8.3.2        Syria’s Relationship with Iraq

(This is an archived extract from the book Patterns of Power: Edition 2)

Like Iraq, Syria had a Ba’athist regime, so there was some basis for a supportive relationship between the two governments – though there had also been a lot of animosity between them.[1] 

America's unconditional support for Israel means that Israel's enemies, which included Syria, would not be likely to support America.  Syria might therefore help to resist an invasion of Iraq and to support any subsequent insurgency.

Like Iran, Syria would be expected to see a nearby democracy as a threat.  Its own ethnic diversity would present problems if it were to try to achieve a transition to democracy without unleashing identity politics (

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014

[1] Robert Fisk wrote an article entitled Saddam revisited as Iraq accuses Syria of sheltering Baathist bombers, which recorded how “Twenty years ago, Saddam Hussein and Hafez el-Assad sent bombers to Damascus and Baghdad to blow up each other's cities.”  He also acknowledged, though, that “In truth, there was always a gritty, no-nonsense but sometimes understanding relationship between Baathists in Iraq and Syria, even when Saddam was ruling.”  This article was published in the Independent on 11 September 2009 and was available in April 2014 at http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-saddam-revisited-as-iraq-accuses-syria-of-sheltering-baathist-bombers-1785453.html.