The Baghdad Pact: essence, history of creation and collapse

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The Baghdad Pact: essence, history of creation and collapse
The Baghdad Pact: essence, history of creation and collapse

The beginning of the military-political confrontation in the middle of the 20th century gave a new impetus to the formation of multilateral diplomatic relations in the Middle East region, which resulted in the Baghdad Pact in the autumn of 1955. The agreement concluded between the countries of Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and Great Britain was supposed to close the series of military-political coalitions around the Soviet Union and its adjacent territories.

What is the Baghdad Pact?

The organization of political blocs has always been determined by the level of importance of any region in the international politics of the advanced Western powers. The United States was the originator of the idea that resulted in the creation of a new political union in the Near and Middle East. White House Secretary of State D.F. Dulles, after his "study" visit to the oil-bearing region in May 1953, put forward a proposal to concentrate efforts on the establishment of a coalition of states, where the agreement between Pakistan and Turkey would serve as the basis. Furtherthe whole system of subsequent agreements has led to the creation of an organization whose structure has largely become a reflection of that of NATO.

The Baghdad Pact is an aggressive military organization in the Middle East region represented by the states of Iraq (until March 1959), Turkey, Great Britain, Iran and Pakistan. The laconic name of the pact was taken at the place of signing of the agreement - Baghdad, where until the middle of summer 1958 the leadership of this organization was located. The officially established name of the block - the Middle East Defense Organization (Middle East Defense Organization - MEDO) - existed from February 1955 to August 1959. It should be added that the United States, not being a member of the Baghdad Pact, has been actively involved in the work of its central committees since March 1957.

creation of the Baghdad Pact

Prerequisites for the establishment of the pact

Relations between the countries of the Western world and the Middle East region were previously based on a bilateral basis, but the beginning of the Cold War period made its own adjustments. The development of multilateral diplomacy in the United States and Great Britain was prompted by the task of creating a kind of political cooperation with the states of the region adjacent to the southern borders of the Soviet Union. The planned bloc in the territories of the Near and Middle East was considered by American and British politicians as a defense of the southern border of NATO and a cordon from the geopolitical direction of the USSR towards non-freezing seas. It was planned that the Baghdad Pact is the very final link that canclose the chain of military-political alliances around the Soviet Union and adjacent territories. Undoubtedly, the Korean War of 1950–1953 also influenced bloc politics.

Another event that brought the organization of a multilateral coalition in the Middle East closer was the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry in 1951, which resumed the strengthening of Western control in oil-bearing regions. Thus, the threat to the political and economic interests of the leading powers was seen not only in the expansion of Soviet influence, but also in the intensification of nationalist sentiments.

bloc countries meeting

Formation of the pact

The beginning of the history of the Baghdad Pact was laid on February 24, 1955, when Turkey and Iraq, having reached an agreement, concluded an agreement on mutual cooperation with the aim of jointly organizing security and defense. This agreement was open to all states of the region recognized by both allies. In April of the same year, an agreement was signed in Baghdad between Great Britain and Iraq, which approved the assignment of foggy Albion to this agreement. Pakistan (September 23) and Iran (November 3) joined a few months later. The founding meeting of the pact with the joint participation of the heads of government of Great Britain and the Middle Eastern countries (Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran), as well as the US delegation as a world observer, was held in Baghdad on November 21-22. The result of the meeting was the signing of an agreement that went down in history under the general name of the Baghdad Pact.

It is worth noting that the entire stageThe formation of the pact stemmed from a confrontation between the United States and Britain for control of this bloc. The loss of the latter's high positions, which happened as a result of the failed mission in Egypt in 1956, was the reason that from January 1957 the leading role in the Middle East region actually passed to the United States. France was excluded from participating in the agreement due to the fact that it lost its main positions in this zone back in 1946 (the withdrawal of French armed forces from the Syrian and Lebanese republics), as well as due to imperialist disagreements with the organizers of the pact.

Baghdad pact

Objectives of the pact

Western powers sought outwardly to give the Baghdad Pact a peaceful and secure character. They succeeded in misleading the population of the member states of the agreement and disorienting the world community as to the true intentions of this aggressive bloc. The real goals pursued by the Western imperialists in the formation of this agreement are:

  • increasing struggle against world socialism;
  • pacification of national liberation movements and any progressive acts in the Middle East;
  • exploitation of the state territories of the participants in the pact for military-strategic bases against the USSR and other states of the socialist camp.

All members of the bloc pursued only their purely local interests. For Iran, it was a priority to maintain friendly relations with the UK and the US in order to modernize the country's economy. Turkeytried on the role of a mediator between the West and the East, believing in this way to have dividends on both sides. Pakistan needed the support of the Western allies to successfully compete with India. The motives for Iraq's entry into this bloc were expressed somewhat weaker, which subsequently led to its withdrawal from the Baghdad Treaty.

Iraq's withdrawal from the bloc

Iraq's exit and the formation of CENTO

In July 1958, a coup d'état took place in Iraq, overthrowing the monarchical rule of King Faisal II. The newly-created government did not keep silent about its intention to leave the Baghdad agreement, immediately sealing its headquarters in the Iraqi capital and not taking part in the next meeting of representatives of the Middle East Union in London on July 28-29. Nevertheless, Iraq's withdrawal did not pose any threat to the interests of the leading NATO states. Compared to Turkey and Iran, it did not share a common border with the Soviet Union, so its removal did not have a major impact on the intended strategy of the UK and the United States in the region.

To prevent the collapse of the military-political bloc, the White House signed in March 1959 bilateral agreements with the remaining participants - Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, after which all further activities between states began to be regulated exclusively by these agreements. At the next meeting in Ankara on August 21, 1959, it was decided to rename the Baghdad Pact into the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), thus definingthe geographical position of this organization between NATO and CENTO blocs. CENTO headquarters moved from Baghdad to Ankara.

abolition of CENTO

Block collapse

In the 1960s and 1970s, the activity of the successor to the Baghdad Pact gradually weakened. One of the last significant blows to the bloc came from Turkey in 1974, when it invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern part of the island. Despite the fact that the Turkish offensive had a certain justification, it was negatively regarded by the CENTO participants, who were on good terms with Greece. After these events, the existence of the bloc began to bear a purely formal character.

The Islamic Revolution and a new political order led Iran to withdraw from CENTO in March 1979, followed almost immediately by Pakistan. As a result, only NATO countries began to represent the bloc. The Turkish authorities came up with a proposal to abolish the activities of CENTO due to the fact that the organization has lost its significance in reality. In August 1979, the Middle East bloc officially ceased to exist.

CENTO - Middle East Block


The creation and collapse of the Baghdad Pact (hereinafter CENTO) demonstrated the absence of a solid cementing foundation for this organization. In the presence of a single goal of mutual cooperation in the field of security and defense, the participants differently identified priority areas for its activities. All that actually united the Muslim members of the agreement was the expectation of receiving military and economicaid in large quantities from strong "friends".

The organization until its last days remained an amorphous military-political bloc, where the main reasons for its incapacity are not so much the multidirectional policy of the pact countries and weak interstate cooperation of Muslim participants, but the serious miscalculations of its Western creators.

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