The Moscow-Cairo Axis:
Its Aim: To Drive the West Out
Ever since the Communist-Egyptian arms deal in the autumn of 1955, there has been an unaccustomed, busy traffic of delegations to and from the Soviet bloc and the Arab countries, pledging undying friendship and (from the Soviet side) all kinds of economic aid. The Soviet Union has agreed to install Egypt’s first nuclear laboratory; Hungary is going to build new bridges across the Nile; Bulgaria will carry out construction work in Alexandria harbor. The East Germans will be drilling for water in the Sudan, the Czechs are going to construct oil refineries in Syria, the Poles a new railroad in Saudi Arabia. Soviet engineers are already busy in Yemen and Lebanon, and the Poles have received a bid to build steel plants in Egypt. In the last few months, China has become the single most important buyer of Egyptian cotton. This list could be prolonged indefinitely.
On the political level, the Soviet Union has established relations with Libya and the Sudan, renewed her ties with Yemen, and considerably strengthened her diplomatic representation throughout the Middle East. The other Communist countries are following suit. At the recent 20th Party Congress, Molotov ate humble pie for not having paid proper attention, until recently, to the chances for extending Soviet influence in the Middle East. But it would be difficult to charge his ministry with neglect of such opportunities now: Gamal Abdel Nasser is to visit Russia and Eastern Europe in the near future, and Khrushchev and Bulganin will return the visit some time this year.
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