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The Great Powers, the Arabs and the Israelis

Courtesy Reuters

During the months that followed the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, the view gradually gained ground in the West that the Arab defeat represented a considerable Russian victory. Some more imaginative observers argued that the Russians had deliberately engineered both the war and the defeat in order to achieve this result; others, without going as far as to ascribe conscious purpose, nevertheless agreed that, by increasing the hostility of the Arabs to the West and their dependence on the Soviet Union, the crisis, the war and their aftermath had greatly strengthened the Soviet political and strategic position in the Middle East and correspondingly weakened that of the United States. Observers and commentators spoke with mounting anxiety about the growth of Soviet influence in the area and the threat which it offered to the interests of the free world.

More recent developments have suggested that this mood of dejection, like the vicarious

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