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By Murray Gordon (eds.)

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These threats to the Gulf from Iraq and Egypt, the shah's failing confidence in CENTO and the imminent withdrawal of British forces East of Suez prompted Iran to embark upon a policy of becoming the foremost military power in the region. To make good in this aim, the shah undertook what was to become a vast armaments program. Starting in 'ARC OF CRISIS' 33 1968, Teheran ordered large numbers of warplanes from the United States, including the sophisticated F-14; a major effort got under way to make Iran's modest navy the most formidable fleet in the Gulf; and the army was expanded to make it more than a match for any other in the region.

This foreign policy orientation began to change after Nikita S. Khrushchev came to power. The new Soviet leadership began to identify with the national liberation philosophy, 46 CONFLICT IN THE PERSIAN GULF post-colonial nation-building process and the growing cry of economic development that was beginning to be sounded in the fifties in the fast-growing Third World. The Kremlin's response was to provide limited amounts of economic aid to selected countries, military assistance where this could weaken Western influence; wherever it could, the Kremlin sided with the growing national liberation movements in their struggle against western colonial rule.

On April9, 1978, Barre announced that his government had foiled an attempted military coup taken in the interests of the "new imperialists," Barre's codeword for the Russians and Cubans. The following September, Somali military courts sentenced seventeen army officers to death and jailed twice that number for complicity in the coup attempt. In the Sudan, there were attempted coups against President Mohammed Gaafer el-Nimeiry in July 1976 and February 1977. " As if to indicate whose hands were suspect, Khartoum, in May 1977, ousted the ninety Soviet military advisers in the country and requested that Moscow cut back on the size of its diplomatic mission.

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