Israel Watching Iraqi Developments Closely; Abstains from Comment

Israel’s Foreign Office today declined to make any comment on the revolution in Iraq which elated Egyptian Premier Nasser, following the assassination of the 49-year-old Iraqi Premier General Abdul Karim Kassem last Friday.

(The general feeling in the United States was that the new regime in Iraq may spell danger for the present regime in Jordan and may eventually affect also Israel. In Washington, the State Department said that “it was too early” to assess the implications of the Iraqi coup d’etat with respect to “relations with Iraq’s neighbors. ” A State Department spokesman indicated it might take several days before the situation might be clarified.)

Israeli quarters were following today the lastest developments in Iraq very closely. They said that proper evaluation of the situation will be possible only after more details are received about the nature of the new regime. The consensus among observers here appears to be that the new Iraqi regime would favor better relations with Nasser but will not seek any form of political union with him and thus not bring about any major changes in the political complexion of the area.

Colonel Mohammed Aref, who heads the new government in Iraq, is known in Israel for his pro-Nazi sentiments. It is considered likely that he will not rush into an unprepared union with Egypt, especially since his cabinet includes a substantial number of members of the socialist Baath Party which is dedicated to Pan-Arab unity but is nevertheless against Nasser.

However, it is taken into consideration here that the revolution in Iraq may have its impact outside of Iraq’s frontiers, especially on Jordan where internal opposition to King Hussein appears to have grown recently. The opinion prevailing here is that much will depend on the stability of the present regime in Iraq. A weak regime would invite intensified subversive activities both from Nasser’s side and from the side of the Soviet bloc. This would set in motion developments apt to upset the political balance of power in the area.

Meanwhile Cairo Raido is being kept busy broadcasting appeals to the Syrians to follow the example of Iraq and overthrow their government. Syria has always been sensitive to changes in Iraq, and Nasser is losing no time to exploit the Iraqi situation for stimulating trouble in Syria.

NEXT STORY