324. Memorandum From David A. Korn, NEA/IRN, to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco)1 2

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  • Soviet-Iraqi Communique

On September 19 a joint communique was issued in Moscow and Baghdad on the occasion of the visit to Moscow of Iraqi President Hassan al-Bakr.

The language of the communique indicates continued close Iraqi-Soviet relations but no signs of a further strengthening of these ties. From the make-up of the Iraqi delegation, it would appear that economic cooperation and assistance were high on the agenda.

The most significant aspects of the communique concerning the Near East are:


Declaration by both sides of their “continued material and moral support and political and moral backing” for the Palestinian resistance movement which the two sides “consider as an organic part of the Arab nationalist liberation movement.”

COMMENT: This is not a new position for Iraq but would appear to mark a further willingness on the part of the Soviets to back the fedayeen movement in the belief that such support will win them friends among the Arabs who presumably continue to consider the fedayeen movement as a legitimate resistance organization.


Both sides reaffirmed that “a just and firm peace cannot be established” in the Near East without “the liberation of all the occupied territories.

COMMENT: This is equivocal language which in the Soviet view may mean only those lands lost after the 1967 war but in the Iraqi mind might well mean all of Palestine.


The two sides agreed on “tangible measures to continue to strengthen the Iraqi Republic’s military ability and to raise the fighting standards of the armed forces.”

COMMENT: We assume that this means additional shipments of Soviet arms to the Iraqi armed forces.


Both sides denounced Israeli “acts of air piracy against Lebanese and Syrian territory and also the armed aggression against southern Lebanon.” The two sides concluded that this situation “threatens peace in this area and in the whole world” as a result of “continued Israeli aggression” and “continued political, military and financial support of the U.S.”

COMMENT: This language is the standard Iraqi line which the Soviets are obviously pandering to.


The Soviet Union “expressed its satisfaction” over the nationalization of the “IPC’s monopolist oil operations” as well as with the “steps which are being taken to fulfill the March 11 Manifesto regarding the peaceful and democratic settlement of the Kurdish question.”

COMMENT: Nothing new here on the Soviet side.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA/ARN, Office of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq Affairs, Lot 75D442, Box 14, POL REL, IRAQ/USSR, 1972. Confidential.
  2. Analyzing the recent Soviet-Iraqi communiqué, Korn judged that the ties between Moscow and Baghdad were continuing but had not been extended.