The day after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze and US Secretary of State James Baker announced what they termed “an unusual step.” They issued a communique “jointly urging the international community to join them and suspend all supplies of arms to Iraq on an international scale.” The Gulf crisis, the first major post-Cold War international crisis, provides a concrete measure of changing Soviet strategy in the Third World. While Soviet policy can be explained in large part by a desire to maintain good relations with the United States, one cannot disregard, in the short or the long run, the weight of Moscow’s relations with the Middle East and how they affect its strategy and tactics in the region.

Soviet policy is responding to a fundamental necessity: renovating the Soviet economy and society. For the Soviet leadership, this has meant integration into the world market and a massive transfer of Western aid and technology. To these internal needs, as Gorbachev noted, “international policy corresponds.” Simple detente will not achieve these ambitious objectives, which presuppose a genuine understanding with the West. [1] By actively participating in the resolution of diverse Third World crises — from Namibia to Cambodia — and by using influence on their allies when necessary, the Soviets are seeking to strengthen their alliance with the West on the eve of adopting economic reforms whose internal consequences could be devastating.

An Act of Treachery

Almost immediately after news came of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the Soviet Union condemned it as “a pure and simple aggression,” and suspended arms deliveries to its ally, with which it had had a treaty of friendship and cooperation since 1972. [2] On August 6, the Soviets voted for global sanctions against Iraq at the United Nations Security Council. During Soviet fleet maneuvers in the Black Sea, on August 17, Gorbachev justified his country’s firm stand: “We have witnessed an act of treachery and a blatant violation of international law and the UN charter — in short a violation of everything the world community now pins its hope on…. It is important to restore respect for international law.” [3]

On August 19, the Soviets informed the Pentagon of the “type of armaments and military materiel delivered to Iraq in the course of different periods,” although the minister of defense said that the numbers and characteristics of the weapons “were not mentioned because of contractual commitments.” [4] The Kremlin also voted for the August 25 Security Council resolution authorizing (primarily American) naval forces in the region “to use such measures commensurate to the specific circumstances as may be necessary” to enforce the embargo on Iraq. Shevardnadze was careful to specify, however, that the Soviets “have no such plans to use force.” [5] Burned by the memory of Afghanistan, the Soviets now fear any significant operation outside the country’s borders, though some Soviet voices evoke “the southern menace” and push to keep military spending high. [6]

Like the annexation of Kuwait, the deployment of US forces in Saudi Arabia has aroused some “alarm and anxiety,” in the words of the Soviet minister of foreign affairs, who “took note of assurances from the US Secretary of State that deployment of US troops in Saudi Arabia is a temporary measure of [an] extraordinary nature and [that] they would be withdrawn at the first opportunity.” [7] On several occasions, Gorbachev justified the legality of the US deployment: “The United States responded to Saudi Arabia’s request. They acted in accordance with the norms of the UN Charter.” [8]

While sticking with the US, the Soviet Union wishes to avoid a military adventure, and hopes that its votes at the United Nations and a strict enforcement of the embargo will disarm the American “hawks.” Moscow does not want to abandon its own interests — in particular the influence it continues to have with several Arab countries and with public opinion in the region. Moscow, more so than Washington, has reason to fear an explosion less than 200 kilometers from its southern border. There is a great deal of worry about a conflict with unforeseeable consequences for the Arab and Muslim world. As Gorbachev put it, “The sooner there is a reduction on the military level, the calmer we will feel.” [9]

The first axis of Soviet strategy is to maintain a dialogue with Baghdad. The Soviet leadership sent several messages to Saddam Hussein and accepted “at his request” the visit on August 20-21 of Saadoun Hammadi, Iraq’s vice prime minister. This stance made it possible for the Soviet Union to evacuate all of its nationals from Kuwait, as well as the families of its 6,500 civil servants in Iraq, but it took a trip to Baghdad by one of Gorbachev’s advisers, Yevgeny Primakov, to obtain exit permits for those Soviets who have completed their missions. As of early October, Moscow has not opened a substantial dialogue with Baghdad. The bow is taut.

The second axis is the attempt to find an Arab solution. The Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, was welcomed in Moscow. Roving ambassador Mikhail Sitenko has crisscrossed the Arab world, while Gorbachev regularly insists on the “Arab factor.”

Finally, the Soviet Union is stepping up initiatives that take Arab preoccupations — in particular the Palestinian drama — into account, attempting to avoid at all cost any transformation of the condemnation of Iraq into a conflict between the Arab world on one hand and the US and Europe on the other. Shevardnadze seized the opportunity in early September to dust off the proposal of an international conference on the Middle East. “Israel’s agreement could have a major influence on the situation,” he noted, adding that the Soviet Union “would not let such a step by Israel go by without response and would give new attention to Soviet-Israeli relations.” [10]

Summit at Helinski

Many Soviet officials remain concerned about the scope of the US deployment. “There are no guarantees that the United States will leave Saudi Arabia after the crisis is over,” Alexander Belonogov acknowledged before a Soviet parliamentary commission. [11] The chief of staff of the Warsaw Pact, Vladimir Lobov, told the Tass news agency “in a personal capacity” that the US military presence has profoundly changed the relations between strategic forces in the region and could sabotage arms talks in Europe. Pravda, the Communist Party daily, has warned against all military escalation: “Not only the people would fall victim to such actions, not only the oil refineries, but something that at first glance may seem less important, the process, still only in its early stages, of humanizing relations between East and West.” [12]

Gennady Gerasimov refuted these assertions in the name of the Foreign Ministry, [13] but they call for two observations. The first concerns the Soviet press which now expresses a full range of opinion: Westerners, boxed in by schemas of Kremlinology, too often view every journal article as representing an official position. This is no longer true even of Pravda. Secondly, there are conflicting “interests” in the leadership — the foreign minister, the army, the KGB, the presidency — a little like the American bureaucracy, which sometimes results in the expression of different nuances of meaning. The decisions of Gorbachev and Shevardnadze “represent” Soviet policy to the same extent that those expressed by Bush and Baker “represent” US policy.

The Helsinki summit between Gorbachev and Bush on September 9 confirmed the new cooperation between the two superpowers. “We are united in the belief that Iraq’s aggression must not be tolerated. No peaceful international order is possible if larger states can devour their neighbors,” they declared jointly before reaffirming their support of the UN resolutions. Gorbachev secured US recognition of the role of the Soviet Union in the Middle East and time to search for a diplomatic solution. “Our preference is to resolve the crisis peacefully,” he said. But if this fails, Moscow will not oppose “additional [measures] consistent with the UN charter,” i.e., the use of force. [14] Some weeks later, Shevardnadze, while declaring support for military action coordinated by the United Nations, acknowledged that unilateral US military action would “not contravene the decisions of the Security Council.” [15] Such declarations betray a certain pessimism, but this feeling is not impeding the desperate search for a diplomatic solution.

Glasnost in the Gulf

Avoiding confrontation is vital for the Kremlin, since a war would risk ruining five years of skillful diplomacy in the Gulf and could lead to a destabilizing Islamic rupture for the Soviet Union. “Since ideological dogmas no longer represent a hindrance in the choice of its allies and partners,” write Vitaly Naumkin and Irina Zviagelskaya, two important scholars at the Institute for Oriental Studies, “the USSR is ready to establish political contacts and close economic ties equally with all of the states in the Middle East, with the goal of building a system of relations in the region founded not on balance of power but on balance of interests.” [16] This idea has guided Soviet “new thinking” and permitted the development of a dense network of economic and political relations with Jordan and Egypt. But the policy shift has been most noticeable with regard to the Gulf emirates.

After 1963, Kuwait was the sole Gulf monarchy to retain diplomatic relations with Moscow, and even signed arms contracts with the Soviet Union in 1977 and 1980. Diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia were broken off in 1938, and though official contacts did take place on several occasions, they had little chance of success as long as the Saudis perceived the Soviets as a hostile force, arming “enemy countries,” fomenting revolutionary unrest and attacking Islam — notably in the wake of the invasion of Afghanistan.

In the 1980s, during the long transition from Brezhnev to Gorbachev, the first signs of a thaw appeared. In December 1982, following the Fez summit, Yuri Andropov received an Arab League delegation, including the Saudi minister of foreign affairs; it was the first visit to Moscow by a dignitary of the Wahhabi kingdom since the early 1930s. In 1985, the Kremlin established diplomatic relations with Oman and the United Arab Emirates. In January 1987, the Saudi oil minister visited Moscow, where he negotiated the first commercial contract between the two countries — an oil sale on Iraq’s account. (The Soviet Union has a stake in the price of oil, which brings in 80 percent of its foreign currency receipts, and Moscow is beginning to coordinate its policy with OPEC.) In 1988, it was Qatar’s turn to open an embassy in Moscow. The first visit by a Soviet official to Saudi Arabia took place in February 1988, several days after the Soviet Union’s announcement that it would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

Renewed Soviet arms deliveries to Saddam Hussein after the autumn of 1982 contributed to the new climate. Fear of Iran’s revolution led the monarchies to seek out “safeguards” and to compromise with the Soviet Union. In April 1987, the Soviets were the first major power to respond to Kuwait’s oil tanker reflagging request. Several months later, after an attack on two of its ships, the Soviet Union warned that it would “respond with violence if Iran committed a new aggression.” [17]

Paradoxically, detente with Tehran began at the same time. The USSR had always tried to maintain good relations with Iran, with whom it shares a nearly 2,000-kilometer border. Following the Islamic revolution, despite assiduous currying of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s favor in 1980-1982, relations were at their worst. In February 1987, in the midst of the Irangate revelations, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati visited Moscow and announced that “we have laid down the foundations of global relations with the USSR.” Despite disagreements over Iran’s refusal to accept a ceasefire with Iraq, the Kremlin responded positively to “Iranian wishes on the subject of bilateral cooperation” and studied common projects. [18]

On July 20, 1987, when the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 598 demanding a ceasefire between Iran and Iraq, the Soviet Union was the only major power to maintain a dialogue with both the Arabs and the Iranians. It delayed every military embargo against Iran; it put pressure on Tehran to accept the truce; it denounced the US quest for military bases in the region.

When Iran accepted the UN resolution in August 1988, the Soviet Union acquired a new status which allowed it to consolidate its friendships with the two parties. In April 1990, Iran resumed its gas sales to the Soviet Union in exchange for Soviet willingness to supply Iran with “defensive” weapons. In September 1990, Iran received its first delivery of MiG-29s.

Exchanges with the Gulf monarchies also intensified. Kuwait granted Moscow $150 million in loans in 1988, and $300 million in May 1990. But beyond its political, economic and strategic interests, since 1988 Moscow has highlighted a dimension of its relations with these countries that had been non-existent until then: Islam.

The Islamic Dimension

When I visited Moscow in September 1987, several officials told me that Islam posed no problem. One even referred to it as a “phase.” A year later, the discourse had radically changed. Not only was Islam perceived as a challenge, but every Soviet official measured developments in the Middle East in terms of repercussions at home.

Since 1955, the Soviet Union has used its Islamic minority to facilitate contacts with Muslim countries and governments.[19] Today — and this is radically new — it is using its neighbors to calm things down at home and to maintain the integrity of the Soviet Union.

Following an anti-Islamic campaign in 1986-1987 (linked in part to struggles against the “mafias” who controlled the Soviet Central Asian republics, [20] and a subsequent period of hesitation, Moscow began to allow freer Muslim religious practices. In March 1989, a new and younger mufti was elected in Tashkent. As the fifth largest Islamic power in the world, with nearly 60 million Muslims, the Soviet Union hopes to be able to channel the movement. This wager assumes at least a neutral attitude on the part of powers who are likely to stir up religious antagonisms, namely Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Moscow had already ostentatiously displayed a newly “balanced” Iranian attitude during Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s visit to the Soviet Union in June of 1989. In an unusual gesture, the Iranian president was invited to address 500 Muslims in Baku, where he called Gorbachev a “great man of state, not only of the Soviet Union but of the entire world.” [21] Nor was Moscow afraid of direct relations: Several delegations from Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan visited Iran, and efforts were made to facilitate border crossings. [22]

This Islamic dimension is also a factor in contacts with Saudi Arabia. For instance, in August 1989, a delegation from the Saudi-based World Islamic League visited the Soviet Union and promised Soviet Muslims a gift of 1 million Qur’ans edited in Medina. [23] The Soviet Union had been printing only 25,000 copies of each edition of the Qur’an, and new editions appeared only every 20 years, the last one in 1968. [24] In February 1990, Vladimir Polyakov went to Saudi Arabia to arrange for the transport of the holy books to Soviet cities, to accept aid to construct 500 new mosques (in 1980 there were 350 official mosques in the Soviet Union), and to come to an agreement on the pilgrimage to Mecca. Long limited to 25 or 30 people a year, the number of Soviet pilgrims reached 1,525 in 1990 and could grow rapidly in the next few years.

Will these measures allow Moscow to neutralize the Wahhabi groups that exist in various republics, notably in Tajikistan, and that have struggled against the Soviets since Afghanistan? In mid-September, the Soviets finally convinced King Fahd to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries. The firm Soviet stand in the Gulf crisis of the summer of 1990 has further freed up relations. If the escalation in the Gulf does not explode into a destabilizing war, Moscow will be able to console itself for its costly alliance with Iraq with the knowledge that it has now reinforced ties with the two enemies of Saddam Hussein — the Wahhabi monarchy and the Islamic Republic — both of which can contribute to the success of its internal policies.

Strategic Borders

Igor Belayev, a well-known journalist and Middle East specialist, summarized Moscow’s preoccupations during the present crisis in Literaturnaya Gazeta: “We have different interests from the United States in the Gulf but we also want to see the region quiet. Iraq, after all, is not so far from our southern borders. We will do our best to pacify the situation.” [25] The Soviet Union borders Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan for several thousand kilometers, and it is within range of Israel’s and Iraq’s intermediate missiles. [26] The Soviet Union has tried hard, particularly since World War II, to establish good relations with its neighbors and has sought to prevent the West from installing bases on their soil. In the current crisis, the Soviet Union is within range of 30 cruise missiles from the American battleship USS Wisconsin. One can understand Izvestia commentator Alexander Bovin’s bitterness against the current Baathist policy:

The annexation of Kuwait objectively played the role of an invitation card addressed to the USA and guaranteeing American troops the best seats at the Iraqi theater of the absurd…. Even if the American troops withdraw more or less rapidly from Saudi Arabia, they will leave behind an infrastructure (airfields, depots, radar stations) considerably perfected and “gauged” to their measure, a precedent, a path completely mapped out, so to speak. It is primarily Saddam Hussein that the Arab world has to thank for all that.

In addition to its obsession with the West’s strategy of encirclement, which remains strong among some sections of the military, the Soviet Union fears the accumulation of chemical and nuclear weapons in the hands of unpredictable local leaders, notably Saddam Hussein. In December 1987, during a trip to Washington, Primakov said that since Israel possesses nuclear weapons, “we cannot rule out the possibility that the other side may do the same thing, driving the conflict to new dimensions.” [28] Shevardnadze, while making his Middle East rounds in February 1989, noted that “weapons that we and the United States are eliminating altogether, such as the INF missiles, are now appearing in the region…. The Middle East is becoming a major obstacle to the further development of the process of disarmament.” [29] At the time of Egyptian President Mubarak’s visit to Moscow, in May 1990, Gorbachev advocated arms reductions “to a level of defensive sufficiency” and the final communique again takes up his idea of making the region a zone free of weapons of mass destruction. [30] The Soviets have refused to buy Baghdad’s argument about the necessity of linking negotiations on chemical and nuclear disarmament: At the beginning of the Gulf crisis, Belonogov regretted that the Arabs had “subordinated the problem of chemical weapons to nuclear weapons which Israel possesses, and have thus given the green light to the chemical arms race” in the Middle East. [31]

The current crisis has only revived fears of a conflagration in the region. In August 1990, Shevardnadze proposed controlling the sale of armaments within the framework of the United Nations; he also suggested that political settlement of conflicts in the world would have to include a reciprocal limitation on arms deliveries. [32]

An Israeli-Arab Solution?

The Soviet leadership’s steps toward resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict reflects the same spirit as that which guided them in working out solutions in Afghanistan and Namibia. The interests of all conflicting parties must be taken into account, whether they be those of South Africa or of Israel, those of the US or of the Soviet Union. In his 1987 book, Perestroika, Gorbachev writes:

We understand that in the current circumstances it is difficult to reconcile the interests of the factions in conflict. It is essential, however, to reduce the interests of the Arabs, of Israel, of its neighbors and other states to a common denominator. [In the same way] far be it from us to push aside the United States from the Middle East; this would be quite frankly unrealistic. But the United States, from their side, should not set their sights on unrealistic objectives either.

This approach does not mean ignoring the fundamental components of a settlement (Israel’s withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, the participation of the PLO in negotiations, the establishment of a Palestinian state). Rather it calls for transcending Manicheanism (good Arabs against bad Israelis) to achieve tactical flexibility, particularly with regard to Israel.

In July 1985, several months after Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party, the Israel-Soviet dialogue began. The two countries exchanged consular missions. Contacts between ministers of foreign affairs became regular. Cultural and commercial cooperation began. At the time of Syrian President Hafiz al-Asad’s visit to Moscow in 1987, Gorbachev noted that the absence of diplomatic relations between his country and Israel “could not be considered normal [but] progress in our relations with Israel can only be conceivable as part of the peace process in the Middle East.” [33]

Has the Gulf crisis changed this attitude? Gorbachev’s reception in Moscow of two right-wing Israeli cabinet ministers, Moda’i and Ne’eman, and the resumption of official consular relations at the end of September indicate continued normalization between the two countries. There are rumors that Gorbachev has even said the Soviet Union would support Israel in the event of an Iraqi attack.

Nevertheless, support for the PLO remains a cornerstone of Kremlin policy, a trump which allows the Soviet Union to differentiate its policy from Washington’s. The Soviet Union actively contributed to the reunification of the PLO at the April 1987 Palestine National Council meeting in Algiers. After three years of coolness provoked by the Jordanian-Palestinian agreement of 1985, Yasser Arafat was received in Moscow in April 1988. The Soviets pleaded with the Palestinians to capitalize on the success of the intifada by ratifying United Nations resolutions 242 and 338, recognizing Israel and renouncing violence. The Soviets tried to dissuade the PLO from proclaiming its statehood, for fear this would push Israel to annex the West Bank and Gaza. The Soviet Union recognized the state of Palestine only in January 1990, in order to “make up for,” so to speak, Ezer Weizman’s stay in Moscow, the first visit to the USSR by an Israeli minister.

The Soviet Union remains attached to the principle of an international conference, but without rejecting anything which could advance the peace process. Thus not only did the Soviet Union encourage dialogue between the PLO and Washington, but it now no longer condemns “separate” US initiatives — like the Baker plan — provided they are in keeping with progress toward global peace.

Reevaluating Alliances

This reorientation has hardly delighted Moscow’s traditional allies. Numerous attacks by the whole of the Arab press against “Soviet-American collusion” on Jewish immigration have particularly irritated the Soviet leadership. ‘Abdallah Hourani, a member of the executive committee of the PLO, summarizes a general feeling in the Arab world that “the Soviet positions are no longer equal to the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”[34]

Nevertheless, five years after the beginning of perestroika, it has sometimes been possible to find a common language, founded on realism and thoroughly understood interests. Relations between the Soviet Union and Syria provide a good example. In April 1987, President Asad’s visit to the USSR went badly. Gorbachev made clear that the absence of relations between Moscow and Tel Aviv was not considered normal and that “the wager that armed force will make it possible to settle the conflict is found to be completely discredited.” Syria’s debt became the subject of harsh bargaining, and Damascus was exasperated by Soviet support of the reunification of the PLO under Yasser Arafat. As Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass declared, “We had to negotiate, bargain and fight bullet by bullet, and we still got the minimum of our needs.” [35]

Three years later, in April 1990, another visit by President Asad signaled a noticeable improvement in the climate. The Soviet ambassador to Damascus, Alexander Zotov, committed the Soviet Union to contributing to Syria’s security. “This country should have a strong defensive base as long as the principles of justice do not prevail.” [36] The Soviets had already delivered MiG-29s and were ready to supply SU-25s; military delegations followed. Realistic as usual, President Asad noted: “When the Soviet leaders applied perestroika, their basic criterion was not what repercussion it would have on the Arabs…. No one expects the USSR to decide its internal and foreign affairs in light of Arab interests only.” [37]

Soviet Jewish emigration has contributed greatly to tensions between Moscow and the Arabs, but the PLO, like Syria, has understood that it is not negotiable. Gorbachev warned Israel against settling immigrants in the Occupied Territories. But the substance of the immigration policy has remained unchanged: The number of Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel reached a record 17,494 for the month of August 1990.

The Soviet Union, however, does not wish to sacrifice its partners, even to please the United States; it still has strategic interests in the region. Afghanistan is a good example. Moscow withdrew its troops, but did not abandon the Najibullah regime; a veritable Soviet airlift reinforced his rule. The Soviets, for reasons of prestige but also of strategy — it shares a 2,500 kilometer border with Afghanistan — did not want to allow a hostile power to be installed in Kabul which might export its “Islamic revolution.”

Elsewhere, changes are occurring which take into account the new vision of foreign policy, strategic imperatives — less ambitious and less ideological than those of the Brezhnev era — and economic realities. On July 25, 1990, Gorbachev signed a presidential decree announcing that aid to the Third World would be granted according to “our country’s real resources.” [38] These considerations are evident in the Soviets’ disengagement from South Yemen and in their unconditional support for Yemeni unity. According to some sources, the Soviet Union has begun dismantling its military bases in South Yemen and Ethiopia.

This outline of Soviet policy in the Middle East is necessarily highly provisional. Even the future of the country is in doubt. Will the Islamic republics remain in the Union? No one can foresee what structures the Soviet Union will have tomorrow. The type of relations which will be forged with the peoples of the east depends on these struggles in progress in Moscow as much as on the outcome of the crisis in the Gulf.


[1] On this question, see Alain Gresh, “L’Union sovietique aI’heure de toutes les surencheres,” Le Monde Diplomatique (March 1990).
[2] Statement by Alexander Belonogov, vice minister of Soviet foreign affairs, Temps Nouveaux (Moscow), August 14, 1990.
[3] International Herald Tribune, August 18-19, 1990.
[4] Le Monde, August 26-27, 1990.
[5] International Herald Tribune, August 27, 1990.
[6] See, for example, Gen. V. Makarevshi in Temps Nouveaux, August 21, 1990.
[7] International Herald Tribune, August 10, 1990.
[8] L’Humanite, September 5, 1990.
[9] Le Monde, September 2-3, 1990.
[10] Le Monde, September 5, 1990.
[11] International Herald Tribune, September 4, 1990.
[12] Financial Times, September 3, 1990.
[13] See International Herald Tribune, September 4, 1990.
[14] International Herald Tribune, September 10, 1990.
[15] The Independent, September 25, 1990.
[16] “La politique sovietique a regard du reglement du conflit du Proche-Orient,” Politique Etrangere 2 (1990).
[17] Le Monde, June 3, 1987.
[18] See Alain Gresh, “Les encheres de la guerre du Golfe: perilleux dilemmes pour la politique sovietique, Le Monde Diplomatique (October 1987).
[19] This is still the case. For instance, a solidarity delegation from the Republic of Tajikistan’s Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee went to the Occupied Territories during the summer of 1990. See al-Tali‘a (Jerusalem), July 12, 1990.
[20] See Martha Brill Olcott, “Soviet Central Asia: Ethnic Dilemmas and Strategies” and Marie Broxup, “Soviet Perception of Militant Islam,” in Hafeez Malik, ed., Domestic Determinants of Soviet Foreign Policy Toward South East Asia and the Middle East (London: Macmillan, 1990).
[21] Le Monde, June 25-26, 1989.
[22] On delegations, see for example the July 15, 1990 communique of the Iranian news agency in BBC World Service, July 24, 1990; on borders, see the announcements of the Iranian foreign affairs minister in The Soviet Union and the Middle East (Jerusalem) 15/5 (1990).
[23] Les musulmans de I’Orient sovietique (Tashkent) 4 (1989).
[24] The author’s trip to Tashkent in October 1988.
[25] Quoted in International Herald Tribune, August 7, 1990.
[26] Relations between the Soviet Union and Turkey have noticeably improved in recent months.
[27] Actualites Sovietiques, August 29, 1990.
[28] Statement made December 10, 1987; BBC World Service, December 12, 1990.
[29] Speech in Cairo, February 23, 1989, Information Bulletin, Embassy of the USSR in Egypt.
[30] The Soviet Union and the Middle East 15/5 (1990).
[31] Temps Nouveaux, August 14, 1990.
[32] Letter to the General Secretary of the UN, Actualites Sovietiques, August 22, 1990.
[33] Speech at a banquet to honor Hafiz al-Asad, Actualites Sovietiques, May 6, 1987.
[34] Le Monde, November 3, 1989.
[35] Interview with International Herald Tribune, September 26-27, 1987.
[36] Interview with Syrian radio, May 2, 1990, on BBC World Service, May 3, 1990.
[37] Interview granted to Egyptian journalists in May 1990, quoted on BBC World Service, May 30, 1990.
[38] Guardian, July 26, 1990.

How to cite this article:

Alain Gresh "Continuity and Change in Soviet Policy," Middle East Report 167 (November/December 1990).

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