In December 1979, the Bulgarian Intelligence Service reports to Berlin on a tense series of situations regarding Arab students studying in Sofia. After several fights break out between Ba'athist and communist students, resulting in many severe injuries, the nation of Iraq decides to recall a large number of its students studying in Bulgaria.
December 9, 1979
Meeting with a Baath Party Member on Conflicts Between Iraqi Communists and Baathists in East Germany and Bulgaria
This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation
Embassy of the GDR
in the Republic of Iraq
Baghdad, 9 December 1979
N o t e
on a Meeting with a Partner (ASBP Member) on 9 December 1979 about the Incidents in Sofia
In order to legitimize his position (defense of the Iraqi reaction) the partner referred to an internal [Baath] party information to explain the Sofia incidents and provided on 7/8 December 1979 to ASBP [Arab Socialist Baath Party] ground organizations. This party information also refers to similar encounters between Iraqi communists and Baathists in Berlin/GDR and London. The material said this about the GDR incident:
Recently the adjutant of the Iraqi President, Sabah al-Mirza, brother of a trade attache at the Iraqi Embassy in the GDR, was insulted in a Berlin restaurant by two Iraqi communists in the presence of embassy employees. GDR policemen intervened in the subsequent confrontation and fistfight. In general, they treated both sides correctly, i.e. equally. Unlike as in Sofia, they did not treat one side preferentially (the ICP members).
Again in contrast to Bulgaria, the GDR had granted political asylum to a few Iraqi communists only and even expelled some of them later.
The Iraqi Embassy had repeatedly, and to no avail, alerted the Bulgarian authorities about the “actions of criminal elements” from the ICP in the country. They had clearly operated against Iraq, the Iraqi leadership and the Baathist students in Bulgaria.
Although a Baath party member was killed by ICP members in the recent incident in Sofia, the Bulgarian security organs and government institutions clearly sided with the provoking communists and thus favored the murderers. Now the Iraqi patience has run out, and Bulgaria will have to face the full hardship of the Iraqi embargo. This also includes in particular sanctions like a freeze in economic relations, refraining from new agreements, cancellation of oil exports to Bulgaria, and ending the Iraqi transit so lucrative for Bulgaria.
The party information emphasizes explicitly that this Iraqi decision is not directed against relationships with the socialist states in general. Iraq is expecting from every state, and primarily in first place from the friendly socialist states, a strict non-interference into Iraqi internal matters and a full respect of Iraqi interests.
The informant is a functionary in an ASBP ground organization at Baghdad University. He enjoys extensive contacts with individuals in the party apparatus and political life. In general he is well informed. So far his informations have turned out in general as correct.
Baghdad, 9 December 1979
Signed Dr. Timm
Summary of a meeting with an informant from the Arab Socialist Baath Party (ASBP) about conflicts between Iraqi communists and Baath party members in East Germany and Bulgaria. The Baathists feel Bulgarian authorities are siding unfairly with the Iraq Communist Party and are planning sanctions in response.
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