Created: 5/21/1981

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USSR and Eastern Europe Review


USSR-Iraq; Only Surface Improvements

in Relations (U)

The rapid deterioration of Soviet-Iraqi tie* since the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war has recently been arrested. Soviet attempts to mend relations, however, are unlikely to win much Iraqi gratitude.

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Recent Soviet attempts to mend relations with Baghdad are unlikely to winIraqi gratitude.

Tho rapid deterioration of Soviet-Iraqi ties since the beginning; of the Iraq-Iran war has recently been'

In addition, over the last several weeks the Soviets have repaired critical electric generating facilities at Nasiriyah. exchanged cordial messages with Baghdad on the anniversary of the bilateral Friendship Treaty, and signed new economic cooperation agreements. I I

Iraqi rotations with Eastern Europe have also warmed, presumably with Moscow's blessings. Key tnenbers of the Iraqi hierarchy, accompanied by Trade and Oil Ministry officials, have traveled to Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, andover the last two


on tnw composition ci tne

it is Iikely'that discussions of Iraqi oil for East European manufactured goods, including aims, took place. Since the beginning of the war the East Europeans have delivered toJO0 million in military supplies, including ammunition, spare parts, tanks, and artillery. | |

Soviet View

since the war began last September, the Soviets have tried to avoid being forcedosition of "choosing"


between Iran and Iraq. The Soviet Union's rooo for na-neuver, however, haa been circunuicribedesire not to alienate either country by overtly aligning itself with one or the other. The recent Soviet signals to Baghdad of Moscow's desire to improve the atmospherics in their relationship probablyenuine Soviet interest inurther erosion of the USSR's position in Iraq. Tho Soviets may calculate that since Iran-US relations have not progressed as much as expected by Moscow since the resolution oC the hostage crisis it is now "safe" to makeesture to Baghdad.

At the same time, the Soviets are apparentlythat Iraq also faces constraints that wouldlimit its efforts to move away from the USSR.)


No Reward for Moscow

Soviet and East European activities to assuagehowever, are both too little and too late to erase Iraqi anger. The Iraqis continue to believe Moscow is primarily interested in improving its position in Iran.

Baghdad appears to be on the verge of anotheron the much harassed Communisttandard Baathist method of registering displeasure with Moscow.




Tho USSR's reported confidence that Iraq nan noalternative but to maintain its relationship with the Soviet Union probably will continue to characterize Soviet attitudes toward Baghdad. The Soviets apparently believe that improvements in atmospheric* will helpBaghdad's unhappiness over their refusal to deliver sophisticated arms and will stave off any Iraqi efforts to distance itself from the Soviet Union. The Soviets may anticipate that once the war is ovor they can improve relations with both countries by simultaneously delivering arms to Iraq and following through with offers to expand theupply relationship with Iran.


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