BAGHDAD, IRAQ -- Iraqi officials have ended a three-month propaganda truce with archrival Syria, describing its recent diplomatic moves in the Iran-Iraq war as "treacherous."

Renewed Iraqi condemnation of Syria appears to have broken down a rapprochement forged in last November's Arab League summit conference, under the aegis of Jordan's King Hussein. The new propaganda battle appears to signify a major setback for the strong Arab consensus that emerged from the summit, which condemned Iran for its attacks on Arab territory and reiterated Arab support for a United Nations cease-fire resolution passed last July.

Iraqi suspicions have been raised by Syrian efforts last month to open a dialogue between Iran and the Arab states on the Persian Gulf that support Iraq, according to Arab and western officials in the region. Iraqi commentators in the closely controlled government press have accused Syria of assisting Iran in brokering a "separate peace" with Iraq's main financial backers in the region.

Now, the propaganda "truce is over," one western diplomat here said.

In a statement to visiting Arab journalists released last week, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein accused Syria of reneging on the strong anti-Iran consensus reached in Amman and of returning to a "presummit atmosphere." He said that if a "certain party" was unable to assist in bringing the Iran-Iraq war to an end, "they should at least not ally themselves with the enemies of the Arab nation."

Iraq's suspicions have grown because of mixed signals from gulf Arab leaders, notably Saudi Arabian King Fahd and United Arab Emirates President Zayed bin Sultan Nahayan, on Arab willingness to open new channels to Tehran at a time when Iran's leadership remains openly committed to continuing the war.

Both of the leaders have voiced continued support for Iraq while at the same time calling for a regional dialogue with Iran.

In December, Fahd presided over a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which groups six Arab states that have, in varying degrees, supported Iraq. There, knowledgeable Arab officials said, he alternately took harsh and conciliatory stands toward Iran. At the end of the meeting, Fahd and the other heads of state authorized Nahayan to explore a diplomatic initiative between Iran and the council members.

Syria, which is not part of the council, quickly seized the opening, dispatching Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam and Foreign Minister Farouk Charaa to the gulf. Immediately, reports of "progress" in a new peace initiative began appearing in gulf Arab newspapers.

But one well-placed Arab government official said at the time, "The Syrian initiative isn't going anywhere." A western official agreed with other sources, saying that the Syrian shuttle diplomacy is "getting under Saddam's skin."

Iraqi officials also fear the Syrian effort is undercutting the United Nations Security Council debate on imposing an arms embargo against Iran for failing to abide by last summer's cease-fire vote. Although the Security Council indicated last month it was prepared to go forward with an embargo, the Soviet Union and China are reported to be delaying a vote by seizing upon any sign of diplomatic progress that would forestall it.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz last week renewed Iraq's criticism of Soviet policy by warning that there are "circles inside the Security Council and elsewhere that have no intention of officially and publicly admitting the fact that Iran has been the party refusing to comply with {the U.N. cease-fire} resolution."

Syrian officials also have taken credit in recent weeks for persuading Iran to postpone an expected winter offensive against Iraq's southern city of Basra, which has been heavily damaged by numerous ground and artillery attacks in past winters. But a number of Arab officials interviewed in recent weeks have expressed skepticism that Syrian diplomatic shuttling between Tehran and gulf Arab capitals has had any measurable impact on the military strategy of the Iranian leadership.

These officials say Iranian military leaders are still in the process of mobilizing the manpower and weaponry that would give them an assault force as large as the one assembled last winter, when Iran launched human-wave and artillery attacks against the well-defended approaches to Basra. Western sources familiar with satellite photography of the war zone say Iran currently has in place only 50 to 70 percent of the manpower and artillery that was there at the outset of last year's drive.

"If you are not ready to attack in the first place, why not let Syria take credit for winning a delay?" asked one gulf-based Arab analyst.