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Central Treaty Organization (CENTO)

CENTRAL TREATY ORGANIZATION (CENTO)

mutual-defense group of middle eastern countries and britain, 19591979.

After the Iraqi revolution of July 1958, Iraq withdrew from the Baghdad Pact in March 1959. With its patronymic city now in a hostile country, the pact was renamed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). Its membership included Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Great Britain, with the United States as an associate member. CENTO, like its predecessor, was initially conceived as a defense organization on the lines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); the northern tier of Middle Eastern countries that formed the southern boundary of the USSR were strategically important to the cold warriors of the West. While not officially part of CENTO, the United States was an active supporter, and it obtained the use of military bases and intelligence outposts in each of the northern-tier countries. By the late 1960s, CENTO had become more important as an economic bloc, though it remained a crux of American military planning. CENTO became defunct after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

see also baghdad pact (1955); north atlantic treaty organization (nato).


Bibliography

Bill, James A. The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of AmericanIranian Relations. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988.

Campbell, John Coert. Defense of the Middle East, 2d edition. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, Harper, 1960.

Hurewitz, J. C. Middle East Politics: The Military Dimension. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, Praeger, 1969.

Lenczowski, George. The Middle East in World Affairs, 4th edition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980.

Zachary Karabell

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