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Geographic determinants of security policies in the Middle East.

Wilt, Thornton W.

Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School

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Dudley Knox Library / Naval Postgraduate School 411 Dyer Road / 1 University Circle Monterey, California USA 93943


Monterey, Galifornia


Thornton W. Wilt

December 1979

Thesis Advisor: Claude A. Buss

Approved for Public Release ; Distribution Unlimited lesis



Monterey, California




Thornton W. Wilt

December 1979

Thesis Advisor: Claude A. Buss

Approved for Public Release ; Distribution Unlimited





4 TITLE fand Subtitle) Geographic Determinants of Security Policies in the Middle East



5. TYPE OF REPORT & PERIOO COVERED Master s Thesis; December





Thornton W. Wilt



Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, California 93940


December 1979



18. SECURITY CLASS. (of thie report) Unclassified

CONTROLLING OFFICE NAME AND ADORESS Naval Postgraduate School Monterey, California 93940

MONITORING AGENCY MAME & ADDRESSE different from Controlling Office)


DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT (ol thia Report) Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited

17. DISTRIBUTION 8T ATEM ENT (ol the abetrect antered In Block 20, Y different Report) Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited


19. KEY wOROS (Continue on reveree oido tf nececeeary and identify by block number) Middle East Geopolitics; Security Policies of: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel,

Iraq, Syria; Middle Eastern Geography; Middle Eastern Security Policies; Arab-Israeli Conflict; Shatt al-Arab Dispute; Kurds

20. ABSTRACT (Continue on reverse side if neceeeary and identity by block mamber) This thesis examines Middle Eastern security issues and problems which are

rooted to geographical considerations or determinants. Geography as a security policy determinant is also examined on a national level in selected countries which are the primary regional actors: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria, and Iraq. A substantial portion of the work is naturally oriented toward the Arab- Israeli territorial disputes. It is not, however, restricted to that theme. Demographic and strategic communications problems, completely separate from the Arab-Israeli issues, are also explored.

DD ' hausa 1473 EDITION OF ! NOV 48 IS OBSOLETE Unclassified

(Page 1) S/N 0102-014-6601 | E l SECURITY CLASSIFICATION OF TNIS PAGE (When Deote Entered)

Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited


by Thornton W. Wilt

Lieutenant Commander, United States Navy B.S., U.S. Naval Academy, 1968

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of




This thesis examines Middle Eastern security issues and problems which are rooted to geographical considerations or determinants. Geo- graphy as a security policy determinant is also examined on a national level in selected countries which are the primary regional actors: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria, and Iraq. A substantial portion of the work is naturally oriented toward the Arab-Israeli territorial disputes. It is not, however, restricted to that theme. Demographic and strategic communications problems, completely separate from the

Arab-Israeli issues, are also explored.


INTRODUCTION -------------- ------------- - ---- --- - -- -- - --- -- -- - --





SECURITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ------------------------------- A. THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE TERM "GEOGRAPHY" ------------- B. GEOGRAPHY AND SECURITY ------------------------------- C. GEO-POLITICS ----------------------------------------- DE THE MIDDLE EAST -------------------------------------- SAUDI ARABIA AND EGYPT ------------------------------------ EEUU sse. loses an 1. Geographic Setting ----------------------------- 2- Geo-Security Issue Areas ----------------------- B. EGYPT ------------------------------------------------ im Historical and Geographical Setting ------------ 2: Modern Geo-Security Issues --------------------- ISRAEL ---------------------------------------------------- A. HISTORICAL AND GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING ------------------ B. ISRAELI-ARAB CONFLICTS ------------------------------- C. CURRENT GEO-SECURITY ISSUE AREAS --------------------- L, Internal Divisions ----------------------------- 2, The Sinai Peninsula ---------------------------- SE The Golan Heights ------------------------------ 4, The West Bank and Gaza -------------------------



















A A A > ee ee ee ee A— ee A ee umm A ee ee ee ee ee ee (EEE A A A A UND A A A A ce DP es oe

A. SYRIA -------- - ----- ---- ----- --- -- - -- -- - --- - -- --- -- - --

T Historical and Geographical Setting ------------

24 Alexandretta -----------------------------------

D Ihe Golan Heights and the Palestinian Question -

4. Lebanon ----------------------------------------

By RRA) Gee ES. ——

tke Historical and Geographical Setting ------------

2% Demographic Security Problems (The Kurds) ------

The Shatt Al-Arab Dispute ----------------------

as The Kuwaiti Dispute ----------------------------

V. CONCLUSIONS -----------------------------------------2------ ROTES nn nn SOURCES CONSULTED ----------------------------------------------



















SINAI PENINSULA -------------------------------------------

GOLAN HEIGHTS -------------------------------------2--------













Nobody needs to be told that the Middle East, because of its abun- dant petroleum reserves, is critically important to the economic well- being of the Western world. Consequently, the intraregional and national politics, which at first sight might seem insignificant in their international ramifications, often have profound global effects. But, by simply reading headlines, one could easily overlook the fundamental and underlying causes of the region's political dynamics.

Cardinal among the influences on the region's politics is geography. At every stage of the region's historical development, geographical determinants acted as evolutionary catalysts. Strategic waterways, ports, boundaries, and ethnic groups always were found at the base of Middle Eastern historical dynamics.

Thus, the thesis presented in this study is that nation-states or countries have security policy tenets which are dictated by geography. And, the study of strategic geographic features can contribute greatly to the understanding and prediction of these policies. Therefore, this work will analyze the relationships between geography and the national security policy of selected states in the Middle Eastern



As used in this study, the term "Geography" is not limited to the original Greek "geographia" meaning to describe the earth's surface, but is expanded to include man and his interrelationships with his physical environment. Social, economic, and political systems and their dependence or adaption to their natural settings are all encom- passed in this broader E The usage here, however, will be more restrictive in that the term "man" will be interpreted to be mankind in regional groupings or nations. The interrelationships will be, likewise, restricted to deal. only with those that concern the security of these national groupings and their institutions vis-a-vis external political focus.

A nation-state refers to a people who are linked by an ideal, be it religious, linguistic, economic, social custom, political, etc., who occupy a defined space on our political EE These nations of the world are spatially delineated by geopolitical boundaries; boun- daries which are internationally recognized defining the exact physi- cal limits of each nation's sovereignty. The nations of the world (over 150 of them) signing the Charter of the United Nations are equal in their sovereignty. However, the equality ends at the UN.“ The world's nations are decidedly different in territorial size, population, topography, climate, industrial base, and military capability. These characteristics are determinants of power and are the ingredients of

. s e 5 policies pursued to ensure economic well-being, security and survival.

Certain ideological, religious, economic or ethnic groups which do not represent any internationally recognized state (the Palestinians, Kurds, and others), sometimes referred to as nations, can generate and

project power and must, therefore, be considered in security planning.


In the pursuit of geo-security goals, it becomes expedient at times to look beyond the established legal boundary line. Natural boundaries such as mountains, rivers, water sheds, population groupings, and oceans often serve as the real dividers of nations. The legal boundary may and often does lie in the midst of the more tangible natural barrier, but does not provide the security of the natural buffer.

A problem, of course, arises where one nation seeking absolute security occupies or uses these natural barriers to the detriment of the security policy of another. To quote Henry Kissinger: "Ina com munity of sovereign states, the quest for peace involves a paradox: The attempt to impose absolute justice by one side will be seen as absolute injustice by all others; the quest for total security for some turns

: : ; 2 6 into total insecurity for the remainder..."

An ideal example of this security-insecurity paradox is the Israeli occupation of the Sinai. Control of this vast desert barrier represents something near absolute insecurity on the Israeli border to aa) Exploring the nature of such geographically related security policies will be the essence of this paper.

Generally speaking, one of the most important factors affecting a

: : ; M 8 nation's security is the location of position of that nation. Every

position on the politically divided globe is unique. This uniqueness

is a product of, among other things, the limited set of relationships possible with those political entities occupying other positions, especially those adjacent positions. These peculiar relationships and a Similarly unique historical background couple to form an established order or a national identity. It is the normal tendency of such an order to defend or perpetuate itself, which in the case of a nation often translates into defending its position. And what is important to the security of this position or order is an assessment of external threat and the ability of that nation to defend itself against that threat. Integral to this threat-security assessment is an analysis of geographic features: Is it near a major trade or communications route? Does it have suitable harbors? What is the nature of its neigh- bors and their dividing frontiers? These and many Sener analytic factors of geography are determinants of security EI e.g. Nearly every developed industrial nation of the world except the Soviet Union is situated favorably on major ocean trade aces. S From a security point of view this is an Emate circumstance for Soviet Russia and, possible, an unfortunate circumstance for those occupying positions in Russia's path to the sea. These nations blocking Russia's access to warm water ports must, of course, be conscious of a need for defense or a security policy mindful of the strategic aims of the Soviet Union. Physical characteristics are likewise critical aspects of geographic related national security. Each country, when planning its defense posture, must pragmatically ask themselves: From where will the enemy invade? How can the country's critical areas be protected? The loca- tion of mountains, navigable rivers, deserts, and other prominent

geographic features probably holds the answers or, at the very least, a


fundamental part of the answers to these important defensive questions. Some areas are particularly vulnerable because they represent a soft invasion route. Others are likely targets because of their economic value. And yet other territory becomes susceptible to attack because its occupation would be a strategic asset to the aggressor. The source of many border disputes presently contested can be traced to attempts by the contenders to gain positional ademas Physical geography then could be a substantial tool in the hands of the security planner. However, the territory of some nations does not lend itself to defense. These countries, without national barriers or size enough to swallow enemy intrusions, could possibly create a system of buffers. The idea here is simple: Buffer areas are established between domestic land and the lands of those who might be enemies. The British were parti- cularly adept at this practice at the height of their colonial empire. The Ottoman Empire, Persia, and Afghanistan were all supported by the British in order to protect her communication routes to India. The long lived British Raj in India was in part made possible by a carefully constructed system of ECCE

A final global feature which must be evaluated to some extent in every nation's security planning is the world's oceans. They can act as defensive barriers as depended upon for centuries by the British Isles and the Japanese Empires, or they can serve as communication links upon which the world's great seapowers have projected their offensive might. Regardless of naval strength, however, the ocean bordering states have, in essence, a wet buffer which, depending upon their expertise

J and sophistication, provides a varying degree of security. 3 There


have been several scholarly efforts addressed at determining underlying constants or trends in world foreign/security policy growing out of

geographic position.

C. GEOPOLITICS During the first half of this century the Englishman Halford Mackinder revolutionized the study of geography. He proffered a theory which basically stated that the inner Eurasian land mass was the pivot region of world politics. Mackinder went on to warn that world domination could result if one power were allowed to control the Eurasian heartland. Since he first propounded the theory in 1904, Mackinder updated it in 1919 to account for technological and population changes, but the idea was still the same. As stated by Mackinder: "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland: Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island: Who rules the World-Island commands the Eu ek In 1943, he again updated his theory. He then presented a North Atlantic unit which was equal in importance to the Heartland. Monsoonal Asia and the South Atlantic Basin were also listed as significant areas for the parse a An American geographer and foreign policy expert, Nicholas Spykman, in 1944 followed Mackinder's school in expounding the importance of geographical considerations in security policy. He Stressed that the location of a given country relative to the equator, oceans, land masses, raw materials, and communication routes may well determine the potential enemies of that country. These locational

considerations, warned Spykman, must be studied and evaluated in con-

junction with the modifying effects of climate and topography. Security


problems can and should be viewed in geographic terms, concluded Spykman, thereby being of direct and immediate use to those who must formulate foreign policy. Peace or security inevitably involves the territorial relationships of states and each state must assess its geographic situation to determine the best security AS

Today, the Heartland theory has, again, been refined. Saul B. Cohen in Geography and Politics in a World Divided describes geostrategic regions. These regions are the trade-dependent Maritime World and the Eurasian Continental World. The theory does not hold that all political units comprising the regions have identical strategic or ideological beliefs. In the case of the Maritime World, however, it does hold that the economic well being of the region depends upon free trade. Thus, the strategic security planning of the trade dependent areas must focus upon communication routes. So, as much as Soviet Russia must strive to project her power to the oceans, those maritime nations must strive to ensure their own access to the seas and prohibit the Continental World from interdicting their lifeline.

The central point here is that the political division and boundaries of the earth are a dynamic sort of man-made phenomena and the nations of the world would appear to fall into membership of one of just a very few major economic or ideological groups. The Soviet Union is, today, the unofficial leader of the Continental World and the United States by virtue of economic and military strength is in the vanguard of the Maritime World. The interest of some nations are so divergent or backward that most theoreticians would not consider them a part of either major group. Others, due to technical innovations and/or ideo-

logical ferment, find it necessary or desirable to move from one group


to another. Thus, the regional groups are ever changing in membership

and physical size as each vies for positional advantage over the other. Again, positional advantage represents security or insecurity depending upon the interests of the viewer. So, the concept of positional advan- tages would offer an explanation for the seemingly inordinant interest

of the Soviet Union in small, developing countries such as Afghanistan

or Yemen.

Today's national security planners might criticize the dated theories of Mackinder, Spykman, and even Cohen for being overtaken by technology. One might ask, with some merit, if modern aircraft and ships do not negate geographical obstacles. The answer is that, of course, scien- tific advances have reduced or eliminated what may have been an obstacle of geography in the past when Mackinder first proffered his theory.

The nuclear submarine, for example, can today effectively operate world- wide for extended periods without the benefit of overseas bases. Technology has not, however, permitted aircraft and ships to be used worldwide without land based support. Without sea and air power it becomes extremely difficult or impossible to project, or have the capa- bility to project, power on land in support of security BS

Modern technical knowledge has permitted the ultimate projection of force, thermonuclear destruction, without significant influence by geographical features. But the use of the so-called strategic weapons must be regarded as the failure to obtain security goals by more con- ventional means - means which remain profoundly affected by distance

and ease of transport. Stated another way, geography is still a con- sideration in security planning. Although modern travel has reduced time

over distance, the distance remains the same.


The Middle East

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Boundary representation is not necessarily authoritative


So, accepting the previously stated ideals of Mackinder, et al as being viable today, we can fashion a model from these theories to facilitate viewing world security problems. Understanding the need of the "Trade-Dependent Maritime World" to have free access to their trade partners is a key to understanding why the strategic security planning of these countries must seek to protect trade/communication routes. Likewise, the Continental World, led by the Soviet Union, must in its quest for security seek at least the capability to deny the trade lifeline to the Maritime World. This basic confrontation of the Continental World led by the Soviets, and the Maritime World, dependent upon the open seas, centers in the Middle East. In this energy-hungry era when the United States, Western Europe and Japan, among others, are so dependent upon the petroleum from the Persian Gulf, the Soviet strategists have sought the power to deny, by force if necessary, that valuable ie, to the West and its allies. In oil, Soviet Russia found an even more compelling reason than their Czarist predecessors to expand their influence into the Middle East. As for the major powers in the Maritime World - e.g. the U.S., Western Europe and Japan - the Middle East is equally vital for their own survival, and they are likewise determined to perpetuate the interests

which they have built up through the years.


"Middle East" in this paper refers to Egypt and those countries lying between the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Sea including Egypt (see map p. 15 ). The locational importance of this area

cannot be overemphasized. It is a land bridge connecting three


continents and sitting astride some of the world's most important sea- lanes. Major world land and sea trade routes have crossed the region for millenia and have been the cause of nearly constant geopolitical Enos Six seas and three gulfs project into this tricontinental area: the Caspian, Black, Aegean, Mediterranean, Red, and Arabian seas; and the Aden, Oman, and Persian gulfs. The importance of much of the land area is amplified because it connects these crucial water- ways. The Suez isthmus is, of course, the most flamboyant example of this increased land value.

In the days before steam powered ships, the trip between Britain to India took five to eight months when taking the route around the African continent. The overland routes through the isthmus, which is the Middle East, proved invaluable. Then, in 1869, upon the completion of the Suez Canal, the region took on an increased vitality. The waterborne communication proceeded uninterrupted to the mercantile ports of India and Ted E

As trade from the far flung British, Dutch, and French colonies poured through the canal and the overland trade routes, along with it came people, ideas and trappings of varied and exotic cultures. Southwest Asia, the Middle East, took on a new meaning as the world's crossroads. Today, roughly a century later, many of the caravan routes have been replaced by all weather highways and railroads. Oil pipelines and overhead air routes have also been added to the scene. Shipping is certainly no less important, although periodically interrupted by political conflict. As the world's crossroads, it seems a natural

phenomenon that the Middle East has, since the cold war era of the 1950's,


emerged as a barrier between the Eurasian Continental World and the Maritime World. This fundamentally national struggle has sometimes been referred to imprecisely or simplistically as the free world versus the communist world.

This barrier is strategically significant to both if only because of position. The significance, however, has been multiplied many fold as the world, especially what we have labeled the Maritime Trade- Dependent World, becomes more and more dependent on the petroleum originating from the en Soviet domination of this region could ruinously deprive the Trade-Dependent World of energy which would greatly alter the way of life known today. At the same time, such domination would grant to the navies of the continental powers free access to the high-seas threatening the very lifeline of the Maritime World.

The strategic barriers of natural boundaries of the Middle East are generally comprised of deserts surrounding the critical areas of Egypt in the Southwest and across the southeastern portion of the Arabian Peninsula. The high plateaus and mountains of the Northern Tier act as a divider between Arab and non-Arab populations of the area. On the eastern side of the region, Pakistan and India are naturally separated by the Thar or Indian Desert. The Northeast is crowned by the Pamir Mountain Knot and the Karakoram Range. The Black and Caspian Seas together with the high lands of the Northern Tier states provide a more or less natural border between Iran and Turkey and Soviet Russia. Except in the East and Northeast, the entire area is nearly surrounded by water. As mentioned, the Black and Caspian

Seas occupy areas in the North. The Persian Gulf and Red Sea, of


course, flank the Arabian Peninsula. And finally, the North of Egypt and western boundary of the rest of the area is bound by the Medi- terranean.

Among the more important of the critical areas are the population centers along the Nile in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq, and the Persian Gulf coast of the Arabian Peninsula. The bulk of the region's population is found in the more hospitable climate of the Northern Tier. Because of the great oil industry, the entire Persian Gulf and surrounding land area could also be considered a critical area.

Throughout recorded history the area of the Middle East has wit- nessed the rise and fall of many great empires including Egypt, the Empire of Alexander, the Seleucid Kingdom, and the competing empires of the Persians and the Romans. Nearly the entire area was finally unified by the forces of Islam in the seventh century, and Islam has been the dominant religion of the region since.

The consistency to be noticed here from ancient history until nearly the present is that these various empires expanded along communi- cations or trade routes. Thevalleys of the Tigris and Euphrates leading to the silk route to China and the spice routes of India were as important to the empires of ancient and medieval times as they were to the British in the last three centuries. The communication links formed to avoid geographic obstacles have been, for the large part, constant through centuries. The Nile Valley, the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, the Red and Black Seas, and the Persian Gulf are today, as they were centuries ago, of great strategic importance. They

are routes which connect continents and oceans, and they provide access


to the critical areas of the Middle East. Thus, they provide a way to control the politics of the region. In short, the region was and is a fulcrum between cultures - a crossroads, if you will, of civili- zations.

A review of the modern history of the Middle East may help in establishing background and continuity for the central theme. By the 18th century, France, Great Britain, Austria-Hungary, Czarist Russia, and Germany all had interests in the Middle East. France began its commercial and cultural ties in Syria and Lebanon as early as the Crusades and signed the first treaty of capitulation in 1535 with the Ottomans. The French gained Algeria as a colony in 1830 and established Tunisia and Morocco as protectorates in 1881 and 1904, respectively. After the first world war, she administered Syria and Lebanon through mandates which was only one result of the long standing economic and cultural ties. The pervasive influence of the French is very much in evidence in Syria and Lebanon up

The British influence in the area became considerable after the defeat of the Napoleonic forces in Egypt at the hands of the English- backed Ottomans in 1799. From that time the British made inroads into the territory of the Ottomans and the more remote areas of the Arabian peninsula. The goal of the British Empire was to protect the communi- cation routes to India, the Empire's most valued colony. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the canal quickly became one of the world's most important waterways, and the British would exert consider- able influence to participate in its operations and profits. Asa

natural outgrowth of the purchase of shares in 1875 of the Canal


Company, the British came to be the protector of all Egypt. The policy goal of the British was not territorial acquisition, rather it was to insure the integrity of the Ottoman Empire as a means of protecting their own trade routes to India and the East from the expanding Russians. The British influence was at its zenith just after World War I when she exercised mandate authority over Palestine and Iraq and remained protector of Egypt. Also, she assumed positions on the Persian Gulf and Arabian menia dd

Ihe involvement of Russia in Middle Eastern affairs has been long standing. The principal goal of the Czarist policy was the attainment and security of naval and commercial use of first the Black Sea and then the Turkish Straits to the Mediterranean. Southern Russia began rapid economic development in about 1830. To sustain the growth and inter- national trade activity of this area, the Moscow government had to' insure, so-to-speak, a window to the world. As the port of Odessa grew with increased trade, security of the Straits became tantamount to the economic well-being of the country itself. By 1880, 50 percent of Russia's international export trade activity originated on the Black Sea and transitted the Straits. With this increased dependence on the narrow waterways, came increased vulnerability and the second of Russia's principal policy goals: The denial of the straits to the naval forces of nonriparian states. Great Britain, France and later Germany represented the gravest threats to Russia's well-being. In other words, these European countries possessed the necessary power to interrupt her

2 access to the high seas. S


World War I had a profound effect upon this power balance. Germany and its ally, Austria-Hungary, were defeated and essentially removed from the geopolitics in the Middle East. But, the area did not go wanting for power struggles. After the Ottoman Empire was dismem- bered, Arab, Kurdish, Turk, Armenian, and other nationalistic move- ments emerged. Also, new and disrupting to the region was Zionism, or the growth of the Jewish nation in Palestine. The Middle East began to take on the political borders we see today.

In 1927, Saudi Arabia established itself and immediately set up a symbionic relationship with Great Britain., The British, being the dominant power in the region, recognized the Saudi state and in return was granted a privileged position in that country. In the same year, the British recognized the independence of Iraq and was allowed to have three air bases in the new country. By 1936, Egypt was relatively free of Britain's domination, although a military force was left behind to protect the canal mea

Syria and Lebanon were, during the same period, moving out from under French control. Lebanon was declared a republic in 1926 while Syria waited until 1936 before a treaty was ratified which ended the French mandate. However, France permitted little sovereign activity in either country. It was not until after World War II that Syria and Lebanon achieved de facto ea

World War II, in fact, nearly completed the delineation of political boundaries of the region. In 1946, Jordan became independent and was

followed by smaller Persian Gulf states (Kuwait became independent in



World War II truely signalled the end of imperialistic domination in, the Middle East. The death-throes of this domination was probably seen in 1956 as France and Britain tried unsuccessfully to impose their will in the Suez Canal area. Although Great Britain mantained military outposts in the Middle East, she in truth could ill-afford the expendi- ture required to control the politics of the Middle East. In view of the rising nationalism, especially among the Arabs, it is doubtful that even the superpowers could exert enough force to control the Ame s

What we see today is the Middle East emerging with a new found economic wealth coupled with an old and powerful religious ideology.

It is still the bridge between the Eurasian Continental World and the Trade Dependent Maritime World to be sure, but its own potential power gives it an identity separate from the two major geostrategic regions. So, what is being witnessed today, is the nations of the Middle East taking control of their own positions. They are refusing to act solely as a chess board for imperialists. The convenient positions which have made the Middle East a prized piece of real estate for centuries com- pounds their contemporary national security ee a

The year 1955 seems to be a good beginning point for massive Soviet involvement into Middle Eastern politics. In that year, amid cold war tensions, the Northern Tier countries of Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and even Iraq chose to politically align themselves against the Russians ("Russians" is used here vice "Soviet" because the perceived threat seemed to be traditional Russian Territorial expansion rather than ideological communist expansion). This alignment was officially stated in the Baghdad Pact. Because Soviet policy seemed to be checked by the

Pact, she developed a policy which bypassed the Northern Tier. The


Soviets sought to win the cooperation and friendliness of the Arab World. She extended economic aid and loans to Egypt, Syria and Yemen. Iraq also gained such favors in 1958 when her pro-Western government was removed by revolution. The huge arms deal with Egypt in 1955 was the most visible example of the Soviet strategy to win the Middle East. Every rift and ideological difference between the Arab and Western countries was inflamed or exploited by Soviet propaganda. Resentment traced to years under Western colonial domination only helped the Russian cause.

After the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, the Soviet Union intensified her efforts to gain influence among the Arab nations. She centered upon the nearly complete support of Israel by the United States in her pro- paganda campaign. Israel was presented as evidence of the still lingering imperialistic influence in the Middle East. Russia wanted the Arabs to believe that only she among the superpowers had their well-being in mind. This campaign certainly paid dividends, not so much because the Arabs believed in the good will of the Soviets, but because of the perceived evils of MEAS supported Ti im) impen tal isu.”

The long range Soviet objectives were to make the Arab Middle East economically, technologically, and militarily dependent. She built or aided in building, among other projects, the Aswan Dam and Helwan Steel Plant in Egypt and the Euphrates Dam in Syria. Also, she and her East European satellites aided in oil exploration, development and refining in Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Additionally, these countries were equipped with Russian or communist bloc arms. The Soviet Union wanted, in

summation, to make the power bases of the Arab regimes dependent upon



her own system. This marriage of economics, if you will, would insure a continued Soviet presence in the Middle East and be the means to the even more important goal of denying this most strategic area to the Western "er

Thus, at every stage of the operation of historical forces in the Middle East geography lay at the base. Strategic waterways, ports, caravan routes, demography and strategic positioning have all been at the root of the region's politics and security considerations. And, as these factors impacted in history, so are they fundamental in con- temporary events. The industrial world's great thirst for Middle Eastern oil has only served to amplify the significance of the above listed geographic factors. The research will now look at these geo- graphic determinants of security policies in three groups of Middle Eastern states: (1) Saudi Arabia and Egypt, (2) Israel, and (3) Syria

and Iraq.



A. SAUDI ARABIA 1. Historical and Geographical Setting

Saudi Arabia has become the leadoff nation in the study because of its great oil wealth and resulting political power. Additionally, occupying approximately 4/5 of the Arabian Peninsula, an area roughly equivalent to 1/3 of the United States, she is, in land area, the largest of the Arab States.

Compared to the so-called front-line Arab states (those adjacent to Israel), the Saudis have remained aloof of what they consider bother- some, petty politics. From their own point of view, they are, after all, a nation of the purist, most noble Arab tribesmen who must protect the faith. Socially medieval by Western standards, Saudi Arabia has, nevertheless, been politically very stable and a consistent friend of the United States. She has enjoyed a long standing, excellent working relationship with a group of American oil companies as a member of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO). As defenders of Islam, they have always been very much anti-communist and unresponsive to communist propaganda or Russian intervention. The Saudis and Russia have conse- quently been without diplomatic recognition by one another for nearly forty "s

For the largest part of its existence, Saudi Arabia has had little reason to feel insecure. A look at the size and relief features of this harsh and uncompromising environment indicates how extremely

difficult it would be to invade and control the country militarily


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