Soviet Union Will Go to War in Mideast Unless Its Terms Are Accepted, Israelis Warn

The Israeli Embassy stated today that the Soviet Union will go to war in the Middle East if there is no imposed settlement on its terms. According to the embassy’s “pink sheet” policy background statement on basic Soviet strategy in the Mideast, “the underlying tone of the Soviet posture is this: A settlement must be Imposed on Israel, on Moscow-Cairo terms or the Soviet Union, in pursuit of its own self interests, will act directly to heighten the war further through intensified attrition as the prelude to assault.” The embassy analysis was based on two recent Soviet statements, one from the Supreme Soviet on July 15 and the other the Soviet-Egyptian Joint communique of July 17. “The Soviet-Egyptian pronouncements and the escalating Soviet military presence in the area are one and the same in object,” the embassy statement declared. “One cannot treat separately the Soviet physical military posture in Egypt and the Soviet diplomatic posture (as expressed in the July 15 statement and in the July 17 Joint communique.)” An Egyptian military victory in the Middle East would mean an extension of Soviet power in the area and in the Mediterranean, the embassy said, while a defeat would mean not only loss of prestige and influence, but a possible settlement of the dispute which would shut the Soviet Union out of the area.

The chance of losing influence in the area is such a real threat to Soviet global strategy that the Russians are willing to risk war, the embassy said. The message to Israel and to the West in the two Soviet statements is: “Either it (Israel) capitulates to the Soviet-Arab dictate and accepts the Soviet-Arab version of the Security Council resolution of Nov., 1967, or there will be an escalatory war and the Soviet Union will directly join In the battle until Israel succumbs.” The Soviet-Arab version of peace, the statement continued, leaves the major problems unresolved, is in no measure a final peace plan and does not include recognition of Israeli sovereignty. The embassy statement noted that although the Soviet statements sounded more moderate than previous ones, they referred to peace only abstractly, and then only applied to “the Middle East.” not to any of the parties involved. “The omission of the name Israel in this context Is a consistent practice, reflective of a basic state of mind,” the policy statement observed and added, if the Soviet goal is to be thwarted, “Israel must be enabled to stand firm in common posture with those Western powers anxious for true peace and, thus, the containment of the Soviet expansionist policy.”

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