Mustafa Al-Saray: researcher in Al bayan center- political studies department
Iraqi-Syrian relations have not been stable throughout the historical period, involving geographical common factors, social ties, and mutual economic relations, security tensions and political volatility were the clearest factors, and affected the course of relations. Many times both party’s relations suffered from security and political tensions before 2003, With an important common presence, which is the ruling party itself in both countries, and even after 2003, and after the regime changed, it became different after the outbreak of the events of the Syrian crisis, especially after the terrorist organization ISIS took control of Iraqi territory in 2014, which made Iraq change political and security positions very significantly towards Syria, and Iraq tried to play a neutral role in the crisis.
The tension between the countries
Iraqi-Syrian relations have been marked by continuous disagreement and tension over time, but great tension became clear after the change of the political regime in Iraq in 2003, as Syria expressed its great and clear fears of the process of changing the Iraqi regime effect, and what confirms these concerns is the issuance by the US Congress of the law punishing Syria in December 2003,
Syria showed deep concern about the change in the Iraqi political regime and how it will affect Syria, What confirms these concerns is the issuance by the US Congress of the law punishing Syria in December 2003, and what would have suggested that Syria would not be the next country to change the political system after Iraq. and began a major turning point in the history of relations between the two parties, as Syria pursued various methods to impede the American presence in Iraq and threaten Iraqi stability, with the help of regional States, because of the sense of danger experienced by Syria not only from the political and security side, but also from the economic side, as oil exports through its territory ceased after it resumed before the occupation, and the low level of economic relations, which increased considerably in the years from (2000 – 2002), all these factors helped the Syrian presence in Iraq to be negatI’ve, and he lived through a period of tension and security intersections, particularly during the Government of Mr. (Nuri al-Maliki) First session adopting the vision of the Islamist Dawa party rejecting the Baath party (The ruling party in Syria), which Syria has sheltered senior members of the Baath Party fleeing Iraq, whose numbers range from (30.000) to (40,000), providing them with safe haven, allowing them to enter with their families, and engaging in their armed political and security activities, both opposition and economic and social, which Iraq considered a threat to its national security in the new regime. Not only that, on 13 May 2005, the former Iraqi Foreign Minister was charged (Hoshyar Zebari) Syria supplied terrorist elements to Iraq. Syria contains training camps for thoughtful terrorists who infiltrate Syrian territory into Iraq. This led the Iraqi Government to accuse Syria of destabilizing Iraqi security and the conduct of the democratic process.
The relationship between Iraq and Syria intensified ahead of the 2010 parliament elections in Iraq, through which Syria supported the Iraqi List headed by the Iraqi president (Iyad Allawi), opposite her strongest rival, the State of Law coalition that he headed. Even after the announcement of the election results and the rise of the Iraqi List, Syria supported the government through understanding with the movement’s leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, but Iranian interference prevented it, as Iran used relations with Syria, to resolve the dispute between the Assad regime and the Maliki government, relations continued to fluctuate until the outbreak of 2011 in Syria, and the accompanying crisis.
At the same time, that tension has not prevented Syria from receiving millions of Iraqi migrants who have been displaced, Because of terrorist and sectarian acts in Iraq, and facilitating their entry and stability, which brought significant economic and social returns to Syria, it was used as a pressure card on the Iraqi Government on the one hand, and foreign forces present in Iraq on the other.