LONDON (Jul. 22)
The London Daily Telegraph reported today from Beirut that the Soviet Union is now devoting increased attention to strengthening Arab Communist Parties in the eastern Arab world. The dispatch pointed out that since the collapse of the Baathist movement three years ago and its disintegration into warring, squabbling factions, the Communists have become the only effective Arab international political organization.
Communist apparatus, in widely varying degrees of size and efficacy, currently exists in 11 of the eastern Arab states, the paper declared. For Moscow, it noted, the strategic role is to extend the number of pro-Soviet regimes down toward the Persian Gulf areas with their vast oil riches. The Communists are working to exploit, along predictably orthodox lines, the favored position the Soviet Union has purchased in the Middle East by its huge supply of armaments to replace those lost during the war with Israel last year, the dispatch asserted.
Abetted by thousands of Russian military advisers and technicians who are now helping to reorganize the Arab armies, the paper said, the Communists are attempting a major infiltration of these military forces. According to Eric Downtown, reporting from Beirut, most of the Arabs on Moscow’s bandwagon today because it looks like a good thing are probably political opportunists who will smartly change labels when circumstances change in the Middle East.