Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Iraq's Post-December 1963 History Revisited: Part 2

(See part 1 below)

The history of Iraq is still being influenced by 150,000 U.S. occupation troops and 200,000 private contractors. Yet the mainstream "educational television" stations of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) often appear more eager to broadcast programs about the history of rock music since 1960 than programs about the history of Iraq.

But as Rashid Khalidi observed in the introduction to the 2005 edition of his Resurrecting Empire, "the hubris that allowed Pentagon planners to think that they were somehow immune to the lessons of history produced a grossly mismanaged occupation that has become hated by most Iraqis and has engendered fierce resistance." U.S. anti-war activists, however, may find some knowledge of post-December 1963 Iraqi people's history of use in debating with U.S. opponents of an immediate U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in 2009.

The Ba'th Party was repressed within Iraq between November 18, 1963 and July 1968 by the Aref brothers' nationalist, yet anti-communist, military regime.

But Ba'th activists of Shiite religious backgrounds were apparently repressed more severely by the Aref regime's police (who were primarily of Sunni religious background) than were the Ba'thists of Sunni religious background. So the apparently CIA-backed Ba'thists of Sunni religious background from Takrit were thus able to reorganize the Ba'th Party in 1964 under the leadership of the then-40-year-old Said Ahmad Hassan Al-Bakr and the then-27-year-old Saddam Hussein.

And by July 1968, the Ba'th Party was able to return to power in Iraq by means of two coups--which were each supported by the U.S. oil companies that were angered by the Rahman-Aref regime's oil deal with the Soviet Union.

In the first July 1968 coup, an alliance of Ba'th Party leaders and a clique of palace officers who were Rahman-Aref's closest advisors overthrew the Rahman-Aref regime.

At 2 a.m. on July 17, 1968 the head of the Ba'th Party's Republican Guards, Abd-uf-Rahman ad-Daud, occupied the Broadcasting House in Baghdad with a number of tanks and Republican Guard battalions. Simultaneously, the head of the Rahman-Aref regime's military intelligence network, Abd-u-Razzaq an-Nayet, took control of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and arrested Iraqi Premier Taher Yahaya.

Ba'thist tanks then encircled the Iraqi presidential palace at 3:30 a.m. and Rahman-Aref was arrested.

At 7:28 a.m., the new pro-Ba'thist coup regime leaders then broadcast a proclamation; and by 9:30 a.m. the ousted Rahman-Aref had been flown to the UK.

A second coup was then initiated by the apparently CIA-backed Ba'thist leaders on July 30, 1968 to remove the close advisors of Rahman-Aref who had supported the July 17, 1968 coup from their positions of power. After additional Iraqi military officers had been won over by the Ba'th leaders for this follow-up coup, the Iraqi Army's Tenth Brigade's tanks moved into Baghdad. The Rahman-Aref regime's military intelligence network head who had aligned with the Ba'th leaders to pull the July 17, 1968 coup, Abd-u-Razzaq an-Nayet, was then sent into exile.

The Iraqi head of state prior to the 2003 U.S. military occupation of Iraq (who was captured by U.S. troops on December 13, 2003 and later executed on December 30, 2006), Saddam Hussein, had headed the apparently CIA-backed Ba'th Party's National Security Bureau prior to the July 1968 Ba’th Party coups. And following the July 30, 1968 coup, Saddam Hussein was then given control of the second Ba'th regime's Internal Security and Military Intelligence government operations. (end of part 2)