NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Main Trends in the Arab World
TABLE OF CONTENTS
POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGE
. a. V
The Role of the Military
Economic and Social Development
Area-Wide Political Forces
Prospects for Political Change
The Quest for Unity
THE ARABS AND ISRAEL
THE ARABS AND THE WORLD..
MAIN TRENDS IN THE ARAB WORLD'
To estimate general trends in the Arab world over the next several years.
turmoil in the Arab world appears likely tofor many years to come. The military have come toincreasing role,inhavetabilizing factor. Iraq and Syria In particular areremain highly unstable. The mortarchies in Jordan,and Libya will come under increasing revolutionarypressure, and one or more of them may bethe next several years. Nasserappears likely to remainmost influential Arab leader. The noteworthysocial progress of the past ten years will continue,in the past, it will be uneven and varied. (Paras.,
emotional appeal of Arab unity will remain veryin general the pan-Arab movement is likely to be confined toof cooperation among independent countries thatthe Cairo sujrirnit meeting in)
attitudes toward Israel remain basically hostile,fair proportion of Arabs have gradually come privately andto accept the fact that Israel will exist for manycome. The Arab-Israeli arms race will cause tensionslead to limited or selective hostile action. Otherare the Jordan waters problem and the possibility of Israeli
1 This estimate does not cover Sudan end the Maghreb.
military action in the eventadical political change in Jordan. Nevertheless, the general inhibitions on open warfare would be strong,erious rise in tensions could probably be contained by great power pressures.
relations with the West remain heavilyhatred of "imperialism" and by Western support ofpossibilityudden deterioration of Westernthe Arabs over Israel is always present. The Arabgenerally will press for termination of Western basethe area. While they will also pressreater sharerevenuesreater degree of participation lnappears unlikely.
Soviets probably believe that the tide isthe West in the Arab world and that they canthe unsettled political situation and upon variousthe Arabs and West. If US-Arab relations shouldsharply, there would probablyoticeableof Soviet Influence. We do not believe, however, thatresult in one-sided reliance on the Sovietsoreattitude toward local Communist parties.
I. POUTICAt AND ECONOMIC CHANGE
L The period of theinds the Arab world still striving to modernize itself. For almost all politically conscious Arabs,means land reform. Industrial development, popular education,eneral loosening of the rigid and traditional Arab society. It means elimination of privilegeeasure of social Justice for the masses. It means Independence from foreignense of national or Pan-Arab dignity, Arab unity, and the elimination of monarchies. It Is in transferring these desires for modernization into concrete and practical terms that Arab society has its greatest difficulty today.
Ideals characterize tbe broad outlook of the youngerelements who .In the period fromoexcluded from power and affluence by political,social vested interests that in most cases were allied with thenew reformists sought Inspiration in socialist systems and Inof revolutionary doctrines which were hostile both to thupower structure and to the Western imperial tradition. Thisto the West and to the old regimes was greatly heightenedsupport for the establishment of Israel. Revolution seemedavenue to change, and authoritarianism the only means ofreform. In the absence of any strongo the rule of law, the arbiter of change was force.
A, The Role of the Military
Tills circumstance has made theey factor. They have seized power, calling themselves reformers, in Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, and alsoole in the Yemen revolution. Once in power,the military have shown more concern for the Ideals than for the practice of democratic government. While they have demonstrated sensitivity to charges of dictatorship, they distrust civilian politicians, and the latter have lacked any effective means of maintaining orinfluence. The military regimes have severely limited or completely suppressed conventional political activity, and the political battles tend to be fought out within the military establishment. Thus inteady procession of army factions has struggled forand this has resulted In chronic instability. The same appears to be happening in Iraqhort Interlude of Baathist civilian government.
By contrast, Nasser remains the most successful practioner ofmodernization in the Arab world. His revolution has gathered momentumozen years. The old elite has been replacedew
military one, foreign political and economic Influence ln Internal affairs has been eliminated, progress ln industrial development has been made, and socialism has been farther advanced than in any other ArabHis regime's success Is due to the basic competence of himself and his inunediate group of supporters,ore homogeneous and tractable population, and to the support of the armed forces. But this success has been at the expense of growing apathy within the business and professional classes, estrangement between the civilians and the military, and increasing foreign indebtedness. Moreover. Nasser has not yet succeeded ln institutionalizing his revolution,umber of its aspects may not survive him.
n most of the Arab states, military forces are the base oftherefore Important bothrop for the regime and as aof disaffection. In theisaffection Is directedagainst the monarchy as an Institution but against theallied with it as
the kings can control the armed forces that serve them. Both the Saudi Arabian and Libyan monarchs, for example, have built up paramilitary forces which rival the sise of the regular military establishments. The kings, nevertheless, remainand if they are overthrown, their own armed forces are likely to deliver the coup de grace. This tendency toaramilitary force has not been confined to the monarchies. The BaathlstIn Iraq and Syria established the National Guardrivate Baathlst army since they did not trust the regular forces.
irtually all the Arab countries are today characterized byhighly centralized governments, ruling through twoinstitutions, the armed forces and the bureaucracy. Mostlack any effective mechanism for associating the people with the governments. Lebanon Is the only country where the parliamentignificant role, and this is because ltody representing the various religious groupsountry where sectarianismredominant factor In political life. The parliaments in Jordan, Kuwait, and Libya serve primarilyafety valve for political emotion and are free to act so long as they do not seriously challenge the wishes of the regime. Attempts to create political Institutions to provide two-waybetween the leaders and the led In Egypt have been stifled by over-strong control, and the latest experiment along this line will probably
'Or the nine eastern Arab countries, four areArabia, Libya, and Kuwait; three are militaryUAR. Syria, and Iraq. LebanonvUlan-run republic, and Yemen Is Impossible to ciassity, part being under royal control and portepublican government which Is In turn dependentoreign power, the UAR.
suffer the same fate. In the Arab world generally, then, the central governments call the tune in matters great and small. Civilianare discontented but virtually powerless In view of their lack of cohesion and In the face of military support for the regime. Only those organizations able and waling to function clandestinely, such as the Baath and the Communists, continue active.
B. Economic ond Sociol Development
Much of the pollUcal floundering and experimentation which have occurred derives from disagreement over the means by which to achieve economic and social change. Nearly an agree that progress is desirable, but few agree on how to achieve lt. Speaking in very broad terms, the monarchies have favored cultivating private commercial, entrepreneurial interests, which they feel willtake in the monarchy, and thus become one of Us main supports. The republics. In reaction to what they regard as the excesses of the old elite and to speed reform andhave moved away from private capitalism. This is best exemplified by Nasser's "Arabut the Baath also holds socialist views, as do most of the reformist elements in the monarchies. Despite these differences, tn virtually all the states the government exercises arole; only it can give direction to planned development programs and supply the large amounts of capital needed.
The progress that has been made In the past decade or so has been impressive. Virtually all the Arab countries have put considerable effort into economic and social development, relying variously on oil revenues, foreign assistance, and such domestic resources as are available. In the areahole, education has been greatly extended and improved, illiteracy rates are dropping, and the number of children In primary and secondary schools has Increased fromillion1 to moreillionedical services_are improving, and other social services, such aa cooperatives, are beginning to take someood deal has been done in providing economic infrastructure, such as roads, irrigation works, and electric power. Economic betterment is reflected in the general rise in ONP.
this general framework, progress has been unevenIraq's oncc-promising development program has falteredQasim overthrew the Nunack of appreciation forof technical and economic processes and, untilspending by the royal family are among the reasons thateconomic development has taken place in Saudiuch larger per capita income and more astutearge measure of social and economic well-being at homenow financing development in several other Arab states throughgifts. Egypt has made considerable progress, particularly ininfrastructure, and education. We believe that the area as
a whole will see continued economic and social change ln the years ahead, though there will be some stagnant spots, particularly ln those countries which experience political instability.
ESTIMATED PER CAPITA GROSS NATIONALUS Dollars)
are for the0at3
C. Areo-Wiele Political Forces
Nasserism. Nasser remains the prime symbol of revolutionaryHe was, after all, the first Arab to successfully defy the great powers and to destroy the old elite. The peak of his political fortunes cameith the establishment of the Syro-Egyptlan UAR,difficulties In extending Cairo'sis inextricably linked with his personalother countries has apparentlyhim, at least for the time being, from further adventures intounity. But heevolutionary,-with a'powerfuland subversive apparatus to use against governments and forces which ho believes inimical to his Interests. As the4 Cairo summit conference shows, he remains by far the most Importantfor Arab solidarity.
Nasser will continue to use his assets throughout the Arab world to promote political leaders and groups sympathetic to his policies and objectives. He would like to see the elimination of the monarchies and to re-establish his Influence ln Syria. He will feel compelled to help any embattled Arab nationalist, from Muscat to Morocco, who requestscompulsion whichhird of his army tied down in Yemen. Having failedrontal attack on his Arab rivals and enemies, he will, at least for the time being, seek to increase his Influence over them by exploiting the noncontroverslal issues of Israel and imperialism. But at the same time he will not abandon his ultimate objective of bringing down his Arab rivals. Nevertheless, the failure of bis Syrian venture
and the political and military costs of the Yemen affair may have taught htm some lessons, and he will therefore probably be more cautious than in the past about unification experiments where he is uncertain of his power to control the situation.
Baathlsm Nasser's leadership and influence are being challenged by the Baath (Arab Resurrection) movement The Baathnique political organization in the Arab world; It is an Arab unity movement based on an Ideology rather than on personal leadership, and It has an apparatus functioning in nearly every Arab state. The Baath isin character; it has been bitterly opposed to both imperialism and communism virtually since its Inception in Syria during World War ILhe Baath Party was the strongest political force In Syria. Reacting to pressure from the West and fearfulommunist seizure of power. It felt Impelled to seek unity with Egypt But Baath 1stIn the union declined, and byhe party found Itself out of office and out of power. In the same year, Eaathlst elements inbungled an attempt to assassinate Qasim, and the party was forced underground there.
The Baathists reorganized In secret and, earlyeized power first in Iraq and then in Syria. Almost immediately the new regimes began to discuss with Nasser the establishmentederal state, and agreement lo do so was announced in April. It soon became apparent that the Baath could not accept Nasser's desireight federation and personal rule. Thus the unity move collapsed amid mutualand both sides are likely to continue to be embroiledeudong while to come.
Once in office, the Baathists were weakened by internal partyand by their antagonizing of potential supporters. Inreakdown of party discipline gave non-Baathlst elements Id the army an opportunity to reassert their power and do away with Baathistof the government- In theumber of Baathist officers turned out to be more devoted to their service than to the party. In Syria. Baathists within the military hare asserted predominance over ciriiian Baathists, and even the Baathist military appear to be more concerned with their own supremacy than with the advancement of partyIn short, Syria is coming yet again to look moreilitary dictatorshipevolutionary regime. Nonetheless, the partya force in the Arab world,emonstrated ability to survive severe shocks. For some time to come, moreover, it will probably retain appealan-Arab movement independent of Nasser or any other personal leader, andallying point for anti-Nasser elements.may be its fate in the republics, its strength in Libya and Jordan appears such that It could emergeajor factor in any struggle for power following the demise of either king.
ommunist apparatus of some sort exists inevery Arab state, and the movement has been well organized in the past ln Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. Just after World War II. communism threatened to emerge as the most effective antagonist of the status quo. More recently, the rise of nationalist movements has provided an alternative far more appealing to the intensely chauvinistic Arabs. In any event, the tight control exercised by almost all theover labor unions, tbe press, and other areas of conventional Communist activity makes it very difficult for the Communists toas anything morelandestine and oppressed parly. in the turmoil which might follow the overthrowegime, thereossibility for significant growth of Communist strength or influence, particularly if the emerging leader felt the need to cultivate the Communists to strengthen his position against internal or external threats, as Qaslm did in Iraq.
D. Prospects for Political Change
evolutionary nationalist pressures on the monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Libya will remain strong. All three will continue to rely primarily on the support of tribal and propertied elements to counter growing pressure from socialist and republican elements that regard the Institution Itself as outmodedehicle of Western Influence. They might reduce their vulnerability to some extent by acting like neutralists. But their survival probably depends moreon their ability toalance between firmness and concessions at home. Advances toward liberalism and reform often not only antagonize the elements supporting the monarchs. butthe very forces that the rulers seek to dampen, and thuseturn to repression, which hi turn feeds the impulse to revolution. Although the monarchies do not appear to be In immediate danger, the death of the ruler or any other shock to the equilibrium could unleash political forces that these regimes would find it difficult to control. In some cases, feuds within the ruling family could provide an entering wedge for nationalist forces.
ibya will be particularly vulnerable on the death of the aging King Idris. There Isubstantial pro-Republican element among the politically conscious. The monarchy iseeply-rooted Institution ln Libya, and Idris' designated successor commands little respect or support In the country. Special circumstances make the Jordanian and Saudi monarchies somewhat less vulnerable. In Jordan, many potential opposition leaders recognize that an upset In Jordan could trigger Israeli military action. In Saudi Arabia, the large size of the Saud family and the dispersion of power among several centersthe chancesuccessful coup, and opposition leadership Is not impressive. Nonetheless, one or more of the monarchies might be extinguished in the next several years.
Nasser seems likely to remain in power In Egypt In tbe other republics, changes in leadership are likely, though the military will almost certainly continue toredominant influence in political affairs. They will, however, be hard put to cope with problems ofIraq Is besetumber of problems which will put great pressure on the existing government. Iraqi opinion is dividedumber ofsectarianism, the form and character of Arab unity, centralization of government, and the role of minorities In particular, Kurdish desires for local autonomy couldew round of fighting. President Arif himself Is not popular nor, Indeed, does he appear very competent at the art of governing. These and other difficulties are likely to culminate in moves against the present regime.
In Syria, there is no sign of an abatement of the ^terminablewhich have occasioned at leastuccessful coups in the pastears. Both the army and the civilian politicians are deeply divided by differences concerning religion. Ideology, and Arab unity; personal antipathies and sheer opportunism alsoajor role in perpetuating political instability. Plotting is incessant, and the chances of anof the existing regime are high. In both Iraq and Syria, the likelihood is that successive coups willhifting, unstable, and Increasingly violent political atmosphereood while to come.
E. The Quest for Unity
Despite all these diversities and instabilities, the concept of Arab unityery powerful appeal. The Intelligentsia believe that the Arabs are oneTJmraahthat by right they should be politically united. Arab political thought on this Issue has been largely in terms of what should be, with little attention to devising practical ways and means of bringing it about. Arab spokesmen have traditionally blamed their lack of unity oh the pollUcal divisions imposed on the Arab areas by the Western powers. There is some truth to this, but local and dynastic interests have created strong frictions within tbe Arab world and will continue to impede moves toward unity. Moreover, the Arabs have had little experience with the kind of political give-and-take which Is necessary toation with varied and divergent mterests. Such steps toward unity as have been taken,he Syro-Egyptian UAH and the short-lived Iraqi-Jordanian Union, were made almostast resort against what the advocates of union considered to be serious threats to their own position.
virtually all nationalist and republican elements looknified Arab state as an ideal, but they are beginning to recognize the formidable obstacles to achieving it. The most that now appears to be realizablerouping of nationalist governments In the Individual states, more capable of showing solidarity on specific issues, such as opposition lo Israel, than of taking steps toward full union. There Is some possibility
that two states might, whether because of favorable circumstances (such as occurred when the Baath ruled In Syria and Iraq) or of externalfind lt expedient to unite. Once the circumstances which Impelled unity had changed, however, fissiparous tendencies would soon reappear. We see no signs of the development of any system which couldcombine the virtuesommon, federal government with the Imperatives of local power andodest solidarity, such as was manifested at the Cairo summit meeting, probably represents the outer limits of cooperative action under presently foreseeable
umber of areas where such cooperation mightinter-Arab military command set up at the Cairo summitbeing organized, and several stales have made financialpay for strengthening the armies of Israel's neighbors. Therepossibilities for cooperation on economic matters, such asof oil revenues. The Arab League has shown some potentialstates to cooperate. However, traditional animosities amongstales are likely to set definite limits and on occasionor other efforts at common action.
II. THE ARABS AND ISRAEL
Arab solidarity is strongest on the question of animosity towards Israel. Even here, attitudes have shifted slowly and imperceptibly since the middle fifties, when many Arabs saw visions ofthe first time adequately supplied with arms from thethe humiliation suffered at the hands of Israelwareness has slowly spread that, evenarge arms Inventory, the Arabsong time away from being able to Impose their will on IsraeL This, awareness, combined with the passage of time, has graduallyairof Arabs to accept the fact that Israel will continue to exist for many years to come. Nevertheless, this acceptance remains basically aand reluctant one. and Arab political leaders customarily adopt verbal positions considerably stronger than what they know the facts or the possibilities of the situation to be. Their basic hostility remains, and they almost certainly hope that circumstances will some day changeanner which will permit them to destroy the Israeli state.
While we believe that neither the Arabs nor the Israelis aredeliberately to initiate hostilities, thereumber of problems which could leaderious rise of Arab-Israeli tensions. Among these are the diversions of Jordan River waters, the disposition ofillion Palestinian refugees, the arms race between the UAR and Israel, and the possibilityadical change in the character of the Jordanian regime.
Jordan Waters. The most striking example of the change In Arab attitudes toward Israel was the stand taken at the recent Arab 8urnmlt conference. Arab leaders responded eargcrly to Nasser's call foreeting, partly to show solidarity and partly to divide the responsibility if they were unable toay of halting Israeli diversion of the waters of the Jordan River. With the exception of Premier Haflz of Syria, they faced up to the fact that there was little they could do to prevent Israeli diversion. They agreed that Arab action wouldoint military command had been established and the Arab armies had been built up. Only when this had been done and the Arab hand strengthened, would plans to divert water from the Jordan sources which lie in the Arab lands be carried out
Serious difficulties could arise if the Arabs try to take more than their "fair share" of the waters of the Jordan basin. The Arabsood claim to roughly the proportion of the waters allotted them under the Johnston Plan and have intimated that they will probably stay within the Johnston allocations. The Israelis have made it clear that they would regard Arab diversion of more than this as grounds for war. We believe they would carry out such threats, and that the Arabs,it too, are unlikely to test the Israelis. This is not to say that the disposition of the waters will cause no disturbances. Both the Israelis and the Arabs are likely to claim that the other side Is drawing excessive amounts of water. Diplomatic duels and verbal battles over the issue, as well as incidents along the Syrian border, are likely to flare up periodically.
The Refugee Question* Arableast publicthe Issue of the Arab refugees are as intransigent as ever. The Arabs continue to Insist that the refugees be given the option of returning to their former homes. Israel, for its part, remains equally adamant that any refugee resettlement plan must explicitly provide thatmall minority of the refugees may return to Israel. Wc see no early change in Arab or Israeli attitudes on this issue, since every scheme thus far devised would appear toajor, public defeat for one side or the other.
If there is little prospectormal settlement of the refugee issue, however, there is some reason to hope that the problem may be at least partially solved by developments within the Arab states themselves, particularly as the older generation of leaders dies off and people with-
' There anefusees registered with the UN authorities. As of Jane IMS they were located approximately am follows:UAR (GazaAbout two-thirds of these reeelTe food rations from the UN. There are substantially fewar rerugees than the futures indicate, aa deaths are often not reported to the authorities. However, there hasane net gain, due to natural Increase, overho left that portion of Palestine which is now Israel.
out personal experience of Palestine grow toairof the refugees ln Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan have in effect already been largely absorbed into the local economies. On the other hand, those under UARall of whom are ln the overcrowded Oazalittle prospect ofespectable existence in the Arab world in the foreseeable future. All things considered, we see little likelihood that the refugee problem win make Arab-Israeli differences worse, but It willajor barrier to settlement.
he Armssrael and Egypt have engaged in an arms racehen Soviet arms were first made available to Egypt. The Israelis, while scornful of past Arab military performances, believe they would be vulnerable to attack by advanced weapons or by substantially strengthened conventional forces. They therefore seek an Improved military posture to deter such attacks. Israel's Arab neighbors ln turn are fearful of any Improvement ln Israeli capabilities. Both countries are now devoloping surface-to-surface
holdings of conventional arms grow and advanced weaponsprogress, tensions are likely to rise. Both sides willuneasy, and each might be tempted to Initiate hostilea limited or selective scale to destroy the facilities or armamentsother. Nevertheless, the general Inhibitions upon openbe very strong, and the chances are gooderious risecould be contained through diplomatic and politicaloutside the area,
ajor Political Change in Jordan. The Israelis and The Jordanians haveairly stable modus vivendi along the border.the Israelis have long been concerned over the dangerifferent regime ln Jordan could pose for them. They have Indicated that If Hussein were overthrown, and particularly If the successor regime were pro-Nasser, they might feel compelled to seize the area between their present borders and the Jordan River. The likelihood of such action would, of course, depend greatly upon circumstances existing at the time and upon the attitude of the great powers, particularly the US. If the Israelis should ln fact move against the West Bank, Nasser would feel obliged to make some military demonstration, but he would urge International action and look to the great powers to force Israel to retreat.
III. THE ARABS AND THE WORLD
The West. The Arabs are attracted by the image of the Western countries as modern nations, capable of playing an important role In international affairs and ofecent life for their people. The latter outlook influences Arab society in matters of education anddevelopment, but memories of colonial control tend to dominate much Arab thinking about International issues. In particular, all Arab nationalists are hostile to Western military bases In the area and to the special position which the West enjoys in most of the oil-producing areas. They continue to regard these as relics of the "imperial" era which must be eliminated. They view the US as the principal supporter of Israel
Within this general context, thereifference between the monarchies and the military republics on attitudes toward the West. The republics generallyonaligned posture, eschewingreliance on either bloc and willing to play one off against the other. This nonalignment does not reduce their opposition to special Western positions in' and around the Arab world or deter them from active campaigns against these positions. The monarchies, on the other hand, are aware of their greater dependence on Western support; Jordan lives on US budgetary assistance, and the other monarchies getrevenues from Western operated oil concessions. They are less hostile to the Western positions because they look to the West for support against the republican reformists. Public opinion in the Arab worldsupports the revolutionary republican rather than the monarchist attitude toward these Western interests. Therefore, the monarchies probably will be forced to continue to placate nationalist sentiment by going along with itertain extent on "anti-imperialist" issues, as for example Libya has in respect of the.Wheelus Base agreement.
The possibilityudden deterioration of relations between the Arabs and West, particularly the US and particularly over Israel, is always present. The Arabs are so sensitive regarding US-Israelithat even quite innocuous US statements and actions are taken as proof of their fears for the worst. Indeed, Western relations with the Arabs now appear to be headed into an extremely clifflcult period over the Israeliasser ispecial effort to regainamong the Arab states byampaign against the Western position in the area, which he represents as supporting Israel. Thus, he has begun again to encourage hostility to US and UK base rights In Libya, Cyprus, and Aden. He apparently hopes over the longer term tothese Western bases and weaken the Western hold on the oil concessions sufficiently to oblige the West to give up Its support of Israel.
The British position in Aden is likely to come under increasing pressure from the Arab nationalists. They see Aden, not only as the base from which the British support the royalists in Yemen, but also
aa the key to the British position In the Persian Gulf and in Muscat and Oman. This position, in Arab eyes, isastion of old-stylewhich must be ehrnlnated. The British are determined to retain their political and military position, which theyleast for theessential to insure their accesseliable supply of oil at an acceptable price and to substantial foreign exchange earnings to buttress their balance-of-paymenU position. Nevertheless, theirIs likely to come increasingly under challenge, particularly in Aden,arge and articulate group, supported by Nasser, is agitatingreater political role and eventual British withdrawal.
Despite these various threats to the Western position. Western oil concessionstrong factor Unking the Arabs with the West. Steadily increasing production may0 boost area revenues as much asercent for the areahole, and the Arabs recognizethat this revenue isarge degree dependent upon the marketing and distribution system controlled by the Western concessionaries. Nevertheless, many Arabs are seeking notarger share of revenues butreater degree of partldpaUon in production and distribution. They are pressing both Issues in the Organization of PetroleumCountries (OPEC) discussions with the companies. If theaccede to some of the pressures, for example, by reUquishingareas andarger share of the profits, this pressure can probably be contained. The chance of some leaderompany cannot be ruled out. but such an action appears unlikely.
The Communists. In thoir efforts to acquire influence In the Arab World, the Soviets have generally rolled on government-to-govemment dealings rather than on local Communist movements. They apparently considered that the Arab Communist parties had some .capability for harassing conservative and pro-Western reglmes;"but that they had Utile chance to gain commanding positions. We believe thatties will continue to he the pattern for Soviet-Arab relations, although there will be fluctuations In cordiality from time to tune.
The Arabs are aware of the dangers of tooelationship with the Communist powers. But they will almost certainly continue to sec many benefits to be obtained from dealing witharms, economic aid. and ability to use their presence and support both to obtain greater benefits from the West and to pursue the drive against Westernoviet Influence would be strengthened by anyUS support of Israel Indeed, if US-Arab relations deteriorate markedly there probably willoticeable swing of the pendulum toward the Soviets, though we doubt thatovement would result in one-Bided Arab reliance on the Soviets, unless the Arabs come tothe US had irrevocably chosen to support Israel against them. In particular, we doubt that Arab leaders would be more accommodating to
local Communist parties, for these leaders have learned throughthat, as long as they maintain an "anti-Imperialist" stance, they can keep local Communists under close control without cuttingoff from Soviet support.
he prime objective of both the USSR and Communist China Is to eliminate the important Western positions in the Middle East. Despite the setbacks and obstacles which they have encountered, the Soviets probably still believe that their position may improve over the longer term. They believe that there are vulnerabilities in the area which they can exploit and in time convert into tangible assets. Inthey probably see opportunities arising from the unsettled political situations in Syria and Iraq, continuing Kurdish unrest, the quarrels between nationalist leaders, and the various and recurrent tensionsthe Arabs and the West. They feel that the tide of opinion in the Arab world is running against the special US and UK positions In the area and that once these are eliminated it will be time enough to deal with the conflict between Arab nationalism and the localmovement.Original document.