The breakdown in Israel-Soviet relations was later compounded by Israel’s defensive victories against the Arabs in 1967 and again in 1973. Over this period all hope of Israel becoming a Soviet client had steadily evaporated. Arab armies sponsored, trained and equipped by the USSR had been humiliated, and so had Moscow. Thus the Soviets progressively developed a policy of undermining Israel. Their primary objective was to use the country as a weapon in their Cold War struggle against the US and the West.
“We needed to instil a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews throughout the Islamic world, and to turn this weapon of the emotions into a terrorist bloodbath against Israel and its main supporter, the United States.” — Yuri Andropov, Chairman of the Soviet KGB, later General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, as reported by General Ion Pacepa, former chief of Romania’s intelligence services.
As well as mobilising the Arabs to the Soviet cause, Andropov and his KGB colleagues needed to appeal to the democratic world. To do so, the Kremlin decided to turn the conflict from one that sought simply to destroy Israel into a struggle for human rights and national liberation from an […]
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