In the nineteen-fifties conditions in the Arab world favored a radical break with past policies. The new leaders of Egypt were eager to establish closer contacts with the Soviet Union. A new class and a new generation had come to power, and they felt the need for a new and more daring approach in domestic and foreign policy alike. Unlike Turkey and Iran, the Arab world had not preserved its sovereignty in its recent history; there was a great deal of resentment against the West, which had dominated the Middle East for so long and still kept much of its influence through defence pacts and economic links. And, again unlike Turkey and Iran, the Arab world had no common border with the Soviet Union and was not directly exposed to Soviet pressure. The Soviet Union was thought of as a powerful but distant country whose support against the encroachments of the West should have been enlisted by the Arabs long before. Of domination from that quarter the radical Arab leaders were not afraid, for the Soviet Union did not behave like the old colonialist powers. To communist influence they felt quite immune: asked about the danger of communist penetration, Nasser once said: 'All our people are politicians and very smart .... I am certain that no communist will, whatever happens, influence Arab nationalism. On the contrary, the ideas of Arab nationalism will finally and forever prevail.'1