By Amatzia Baram
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Additional info for Culture, History and Ideology in the Formation of Ba‘thist Iraq, 1968–89
They kept a large expeditionary force in Jordan and Syria, wh ich they pledged The Ba'th in Power: The Political and Ideological Setting 23 to put 'at the disposal' of the Palestinian organizations against Israel or any Arah power that threatened them. Although this force avoided an all-out dash with Israel it was occupied far away from horne at a time when the Kurdish revolt was simmering in northern Iraq and a serious conflict was brewing with Iran, after the latter abrogated the 1937 agreement over the Shatt al-Arab.
The festival signaled the genesis of Iraqi territorialism under the Ba'th. Indeed, if the Ba'th wanted to have a chance of attracting any real support from the Kurdish population, they had to find a new national formula for Iraq. The Kurds were traditionally strongly opposed to any auempt to involve Iraq in schemes for Arab unity. ) Thus, as long as the Kurdish nationalists could wield the threat of secession or even of continued revolt, the regime had good reason to play down its pan-Arab commitment in order 10 prevent further Kurdish defection to the nationalist camp.
Kilometers with almost half of the population of Iraqi Kurdistan) was actually ruled by the Mulla Mustafa al-Barazani and the Kurdish Democratic Party with its armed force, the Peshmerga, which numbered some 21,000 in 1970. 41 If the Ba'th regime intended to solve this problem through peaceful means, it needed to provide the Kurds with ideological, as weil as with other demonstrations of its commitment to Kurdish-Arab equality. But, in view of their military weakness, even if the Ba'th were to em bark on a military campaign they would have to look for means to attract as much Kurdish support as possible away from Barazani and the KDP.