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News Brief

October 26, 1976
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Jewish Students Union held a “Solidarity Day with Soviet Jewry” Monday at Brussels University.


(Editor’s note: This continues the interview of Gen. George S. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with Raanan Lurie as released by King Features Syndicate. The first part of the interview began in the Oct. 22 issue of the Bulletin. The entire interview as released runs 19 pages. The segments in the Bulletin deal with material related to Israel and the Middle East.)

LURIE: And this theory that paralleling it, for instance, to France. Once France detached herself from Israel, the fact is that France lost any leverage whatsoever she had with the Arabs because she put herself out of the game. Right now the United States is the only power, the only force in the world that has any leverage whatsoever on the Israelis. Therefore they have tremendous clout with the Arabs.

BROWN: That’s exactly right. We’ve got a little with the Saudis. I think, if we use it wisely, because of the Saudis’ concern for Communism.

LURIE: Right.

BROWN: You know, I think genuinely the Saudis are….As I said, I think the Saudis are genuinely concerned about the Soviets and Communists. They’re concerned about Israel primarily because of the Holy Lands. They want entree to Jerusalem. I think that they genuinely have a concern for the PLO and all those other general problems, but they’re not real heartburn issue with them. At least that’s what I detect from my limited conversation with them.

LURIE: Following your way of thinking, with which I happen to agree very much–about the Saudis computing the Communist factor, and so on, I wonder if the Saudis are really that fanatically in love with the PLO due to the fact that the PLO, basically, once they establish themselves, they will have another Albania in the Middle East.

BROWN: Exactly.


LURIE: That’s for sure. Therefore, maybe it’s just some kind of lip service, because basically I don’t think they are so happy to have this kind of threat because…

BROWN: Not only that, Raanan, they might, you know, if they get some land and establish a Palestinian state, it’s not going to be a viable thing. Somebody’s going to have to support them. They’re going to look to the Arabs to support them…

LURIE: Of course.

BROWN: And the fellow with the money is Saudi Arabia.

LURIE: The rich uncle.

BROWN: That’s right. Now, the other concern over there really is Iran, and the puzzling question of why she is building such a tremendous military force. She couldn’t with her population do anything that would provide protection from the Soviet Union, if there is a real threat there. She’s got adequate power now to handle Afghanistan and Pakistan, so you know, if they were a threat you could discount that….she’s a little better than a match for Iraq now. And my gosh, the programs the Shah has coming. It just makes you wonder about whether he doesn’t some day have visions of the Persian Empire.

LURIS: Certainly

BROWN: They don’t call that the Persian Gulf for nothing. But of course our concern for the Middle East is that tremendous flow of oil. Our dependence on, what, 17 or 18 percent now, I guess, of our national consumption. And all of Europe, Japan. It’s just got to continue to flow or, the world is going to change. It’s not going to be the world we know today.


LURIE: What about Lebanon right now, changing into what we can call by pragmatic terms a new, very extreme left regime in a very vital spot ?

BROWN: Well, it could, but I’m not prepared to be quite that optimistic…if this cease-fire…

LURIE: I’m sorry…I’m pessimistic..because I said it’s becoming a left regime.

BROWN: I say…you’re pessimistic…but I’m a little more optimistic. I think that if this cease-fire holds through the end of the month (inaudible). The Syrians have been very constrained in their military effort and have provided the stabilizing balance there. If we get a regime, in something comes out of this election that is not as radical as you suspect it might be, it will have Syrian support. And maybe, just maybe, they could carry it off. It if comes out too radical. I think we’re going to have continued trouble over there within Lebanon.

It’s been amazing to me that they’ve been able to fight this long, on the scale that they have, and with the tremendous destruction and disruption of the country, and have the rest of the Middle East kind of keep hands off. The Syrlans have sort of boxed it in order to maintain some degree of control without actually getting in and taking the place over. And the Israelis have been very restrained. Both have made statements that the other understands…


LURIE: Are the Israelis restrained also because of American pressure?

BROWN: As far as I know, it hasn’t been necessary to apply any. I think they’re restrained primarily because this isn’t the provocation over which they are prepared to go to war. The lesson of the last war to them was that the casualties were a heck of a lot heavier than they’re prepared to take. A few years ago, In some of the earlier wars, they were quickly decisive. The casualities were reasonable, although they don’t want to take any. This last time they took very heavy casualties the first four or five days. And I donp’t think that smaal country wants to see that again or can afford to see it. Politically they can’t afford to. They’ve got tremendous internal problems, as you know better than I. You’ve been over there. They’re over-extended because of the tremendous military burden, they have, and I guess if we were in their straits, we would be too.

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