927. There follows SITREP and Department's
comments on Iraqi situation:
Iraqi Army appears firmly in control of Iraq with only scattered National
Guard holdouts reported in Baghdad as of November 20. While power of National Guard and thus Baath
extremists apparently broken, political aspects Iraqi situation unclear.
President Aref seems accepted by Army commanders, by moderate wing Baath
Party, and Baath military officers, thus looms as real leader of Iraq.
Failure of former Prime Minister Bakr
and Defense Minister Ammash to employ
Army to destroy National Guard following latter's violent reaction to
expulsion of extremist leaders, gave Aref his opportunity. Whereabouts of
Very few names and little information about emerging personalities being
broadcast. Aref steering careful course with view maintaining solidarity
with Baath military officers. President's reputation for friendship with
Nasser will assure him support
from Nasser-oriented nationalists.
Only in unlikely event his returning Iraq to Baath domination would Aref
quickly lose non-Baath nationalist support. While maneuvering undoubtedly
taking place behind the scenes course of future events uncertain.
Initial appraisal cabinet named November 20 is that it contains some moderate
Baathis. Of twenty-one ministers, seven are holdovers from previous cabinet,
thirteen are civilians, four are from moderate Shabib-Jawad faction of Baath (Defense—Tikriti;
Communications—Abd al-Latif; Education—Jawari; Health—Mustafa) and a number
of technician-type civil servants.
There is no necessity for USG recognition of GOI because President Aref remains as Chief of State.
Speculation on Future
Embassy Baghdad sees little doubt Aref looks forward to being effective ruler
of Iraq. Uncertain how able a political manipulator he will be. Seems clear,
however, that he allied himself with principal Baath military officers in
order destroy National Guard. His immediate aims are to finish National
Guard resistance and clarify Iraqi relations with Syria. He needs continued
help from Syrian brigade against Kurds and will wish avoid giving SARG pretext for withdrawing troops.
Indications are some understanding has been reached with Syria in view
reported cessation Damascus radio attacks.
In longer term, basic question is whether Aref's cautious stance towards
Baath merely tactical expedient to be discarded when he feels strong enough
dispense with Baath support. Despite his reputation of friendship with
Nasser doubtful he will permit
growth UAR influence in Iraq; Aref's own
ambitions and political complexities of Iraq are likely to combine against
this. However, friendlier relations with UAR
Whatever shape Iraqi regime assumes Embassy Baghdad speculates there will be
less pressure for rapid nationalization. Current agreement with Kuwait seems likely to stand. Embassy
believes quite possible policy of rapprochement will be followed with
respect Turkey and Iran. On relations with US, Soviet Bloc and domestic
Communists, Embassy expects little change likely. On Palestine issues
Embassy also expects no change.
Safety of Foreigners
Embassy Baghdad reports no known casualties among Americans and other
foreigners in Iraq.
1 Source: Department of State,
Central Files, POL 15 IRAQ. Confidential. Drafted by Killgore on November 20, cleared by
Davies, and approved by
Jernegan. Sent to Baghdad,
Amman, Beirut, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Taiz, Athens, Nicosia,
Tehran, Ankara, Bonn, London, Paris, Rome, Moscow, Kuwait, Jerusalem,
Alexandria, Aleppo, Dhahran, and Istanbul.