chapter  6
11 Pages

From Involvement to Commitment

Debate and Decision
ByIlana Kass

The first month of 1970 witnessed a dangerous escalation on the Israeli-Egyptian front. The local effects on the standing and credibility of President Nasser’s regime were considerable, and the Soviet Union, the manifest inadequacy of whose equipment and training was demonstrated daily, was exposed to contempt. On January 22, 1970, President Nasser secretly arrived in Moscow, apparently to impress upon the Soviet leaders the seriousness of the situation and to demand the introduction of “modern weapons that will offset Israeli air superiority.” The initial decision to rearm the UAR in the wake of the Six-Day War and the Soviet commitment to help the UAR recover its territory had acted as a boomerang. The deployment of substantial numbers of Soviet military personnel in Egypt was unprecedented in the history of Soviet relations with noncommunist countries. In the spring of 1970, the military considered the change in scope and quality of the Soviet involvement.