LONDON (Jun. 14)
The Soviet Communist Party newspaper Pravda sharply criticized “irresponsible and adventuristic” elements among the Palestinian guerrillas for battling Jordanian troops and trying to overthrow King Hussein last week. According to a Pravda article Friday by Yevgeny Primakov, the guerrillas were impairing “the difficult and complex struggle conducted by the Arab peoples to liquidate the aftermath of the Israeli aggression.” Pravda accused the United States of responsibility for the clashes in Jordan but also blamed extremist guerrilla groups for “objectively assisting” the “imperialist plans” to split the Arabs. The guerrilla group most active in the Jordan fighting was the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, headed by Dr. George Habash. Mr. Primakov’s sympathies were with El Fatah leader Yassir Arafat who professes no ideology but will seemingly accept aid from any source to eliminate Israel. Observers here said the Pravda commentary reflected Moscow’s desire to control events in the Mideast and not let “irresponsible” Arabs–meaning Arabs not under Moscow’s direct control–take matters into their own hands. Arafat, who was an official guest in the Soviet capital last winter is considered more amenable to control than the mercurial Dr. Habash. It was also considered significant that the Russians took up the cudgels for King Hussein, one of the few remaining pro-Western Arab rulers. Observers said the Soviets were seeking to use rather than overthrow the relatively pro-Western regimes in Jordan and Lebanon in order to achieve an influence comparable to what they exert now in Egypt and Syria.