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Soviet-Iraqi Relations, 1968-1988: In the Shadow of the Iraqi-Iran Conflict

Haim Shemesh
ISBN: 978-1-55587-293-9
1992/286 pages/LC: 91-30996

"This book traces in a perceptive, chronological order Societ-Iraqi relations from 1968- 1988."—MESA Bulletin

"Exemplary scholarly quality. . . . An excellent work . . . a welcome addition to the body of literature devoted to the study of Soviet policies in the Third World."—The American Historical Review

"One of the best books regarding any aspect of Iraq's foreign policy during this period."—Choice

"Presents constant insights. . . . Shemesh's systematic and objective analysis demonstrates the rationale of Baghdad's calculations."—Yaccov Ro'i


From the beginning of the Ba'th regime in 1968 to the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, Iraq was an important ally of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. Haim Shemesh explores the evolution of this Soviet-Iraqi relationship—one that Moscow often exploited—concentrating on the impact of the 1969-1975 and 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq conflicts on the fluctuations in Soviet-Iraqi ties and also examining other issues relevant to the alliance: the Iraqi communist party, the Kurdish problem, and developments in the Arab East, including the Arab-Israeli dispute.

Shemesh's conclusions, based on comparative analyses of Soviet, Arab, and Western sources, contribute to a better understanding of the unfolding of not only Soviet-Middle Eastern relations, but also of Soviet-Third World relations in general.


Haim Shemesh received his doctorate from Tel Aviv University and conducted postdoctoral research at the university's Soviet Research Center.


  • Moscow and the Ba'th Regime, July 1968-May 1971.
  • The Intensified Conflict with Iran and the Peak of the Soviet-Iraqi Relationship, May 1971-July 1973.
  • The Beginning of Decline: Iraq Moves Toward Solving the Dispute with Iran, July 1973-May 1975.
  • Downhill: A Lull on the Iraq-Iran Front, June 1975-March 1980.
  • The Limits of Rapprochement During the War with Iran, April 1980-August 1988.
  • Conclusion: The Passing "Strategic Alliance".