Thursday, February 26, 2009

Iraq's Post-1950 History Revisited: Part 7

(See parts 1-6 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private contractors who are still occupying Iraqi soil (in support of special U.S. corporate interests) to finally be withdrawn from Iraq by Easter 2009.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; and the Obama regime apparently plans to leave between 30,000 and 50,000 U.S. occupation troops stationed in Iraq as "military advisors" until January 1, 2012.

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?

In its April 29, 1959 issue, the New York Times reported that U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director Allen Dulles described the post-March 1959 political situation inside Iraq as "the most dangerous in the world today." Yet Qasim was still unwilling to give any Iraqi communist activists a seat in his government's cabinet in April 1959, despite their demands for cabinet seats.

So on May 1, 1959, between 300,000 and 1 million Iraqis, led by Iraq Communist Party Central Committee members, marched on the streets of Baghdad to demand that Qasim include party members in his government's cabinet. But later in the month, the UK government began shipping arms to the Qasim government to encourage Qasim to begin pursuing a more anti-communist domestic policy; and on May 24, 1959, Qasim began easing Iraqi communist activists out of their positions of mass media power in Iraqi broadcasting. A few weeks later, on June 11, 1959, Qasim also released several hundred anti-communist Iraqi nationalists from prison.

Yet on the first anniversary of the July 1958 Revolution, Qasim appeared to temporarily retreat from his less friendly policy towards Iraqi communist activists by appointing three "fellow travelers" of the party to minor Iraqi government cabinet posts, like the minister of municipalities, on July 13, 1959. But then inter-ethnic violence between Iraqi communist activists of Kurdish background and non-communist Iraqis of Turkish background broke out in Kirkuk between July 14 and July 16, 1959, which left between 31 and 100 Iraqis dead in Kirkuk.

Blaming the Iraqi communist activists for the Kirkuk inter-ethnic violence, Qasim then ordered the arrest of hundreds of rank-and-file Iraqi communist activists and supporters between July 19, 1959 and August 12, 1959. He also shut down the offices of the Iraqi communist activist-led General Federation of Trade Unions and began to rule Iraq in a more dictatorial way. And by the end of September 1959, popular Iraqi support for the Iraq Communist Party had also decreased from the level of popular support it had enjoyed in May 1959. (end of part 7)