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Saddam and the Islamists: The Ba‘thist Regime’s Instrumentalization of Religion in Foreign Affairs


Based on extensive archival research with newly available Iraqi state and Ba‘th Party documents, this article attempts to shed light on the Saddam Husayn regime’s relationship with Islamists and Islamism, arguing that it instrumentalized Islam in its foreign policy to an unprecedented extent, but not out of ideological conviction. This article, therefore, clarifies an important issue in the historiography of Saddam’s Iraq and suggests that religion can play a concrete role in international relations.