Effects of the Cold War on Middle East
The Cold War was a continuity of the rivalry, conflict and tension that existed after the end of World War II between the Soviet Union and Western powers under the leadership of the United States of America from around 1940s to early 1990s. The conflict that existed throughout this entire period was expressed in various ways that included invasions, weapons development, military coalition, propaganda and competitive development of technology like the space race. It was a very costly ordeal even though the two superpowers that were at the center of the conflict never confronted ach other directly.
The main agenda of the Soviet Union in the Middle East during the cold war was to neutralize the strategic advantage that America had in Eurasia. Besides, it also plotted to assume a higher position of geostrategic strength through the establishment of naval and military bases across the region. With regards to this, the Soviets began their invasions of the Middle East in 1955. Their point of entry into the region was Egypt and Syria. During this time, Egypt was regarded as the political and cultural center of the Arab world. The Soviet’s first move was to supply massive deliveries of modern arms to Abdel Nasser of Egypt. Besides, they also took up the role of being the protector of Syria.
Soviet offered its political support to Egyptians during the Suez crisis, winning themselves accommodation for their strategic interests on the Arab world. They set up naval and military facilities in the region. This dealt a great blow to the Western powers that were slowly losing their grip on Egypt and Syria. In fact, the Soviets were able to create quite a number of bases in the Middle East that almost matched that of the US numerically. This further enhanced the nuclear deterrent capability of the Soviet Union.
Even though the Soviets kept entrenching their forces into the Middle East, there were still unable to match the strength of the US since they had control of the Mediterranean. America occupied strategic areas in the Middle East that made it difficult for the Soviets to overcome. Americans had strategically positioned themselves in Turkey and Iran. These two areas had security agreements with the US that also supplied them with arms.
In some parts of the Middle East, the Soviets managed to advance their Communist ideologies. For instance, in Iran, they sponsored and funded the Tudeh party. However, this was dealt a fatal blow by the US coup of 1953, thereby neutralizing the Soviets. The Soviets even though were finally defeated, were able to successfully entice quite a number of nations in the Arab world. In fact, their strategy of provision of arms and aid in exchange for influenced served them well since they were able to successfully bypass the Bagdad pact and also break the United States’ monopoly of arms sales. The Soviets fueled a lot of conflicts in the Middle East like the Arab Israeli conflict.
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