Conflict in the Persian Gulf by Murray Gordon (eds.)

Conflict in the Persian Gulf by Murray Gordon (eds.)

By Murray Gordon (eds.)

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Example text

And Western interests well. Successive administrations in Washington took at face value the shah's assumptions that the understanding also responded to the real interests of Iran. " First set forth during the Vietnam War, the doctrine provided the rationale for arming the South Vietnamese army so that it could take over responsibility from American troops for defending South Vietnam. S. involvement in this unpopular war. S. interests in the region. Had the Nixon Administration attempted to involve the United States directly in the region, it would have encountered strong resistance in the country and from Congress.

In Iraq, the ruling Ba'athist party had pursued policies that placed it at serious odds with Teheran. The republican and revolutionary cast of the government, which could not have differed more from Iran's monarchical and conservative rule, vigorously espoused socialism. This was perceived as a very real threat not only by Iran but to the other states in the Gulf, which were ruled by monarchs of one form or other. Baghdad, moreover, had established close ties with the Soviet Union, with which it had signed a treaty of friendship.

The countries that Moscow has chosen to ally itself with in the Third World are of great strategic importance to the Soviets. The Arab world, from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, and South Asia have, over the past twenty-five years, represented the highest priority targets for Soviet diplomatic, economic and military effort. As the Soviets have increased their capacity to project military power further away from their borders, their interest in Africa, notably the Horn, has grown as well. India and Vietnam are important because they help contain Chinese influence in South and Southeast Asia; Iraq and Egypt are politically great prizes because of their strategic location in the Arab world; Ethiopia and Southern Yemen have proved irresistible lures to the Soviets because they lie athwart the Red Sea and close to the 52 CONFLICT IN THE PERSIAN GULF major oil tanker lanes in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Suez.

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