The relationship once shared between the late Syrian and Iraqi leaders, Hafez al-Assad and Saddam Hussein, can be described as both complicated and intertwining. So was the history between Damascus and Baghdad. Many factors, such as politics, sectarianism, ideology, and geography, defined the characteristics of the ties between Iraq and Syria and the race towards leadership in the region. The roots of the competition for regional domination can be traced back to the interlocked fate of the two countries. Baathists had arrived in power in Damascus in March 1963 but ended up losing Baghdad by the end of the same…

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