1963-1968 1979-1990

Iraq 1968-1979

Administration . In a 1968 coup, the Ba'ath Party took power; Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr assumed the functions of president and chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council. Saddam Hussein, Secretary General of the Ba'ath Party, emerged as the dominant figure in Iraq.
In 1976, two new provinces were created, Salaheddin and Najaf.

Foreign Policy . Iraq attempted to improve her port facilities on the Gulf, and was engaded in border disputes with neighbours Iran (on the course of the border along the Shatt al Arab) and Kuwait. In the Algiers Accord of 1975, Iran and Iraq agreed over the mutual border. In 1973 Iraqi troops briefly occupied the Kuwait border post of as-Samitah, and only withdrew when Saudi Arabia applied diplomatic pressure. The two Ba'ath governed countries, Iraq and Syria, were bitter rivals. Jordan was economically dependent on Iraq, as many of Iraq's imports were transported on trucks from Aqaba through Jordan into Iraq. During the Jordan clampdown on the PLO in 1970-1971, Iraq temporarily closed the border to Jordan. In 1971 Iraq withdrew her troops from Syria and Jordan (BBoY 1972 p.386).
Iraq held a hostile stand toward Israel, and, during the Lebanese Civil War (since 1975) supported certain Palestinian factions. Iraqi troops, alongside those of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, participated in the Yom Kippur War 1973 against Israel. In 1978 Iraq denounced the Camp David Accord and severed diplomatic relations with Egypt.
Iraq maintained good relations with the PDR Yemen and supported the Dhofar Rebellion in Oman.
Diplomatic relations with the U.S., severed in 1968, were restored in 1972. Diplomatic relations with the U.K., severed in 1971, were restored in 1974 (BBoY 1975 p.411).
In 1972 Iraq and the USSR signed a treaty of friendship. In 1979 the U.S. listed Iraq as a sponsor of terrorism.

The Economy . First Five Year Development Plan 1965-1970, Second Five Year Development Plan 1970-1975, Third Five Year Development Plan 1976-1980.
In 1968, Iraq produced 74.4 million metric tons of crude petroleum, in 1979 170.4 million (IHS pp.362, 364).
In 1968, Iraq produced 1.5 million metric tons of wheat, in 1979 0.685 million (IHS p.199).
In 1972, Iraq nationalized the oil industry. High oil prices since 1973 (Oil Crisis) resulted in considerably increased revenues. in 1977-1979 Iraq raised oil production in violation of the quota agreed upon by OPEC (IHS p.364), which resulted in a further increase of revenues.
In 1975 Iraq becan developing nuclear power stations, the technology being supplied from France. In 1977 a new oil pipeline connecting the oil fields at Kirkuk with the port of Dortyol in Turkey was opened (BBoY 1978 p.463); it reduced the dependence of Iraq on Syria, through which most of Iraq's oil previously was transported.

Social History . Jan Lahmeyer estimates the population of Iraq in 1968 as 8.86 million, in 1979 as 12.65 million.
The Ba'ath regime aimed at improving education by constructing more schools, employing more teachers; there were 4,942 primary schools with 977,582 pupils in 1967-68 (StYB 1970-71 p.1049), 8,156 primary schools with 1.9 million ppils in 1977 (StYB 1981-82 p.693). The number of medical doctors increased from 1,282 in 1967 (StYB 1970-71 p.1049) to 4,734 in 1974 (StYB 1981-82 p.693). The provisional constitution drafted in 1970 formally guaranteed equal rights to women, equal access to education, the right to own property and run for office.

Ethnic and Religious Minorities . In 1970 the Kurdish rebellion was ended by an agreement; Kurdish leader M. Barzani returned from Soviet exile. In 1974 the Kurdish rebellion flared up again, now supported by Iran and the U.S; the Iraq-Iran border agreement of 1975 deprived the Kurds of Iranian assistance.
The Ba'ath regime was socialist; representatives of the minority Iraqi christians served in Ba'ath cabinets. Nonetheless, the Ba'ath regime was largely identified with Iraq's Sunni minority. The provisional constitution of 1968 declared Islam state religion (BBoY 1969 p.438).

Cultural History . Iraqi athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Mexico City 1968, but did not partake in the Summer Olympics of Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976.
From 1965 to 1978, Ayatollah Khomeini stayed in exile in Najaf (Iraq). On the occasion of the 1977 Ashurah, serious disturbances occurred (BBoY 1978 .463). A 1977 law turned ulama into state officials (put them on the payroll).

Wars of Iraq, 1800-1999, from ACED
Global Currency History : Iraq (B. Taylor)
Articles History of Iraq, 1975 Algiers Agreement, Lebanese Civil War, Iraq at the 1968 Summer Olympics, Ahmed Hassan al Bakr, Saddam Hussein, The Iraq-based Baath Party, Education in Iraq, Ashurah, from Wikipedia
Provinces of Iraq, from www.statoids.com
Iraq, from Library of Congress Country Studies
History of U.S.-Iraq Relations, by Mike and Bruce
History of Oil in Iraq, from Global Policy Forum
Iraqi Nuclear Weapons, from FAS
Background on Women's Status in Iraq Prior to the Fall of the Saddam Hussein Government, from Human Rights Watch (2003)
State-Mosque Relations in Iraq, 1968-2004, by Amatzia Baram
The Military Coup of 1968, from Iraq's History Page (Ali al Sammawy)
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Iraq, by Ben Cahoon; Rulers : Iraq, by B. Schemmel
Historical Statistical data : Iraq, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.21, pp.972-996 Article Iraq. KMLA Lib. Call Sign R 032 B862h v.21
Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, Cambridge : UP 2000 [G]
Courtney Hunt, The History of Iraq, Westport CT : Greenwood 2005, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 956.7 H939h
Samir al-Khalil, Republic of Fear. The Inside Story of Saddam's Iraq, NY : Pantheon 1989 [G]
Article Iraq, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1968 pp.447-448, 1969 pp.437-438, 1970 pp.439-440, 1971 pp.417-418, 1972 pp.386-387, 1973 pp.380-381, 1974 pp.387-388, 1975 pp.410-411, 1976 pp.436-437, 1977 pp.431-432, 1978 pp.463-464, 1979 pp.457-458 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1970-1971 pp.1048-1054, 1975-1976 pp.1040-1045, 1976-1977 pp.1047-1052, 1978-1979 pp.683-688, 1979-1980 pp.689-694 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.173-174, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.173-174 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Americana Annual 1968 pp.364-365, 1969 pp.369-370, 1970 p.374, 1971 p.370, 1972 p.365, 1973 p.369, 1974 p.308, 1976 pp.309-310 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1976 pp.544-546 (Ayad al-Qazzaz) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 16th 2007

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