The Communist Movement in the Arab World

By Tareq Y. Ismael | Go to book overview

3

The Soviet Union and Arab issues: 1919-1967

Soviet policies and political predispositions had a very significant impact on the Arab communist movement. This impact resulted from two interrelated factors, beginning with the special role of the Soviet Communist Party in the Soviet state. This allowed for the hegemonic role of the Soviet party to manifest itself within the international communist movement. As clandestine parties outlawed by Arab governments, Arab communist parties were politically and financially dependent on the Soviet Communist Party. It provided the material, financial, and moral support needed by the parties to maintain activities and groups of activists in the face of political suppression and imprisonment. However, as it grew from an independent body to subsume the Soviet state, the Soviet Communist Party came to represent national rather than international interests. Its policies and predispositions were oriented toward the interests of the Soviet state. In other words, the Soviet party's position on Arab issues was determined by the interests of the Soviet state, and was not guided solely by ideological principles. Thus, one of the most important variables in the development of Arab communist parties was the degree to which they accepted Soviet policies on basic Arab issues.

The operational link between local parties and the international communist movement was maintained through the Comintern (to 1943, and the Cominform from 1947 to 1956). After 1956, a special department of the CPSU continued to control communist parties outside the Soviet Union. Organized under the protection, and with the support of the Central Committee of the CPSU, the Comintern provided organizational legitimacy, ideological leadership, and political support for local communist parties. While in theory it provided the mechanism for establishing ideological interconnections between local and international parties, in practice, as super-power competition internationalized a number of issues, local issues as well as issues particular to industrial society were dictated by the CPSU. Thus, the agenda for the international communist movement was set, more in terms of an international arena dominated by industrial powers, than in terms of an international movement with a membership operating in contexts defined by local and regional circumstances.

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The Communist Movement in the Arab World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables viii
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - The Heritage of Arab Communist Parties 1
  • 2 - The Soviet Legacy 17
  • 3 - The Soviet Union and Arab Issues: 1919-1967 41
  • 4 - The Soviet Union and Arab Issues: 1967-1984 71
  • 5 - Perestroika and After 84
  • 6 - The Crisis of Communism in the Arab World 102
  • Appendix 1 124
  • Appendix 2 133
  • Appendix 3 143
  • Appendix 4 147
  • Appendix 5 163
  • Appendix 6 180
  • Notes 186
  • Index 205
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