The foreign policy of Iraq during the regime of Abdalkarim Qaasim was basically governed by the same forces that shaped the policy of the ancient regime and that consisted in the main in asserting Iraq's independence. The leading forces of the Iraqi monarchy could naturally see the value of Arab solidarity but they also appreciated the common interests with Iraq's non-Arab neighbours, Turkey and Iran. Obviously, the principal error was in over-stressing those interests at the expense of Arab solidarity at a time when pan-Arab excitement had reached a high pitch, and in ignoring the drive towards neutralism which had dominated the Arab world, in which 'Iraq remained the committed oasis in a vast neutralist desert'. The critics of such a policy stated that Iraq's need for weapons and technical know-how could be obtained from other powers and not only from the West, and adherence to Arab solidarity would provide the necessary strength. It is clear that the opposition to the ancient regime originated mainly from domestic issues, but it concentrated on foreign policy because it conflicted with an ideology that had become predominant in Arab politics.
Institute of Oriental Studies, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Klemensova 19, 813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
K. R. Sorby, Ustav orientalistiky SAV, Klemensova 19, 813 64 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
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