Ten years ago, Iraq's leftist rulers came to power in a bloodless coup. Since then,?
GVs Baghdad streets and rooftops (3 shots)
SV President Bakr enters meeting with National Front
GVs Oil refinery installations (3 shots)
SVs Desert scrubland and excavators at work on canals (5 shots)
SVs Kurdish soldiers on patrol (3 shots)
SVs Troops in war zone, and into action (7 shots)
GV Pall of smoke on horizon , and Iraqi troops watch Iran border from gun emplacement (5 shots)
GVs Euphrates river with dry bed near Syrian border where dam has been built (5 shots)
SV INT President Sadat visiting and sitting with President bakr
GV Massed crowd chanting anti-Sadat slogans (3 shots)
SV President bakr presented with automatic rifle by Saudi Defence Minister (3 shots)
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Background: Ten years ago, Iraq's leftist rulers came to power in a bloodless coup. Since then, the leaders of the ruling Baath party have pursued a policy of total independence, non-alignment and categoric rejection of all attempts from outside to influence its political line.
SYNOPSIS: From Baghdad, Iraq's leaders pursue their own policies with all the assurance which comes from the massive wealth of the nation's oil revenues. It has won them few friends, even among Arab nations which share their violently anti-Israeli views. But Baghdad remains aloof.
President Ahmed Hassan Al-Baker has shaped Iraq's policies for well over ten years, first as Prime Minister and then, since the 1968 coup, as President. And at 64, he finds his country bitterly opposed to both Israel and Egypt, allied with the Soviet Union and purging its own Communists.
Iraq's oil reserves put it third -- behind Saudi Arabia and Kuwait -- in the world. Iraq is the only Arab nation formally linked with Moscow by a treaty of friendship, but it relies heavily on western technology in the huge irrigation works now being undertaken. Main. suppliers for this are West Germany, Japan, France and the United States, while trade with the Soviet Union is decreasing. The execution earlier this year of 21 Iraqi Communists for subversion was seen as a warning to the Kremlin not to meddle too closely in Iraqi affairs.
Iraq has quarrelled with most of its neighbours, but no conflict has been more murderous than the unending fight of its own Kurdish tribesmen to gain autonomy. Clashes between Kurds and Iraqi troops have been taking place for a decade and still continue, despite an official cease, fire. Iraq's 158,000-man army is Soviet-equipped, but even here, Baghdad refuses to remain constant, and is currently shopping for arms in France and other western countries. The policy here is to buy cheaply, regardless of origin.
In the mid-1970's Iraq also clashed with Iran. The dispute, over navigation rights on the Tigris-Euphrates delta, was finally resolved in 1974 after three years of broken diplomatic relations. A similar dispute erupted between Iraq and Syria later in the decade, with Iraq accusing Syria of cutting water supplies to Iraq from the Euphrates by building the Tabqa Dam. This, too, was finally resolved with the intervention of the United Nations. but Iraq's most serious break with its fellow Arab nations came with President Sadat's peace initiative last year. Up to 1975, Sadat had been welcome in Baghdad, but his proposed peace with Israel outraged Iraq's leadership. massive anti-Sadat rallies, such as this, underline the nation's determination to oppose any deal with Israel. Even so, Iraq walked out of the anti-Egyptian summit meeting in Tripoli last December in another quarrel with the other members -- the Libyan Jamahiriyah, Algeria, Syria, South Yemen and the PLO.
Today, Iraq remains unpredictable. Having snapped at its enemies and snubbed its friends, it continues its policy of answering to no-one and dealing with anyone except Israel.