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SPECIAL EDITION: CRISIS IN THE KREMLIM : Around World, Coup Draws Condemnation and Demonstrations : Here's how news of the ouster of Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev was received worldwide as reported by Times correspondents, researchers and wire services: : Doubts in Arab World

August 20, 1991|DANIEL WILLIAMS

DAMASCUS — Although Israel was mainly preoccupied with immigration, officials and analysts speculated about the Gorbachev coup's effect on the role of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. Moscow and Washington were to co-sponsor a peace conference scheduled to begin in October, and it wasn't immediately clear what repercussions the changes might have.

Some Arabs cautiously welcomed the news of a potentially more conservative Soviet regime, predicting it would cool the warming of the Soviet Union's relations with Israel and potentially slow the emigration of Soviet Jews to Israel.

"This is good news for us," a Syrian political analyst said. "Under Gorbachev, there was a very acute tilt toward the West--his relations with Israel improved. These are factors which make us think of a good turn toward conservative Soviet diplomacy." He added: "Israel was much disturbed by the news in the Soviet Union. What does that say for us?"

Palestinians generally reacted with caution, although leftist factions of the Palestine Liberation Organization cheered Gorbachev's ouster, Palestinian activists said.

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