195. Special National Intelligence Estimate0

SNIE 36.2/2–59


The Estimate

Concerning the situation in Iraq, we now feel that recent SNIE’s have been too gloomy.1 There are signs of growing resolve on Qassim’s part to move with increasing determination against the Iraqi Communists. We now think that Communist control of Iraq is somewhat less likely than we thought it was a few weeks ago.2
This does not mean that the tide has turned finally and irrevocably against the Communists. They almost certainly retain an influential position in government ministries and some army commands. Their power over mass organizations and street mobs has not evaporated. The regime has as yet shown no signs of dissatisfaction with its close ties with and heavy dependence on the Sino-Soviet Bloc.
Any estimate of what will happen next has to be highly tentative. The Soviet Ambassador has left for Moscow for “medical reasons” and the USSR may decide that a tactic of temporary accommodation is now the better part of Communist valor. Indeed, there is a recent report that attempts are being made by the Communists to work out a united front with dissident elements of the leftist National Democratic Party. On the other hand, the Communists, whether or not prompted by Moscow, may feel impelled to strike back—to protect themselves and their position against the reprisals that would be likely if the nationalists gained dominance.
The period between now and the week of 14 July, the first anniversary of the Revolution, promises to be one of intense political maneuvering. Events taking place during this period of popular emotional buildup could precipitate significant clashes.
  1. Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61D 385, Iraq Documents. Secret. A note on the cover sheet indicates that this estimate, submitted by the CIA, was prepared by CIA, INR, the intelligence organizations of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Joint Staff. All members of the USIB concurred with this estimate on June 30 except the representatives of the AEC and FBI, the Director of the National Security Agency, and the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, the subject being outside their jurisdiction.
  2. Notably SNIE 36.2–59, “The Communist Threat to Iraq” dated 17 February 1959 [Document 161], and SNIE 36.2/1–59, same title, 21 April 1959 [Document 179]. [Footnote in the source text.]
  3. In briefing the NSC at its 412th Meeting on July 9 on “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security,” Allen Dulles informed the Council that “there were continuing signs of Prime Minister Qasim’s intention of curbing the power of the Iraqi Communists,” but that “the tide had not yet irrevocably turned against the Communists.” (Memorandum of discussion by Gleason, July 9; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)