Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Iraq's Pre-1950 History Revisited: Part 5

(See below for parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.)

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.

After martial law was lifted by the Iraq’s monarchical regime on March 2, 1946, press censorship was ended, Iraq’s detention camp was closed and five Iraqi political parties were finally allowed to engage in above-ground legal political activity. On May 23, 1946, however, the government of Arshad al-Umari reversed the monarchical regime’s liberalization policy.

But then a new wave of anti-imperialist Iraqi popular revolt soon began to sweep the country again after June 1946. Organized by a coalition of the Iraq Communist Party-led League Against Zionism and the illegal non-communist National Liberation Party of Iraq, 3,000 Iraqi students and workers in Baghdad marched on the British Embassy on June 28, 1946 to demand both the expulsion of the UK imperialists from Iraq and justice for the Palestinian people.

The police of the puppet Iraqi monarchy first clubbed the anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist Iraqi protesters; and then they started shooting at them. One demonstrator, an Iraq Communist Party member named Shaul Tuwayyeq, was killed and four other protesters were wounded.

The June 28, 1946 Iraqi police shooting of Iraqi demonstrators marked the first time that the Iraqi monarchy’s police had ever shot at peaceful Iraqi protesters since the British government had set up its puppet regime in 1921. A few days later, on July 3, 1946, 5,000 workers at the Iraq Petroleum Company facility in Kirkuk, under the leadership of Iraq Communist Party activists, then went out on strike for higher wages; and in the Iraqi town of Gawurpaghi, the striking workers began holding mass meetings.

On July 12, 1946, however, the police of Iraq’s puppet monarchy tried to break up a meeting of the striking workers in Gawurpaghi by shooting at the Iraqi oil workers. Ten Iraqi oil workers were killed and 27 oil workers were wounded in what is known in Iraqi history as the “Massacre of Gawurpaghi.” (end of part 5)