Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 23, 1972 · Page 121
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July 23, 1972

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 121

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Location:
Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 23, 1972
Page:
Page 121
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Page 121 article text (OCR)

Bedouins cross the Israeli-occupied Sinai with a came/ caravan. The area was lost in the Six Day War and represents 20 percent of all the Egyptian territory. Cairo wants land back to make peace. City of Suez had pre-war population of 266,000. It is now a ghost city of 4000, with most of it in ruins. much as we want peace, we will not accept a dishonorable solution. We must have our land back, and if America is unwilling to help us at all, then we have other ways--and other friends." The "other friends," of course, are the Soviets, who for the past five years have gradually tightened their bear hug on Egyptian territory. When Egypt lay prostrate after the "June, '67 Aggression," it was the Soviet Union who quickly pumped in some $2 billion of military hardware to revive it (Up to men, the Soviets had invested some $1.5 billion in Egypt's armed foVces). And when Nasser's "War of Attrition" against Israel was about to boomerang in the spring of 1970, as Israeli jets were bombing all around Cairo, it was Soviet pilots and Soviet missiles that chased Israel back to its side of the Canal. As the price for such assistance, the Soviets have now gained almost exclusive use of a half dozen Egyptian airfields, and the Soviet fleet in the Mediterranean (some 60 ships--roughly the size of America's 6th Fleet there), now has complete port facilities at Port Said, Alexandria and Marsa Matruh. In addition. Soviet intelligence agents are now said to have reached into almost all of the key areas of Egypt's government Question Soviet role Officially, President Sadat and the Egyptian leadership have voiced their approval of this immense Soviet presence. But privately, in the last few months, some senior officials, as well as some intellectuals and journalists, have begun to question the Soviet role in Egypt. As one of them put it, somewhat humorously: "I begin to wonder whether the Soviet Union wants to help Egypt make a satisfactory peace, or rather whether it wants to help itself to a satisfactory piece of Egypt." Behind these doubts is the realization that the Soviet Union, in spite of its rhetoric about helping the Arabs, nonetheless is quite content with the way things are going in the-Middle East, and especially Egypt For years it has wanted a strong base here, and now it has one. Furthermore, as much as the Soviets would like to help open the Suez Canal (and thus have easy access to their own fleet sitting in the Indian Ocean), if the price for opening the waterway is war with Israel--and perhaps the U.S., too --the Soviets are not about to pay it. And, as for helping gain back all of Sinai, many Egyptians are beginning to feel, as one of them said, that "the Soviets are all talk and no action, and if getting back our land means spilling Russian blood, the Russians simply won't do it." Thus, the pessimism and frustration in Cairo today. For, if the Soviet Union won't help them fight, and the U.S. won't pressure Israel into withdrawal from Sinai, there seems to be no way of regaining what they lost in the "June, '67 Aggression." Unless, of course, they are willing to wait many years, and invest much money and men in the war effort--and even then, who knows if they will win? President Sadat has said that Egypt is prepared to lose "one million martyrs" to defeat Israel, and presently Egypt claims to be investing some 25 percent of its national income in war preparation. But many observers feel that time works against the Egyptian leader, and that unless Egypt could fight a quick. .continued "aSfer '" " Sadat (r.) with Kosygin on one of the Egyptian President's frequent visits to Mpscow. He was not available for interview with Parade. Street of the Russians in a fashionable section of Cairo. Though the visitors' help is appreciated, many Egyptians feel the Soviet bear hug has grown oppressive and may become permanent.

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