ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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WEST ASIA-Soviet Arms in West Asia

December 25, 1976 THE priority accorded to West Asia in Soviet foreign policy calculations is reflected in the share of total Soviet military aid allocated to the area. Of the estimated $ 10.2 billion of such assistance extended to Third World countries from 1955 to 1973, the Arab states have received about $ 6 billion. Each war has led to a larger inflow of weapons. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya and South Yemen have been the main recipients of Soviet arms, Soviet military aid to Egypt preceded conomic aid and remained at all times niter until the setback in relations between the two countries. According to Western sources, by 1970 the total cost of military assistance was probably six times the credits extended for economic development. The cost of new equipment delivered from June 1967 to mid-1971 was estimated at $ 3 billion. "In the Spring of 1972, the semiofficial Egyptian daily Al Ahram, citing official statistics, indicated that Soviet military aid to Egypt had reached a total of nearly $ 5,000 million and was continuing at a rate of about $ 5 million a day''. (SIPRI Yearbook 1973, P 305.) During this period the Egyptians were reported to have received 450 combat aircraft, including 50 improved MiG-21 I interceptors and a small number of MiG-23s, in addition some 100 SU-75 and 50 jet bom- ^rsj more than 1,350 tanks; approximately 100 naval vessels of various types, including a dozen submarines (6W and GR class); and both SAM-2 and SAM-3 in batteries distributed along the west bank of Suez canal and in the Nile Valley. During January 1975-March 1976 (when the Treaty of Friendship with the Soviet Union was abrogated) Egypt received an estimated $ 1,500 million worth of Soviet equipment including planes, missiles and tanks. Having been entirely equipped for more than 20 years with Soviet arms" Egypt is now forced to look elsewhere for future combat equipment and spares to keep the existing Soviet Weapons inventory operational. Initial disruption had been caused by the Egyptian expulsion of more than 15,000 Soviet technicians and advisers in July 1972. The breach was completed by the abrogation, on March 15, 1976, of the 15-Year Treaty of Friendship signed in Moscow in 1971.

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