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Baghdad Pact

The signing of the Baghad Pact, 1954.

The signing of the Baghad Pact, 1955.

Defence pact involving Middle Eastern countries, from 1954 until effectively 1979.
The Baghdad Pact is also know under the more correct term of Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), which was the term used after Iraq left in 1959. It is also referred to as Middle East Treaty Organization. The name comes from the signing that too place in Baghdad, Iraq in 1955.
The treaty was initiated by USA and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, consisting of most West European countries, Turkey, USA and Canada) as part of the intent to create a worldwide chain of anti-Soviet alliances. At the first stage, Turkey signed a Pact of Mutual Cooperation with Pakistan. This was soon expanded to include Iraq. Then followed Iran and Britain. Eventually, USA would also participate in the pact's work.
The pact involved cooperation for security and defence and refraining from any form of interference in internal affairs. The pact which intended to secure the common protection of all the member countries never resulted in actual combat, but it did succeed in keeping the Soviet Union at a distance. The Soviet Union considered the pact as "aggressive" and that there was a "false pretext that this is in the interests of the defence of the countries of this area".
It was designed to be open for new members, principally coming from the Arab League. Western countries even tried to force Lebanon, Jordan and Syria to join, but without success.
With the signing of the pact, Britain handed over its two air-bases in Iraq to national authorities. During its short career in the alliance, Iraq was the strongest regional participant, and even served as the chief protagonist of a western alliance in the Arab world.

1954 February: Turkey signs a Pact of Mutual Cooperation with Pakistan.
1955 February 24: A military agreement is signed between Iraq and Turkey, and the term "Baghdad Pact" begins to be used.
— Iran, Pakistan and Britain join the Baghdad Pact.
1959 March: The new republican regime of Iraq withdraws the country from the alliance.
1965: Pakistan tries to get help from their allies in their war against India, but without success.
1971: In a new war with India, Pakistan tries once again unsuccessfully to get allied assistance.
1979: The new Islamic regime of Iran withdraws the country from CENTO, as the alliance now is known.

By Tore Kjeilen