Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Iraq's Pre-1950 History Revisited: Part 4

(See below for parts 1, 2 and 3.)

Nearly 150,000 U.S. military troops and 200,000 private contractors are still in Iraq trying to exercise a special influence on Iraqi history, by waging an imperialist war on behalf of special U.S. corporate interests. Yet most people in the United States probably didn't learn very much about Iraqi history in their high school social studies courses. But some knowledge of pre-1950 Iraqi history may be of use to U.S. anti-war activists when arguing with U.S. opponents of immediate withdrawal from Iraq and U.S. supporters of the Democratic Obama Regime's war in Iraq, during the next 16 months.

In April and May 1941, an attempt was made by some nationalist Iraqi military officers to finally eliminate British special influence in Iraqi politics. Four nationalist Iraqi colonels marched their troops into Baghdad and installed Rashid Ali-al-Gailani as Iraq’s new premier on April 1, 1941. Besides being supported by anti-fascist, left-wing Iraqi nationalists, Rashid Ali’s anti-British regime was apparently also supported by pro-fascist, right-wing Iraqi nationalists. So some of the mass anti-imperialist street support for the new Rashid Ali regime in April and May 1941 apparently was manipulated and expressed in anti-Semitic attacks on Iraqis of Jewish religious background.

Despite the Rashid Ali government being recognized in a few days by the Soviet Union, this Iraqi regime prohibited Iraqi political parties and Iraqi trade unions; and it was apparently unable to stop the anti-Semitic attacks by its nationalist supporters in the streets on Iraqis of Jewish religious background. So after more British troops were sent, in a "surge", to re-occupy Iraq on June 1, 1941 and the right-wing nationalist Rashid Ali regime collapsed, several hundred Iraqis of Jewish religious background were killed by the disappointed nationalist Iraqi street demonstrators on June 1 and June 2, 1941. In a June 1943 self-criticism of its role in Iraq between April and June 1941, Iraq Communist Party leaders later concluded that their support of the Rashid Ali regime and movement had been a political mistake, because the pro-Rashid Ali right-wing nationalist movement was too pro-fascist in its political orientation.

Following the collapse of Rashid Ali’s regime and the imposition of martial law in Iraq by UK imperialism's puppet government between June 3, 1941 and March 2, 1946, the most influential Iraqi left-wing anti-imperialist political leader during the 1940s was Yusuf Salman Yusuf—who was more popularly known in Iraqi left circles as “Fahd.” Under Fahd’s leadership between 1941 and 1947, the underground Iraq Communist Party attracted a mass base of Iraqi support and became more politically influential in Iraqi society.

Between February 1942 and April 1945, when the imperialist UK government was a World War II ally of the Soviet Union, the Iraq Communist Party did not work for the overthrow of UK imperialism’s puppet feudal monarchy in Iraq. But in April 1945 the Railway Workers Union, whose leaders were members of the Iraq Communist Party, held a 15-day strike in Iraq. As a result of their strike, the Iraqi railway workers were granted wage increases. But, following the strike, Iraqi government authorities also then declared the Railway Workers Union to be an “illegal organization.” (end of part 4)

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