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Israel Anticipates Iraqi Military Units at Syrian-israel Border

Iraqi units may take up positions on the Israeli-Syrian border as a result of the merger of the Syrian and Iraqi armed forces under a six-man supreme council with one commander-in-chief which was announced in Damascus yesterday, it was foreseen here today.

Israeli sources emphasized that such a step would change the border status quo because Iraq did not sign an armistice agreement with Israel at the end of the 1948 fighting. Iraqi units did take part in the war, and suffered considerable losses but Iraq declined to sign an armistice pact on grounds it had no common border with Israel. Iraq agreed only to withdraw its troops.

Placement of Iraqi troops on the Syrian-Israel border would thus constitute a change in the status quo created by the Israel-Syrian armistice pact, because that pact does not bind Iraq. It was pointed out, in this connection, that Iraqi President Abdel Aref declared, in announcing the military unification, that the goal of the merger was Israel, particularly the Israeli plan to divert Jordan River water for an irrigation project.

The Egyptian press, according to reports received here, commented that the Syria-Iraq merger would not be able to carry out any Arab “national objective” or solve the “Palestine problem,” and would not be able to prevent Israel from implementing the Jordan River project.

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