Soviet Policy Toward the Middle East from the Invasion of Afghanistan to the Rise of Gorbachev
The Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan was an important turning point for Soviet policy. This chapter analyzes the degree of continuity which has marked Soviet Middle East policy since the invasion of Afghanistan. The idea of an international conference was also increasingly welcome to Shimon Peres who, after stepping down as prime minister from the National Unity government in October, had become foreign minister and vice prime minister. In addition, the United States, with an Irangate-weakened administration, came under increased pressure from Arab states such as Egypt and Jordan to agree to an international conference. The tentative reconciliation was effected on the condition that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) break with Jordan and Egypt. Moscow was apparently rewarded for its efforts with a seat on the PLO executive committee for the pro-Soviet Palestine Communist Party and could only have been pleased by the PLO-Jordan split which derailed yet another US peace initiative.