The Inside Story of Moscow's Quest For a Deal

When Mikhail Gorbachev launched his own diplomatic offensive to resolve the Persian Gulf crisis last October, he asked his personal adviser, Yevgeni Primakov, to take on the task. Primakov, 61, was an ideal choice: as a correspondent for Pravda in the 1960s, he traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and met Saddam Hussein many times.

Primakov knew Saddam "possessed a firmness that often turned into cruelty, a strong will bordering on implacable stubbornness." But he believed that, given enough time and incentive, the Iraqi leader would have withdrawn from Kuwait without the allies going to war. Primakov, who took part in...

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