Soviet Political and Military Conduct in the Middle East by Amnon Sella (auth.)

By Amnon Sella (auth.)

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The Egyptians moved SA-2 missiles into the prohibited zone, despite American verification flights (by U-2 planes and satellites). 27 The first Israeli complaint about the breach of the cease-fire was on 12 August, to be followed a week later (19 August) by American confirmation that there was indeed 'some evidence' of such breaches. The next day a senior Israeli officer reported that SA-2 missiles had been moved to sites close to the Canal, whence they could cover an area eighteen kilometres wide on the eastern, Israeli-held side.

In order to resume the war, he needed more weapons; in order to change the nature of the war, he needed different types of weapon systems. His coffers were empty. He decided to turn again to the only real friend he had on the international scene-the Soviet Union. 43 In Moscow he presented three basic demands: politicalmilitary strategy to be agreed on jointly; Egypt to be put on a par with Israel militarily; regular arms shipments. Each of these three demands involved more than met the eye. By a joint politicalmilitary strategy, Sadat meant official Soviet acceptance of an Arab-Egyptian policy formulation: namely, that the Egyptians had the right to liberate the occupied territories 'by every means'; that is, not only by some political settlement, but also by force if need be.

On 3 March 1971, a Syrian delegation headed by Hafez alAssad had talks in Moscow with several prominent leaders, including Kosygin, Ponomarev, Baybakov, Grechko, Patolichev, Skachkov and Bugaev. 3 8 The last-named was Minister for Civil Aviation and President of Aeroflot. 39 On the same day (3 March), a TU -134 passenger plane was put on exhibition in Cairo. The day before (2 March), the Egyptian Minister for Civil Aviation had Political and Military Conduct in Middle East 31 announced that Egypt was buying an Antonov-24 and an Il-18.

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