WASHINGTON (Nov. 14)
New danger signals in the Middle East were asserted here by a panel of experts on international affairs at a conference on “American Policy in the Middle East After the Camp David Summit,” held at the American University.
Sponsored by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, the conference heard reports and opinions by intelligence experts of new dangers to Israel and world peace as a result of the latest instability in Iran, the victory by Communists in Afghanistan, the increased Soviet presence in Africa and by the Camp David accords themselves.
“While Camp David set into motion an irreversible process of peace, it has brought with it new risks and fresh opportunities,” declared Joseph Sisco, president of American University. Sisco, former Undersecretary of State, co-chaired the conference last week with Prof. Hans J. Morgenthau, the political scientist.
SPECIFIC RISKS CITED
Dr. Mordecai Hacohen, chairman of the conference committee, opened the round-table conference with an expression of hope that in the post-Camp David atmosphere, “the Arab nations will recognize that the Soviet Union, rather than Israel, poses the threat in the Middle East, and that the United States, compared to the Soviet Union, is always the better ally.”
The risks referred to by Sisco were spelled out by a number of scholars, including Prof. Richard Pipes of Harvard University. “With a coup in Afghanistan, Iran is now completely encircled by anti-Western countries,” Pipes said. “Within a year or two, Iran will fall, unless the United States intercedes militarily to defend its interests.”
Joseph Churba, a Washington intelligence analyst, said he felt that the Camp David accords were being misinterpreted by the State Department to Israel’s detriment. Churba was particularly critical of recent statements made by Undersecretary of State Harold Saunders during his mission to the West Bank, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. These statements, said Churba, sought to apply the principle of total withdrawal of Israel, including its settlements, from the West Bank. Churba said that Saunders also stated that Jerusalem would be restored to Arab sovereignty.
MILITARY BALANCE SHIFTING TO ARABS
The strongest criticism of the Camp David agreements came from Gen. George Keegan, farmer Chief of Intelligence of the U.S. Air Force. He assessed the accords as “a decisive shift of military balance in favor of the Arab camp.” Keegan said that if the U.S. does not maintain its strong position as a third-country party, the accords will prove to be “extremely destabilizing.” He warned that there is overwhelming evidence that the Soviet Union is now undergoing history’s most extensive military preparation.
Keegan, who said he was probably the only American privileged to inspect Israel’s three Sinai air bases, both the bases and the warning networks underneath, reported that two of these fields had the most sophisticated warning systems in the free world. “With the surrender of these fields coupled with the United States offer to replace two of these in the Negev, Israel may not recover her early warning capability,” he said.
NEW STRATEGY TO ELIMINATE ISRAEL
He reported for the first time on a $280 million command and control system built under Saudi Arabian financing and located in Jordan and Syria. The system. he said, permits the forces of Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to unify in case of another war with Israel. The system would provide the world’s most sophisticated communication, Keegan said, unifying both tank and air elements. He said American technicians are now assisting in this work. Keegan disclosed the Arab plan:
“For the last four years a new Arab strategy has been evolving on how to eliminate Israel. The military plan, formed principally by the Syrians and Saudis, has been to intrude 15 armored divisions in another contest with Israel through the West Bank.” In the event of a conflagration, he added, the Saudis would contribute the F-15 fighters promised to them by the U.S. in an all-out unified tank-plane assault. The F-15, mistakenly identified as a defensive weapon with the bomb racks removed, can be the world’s most formidable offensive weapon when used as an air cover with 15 tank divisions, Keegan stated.
The National Committee on American Foreign Policy, founded in 1974 to stimulate citizen interest in American foreign policy, describes itself as a broadly based organization of individuals from all areas of American life who take an interest in foreign affairs.