to rehuild their prestige with the Arabs and to place most of the blame for the Arab setback on US encouragement of Israel. Moscow has also sought to convince tlie Arabs and tlie world al large that the USSR's ability and determination to maintain its strong presence in the Middle East and in tbc Mediterranean basin have not been undermined by the outcome of the recent war.

Yet (Ik Soviets probably appreciate that the situation in the Middle East has changed. They probably recognize that their prestige in thc area has been impaired, though far less than that of the US, and they have good reason to reexamine their beliefs and their expectationsis the Arab world. Thev are plainly unhappy about the performance of the Arab armies, more conscious tlian before of the risks of association with headstrong and Imprudent client states, and almost certainly more aware of Ihe limits of the influence their aid programs have given them.

The Soviet leaders are probably now in the process of reviewing overall policy toward the Middle East. But we do not believe that any of themwithdrawal from thcumber of interim decisionshc level of immediate resupply of Uie badly-damaged Arab military forces) appear to have been quickly made. Wc believe, nevertheless, that several broad problems remain unsettled: how rapidly and completely to fill Arab requests for military assistance; how best to induce thc Arab states to give thearger voice in Arab political and military decisions; what position to take on differences between the radical and conservative Arab states; and, finally, fn general, how to maintain and expand the USSR's political influence in thc area withoutnew and dangerous Arab moves against Israel and Increasing tbe risksonfrontation with the US.

Concerning military assistance, wc believe that the Soviets have, at least in general terms, given the Arabs assurances that the losses incurred during thc war will be restored. Thc nature and extent ofipped to date suggest that the Soviets areubstantial recquiprnent program. To do less would risk their long-cultivated relationships with Ihe radical Arab leaders. Thc likelihood that rehabilitation of Arab military strength willear or more gives theood deal of elbow room.

Havingonsiderable measure of influence among the Arabs by means of the emergency resupply effort, thc Soviets are likely to deferconcerning thc ultimate level of arms shipments and thc composition of the Arab arsenal. We believe that Moscow will avoid arming the Arabs oncale andanner which would give them such superiority in weapons and equipment over the Israelis as to risk provocative Arab action or Israeli pre-

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cmptioti. The Sovieis would almost cejtnlnly ieject any Arab dem>mds (or nuclear weapons. Tlie Arabs, however, aculcly conscious of thc utlcctivcncss of Israel's proeinptivc strikes, wdl press veiy hard for weapons which would give them greater security in thc future. The Soviets, in response lo these pressures, may augment Arab bomber strength; it is possible, though less likely, that (hey will also provide thc Arabs with conventional weapons more advanced than those already prororsed before the hostilities.1

Both the Soviets and the Arabs might consider other means to deter thcrom reopening Inutilities. The Soviets have sent units of theirfleet to Alexandria aod Pott Saki and lo Latakia. Soviel naval units may remain in UAH and adjacent waters and use Arab facilities for some time. Moreover, ihere is likely to be an influx nf Soviet advisers, instructors, and technicians into thc area, And, though tho USSR will continue to bo wary of formal base agreements and will almost certainly avoid signing any defense pacts, there is likely to be an increased Soviet military presence in Arab ports and military facilities.

Tlie USSR, while energetically reestablishing its close ties with radical Arab leaders, bas made gestures of support to some of tbe moderates, even offering Soviet equipment to Husscfn of Jordan. But the closer the relationship between the Soviets and the radical states, the greater vrill be the suspicions of the conservatives. Tbey will attempt to maintain their status as "good Arabs'* by enunciating anti-Western and anti-Israeli policies but will probably avok! close association with the radical Arab states and the USSR.

ionccrn over Arab militancy and Inefficiency is likely, we ihink, to lead thc Sovieis to Iry to exercise greater influence os'cr the political leaders and miliiary establishments of the radical Arab stales. By infiltrating advisers into the armed forces, tbc Soviets may hope to gain more control over independent Arab military Initiatives. Tbey may also seek to push the radical states into more extreme anti-Western positions and rnore orthodox socialist ccaiflgurations. Nasser and the Syrian leaders are probably now rnore dependent on Soviet support and more susceptible to Soviet influence than before tbe svar. While we do not believe that the radical Arab states wish to become members of the Communist camp, they mayloser relationship with the USSR.

wcj|Kini promised before the wu Include the TU-Ir} aircraft with alr-to-nidacehori-range (up tortillery rocketoastal defense ciube missile, ind the SAMequipped modified KOTUN-uLssi destroyer.

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