Soviet Iraqi relations : a case study of the gulf war

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OF THE GULF W A R

Chookiat Panaspornprasit

A Sub-thesis submitted for the

degree of M a ster of Arts (International Relations) in the Department of

International Relations,

Research School of Pacific Studies The A u s t r a l i a n National U n i v e r s i t y

A liS T ^

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This paper is my own original work. All sources used have been a ppropriately cited.

Chookiat P a n a s pornprasit

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M y p r i m a r y i n d e b t e d n e s s is to e a c h of m y t h r e e

s u p e r v i s o r s , Mr. G e o f f r e y Juk e s , Dr. Pa u l K e a l a n d Dr. J a m e s P i s c a t o r i , w h o g a v e me e v e r y e n c o u r a g e m e n t , g u i d a n c e , and i n s i g h t as w e l l as c o n s t r u c t i v e c o m m e n t s on m y e n t i r e work. T h e i r i m m e a s u r a b l e e f f o r t in g o i n g o v e r the e n t i r e m a n u s c r i p t is a l s o h i g h l y a p p r e c i a t e d . Mr. R o d e r i c Pit t y , Mr. M y l e s R o b e r t s o n a nd M i s s S a m i n a Y a s m e e n a s s i s t e d me in o r g a n i z i n g m y w o r k at v a r i o u s times. Th e m a n u s c r i p t has a l s o b e e n b e n e f i c i a l l y r e a d b y Mrs. B r i g i d B a l l a r d and Mr. J o h n C l a n -chy, to w h o m I a m g r a t e f u l for t h e i r s t y l i s t i c r e v i s i o n s .

I a l s o w o u l d l i k e to e x t e n d m y s i n c e r e g r a t i t u d e to Dr. T.B. M i l l a r , M.R. S u k h u m b h a n d P a r i b a t r a , Dr. K u s u m a

S n i t w o n g s e and Dr. V i n i t a S u k r a s e p for t h e i r s u p p o r t of m y s t u d y at th e A u s t r a l i a n N a t i o n a l U n i v e r s i t y . In a d d i t i o n , I w i s h to e x p r e s s m y d e e p a p p r e c i a t i o n to the F o r d F o u n d a ­ t i o n t h a t g r a n t e d me all th e f i n a n c i a l s u p p o r t for m y s t u d y in * A u s t r a l i a .

C o n c e r n i n g the i n f o r m a t i o n u s e d in m y w o r k , I am e x t r e m e l y t h a n k f u l for the u s e f u l r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s g i v e n by such M i d d l e E a s t s c h o l a r s as Dr. M u s t a f a A l - N a j j a r , Dr. K a r e n D a w i s h a , Dr. T i m N i b l o c k an d Dr. R o b e r t S p r i n g b o r g .

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r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the r e m a i n i n g e r r o r s , w h i c h r e s t w i t h m e .

C h o o k i a t P a n a s p o r n p r a s i t C a n b e r r a

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Introduction

Chapter I :

Chap t e r II :

Chapter Ills

Chapter IV :

Concl u s i o n

P a g e

Soviet-Iraqi Relations From the Algiers A g r e ement of March 6, 1975 to September 1 9 8 0 : Iraqi Attempts

to Ado p t an Independent Line 1

Soviet-Iraqi Relations From the Outbreak of the Gulf War in Se p t e m ­ ber 1980 to May 1981 36

Soviet-Iraqi Relations During a Period of Protracted War:The Soviet Shift to a Position of 'Wait and

S e e 1 68

The General Outlook on Soviet-Iraqi

Relations 94

108

A p p e n d i x A. B. and C

Bib l i o g r a p h y

110

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On July 17, 1968, the A r a b Ba'ath So c i a l i s t Party (A B S P ) came to power in B a g hdad und e r the p r e s i d e n c y of al-Bakr for w h o m the Iraqi ' s t r o n g m a n 1, Saddam Hussein, had deputized. The glaring charact e r i s t i c s of the Iraqi B a'athist regime had been secularist, radical, r e v o l u t i o n a ­ ry and anti-imperialist. On the surface, Iraq seemed to be an ideal location for the e x p a n s i o n of Soviet influence. Similarly, from the Baghdad regime's viewpoint, at the

time, to have warm, close relations with the Soviet Uni o n was the best o ption for co u n t e r i n g any threat e n d a n g e r i n g its national interests and security. Such close relations lay in the fact that, apart from bei n g plunged into m i l i ­ tary confrontation with Israel in the A r ab-Israeli theater and border dispute over Shatt al-Arab wat e r w a y w ith the T eheran regime, the Ba'athist leaders in Baghdad were, moreover, p o l i t i c a l l y isolated by the conservative, m o n a r ­ chical, and m oderate Gulf sheikhdoms spearheaded by the Riyadh regime.

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of the K u r dish rebellion; (ii) the n a t i o n a l i s a t i o n of the Iraqi oil enterprise; (iii) the e r u p t i o n of the A r a b - I s r a e l wa r in October 1973; and (iv) the m a s s i v e m i l i t a r y b u i l d - u p of the Shah of Iran. Iraq has b een g i ven a large amount of economic, m i l i t a r y and technical as s i s t a n c e by the Soviet Union.

Even so, any argument stating that the Kr e m l i n leaders could direct the Baghdad regime's decisions to

serve their interests should be questioned. It is n e c e s s a ­ ry to re-consider any such argument for two reasons. First the Baghdad leaders, particu l a r l y S a d d a m Hussein, firmly put emphasis on their pragmatic and i n d e pendent approach in order to serve their national interests. Second, d e s pite the c o nclusion of the friendship treaty, me n t i o n should be made of the essential question of w h e t h e r Iraq should be deemed a 'client' state of the Soviet Union.

Subject under d i scussion in this work will be the Soviet-Iraqi relationship since the A l g iers A g r e e m e n t on the Shatt al-Arab wate r w a y b e t w e e n Iraq and Iran on

6 March, 1975 up to the present si t u a t i o n of the Gulf war. Accordingly, the paper consists of four chapters.

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sign-reaction of the Kremlin leader to this probably unexpected Iraqi decision are examined in the second section. The final section of this chapter offers, at some length, an __ account of the implications of the Iraqi d ecision to sign the agreement on Soviet-Iraqi relations which have been far from intimate.

The discu s s i o n in the second chapter is aimed at the Soviet-Iraqi relationship du r i n g the initial stage of the Gulf war, p r oceeding from the beginning of the Iraqi invasion in September 1980 to the end of the period of so-called 'stalemate' in Ma y 1981. The first secion examines various reasons which justify the pragmatic Iraqi d ecision for initiating its full-scale invasion of Iran's Khuzestan in September 1980. The following section explores the M o s c o w leaders' response to the outbreak of the Gulf war. Explanations for w h y the Soviet Union adopted a position of 'non-interference' are also included. The last section of this chapter illustrates that Soviet-Iraqi relations have witnessed a number of ups and downs from the time of the eruption of the Iraqi-Iranian war.

The development of fierce mili t a r y fighting in the war is examined in the first section of Chapter III. Closely related to the first section, the ensuing one d iscusses the Kremlins' changing posi t i o n from one of

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last section of this chapter sheds light on the slightly improved Soviet-Iraqi relationship following the chan g i n g Soviet position. It also shows that the Kremlin leaders have gained some Iraqi favour.

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Ag r e ement of Mar c h 6, 1975 to September 1 9 8 0 : Iraqi Atte m p t s to Adopt an I n d epen­ dent Line

I n t r o d u c t i o n

I have the pleasure to announce to you that a total accord was reached yesterday to end the differences between two fraternal countries, Iran and Iraq. 1

It was President Houari B o umiedienne who told the Alge r i a n A s s e m b l y that on 6 March, 1975, at the end of an OPEC summit conference in Algiers, Iraq and Iran had reached a new boun d a r y agreement. The aim of which was to put a permanent end to their territorial dispute, p a r ticularly over the Shatt-al Arab waterway. It was w i dely believed that the Algiers Agr e e m e n t reflected a significant turning point in the Iraqi-Iranian r e l a ­ tionship. Similarly, it could equally be argued that Soviet-Iraqi relations also wit n e s s e d a major change following the signing of the Algiers Agreement.

Analysis of Soviet-Iraqi relations in this chapter is, therefore, un d e r t a k e n to investigate the effect on these relations of the Iraqi Ba'athists'

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pursuit of pragmatic and independent decisions. In so doing, the discussions in this chapter will focus on the three following questions:

(i) What were the reasons for the Baghdad regime to sign the agreement?

(ii) W h a t was the Soviet v iew of the a g r e e ­ ment?

(iii) What implications did the Iraqi deci s i o n to sign the agreement have for Soviet-Iraqi relations?

I : Iraq's Decision to Sign the Algiers Agreement

Following the Iranian u n ilateral and official a brogation in April 1969 of the 1937 treaty which e s t a ­ blished an Iranian-Iraqi modus vivendi on the Shatt al-Arab, many futile attempts had been made to bridge the gulf between the two countries. Less than two months before the Algiers Agreement, in January 1975, for e x a m ­ ple, there was a meeting b e t ween the Foreign Ministers of both Iran and Iraq in Istanbul. This meeting was totally unproductive. Returning from Turkey on 21 January after the meeting, Dr. Sa'doun Hammadi, Iraqi Foreign Minister, said that such talks had produced

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nothing new. The de t e r i o r a t i o n in these two countries'

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relations continued until March 1975.

G reat credit, therefore, should be given to

President B o u miedienne for his role in effecting a r e c o n ­ ciliation b e t ween the Shah of Iran and the Iraqi Vice

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President Saddam Hussein. This 'historic' Algiers A g r e e ­ ment of 6 March 1975 provided for the following:

(1) That the two sides should demarcate their land boundaries in accordance with the 1913 Protocol of C o n s t a n t i ­ nople and the minutes of the 1914 Del i m i t a t i o n Commission.

(2) That both parties agree to delimit their river boundaries according to the thalweg line, i.e. the median line in the mid-channel.

(3) That they establish security and m u ­ tual confidence along their common borders and undertake to exercise a strict and effective control with the aim of finally putting an end to all subversive infiltration.

(4) That the two parties also agree to view these provisions 'as indivisible elements of a comprehensive s e t t l e ­ ment' , and that any v i o lation of any pr o v ision would be regarded as a v i o ­ lation of the spirit of the agreement. 4

Following the signing of the Algiers Agreement, a number of high-level I raqi-Iranian delegations exchanged visits in an attempt to implement the agreement. At the end of his official visit to Iraq on 26 March 1975, the Iranian Prime Mini s t e r succinctly described the agreement

5 as h e r a lding a 'new chapter' in Iraqi-Iranian relations. It was hoped that a new era of detente and reconciliation

3 I b i d .

4 See Appe n d i x A.

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between the two countries, as well as a resurgence of peace and stability in the Gulf region, would emerge.

Iraqi-Iranian r a p p r ochement did culminate in the Iran-Iraq Treaty on International Borders and Good N e i g h ­ b o u r l y Relations signed in Baghdad on 13 June 1975. By signing the Baghdad Treaty, both sides were explicitly e x pressing their w illingness to achieve a viable, final and lasting solution to all the problems confronting them. This treaty

(a) reaffirmed the Algiers Agreement; (b) instituted measures and mechanisms to

stop any infiltration of a subversive nature along the borders;

(c) demarcated the river b oundary by the principle of thalweg; and

(d) r e-emphasized the indivisibility of the treaty. 6

This meant that the Iraqi-Iranian boundary river line g e o g r a p h i c a l l y shifted from the eastern bank of the Shatt to the thalweg.

W hat explains Iraq's deci s i o n to reach such a g r e e ­ ments with Iran? In the first place, it was the common

d e t e r m i n a t i o n of both Iraq and Iran that a full-scale war m ust be avoided at all costs. They might have realized that any full-scale war would inevitably have involved the extensive d e s t r u c t i o n of their oil installations, p a rticularly near

A b a d a n and Basra that are located on the disputed Shatt-al

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that the chance of a war 'was a fact all too clear to us and to Iran. Neither party w a n t e d war; both sides decided 4= for p e a c e '.. 8

Second, a p parently this agreement constituted

an e s s e n t i a l l y quid pro quo arrangement. In order to sustain the Shah's pledge to end his interference in Iraqi domestic affairs and to cease his substantial mili t a r y aid to the Kurdish rebellion, whi c h had burd e n e d the Baghdad regime with an enormous amount of financial resources and m i litary capabilities, Iraq took u pon itself the unprecedented

ob l i g a t i o n of granting Iran s o v e reignty over half of the Shatt-al Arab. One indicator of Iran's massive aid to the Iraqi Kurds was, as Sa'ad Jawad argues, that armed activity

9 in Iraqi K u r distan had come to an end by May 1975.

Third, in a practical sense, granting Iran half the w a t e r w a y in return for an (even temporary) end to a c rippling civil (Kurdish) war was a cheap price for Iraq; nevertheless, its leaders felt p r o f o u n d l y humiliated by this accord. The Iraqi regime continued to believe that it had signed the accord under duress, in order to fend off

7 J.M. Abdulghani, o p .c i t . , p. 155.

8 W a s h i n g t o n P o s t , April 25, 1975. Cited in i b i d .

9 Sa'ad Jawad, 'Recent Dev e l o p m e n t s in the Kurdish Issue', in Ti m Niblock, (ed.), Iraq:The C o ntemporary S t a t e ,

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ultimate aim of Iran's enduring support for the Kurds was to dismember Iraq. Hence, the Iraqi regime contended that it had to reach an agreement w ith the Shah in order to p r o ­ tect its territorial integrity. As J.M. A b dulghani asserts

The Iraqis have attributed their t e r r i t o ­ rial concessions to the Shah to the failure of the .Arab states to support Iraq d uring the Iraqi-Iranian m i l i t a r y confrontation, and to the failure of the Soviet Union to honour its m ili t a r y commitments to Iraq, (emphasis added) 10

He continues by p o inting out what was at the time a secret reason that strengthened the Iraqi decision to finalize the agreement:

Saddam Huss e i n was to reveal in July 1980 that:in March 1975, the Iraqi air force had only three bombs left as a result of the Kurdish war. He also disclosed that there was 'a great s h o r t ­ age of ammunition' which had prevented the Iraqi army from continuing the war. Saddam Hussein m a i n t a i n e d that this shortage of ammunition was kept in the utmost secrecy lest it affected the morale of the Iraqi army. Acc o r d i n g to him, o nly three people k new about this matter at the t i m e :President al-Bakr, the Chief of Staff, and himself. 11

Fourth, the Baghdad regime, which was always intimidated by Iran's programme for a massive m i litary build-up, attached great significance to the Algiers

A g r eement as an important conduit for reducing the growing arms race in the region.

10 In an interview w ith H assan Tawalibah, Director-General of Public Relations, M i n i s t r y of Information and Culture, Baghdad, September 1, 1981. Cited in J.M. Abdulghani, o p .c i t ., p. 156.

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By recognizing the existence of both the Algiers

A g r e ement and the Baghdad Treaty, as Aryeh Y. Yodfat explains, the Soviet Uni o n offici a l l y 'expressed satisfaction' with

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the agreements. This is p r o b a b l y because of the special problems of the Gulf region and the dilemma these pose for the Soviets. A c c o r d i n g to R.K. Ramazani, the Persian Gulf

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region is as rich in potential conflicts as in oil. M e n ­ tion should be made of a few examples of disputes in the Gulf region. A c c o r d i n g to Sreedhar, apart from the Iraqi-Iranian dispute, some of the other important disputes are those between Iraq and Kuwait over their common frontier and the ques t i o n of control over W a r b a h and Bubiyan, two strategic islands lying in their offshore waters; between B ahrain and Qatar over the Hawar island group located

in their offshore waters; and between Oman and Saudi Arabia over U m m Zamul, a waterhole and surrounding territory in the unde m a r c a t e d border over the nothernmost reaches of the Rub'al-Khali desert. ^

M ost of these interstate conflicts, part i c u l a r l y such deep-rooted simmering conflicts as the Iranian-Iraqi

I I : The Soviet V i e w of the Algiers Agreement

12 P r a v d a , April 17, 1975; I z v e s t i a , June 3, 1975; Cited by Aryeh Y. Yodfat, The Soviet Union and the A r a b i a n P e n i n s u l a , ( L o ndon:Croom Helm, 1983), p. 20.

13 R.K. Ramazani, 'Security in the Persian Gulf', Foreign A f f a i r s , Vol. 57, No. 4, Spring 1979, p. 826.

14 See Sreedhar, 'Flashpoints in the Gulf', The Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, W o r k i n g Paper No. 46;

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dilemma. They have di f f i c u l t y in deciding whi c h side, if any, to support. Thus to the Soviet decision-makers, the Algiers A g r e e m e n t put an end to the political dilemma of the

Iranian-Iraqi conflict. This agreement was w a rmly h ailed 15 as 'an important and wise d e cision by Iraq and Iran'. Soviet political o bserver Igor Shavchenko noted:

The Soviet people, who are friendly to the Iranian and Iraqi peoples, w ish for the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of normal good neighb o r l y r e l a ­ tions b e t w e e n them. This indisputable view of the Soviet Uni o n was expressed by Nikolay Podgorny, C h a i r m a n of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium, who said:Bad relations between Iran and Iraq do not tally with the interests of peace, and we have always supported and will continue to support the settlement of the differences between Iran and Iraq...The Algiers A g r e e m e n t .. .will prob a b l y play a significant role in improving the i n t e r n a ­ tional situation in the Middle East, p a r t i ­ cularly the P e r sian Gulf region. 16

A p art from p r aising the Iraqi and Iranian actions, Soviet co m m e n t a r y also attributed any tension in the P e r sian Gulf to the alleged imperialis t - i n s p i r e d divide-a n d - r u l e policy:

14 (cont'd); for further interpre t a t i o n of the Bahraini-Qatari territorial dispute, see also in Rosemarie Said Zahlan, The Crea t i o n Q a t a r , (London:Croom Helm, 1979), pp. 85-90. The other recently p u b l ished article d i s ­ cussing problems of historic claims to islands is

w r i t t e n by Will D. Swearingen, 'Sources of C onflict Over Oil in the P e r s i a n / A r a b i a n Gulf', The Middle East J o u r n a l , Vol. XXXV, Summer 1981, pp. 322-27.

15 BBC Summary of World Broadcast (SWB):The Soviet U n i o n (SU), 4850, Mar c h 10, 1975, p. A4/1. H e r e a f t e r :S W B :S U .

16 F o r e i g n B r o adcast Information Service:The U S S R , M a r c h

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There can be no doubt that this agreement is important:it lays down foundations for easing the dangerous tension which had plagued the r e l a ­ tions between two n e i ghbouring Middle Eastern states for a long time...The seeds of enmity were sown, and this h ardly served the interests of the Iraqi and Iranian peoples. Hard feelings between Iraq and Iran were generated, as is well known, by foreign imperialist powe r s . . . I n a word, there are-quite ob v i s o u l y - c e r t a i n imperialist forces

whi c h are trying to play off Gulf countries against one another in order to aggravate the situation there, (emphasis added) 17

Given that the agreement exempted the Soviet leaders from having to take sides in a regional conflict, the outbreak of which wou l d have jeopardized its quest for better relations with both countries, the Soviet

leaders were also p r obably prepared to face any difficulty in their relations with the Iraqi Ba'athist regime. Three reasons account for this.

First, according to article 7 of the 1972 Treaty of F r iendship and Cooperation, Iraq and the Soviet Union agreed to consult each other regularly on all important questions affecting their bilateral and multilateral relations, but it is possible that in finalizing the A l ­ giers Agreement, the Baghdad regime ignored the Kremlin leaders. As Shahram C hubin argues, 'the sudden decision by Iraq in M a rch 1975 to settle its border conflict with

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Iran came as a surprise to the Kremlin leaders'.

17 S W B :S U , 4850, March 10, 1975, p. A4/2.

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Second, the agreement was a symbol of the triumph of realpolitik and p r a g m a t i s m over fiercely held ideological positions. S addam H u s sein is w i d e l y believed to have played a decisive role in b r inging about the March agreement. It is quite noticeable that, as Am a z i a B a ram maintains, S addam Hussein, a strongman for m any years before taking p r e s i d e n ­ tial office in July 1979, was the architect of the ideology of p r a g m a t i s m that has been a new contribution to B a ' athist i deology in I r a q . ^

Third and finally, although it is generally b e ­ lieved that Iraq's dependence on the Soviet Union reached its zenith between 1972 (the conclusion of the Treaty of F rien d s h i p and Cooperation) and Mar c h 1975, it is equally the case that Iraq did not become a satellite of the Soviet Union nor even feel itself obliged to pursue any policy c ontrary to its own national interests. Writing in 1978, M a jid Khadduri said:

True, Iraq may have appeared to follow an isolationist p olicy with its neighbors and a po l i c y more friendly to the Communist bloc for at least two or three years after the coming into force of the treaty with the Soviet Union.

But today it has become quite clear that Iraq, following the t ermination of the Kurdish war and the settlement of the frontier dispute w i t h Iran, prefers to remain independent in all her actions and to conduct her foreign policy in accordance w ith what she considers her own national interests rather than the interests of the power or powers with w h o m she has entered

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into an alliance. Nor has the Soviet Union shown readiness to meet all Iraqi demands, for on several matters, political and otherwise, Iraqi and Soviet leaders did not see eye to eye. 20

Yodfat agrees that the views expressed at that time about Iraq's becoming a Soviet satellite were

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gerated. In this light, to the Baghdad regime, the a g r e e ­ ment became a means of adopting an increasingly independent line in its relations w i t h the Soviet Union.

Ill; Soviet-Iraqi Relations Since the Algiers A g r e e m e n t : Iraq's Independent Posture

As was noted earlier, following the signing of the agreement, the Soviet leaders should have been prepared to face difficulties in their relations with the Iraqi regime. In the event, problems did arise. With the border se t t l e ­ ment w ith Iran in 19 75, as Shahram Chubin argues, even though the Iraqi dependence on the Soviet Union did not end, it was

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reduced materially. Subsequently, Soviet-Iraqi relations were far from intimate and this d e v e lopment could be c o n s i ­ dered as a major setback to Soviet policy. The d eteriorating relations were clearly attributable to the following factors:

(a) Iraq's efforts to improve relations with Persian Gulf states

In an interview with the Wa s h i n g t o n P o s t , in

20 M a jid Khadduri, Socialist Iraq:A Study in Iraqi Politics Since 1 9 6 8 , (Washington, D.C.:The Middle East Institute, 1978), p. 147.

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1975, the then Iraqi Vice President S addam Hussein said, 'we hope the spirit of the 1975 agreement will extend to

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every part of the region'. Before that, he had already, although not explicitly, referred to the same subject when he said in another interview that 'Iraq viewed the agreement

24 in terms of the repercussions throughout this area'. Fo l lowing the conclusion of the agreement, as far as the security of the Gulf region was concerned, a consensus was reached among the Gulf states that the agreement was a p o s i ­ tive development. J.M. A b dulghani argues that it was clear after the 1975 agreement that Iraq implicitly accepted the

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political status quo in the region. Iraq reached the c o n ­ clusion that Iraq's concern was to preserve A r a b i s m in the small Arab Gulf states regardless of the political and

ideological differences between Iraq and these states. One could argue that a less m i litant regional diplomacy might make Iraq more acceptable in the Gulf.

The Iraqi leaders attempted to draw up a security formula for the Gulf, in order to keep the region out of the arena of superpower rivalry. This independent Iraqi

initiative could be taken as a forewarning of the p r e c a r i o u s ­ ness of any further Soviet role. The reasons underlying this interpretation are three-fold.

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First of all, although it is still wi d e l y assumed that Iraq's attempt to reach security arrangements w ith the Gulf states was perhaps dictated by US threats to seize Arab oilfields in the area, threats that alarmed not only the Iraqis but also the conservative regimes in the Gulf, s u s p i ­ cion of Soviet exp a n s i o n i s t motives was also not out of

q u e s t i o n .

Second, symptomatic of Iraq's endeavour to normalise its relations w ith the Gulf states was the final agreement in J uly 1975 b e t ween Iraq and Saudi Ar a b i a that demarcated

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the neutral zone equally between the two countries. Iraq had ceased its attempts to destabilize the rulers of Saudi A r a b i a and the other conservative Persian Gulf regimes. In April 1976 Sa d d a m H u s s e i n paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia. He charac t e r i z e d Saudi-Iraqi relations as 'growing

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and being con s o l i d a t e d in all spheres'. F r o m the Soviet viewpoint, both advantages and disadvantages were to be

found in the new Iraqi initiatives. Should Iraq draw closer to Saudi Arabia, it could c o n c eivably influence the Riyadh

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regime towards a less p r o - W e s t e r n policy. On the other hand, by drawing closer to Saudi Arabia, it could more c o n ­ ceivably be expected that Iraq might itself come under Saudi influence and stay further away from the Soviet Union.

26 Maj i d Khadduri, o p .c i t . , p. 158.

27 A r a b Report and R e c o r d , April 1-15, 1976, p. 214. Cited in J.M. Abdulghani, o p .c i t . , p. 159.

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F u r t h e r m o r e , e q u a l l y d i s t u r b e d b y t h e I r a q i r o l e in the P e r s i a n Gulf, th e S o v i e t l e a d e r s f e l t s c e p t i c a l a b o u t

the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of d i p l o m a t i c r e l a t i o n s b e t w e e n I r a q and p r o - W e s t e r n Oman.

Third and finally, the principal Gulf sheikhdoms-Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman-are p r o - Western and have no desire to see Soviet

influence increase either d i rectly or through its ally, Iraq. Because of this, the real intention of the Iraqi regime

(secularist, radical and revolutionary) to improve its closer relations (or more precisely, to break through its regional isolation) with such Gulf sheikhdoms was still suspect:

The e s t a blishment of closer relations

(at least on the economic and functional levels) b e t ween Iraq and the A rab states of the Gulf after 1975 did not follow from any change in Ba'athist policy towards the traditional str u c ­ tures of power in these states. On the contrary, the Ba'ath remained intent on putting across

its own v ery different ideological perspectives to the populations of the areas, and continued to provide support for groups w h i c h shared these perspectives. Only with respect to Oman was there a discernible change : Following the e s t a blishment of d i plomatic relations between Iraq and the Sultan's government in January 197 6, Iraq appears to have stopped providing m i l i t a r y assistance to the Popular Front for the L i beration of Oman. General contacts with the PFLO, nevertheless, were maintained. 29

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(b) I r a q i - K u w a i t i d i s p u t e o v e r W a r b a h an d B u b i y a n I s l a n d s

The Iraqi-Iranian rappro c h e m e n t led indirectly to the straining of Iraqi-Kuwaiti relations. The most convin c i n g expl a n a t i o n of such relations can be found in Claudia Wright's d e s c r i p t i o n of Iraq's geopolitical vulnerabilities. She m a i n tains that:

F r o m the Iraqi point of view, hostile hands are always p o t e n t i a l l y around the country's throat. 30

She further presents the v iew that:

Iraq has less than 50 miles of coastline on the G u l f -most of it u nusable for shipping. The m ain port, Basra, is nearly twice that distance away from the Gulf, up the Shatt-al Arab, and even in the best of times it has a three-month cargo bottleneck. Um m Qasr,the Iraqi naval base, lies on the border w ith K u ­ wait, and can only be reached by sea through a n arrow passage b e t w e e n the Iraqi shore and Kuwaiti islands. The a p proach to Fao and the entrance to the Shatt e s t uary is commanded by Iranian a r t illery and naval posts on an around Ab a d a n island.

Iraq is also the o nly member of the OPEC whose oil exports cannot reach the outside world w i t hout crossing foreign territory in the north (Syria, L e b a n o n and T u r k e y ) , or w i t h ­ out coming so close to Iranian territory in

the south that it cannot be said to enjoy t e r r i ­ torial security at all for its principal means of survival. 31

30 Claudia Wright, 'Implications of the Iraq-Iran War', Fo r e i g n A f f a i r s , Vol. 59, No. 2, Winter 1980/81, p. 277.

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Th e I r a q i l e a d e r s u s e d t h i s g e o p o l i t i c a l v u l n e r a b i l i t y as an i m p e l l i n g f a c t o r in a c q u i r i n g a d e e p - p o r t f a c i l i t y in the Gulf, in o r d e r to p r o v i d e s t r a t e g i c depth. I r a q w a s s t r o n g l y p r e s s i n g its c l a i m s to th e i s l a n d s o f W a r b a h a n d B u b i y a n . It s a w th e tw o K u w a i t i i s l a n d s as i n d i s p e n s a b l e for its d e e p - w a t e r p o r t at U m m Qasr. A n d it b e g a n to p u t p r e s s u r e u p o n K u w a i t to l e a s e its h a l f of B u b i y a n i s l a n d for 99 y e a r s an d to g r a n t

32

s o v e r e i g n t y o v e r th e i s l a n d of W a r b a h . Dr. S a ' d o u n H a m m a d i , I r a q i F o r e i g n M i n i s t e r at t h a t time, said:

S u c h an a r r a n g e m e n t is a r e a s o n a b l e d e m a n d in v i e w of I r a q ' s s e c u r i t y n e e d s and is n o t u n p r e c e d e n t e d in t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t w o n e i g h b o u r s . 33

B e c a u s e of d e m o n s t r a t i v e S o v i e t s u p p o r t for 34

I r a q in its d i s p u t e w i t h K u w a i t in 1973, K u w a i t c o n t i ­ nu e d to fear an i n v a s i o n b y S o v i e t - b a c k e d Iraq. H o w e v e r , n e i t h e r the e x p a n s i o n of its t e r r i t o r y n o r t h r e a t s to its n e i g h b o u r i n g G u l f states, S a d d a m H u s s e i n m a i n t a i n e d , h a d b e e n I r a q i aims. A l t h o u g h , in th e end, the K u w a i t i g o v e r n m e n t r e j e c t e d I r a q i d e m a n d s , b o t h p a r t i e s , n e v e r ­ t h e l e s s , a g r e e d to e n d t h e i r t e r r i t o r i a l d i s p u t e t h r o u g h c o m p r o m i s e s . B u t no f i nal a g r e e m e n t w a s a c h i e v e d . No d ou b t , the S o v i e t o b j e c t i v e of m a i n t a i n i n g f r i e n d l y

32 W a s h i n g t o n P o s t , A p r i l 28, 1975. 33 M a j i d K h a d d u r i , o p . c i t . , p. 158.

34 Se e A n n e M. K e l l y , 'The S o v i e t N a v a l P r e s e n c e D u r i n g th e I r a q i - K u w a i t i B o r d e r D i s p u t e ' , in M i c h a e l M c c G w i r e , K e n Boot h , J o h n M c D o n n e l l , (eds.), S o v i e t N a v a l P o l i ­ c y : O b j e c t i v e s a n d C o n s t r a i n t s , (New Y o r k : P r a e g e r

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d i p l o m a t i c r e l a t i o n s w i t h K u w a i t (the sole G u l f s h e i k h ­ d o m e n j o y i n g s u c h r e l a t i o n s ) n e c e s s i t a t e d the K r e m l i n le a d e r s m o l l i f y i n g t h i s t i n y b u t e c o n o m i c a l l y p o w e r f u l state. T h i s is e v i d e n t f r o m t he j o i n t c o m m u n i q u e i s s u e d ^ a f t e r th e K u w a i t i F o r e i g n M i n i s t e r , S h e i k h S a b a h A l - A h m a d A l - J a b e r A l - S a b a h , p a i d a v i s i t to M o s c o w at th e b e g i n n i n g of D e c e m b e r 1975. T h i s c o m m u n i q u e reads:

P e a c e a n d s e c u r i t y in th i s (P e r s i a n Gulf) a r e a c o u l d be s t r e n g t h e n e d b y p r o h i b i t i n g f o r ­ e i g n i n t e r f e r e n c e in t he a f f a i r s of t h i s reg i o n , b y i n s u r i n g f r e e d o m of n a v i g a t i o n in t he P e r s i a n G u l f and b y e s t a b l i s h i n g t r u s t and g o o d - n e i g h b o r ­ ly c o o p e r a t i o n a m o n g all t h e s t a t e s in the G u l f zone o n the b a s i s of n o n - i n t e r f e r e n c e in e a c h o t h e r ' s i n t e r n a l a f f a i r s a n d r e s p e c t for the r i g h t of e a c h to free a n d i n d e p e n d e n t d e v e l o p ­ ment. 35

Thus, K u w a i t o b t a i n e d , at l e a s t o n p a p e r , S o ­ v i e t s u p p o r t for its i n d e p e n d e n c e f r o m Iraq, and, w h e n this h a p p e n e d , the S o v i e t - I r a q i r e l a t i o n s h i p b e c a m e f u r t h e r strai n e d .

(c) T h e e n s u i n g i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of the I r a q i - S y r i a n t e n s i o n

G i v e n th e s e t t l e m e n t w i t h Iran, it c o u l d be a r g u e d t h a t the K r e m l i n l e a d e r s e x p e c t e d to see a r a d i ­ cal I r a q i S y r i a n a l l i a n c e to c o n f r o n t the A m e r i c a n s u p

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p o r t e d A r a b states. Bu t it w a s far f r o m true. The

o t h e r o u t s t a n d i n g f o r e i g n p r o b l e m for I r a q was, h o w e v e r , its r e l a t i o n s w i t h Syria, and this w a s o n e c o n f l i c t in w h i c h the I r a q i s c o u l d n o t as k for a s s i s t a n c e f r o m M o s ­ cow. T h e S o v i e t U n i o n ' s c l o s e r e l a t i o n s w i t h S y r i a w e r e u n d e r s c o r e d d u r i n g B r e z h n e v ' s k e y n o t e a d d r e s s to th e 25th P a r t y C o n g r e s s o n F e b r u a r y 24, 1976. B r e z h n e v e x p l i c i t l y r a n k e d S y r i a o v e r I r a q in hi s l i s t of A r a b allies. H i s s p e e c h d e c l a r e d that:

N o w I s h a l l s a y s o m e t h i n g a b o u t o u r r e l a ­ t i o n s w i t h the A r a b c o u n t r i e s . D u r i n g the p a s t f i v e - y e a r p e r i o d we e s t a b l i s h e d a g o o d m u t u a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g w i t h Syria. W e a c t in c o n c e r t o n m a n y i n t e r n a t i o n a l p r o b l e m s , a b o v e all t h o s e of th e M i d d l e East. T h e c o n c l u s i o n of t he T r e a t y of F r i e n d s h i p a n d C o o p e r a t i o n w i t h Iraq, o n the b a s i s of w h i c h o u r r e l a t i o n s a re d e v e l o p i n g , w a s an i m p o r t a n t event. C o o p e r a t i o n w i t h A l g e ­ r i a a n d S o u t h Y e m e n is e x p a n d i n g and d e e p e n i n g . 3

6

T h e I r a q i l e a d e r s h i p f a i l e d to a p p r e c i a t e t his r a n k i n g . M o r e o v e r , t h e r e w e r e a n u m b e r of i s s u e s e n g e n d e r i n g r i v a l r y b e t w e e n t h e s e two B a ' a t h i s t re g i m e s . O b s e s s e d w i t h an i d e o l o g i c a l d i s p u t e w i t h the I r aqi

B a ' a t h r e g i m e , S y r i a a c r i m o n i o u s l y d e n o u n c e d the I r a q i -I r a n i a n a g r e e m e n t . A p a r t f r o m a c c u s i n g th e I r a q i s of a b a n d o n i n g A r a b n a t i o n a l r i g h t s in the S h a t t - a l A r a b and A r a b i s t a n , th e D a m a s c u s r e g i m e a l s o a c c u s e d Iraq of c e d i n g 14 I r a q i v i l l a g e s in the S u l a i m a n i y a h p r o v i n c e

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the A l g i e r s A g r e e m e n t c o n f i r m e d I r a q ' s c o m p l e t e a s s o c i a -37

t i o n w i t h c o l o n i a l i s m a n d i m p e r i a l i s m .

It c o u l d be a r g u e d t h a t S y r i a ' s d e n u n c i a t i o n of the A l g i e r s A g r e e m e n t a l s o s t e m m e d f r o m fear t h a t t h e s e t t l e m e n t o f th e I r a q i - I r a n i a n d i s p u t e w o u l d p r o v i d e I r a q w i t h m i l i t a r y an d p o l i t i c a l c a p a b i l i t i e s d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t Syria. O n e of th e m a j o r p o i n t s of c o n t e n t i o n b e t w e e n t h e s e t w o B a ' a t h i s t r e g i m e s is t h a t e a c h c l a i m s to be t h e l e g i t i m a t e o r g a n i s a t i o n and the o n l y r e p r e s e n t ­ a t i v e o f the B a ' a t h i s t m o v e m e n t w h i c h sees i t s e l f as the g u a r d i a n a n d g e n u i n e e x p r e s s i o n of A r a b n a t i o n a l i n t e r e s t

In a d d i t i o n to t h e i d e o l o g i c a l e l e m e n t , S y r i a ' s s e v e r e a t t i t u d e t o w a r d s I r a q w a s c o n d i t i o n e d by its d i s ­ c o r d w i t h B a g h d a d o v e r t he a l l o c a t i o n of the E u p h r a t e s w a t e r r e s o u r c e s . T h e I r a q i s c l a i m e d that, f o l l o w i n g

S y r i a n c o n s t r u c t i o n of th e T a b a k a d a m o n the u p p e r E u ­ p h r a t e s , t h e S y r i a n s d i v e r t e d t h e i r s h a r e of the w a t e r s a n d i g n o r e d th e h u m a n a n d a g r i c u l t u r a l n e e d s of the

p e o p l e of t h e l o w e r E u p h r a t e s . B o t h c o u n t r i e s m e t u n d e r A r a b L e a g u e a u s p i c e s to w o r k o u t t he p e r c e n t a g e s of

the r i v e r ' s w a t e r s e a c h w a s to r e c e i v e , y e t no f i n a l c o m p r o m i s e w a s r e a c h e d . T h i s w a s f o l l o w e d by m i n o r p r o v o c a t i o n s o n e a c h side, l e a d i n g to the m o b i l i z a t i o n

37 J.M. A b d u l g h a n i , o p .c i t . , p. 160.

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of t r o o p s o n e a c h o t h e r ' s b o r d e r s in J u n e 1975. The I r a q i g o v e r n m e n t , m o r e o v e r , a c c u s e d S y r i a of s u p p o r t i n g K u r d i s h i n s u r g e n t s in n o r t h e r n Iraq.

T h e d e l i c a t e S o v i e t p o s i t i o n c o u l d be a l s o s e e n in th e l i g h t of the L e b a n e s e c i v i l w a r in 1975-76. Th e So v i e t s ' m a i n a l lies, the I r a q i s an d the S y r i a n s , f o u g h t e a c h other. B o t h of t h e m h a d r e c e i v e d S o v i e t

a s s i s t a n c e , b u t b o t h w e r e i n v o l v e d in L e b a n o n o n o p p o s i n g s i d e s .

B y this time, I r a q w a s s t r o n g l y o p p o s e d e v e n to S o v i e t - e n d o r s e d p e a c e p l a n s for th e A r a b - I s r a e l i c o n ­ flict, s u c h as the O c t o b e r 1977 j o i n t s t a t e m e n t w i t h the US. T h e I r a q i l e a d e r s p e r c e i v e d t h a t the S o v i e t l e a d e r s o r c h e s t r a t e d s u c h a p l a n b e c a u s e of a d e s i r e to r e g a i n t h e i r M i d d l e E a s t p o s i t i o n .

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a g r e e m e n t ) , t h i s u n i t y d i d n o t last.

S a d d a m H u s s e i n ' s a m b i t i o n to le a d the A r a b w o r l d ha s a l s o b e e n d e s c r i b e d as o n e r e a s o n for the w e a k e n i n g of t h i s unity. H u s s e i n , as w a s noted, b e c a m e p r e s i d e n t o n l y in J u l y 1979, a l t h o u g h he h a d b e e n the e f f e c t i v e r u l e r of I r a q s i n c e t h e a d v e n t of th e B a ' a t h i s t r e g i m e in J u l y 19

6 8

. T h e S y r i a n - I r a q i u n i t y i m p e r i l e d H u s s e i n ' s a m b i t i o n s , A d e e d I. D a w i s h a a r gues:

s i n c e r e a l p o w e r w o u l d r e s i d e w i t h the p r e s i d e n c y , w h i c h w a s to a l t e r n a t e b e t w e e n the S y r i a n P r e s i d e n t a nd I r a q i P r e s i d e n t . W h e r e a s H u s s e i n h a d a l w a y s b e e n a b l e to d o ­ m i n a t e I r a q i p o l i t i c s t h r o u g h P r e s i d e n t B a k r

f r o m the l e s s e r p o s i t i o n s of v i c e p r e s i d e n t an d a s s i s t a n t s e c r e t a r y - g e n e r a l of the I r a q i B a ' a t h p a r t y , H u s s e i n k n e w t h a t s u c h a r e l a ­ t i o n s h i p w o u l d n o t be p o s s i b l e in the p r o ­ j e c t e d u n i t e d e n t i t y , g i v e n S y r i a n P r e s i d e n t A s s a d ' s s t r o n g p e r s o n a l i t y an d i m m e n s e A r a b a n d i n t e r n a t i o n a l p r e s t i g e . 39

(d) I r a q ' s p e r s e c u t i o n s of the I r a q i c o m m u n i s t p a r t y

Th e B a g h d a d r e g i m e ' s p o l i c y t o w a r d s the I r a q i C o m m u n i s t P a r t y (ICP) m i g h t be r e f e r r e d to as a p o l i t i c a l b a r o m e t e r in S o v i e t - I r a q i r e l a t i o n s s i n c e the b e g i n n i n g

40

of the B a ' a t h i s t r e g i m e m 1968. F r o m t h a t time, the r e l a t i o n s h a d b e e n full of m i s t r u s t , s u s p i c i o n and a p p r e h e n s i o n . T h e C o m m u n i s t P a r t y ha s b e e n r e g a r d e d

39 A d e e d I. D a w i s h a , ' I r a q : T h e W e s t ' s O p p o r t u n i t y ' , F o r e i g n P o l i c y , No. 41, W i n t e r 1 9 8 0 - 8 1 , p. 141. 40 S ee A r y e h Y. Y o d f a t , 'The U S S R an d A r a b C o m m u n i s t

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as an a l i e n t h r e a t to A r a b c u l t u r e a n d a c o n d u i t of 41

a f o r e i g n power. In t h e B a ' a t h i s t view, m o r e s p e c i f i ­ cally, th e c o m m u n i s t s w e r e S o v i e t age n t s , s e r v i n g S o v i e t i n t e r e s t s . T h e B a g h d a d r e g i m e t a c i t l y an d p u b l i c l y as- _ s e r t e d that, p r e c e d i n g t h e s i g n a t u r e of the T r e a t y of F r i e n d s h i p an d C o o p e r a t i o n in 1972, the S o v i e t s h a d

g i v e n a s s u r a n c e s t h a t t h e y w o u l d n o t g e t i n v o l v e d in the r e l a t i o n s b e t w e e n t h e I r a q i B a 1a t h a n d C o m m u n i s t P a r t i e s , and t h a t u n d e r n o c i r c u m s t a n c e s w o u l d th e S o v i e t U n i o n c o n d u c t its r e l a t i o n s w i t h I r a q t h r o u g h a c t i v i t i e s of

42 the I r a q i C o m m u n i s t Party.

W h e n t h e ICP p a r t i c i p a t e d in the B a

1

a t h - c o n t r o l l e d 43

P r o g r e s s i v e N a t i o n a l F r o n t m J u l y 1973, the B a ' a t h i s t s m a d e it c l e a r t h a t t h e y w e r e n o t p r e p a r e d to t o l e r a t e a ny p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y b y the ICP in the a r m e d forces. T h e y f u r t h e r h i n t e d t h a t a n y e l e m e n t d i s c o v e r e d a t t e m p t i n g to o r g a n i z e p o l i t i c a l c e l l s in th e a r m y w o u l d be i m m e ­ d i a t e l y a b o l i s h e d . B y 1976, the ICP h a d r a p i d l y b e c o m e u n h a p p y w i t h its p o w e r l e s s p o s i t i o n in th e I r a q i g o v e r n ­ m e n t (there w e r e o n l y t w o c o m m u n i s t s in the c a b i n e t ) , a nd it h a d b e g u n o p e n l y to d e m a n d an i n c r e a s e d r o l e for i t s e l f in the P r o g r e s s i v e N a t i o n a l Front. B a ' a t h - I C P d i v i s i o n s

41 S h a h r a m C h u b i n , o p .c i t . , p. 91.

42 A d e e d I. D a w i s h a , 'The S o v i e t U n i o n in the A r a b W o r l d : T h e L i m i t s to S u p e r p o w e r I n f l u e n c e ' , in A d e e d D a w i s h a a n d K a r e n D a w i s h a , (eds.), T h e S o v i e t U n i o n in the M i d d l e E a s t :P o l i c i e s and P e r s p e c t i v e s , ( L o n d o n : H e i n e -m a n n , 1982), p. 17.

43 Se e R o b e r t 0. F r e e d m a n , 'Soviet P o l i c y T o w a r d B a ' a t h i s t Iraq, 1 9 6 8 - 1 9 7 9 ' , in R o b e r t H. D o n a l d s o n , (ed.), Th e S o v i e t U n i o n in th e T h i r d W o r l d :S u c c e s s e s a nd F a i l u r e s ,

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w e r e e m b i t t e r e d by:

(i) t he I C P 1s a d v o c a c y of g e n u i n e a u t o n o m y

for the K u r d s a nd its o p e n d i s a g r e e m e n t w i t h th e B a ' a t h i s t p o l i c y of r e s e t t l i n g t he K u r d i s h a f f a i r o u t s i d e the

K u r d i s h r e g i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y b e c a u s e t h i s i n v o l v e d a c o n c e s s i o n to the p r o - W e s t e r n S h a h ' s r e g i m e in Iran.

(ii) I r a q ' s c o n s o l i d a t i o n of its e c o n o m i c ties w i t h the West. T h e ICP d e n o u n c e d w h a t it p e r c e i v e d to be t h e g r o w i n g p o w e r of 'p r i v a t e c a p i t a l ' and I r a q ' s

44 c o n t i n u i n g d e p e n d e n c e o n th e c a p i t a l i s t w o r l d m a r k e t .

M o r e o v e r , t h e ICP r e p o r t e d l y c a r r i e d o n a n t i ­ g o v e r n m e n t p r o p a g a n d a a m o n g I r a q ' s K u r d s a nd S h i ' i t e s . In fact, the B a ' a t h i s t s s u s p e c t e d c o m m u n i s t i n v o l v e m e n t in the S h i i t e r e l i g i o u s d e m o n s t r a t i o n s in e a r l y 1977. The B a ' a t h i s t s u s p i c i o n of th e I C P 's a c t i v e r o l e in s t i r r i n g u p i n t e r n a l p o l i t i c a l d i s o r d e r b e c a m e s t r o n g e r w h e n the B a ' a t h i s t r e g i m e e v i d e n t l y d e c i d e d t h a t the c r a c k d o w n t o o k p r e c e d e n c e o v e r its r e l a t i o n s w i t h the S o v i e t Uni o n . N a i m H a d d a d , a m e m b e r of I r a q ' s r u l i n g R e v o l u t i o n a r y C o m m a n d C o u n c i l ( R C C ) , s t a t e d that:

Al l c o m m u n i s t p a r t i e s all o v e r the w o r l d a re a l w a y s t r y i n g to g e t pow e r . We c h o p o f f a n y w e e d t h a t p o p s up. 45

In M a y 1978, t he I r a q i g o v e r n m e n t e x e c u t e d

44 Q u o t e d in R o b e r t 0. F r e e d m a n , o p . c i t . , p. 179.

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21 I r a q i c o m m u n i s t a c c u s e d of a t t e m p t i n g to o r g a n i z e p o l i t i c a l c e l l s in t h e army. F u r t h e r n e w s r e p o r t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t the ICP w a s i n v o l v e d in an a b o r t i v e a t ­ t e m p t b a c k e d b y t he S o v i e t U n i o n to t o p p l e the B a ' a t h i s t

46 r e g i m e .

G i v e n the S o v i e t - b a c k e d c o m m u n i s t c o u p in A f g h a n i s t a n in A p r i l 1978, it c o u l d be c l e a r l y a r g u e d t h a t t h a t c o u p m i g h t h a v e a f f e c t e d th e B a 1at h p a r t y

47

p e r c e p t i o n of an d p o l i c y t o w a r d s t he ICP. It w a s c l a i m e d t h a t in D e c e m b e r 19 78 t h e I r a q i g o v e r n m e n t p e r ­ s e c u t e d a n u m b e r of I r a q i c o m m u n i s t s in the a r m y and k e p t p r o m i n e n t c o m m u n i s t p a r t y m e m b e r s u n d e r c o n t r o l , i n c l u d i n g a m e m b e r of t he I C P 1s C e n t r a l C o m m i t t e e , M a j i d

48

A d b u l - R i d h a . F u r t h e r m o r e , as S h a h r a m C h u b i n a s s e r t s , the I r a q i r e g i m e set u p m e a s u r e s to e n s u r e t h a t the

49 c o m m u n i s t w e r e u n d e r its s t r i c t c o n t r o l .

O n e c o u l d a r g u e t h a t th e K r e m l i n w a s in no p o s i t i o n to h a r m r e l a t i o n s w i t h a c o u n t r y w h i c h o n the one hand, h a d h e l d an o f f i c i a l f r i e n d s h i p t r e a t y w i t h the S o v i e t U n i o n , b u t o n th e o t h e r hand, u n d e r t o o k the p e r s e c u t i o n of c o m m u n i s t s . Y e t t h i s a r g u m e n t is far fr o m sound. F o l l o w i n g the B a ' a t h p e r s e c u t i o n s of I r a q i

46 F B I S : M E A , J u n e 19, 1978, p. El.

47 M i d d l e E a s t E c o n o m i c D i g e s t , A p r i l 25, 1979. C i t e d as M E E D .

48 M i d d l e E a s t R e s e a r c h & I n f o r m a t i o n P r o j e c t , J u n e 1981. C i t e d as M E R I P .

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c o m m u n i s t s and the e n s u i n g d e t e r i o r a t i o n in B a ' a t h i s t -c o m m u n i s t r e l a t i o n s , I r a q i - S o v i e t r e l a t i o n s p l u m m e t e d to a l o w point. T h i s c o u l d be s e e n in th e e v e n t of th e G u l f war. In a d d i t i o n , as Y o d f a t a r g u e s , in th e S o v i e t _ U n i o n , th e c o n s i d e r a t i o n of n o t s a c r i f i c i n g p r i n c i p l e s a nd f r i e n d s j u s t for t e m p o r a r y a n d d u b i o u s s t a t e i n t e r e s t s w a s s t i l l in eff e c t . Th e I r a q i c o m m u n i s t n e w s p a p e r w a s q u o t e d as s a y i n g that:

Th e w i d e s p r e a d p e r s e c u t i o n of c o m m u n i s t s in I r a q an d r e p r e s s i o n a g a i s n t t he c o m m u n i s t s p a r t y ' s o r g a n i z a t i o n s a n d p r e s s . . . h a s b e e n c o n t i n u i n g for a year. (The ICP) has m a d e an d is c o n t i n u i n g to m a k e e f f o r t s to h a l t th e d e t e r i o r a t i o n of r e l a t i o n s w i t h the r u l ­ ing B a ' a t h P a r t y an d n o t o n l y to p r e s e r v e the c o o p e r a t i o n b e t w e e n th e t w o p a r t i e s b u t a l s o to d e v e l o p a nd i n t e n s i f y it s t i l l further. 50

A t t h i s stage, t h e r e is e v e r y r e a s o n to b e ­ l i e v e t h a t the p e r s e c u t i o n s of t he c o m m u n i s t s s e r v e d th e d u a l I r a q i p u r p o s e s of p u n i s h i n g (and, at its m o s t s e r i o u s , e x t i n g u i s h i n g ) S o v i e t - b a c k e d d i s s i d e n t g r o u p s an d of m a n i f e s t i n g I r a q i i n d e p e n d e n c e of M o s c o w .

(e) T h e c l o s e r I r a q i r e l a t i o n s w i t h t h e W e s t

T h e I r a q i - I r a n i a n r a p p r o c h e m e n t a l s o a f f e c t e d I r a q ' s r e l a t i o n s w i t h th e W e s t e r n p o w e r s . Th e p r a g m a t i c I r a q i l e a d e r s h a d m a d e a d e c i s i o n to k e e p t h e i r o p t i o n s open. I r a q a d o p t e d a n e w p o l i c y , w h i c h led to c l o s e r

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r e l a t i o n s w i t h the W e s t b o t h e c o n o m i c a l l y and m i l i t a r i l y -in the l a t t e r case, p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h F rance.

The r e s o l u t i o n of th e I r a n i a n - I r a q i d i s p u t e and the s e t t l e m e n t , a l b e i t t e m p o r a r y , of th e K u r d i s h r e b e l l i o n a l l e v i a t e d I r a q ' s f e a r of i n s e c u r i t y a n d e n ­ c i r c l e m e n t . W i t h t h e r e m o v a l of t h e s e two m a i n t h r e a t s , the B a ' a t h i s t s b e c a m e less d e p e n d e n t for m i l i t a r y ai d on th e S o v i e t Unio n . In a d d i t i o n , a f t e r the q u a d r u p l i n g of o i l p r i c e s in 1973, th e B a g h d a d r e g i m e a t t e m p t e d to e nd its e c o n o m i c d e p e n d e n c e o n th e S o v i e t Union. B y the same tok e n , b e c a u s e of t h e a b s e n c e n o w of p r e s s i n g s e c u ­ r i t y t h r e a t s a n d th e a v a i l a b i l i t y of its o w n h u g e f i n a n ­ cial r e s o u r c e s , t h e B a g h d a d r e g i m e e m b a r k e d on an e x t e n ­ sive e c o n o m i c d e v e l o p m e n t p l a n a nd d i v e r s i f i e d its t r a d e p a t t e r n s .

E v e n t h o u g h in J u l y 1975 an a g r e e m e n t o n c o ­ o p e r a t i o n b e t w e e n I r a q a n d th e C o u n c i l for M u t u a l E c o n o

-51 m i c A s s i s t a n c e (CMEA) or C O M E C O N w a s s i g n e d m M o s c o w , no c o o p e r a t i o n w i t h th e S o v i e t U n i o n or o t h e r C M E A c o u n t r i e s w a s a d e q u a t e for the Iraqis' a m b i t i o u s d e v e ­ l o p m e n t p r o j e c t s . T h e S o v i e t U n i o n c o u l d no l o n g e r c o p e w i t h t he m u l t i t u d e of i n d u s t r i a l p r o j e c t s for w h i c h I r a q c o u l d p a y in h a r d c u r r e n c y . H e n c e th e I r a q i g o v e r n m e n t w a s p r e p a r e d to d e a l w i t h W e s t e r n E u r o p e a n , J a p a n e s e and e v e n A m e r i c a n f i rms r a t h e r t h a n w i t h th e S o v i e t U n i o n

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a nd E a s t E u r o p e a n c o u n t r i e s . I r a q n e e d e d the b e s t and m o s t a d v a n c e d t e c h n o l o g y , an d t h i s c o u l d o n l y be f o u n d in W e s t e r n c o u n t r i e s t h a t p u r c h a s e d l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s of oi l

f r o m I r a q an d w e r e h o p e f u l of r e d u c i n g t h e i r b a l a n c e of _ p a y m e n t s d e f i c i t s .

In e f f e c t , its e c o n o m i c r e l a t i o n s w i t h the W e s t e x p e r i e n c e d p h e n o m e n a l g r o w t h and e x p a n s i o n , w h i l e t h o s e w i t h M o s c o w d e c l i n e d . A s R o b e r t 0. F r e e d m a n states, in 1977 t h e r e w a s a s h a r p i n c r e a s e in I r a q i - A m e r i c a n trade,

53

e q u a l l i n g t h e e x t e n t of I r a q i - S o v i e t trade. T h e v o l u m e of t r a d e b e t w e e n I r a q and the U n i t e d S t a t e s r o s e f r o m $20 m i l l i o n in 1973 to n e a r l y $500 m i l l i o n d o l l a r s in 1976, $724 m i l l i o n in 1980 an d $914 m i l l i o n in 1 9 8 1 , ^ d e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t t he t wo s t a t e s h a d no d i p l o m a t i c r e l a t i o n s . A t t h e sa m e time, I r a q i i m p o r t s f r o m the S o v i e t U n i o n d r o p p e d to a l o w level, a c c o u n t i n g for less t h a n 10 pe r c e n t of I r a q ' s i m p o r t s in 1975, w h i l e its i m p o r t s f r o m W e s t e r n E u r o p e a n d J a p a n i n c r e a s e d t r e m e n ­ d o u s l y . O n e s i g n i f i c a n t h a l l m a r k of I r a q ' s p o l i c y s h i f t t o w a r d s d i v e r s i f y i n g its t r a d e p a t t e r n s an d g a i n i n g h i g h l y -n e e d e d a d v a -n c e d t e c h -n o l o g y f r o m the W e s t w a s its a g r e e ­ m e n t w i t h a c o n s o r t i u m of A m e r i c a n a n d W e s t G e r m a n co r

-55 p o r a t i o n to b u i l d a p e t r o c h e m i c a l p l a n t m S o u t h e r n Iraq.

52

52 R o b e r t 0. F r e e d m a n , o p .c i t . , p. 17

6

. 53 I b i d . , p. 178.

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T h e r e w a s a f u r t h e r a g r e e m e n t w i t h F r a n c e to b u i l d a 7 0 - m e g a w a t t n u c l e a r r e s e a r c h r e a c t o r .

D e v e l o p m e n t in e c o n o m i c r e l a t i o n s d o e s n o t h o w ­ e v e r n e c e s s a r i l y r e s u l t in s i m i l a r d e v e l o p m e n t in the p o l i ­ t i c a l sphere. T h e e x p a n s i o n of I r a q ' s t r a d e r e l a t i o n s

w i t h th e US w a s n o t a c c o m p a n i e d b y an i m p r o v e m e n t in p o ­ l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s . I r a q ' s r e f u s a l to r e s u m e d i p l o m a t i c ti e s w i t h t h e US s t e m m e d f r o m its p e r c e p t i o n t h a t th e US w a s c o n t i n u i n g to g i v e u n r e s t r i c t e d s u p p o r t to I s r a e l a g a i n s t A r a b s . In 1977, T a r i q A z i z , th e I r a q i D e p u t y P r e m i e r , s t a t e d t h a t 'we b e l i e v e t h a t the U n i t e d S t a t e s w a s an d s t i l l is s i d i n g w i t h I s r a e l in an e x c e p t i o n a l

, 56 w a y ' .

N o n e t h e l e s s , I r a q ' s d i v e r s i f i c a t i o n p o l i c y e x t e n d e d to t h e m i l i t a r y field. In A p r i l 1975, S a d d a m H u s s e i n a s s e r t e d t h a t I r a q w o u l d d i v e r s i f y its s o u r c e s

57

of ar m s as t he n a t i o n a l i n t e r e s t s d i c t a t e d . F r a n c e h a d h e l p e d t he B a g h d a d r e g i m e to a c h i e v e this p o l i c y . Iraq w a s r e p o r t e d to h a v e c o n c l u d e d an e n o r m o u s arms deal, c o n c e r n i n g t h e sa l e o f 72 a d v a n c e d M i r a g e F-l

5

8

a i r c r a f t , h e l i c o p t e r s a n d t a c t i c a l m i s s i l e s . Q u i t e a s s e r t i v e l y , in J u n e 1980, t h e I r a q i M i n i s t e r of I n f o r ­ m a t i o n a n n o u n c e d in A l - N a h a n t h a t I r a q w o u l d se e k s o u r c e s

59 of w e a p o n s o u t s i d e th e S o v i e t Union.

56 F B I S : M E A , A u g u s t 5, 1977, p. E3.

57 F B I S : M E A , J u l y 21, 1977, p. El; W a s h i n g t o n Post, J u n e 28, 1977.

58 W a s h i n g t o n P o s t , A p r i l 25, 1975.

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