Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Iraq's Post-1950 History Revisited: Part 1

Most people in the United States would like to see the nearly 150,000 U.S. troops and 200,000 private contractors who are still occupying Iraqi soil (in support of special U.S. corporate interests) to finally be withdrawn from Iraq by Easter 2009. But the Democratic Obama regime is still not willing to immediately bring U.S. troops and private contractors in Iraq back home. Yet if the Obama Administration officials responsible for authorizing the use of U.S. armed forces in Iraq--like U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton--had known more about Iraq's post-1950 history, perhaps U.S. troops and private contractors would not still be spending another Easter in Iraq in 2009?

By 1952, only 6,000 people of Jewish religious background still lived in Iraq; and these remaining Iraqis of Jewish background mostly earned their living under the monarchical regime as either merchants or professionals. But left-wing activist-led resistance to the royalist regime in Iraq still continued during the 1950s.

After Iraq Communist Party leader Fahd's execution in 1949, a 22-year-old Iraqi of Kurdish background, Baha u-d-Din-Nuri, became the leader of the Iraq Communist Party in 1950.; and on August 23, 1952, Iraqi workers went on strike in Basra for four days. In addition, Iraqi peasant revolts began in the rest of the country in 1952 and 1953.

In response, the Iraqi monarchical regime’s police then killed three workers in Basra. But in November 1952, anti-regime street demonstrations, similar to the suppressed January 1948 "Wathbah" protests of Iraqi students and workers, again broke out on the streets of Baghdad. Organized by the Iraqi communist-supported Partisans of Peace anti-imperialist group, this Iraqi "Intifada" demanded that civil liberties be guaranteed in Iraq, that a political system of free, direct elections be established and that the regime's treaty with the UK government be abolished. And on November 22, 1952 a mass demonstration in Baghdad demanded: "Anglo-American Imperialists, Leave Our Country!"

The following day, Iraqi communist leaders led more anti-imperialist street protests in Baghdad. Iraq Communist Party leader Baha u-d-Din-Nuri, for example, was on the streets of Baghdad on November 23, 1952, "when at about one o'clock in the afternoon the United States Information Service library was burned" by protesters, according to the 1978 book The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq by Hanna Batatu.

The Iraqi monarchy's police then killed twelve of the protesters. In response, the anti-imperialist Iraqi demonstrators burned down the local police station. The Iraqi Army was then called into Baghdad to suppress the protests, martial law was declared and all dissident Iraqi political leaders were locked up.

Despite the arrest of its leaders on November 23, 1952, Iraqi communist activists were still able to organize another mass protest on November 24, 1952 condemning the "dictatorship". But the regime's Iraqi soldiers, like the Iraqi police on the previous day, also opened fire on the demonstrators--killing 18 protesters and wounding 84 protesters.

Another new wave of political repression then began in Iraq. So by the end of November 1952, 958 Iraqis were now jailed as political prisoners and 2,041 other Iraqis were now temporarily detained. In addition, another two Iraqi political activists were now sentenced to death. Then on April 13, 1953, the regime's police arrested the Iraq Communist Party leader at that time--Baha-u-d-Din-Nuri. (end of part 1)

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