Sunday, March 8, 2009

Iraq's Post-1950 History Revisited: Part 16

(See parts 1-15 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private contractors who are still occupying Iraqi soil (in support of special U.S. corporate interests) to finally be withdrawn from Iraq by Easter 2009.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?

Officially, 149 Iraq Communist Party members were executed between February 8, 1963 and the end of the initial 1960s period of Ba'th Party rule in Iraq in November 1963, including 7 of the 19 members of the Iraq Communist Party's Central Committee. But the actual number of Iraqi communist activists executed after the February 8, 1963 coup was apparently much higher. According to Said Aburish's book, A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite:

"The number of people eliminated remains confused and estimates range from 700 to 30,000. Putting various statements by Iraqi exiles together, in all likelihood the figure was nearer five thousand…There were many ordinary people who were eliminated because they continued to resist after the coup became an accomplished fact, but there were also senior army officers, lawyers, professors, teachers, doctors and others. There were pregnant women and old men among them and many were tortured to death in the presence of their young children…The British Committee for Human Rights in Iraq, one of the few international groups to investigate what happened after the coup, confirmed all this in a 1964 report and compared the Ba'thist hit squads to `Hitlerian shock troops.'"

The CIA-backed Ba'th Party was able to overthrow the Qasim regime and then violate the human rights of thousands of Iraqi leftists in February 1963, despite there only being about 15,000 Ba'thist civilian supporters within Iraqi society at that time. But even after it eliminated its Iraqi communist political opponents and held Iraqi state power for the first time between February and November 1963, "the Ba'th was never able at any time to bring together one-third of the crowds that the Communists attracted in 1959," according to The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq book.

Although the Iraq Communist Party enjoyed much more support in Iraqi society between 1958 and early 1963 than the Ba'th Party, surviving Iraq Communist Party leaders later concluded in a 1967 internal self-criticism document that:

"We gave ourselves up to the delusion that we could preserve the mighty revolutionary army, which we built under the extraordinary revolutionary circumstances of 1958-1959, in a condition of passive defense or passive watchfulness indefinitely."

(end of part 16)