Friday, February 13, 2009

Iraq's Pre-1950 History Revisited: Part 7

(See below for parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.)

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.

Iraq Communist Party leader Fahd’s life imprisonment sentence in July of 1947 did not stop the anti-imperialist protests in Iraq from continuing. Under the feudal monarchy’s 1930 treaty with the UK government, the British imperialists were allowed to occupy two air bases on Iraqi soil. After the Iraq Communist Party’s newspaper called for the overthrow of the monarchy’s latest regime, the Salih Jabr regime, anti-imperialist Iraqi students demonstrated on January 4, 1948 to demand that no re-negotiated agreement to allow the UK government to retain its bases in Iraq be signed by the Iraqi monarchy’s government. But on January 16, 1948, the terms of the Iraqi puppet government’s new Portsmouth treaty with UK imperialism were announced: the British military was going to still be allowed to occupy two air bases in Iraq and only minor changes in the 1930 treaty were going to be made.

To protest against this Portsmouth Agreement, the Iraqi university students immediately began a 3-day strike on January 16, 1948; and the Iraq Communist Party activists who led the Student Cooperation Committee organized a mass protest march in Baghdad, which included Iraqi workers, on January 20, 1948. In response, the Iraqi puppet government’s police first beat protesters and then shot at the protest march--killing two Iraqi demonstrators and wounding seventeen demonstrators after the Iraqi protesters began to fight back.

The following day, on January 21, 1948, the Iraqi puppet government cancelled its Portsmouth Agreement with the British government. But Iraq Communist Party activists kept the demonstrations going; and enormous crowds were mobilized to pack the streets on January 23, 1948 and during the next few days.

Near the Royal Hospital in Baghdad on January 27, 1948, however, Iraqi police again fired on a crowd of protesters and killed four more anti-imperialist Iraqi demonstrators. The Iraqi monarchy’s police then brought armored cars and machine guns to the scene and, when the protesting crowds began to regroup, the Iraqi police began to fire their machine guns at the unarmed people. According to the 1978 book The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq, “the total figure for dead and injured” on January 27, 1948, “is commonly set at between 300 and 400.” (end of part 7)