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Armies of snow and armies of sand: The impact of Soviet military doctrine on Arab militaries 1

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Abstract

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union emerged as the principal military patron of Egypt, Syria and Iraq. Accordingly, many have assumed that the armed forces of these states adopted Soviet military doctrine, and that this factor accounted for their generally lackluster battlefield performance. In fact, reliance on Soviet military doctrine varied considerably between these three militaries, and at times contributed to success when they adapted it to their own cultural predilections and operational requirements.

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... The additional effect of this microsociological dimension is profound. It suggests that not only do senior officer-corp trainees assimilate formal military doctrine or more general ideas about the military's role in politics while undergoing advanced training in foreign sponsors' military institutions, as has long been argued (Eisenstadt and Pollack, 2001;O'Loughlin et al., 1998). 9 Crucially, the nature of modern weapon systems means that a similar diffusion occurs when lower ranks-especially junior officers and NCOs-are exposed to foreign military advisors. ...
... rely heavily on Soviet military doctrine, and take fairly traditional approaches to conventional warfare (Eisenstadt and Pollack, 2001 All except the Mig-29s are older-generation jets. These are supported by a helicopter 2. In the 1982 Lebanon War, there were only limited armored engagements between the Syrian and the Israeli forces. ...
... For readers interested in pre-1980s American policy in the Middle East, and particularly in these policies, see Peter L. Hahn, "Securing the Middle East: The Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957," Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 1, March 2006Jeffrey Kimball, "The Nixon Doctrine President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech in January 1957 in which he stated that the United States supported "without reservation the full sovereignty and independence" of every nation in the Middle East (Dwight D. Eisenhower, special address to Congress, January 5, 1957). He viewed increasing Soviet interest in the region with concern. ...
... Superpower involvement in the region introduced more advanced weaponry that necessitated even higher levels of military professionalization, hierarchy of ranks, and centralized command and control. 461 In Southeast Asia, by comparison, states could forgo such commitments to conventional military force. Vietnam's belated emergence in the late 1970s came too late to significantly disrupt three decades of peaceful intraregional relations. ...
... The Soviet Union was the main munitions and military knowledge provider to Middle Eastern countries, and especially to Syria and Egypt (until the Yom Kippur War). 47 And yet, as O-RMA began to evolve, the Soviet Union was already heading towards collapse. ...
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