Soviet policy in the Middle East has no more indefatigable chronicler than Freedman. His latest in an impressive series of volumes provides a massive quantity of information on Soviet relations with all the countries from Morocco to Afghanistan, following Moscow's every action and reaction amid the twists and turns in local political and ethnic strife, regional conflicts and the moves of rival powers. Throughout he adds his own comments and interpretation, often speculative, always reasoned and thoughtful. In conclusion he has an ingenious listing of factors both of continuity and change since the advent of Gorbachev, with continuity winning out by a considerable margin. This kind of assessment will need periodic review as the Soviet Union's situation inexorably cuts down its capabilities and influence in the region.
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