Thursday, February 19, 2009

Iraq's Post-1950 History Revisited: Part 3

(See parts 1-2 below)

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private contractors who are still occupying Iraqi soil (in support of special U.S. corporate interests) to finally be withdrawn from Iraq by Easter 2009.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?

When it was formed in Iraq in 1952, the Iraqi branch of the pan-Arab nationalist Ba'th Party was, at first, linked to Syria’s Ba’th Party branch and, initially, apparently only had 50 members in Iraq. And in 1955, the Ba'th Party in Iraq still only had 289 members, although Syria's Ba'th Party branch had been able to gain control of the Syrian government by 1954. The Iraqi head of state prior to the 2003 U.S. military occupation of Iraq who was captured by U.S. troops on December 13, 2003 and later executed on December 30, 2006, Saddam Hussein, apparently began his connection to Iraq's anti-communist Ba'th Party in 1955, when he was 18 years-old.

Yet a year after Saddam Hussein joined the Ba’th Party, it was the Iraq Communist Party--not the Ba’th Party--which led the mass street protests in Iraq between November 1 and November 24, 1956 that protested the involvement of the monarchist Iraqi regime's Baghdad Pact ally, the UK government, in the 1956 military attack on Egypt by the UK, French and Israeli governments. Although the regime's police were able to suppress these November 1956 street protests, opposition to the monarchy within Iraqi military's officer corps increased following these Iraqi communist activist-led anti-imperialist demonstrations..

Inspired by the way Egyptian nationalist military officers, led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, had overthrown Egypt's King Farouk in 1952, an Iraqi military officer named Rif'af al-Han Sirri had organized a cell of a Free Officers group within the Iraqi military in 1952. And by the end of 1956, there were 4 cells of Free Officers within the Iraqi military.

By the end of 1957, there were 172 members of the Free Officers in Iraq; and on the eve of the July 1958 overthrow of the Iraqi monarchy, 200 Iraqi military officers were part of the group. Less than 5% of the entire memberships of the Iraqi military’s officer corps, however, were members of the Free Officers on the eve of the 1958 Iraqi military coup that finally overthrew the UK imperialism’s puppet monarchical regime in Iraq.

But in September of 1956, Iraqi communist activists had established contact with one of the dissident Iraqi military officers, Brigadier General Abdul Karim Qasim. In 1957 the Free Officers' leaders who composed the Supreme National Committee also selected Qasim as their leader. Another member of the Supreme National Committee of Iraqi military officers, Kamal Umar Nashma, was also a member of the Iraq Communist Party. And after 80 junior officers of the Iraqi military joined the Free Officers in November 1957, Qasim met directly with Kamal Umar Nashma in early 1958.

Later in 1958, without the knowledge of other members of the Free Officer' Supreme National Committee, Qasim then decided to unilaterally act to overthrow the royalist regime.

So in the late evening of July 13, 1958, 3,000 Iraqi soldiers of the 20th Infantry Brigade were ordered by Qasim to move towards Baghdad. At 4:30 a.m. on July 14, 1958, Qasim's troops then entered Baghdad and seized the monarchical regime's radio station, Ministry of Defense and royal palace, as well as the house of Nuri as-Said, the regime's prime minister. At 8 a.m., Iraq's Hashemite king and his family were then killed; and when the fleeing Nuri as-Said--disguised in a women's dress--was recognized the following day on the street by a crowd of anti-imperialist Iraqis, the angry crowd killed him also.

On July 14, 1958, Iraqi communist activists also then helped mobilize 100,000 Iraqis to protest on the streets of Baghdad in support of Qasim's anti-royalist military coup; and the property of the Hashemite royal family in Iraq was declared confiscated on July 19, 1958. A provisional Iraqi constitution, giving a Council of Ministers legislative and executive power, was then enacted on July 27, 1958. (end of part 3)

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