The Arab world has reacted with deep concern to the resignation of US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, on grounds that his departure might signal a new round of tension throughout the Mideast and the sensitive Gulf region. Their concern has not been substantially eased by the appointment of Mr. Vance's replacement, Sen. Edmund S. Muskie. Exceptions to this consensus are the views of Iraq and Egypt's President Sadat, Monitor correspondent Helena Cobban reports.
In light of Mr. Muskie's pro-Israel record, some Arab observers believe that his appointment signals not a moderation of the tough stance of National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, but a move to back precisely this kind of policy against domestic US criticism. Many Arabs, including the governments in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, indicate that the US rescue attempt in Iran should never have been undertaken. To them, the unsuccessful attempt showed that the very force many Gulf rulers may be ultimately depending on to protect them -- the US military -- could perform badly.