152. 12/15/1983

"According to David Mack, a former U.S. diplomat who accompanied [Middle East Envoy Donald] Rumsfeld on his [December 1983] Bagdad [Iraq] mission, the American desire to reopen formal channels with Iraq reflected the different U.S. geopolitical priorities that existed for the Middle East at that time. 'We were looking to bring pressure to bear on Syria, and it seemed a good idea to patch up our differences with Baghdad. …Relations had been improving with Baghdad from the late 1970s onward, but it was a difficult and slow process. It was very difficult for us to read the signals coming out of Baghdad. But with the war [against Iran] going so badly for Saddam, and the Syrians causing us a lot of grief in Beirut [Lebanon], we thought it made sense to deal with Saddam. We wanted to build a Cairo [Egypt]-Amman [Jordan]-Baghdad axis that would drive [Syrian] President [Hafez al-] Asad crazy.' " [The 15th of the month used for date sorting purposes only.]

 – Saddam: His Rise and Fall, Con Coughlin, 12/15/1983

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