The concept of the ""non-Capitalist path"" -- originally Lenin's explanation of how underdeveloped societies could pass from feudalism to socialism without enduring a bourgeois revolution and a native bourgeoisie -- now serves as Brezhnev's Russia's ideological justification for supporting neutral nations that remain obstinately wary of Soviet domination while describing themselves as ""socialist."" In this study of Arab/U.S.S.R. and Arab Nationalist/Arab Communist relations Pennar demonstrates that this ploy is particularly obtrusive in Russian analyses of Middle Eastern politics. He is only pointing out the obvious which has been documented elsewhere: that Arab Socialism is home-brewed and ill-defined; that indigenous Communist parties have fared badly in this part of the world and have been suppressed brutally -- in Iraq in the early '60's and in the Sudan in 1971 -- when successful; that ""ideology apart, the Soviets are practical politicians"" and know where their oil and power interests lie. This book is more useful as a compact hard-cover history of the contemporary labyrinthine politics of leftist-leaning Arab countries and as a record of whatever impact local Communists have been able to make. There should have been a bibliography and more background, since other scholars, particularly Walter Laqueur, have analyzed the pre-World War I Arab nationalist movements rather thoroughly.