Abd al-Karim Qasim

Last updated
Abd al-Karim Qasim
Abd al-Karim Qasim 5.jpg
24th Prime Minister of Iraq
In office
14 July 1958 8 February 1963
President Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i
Preceded by Ahmad Mukhtar Baban
Succeeded by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Personal details
Born(1914-11-21)21 November 1914 [1]
Baghdad, Ottoman Empire
Died9 February 1963(1963-02-09) (aged 48)
Baghdad, Iraq
Nationality Iraqi
Political party Independent [lower-alpha 1]

Abd Al-Karim Qasim Muhammed Bakr Al-Fadhli Al-Zubaidi (Arabic : عبد الكريم قاسم`Abd Al-Karīm QāsimIPA:  [ʕabdulkariːm qaːsɪm] ) (21 November 1914 – 9 February 1963), was a nationalist Iraqi Army brigadier who seized power when the Iraqi monarchy was overthrown during the 14 July Revolution. He ruled the country as 24th Prime Minister until his downfall and death during the 1963 Ramadan Revolution.

Iraqi Army land warfare branch of Iraqs military

The Iraqi Army, officially the Iraqi Ground Forces, is the ground force component of the Iraqi Armed Forces, having been active in various incarnations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It was known as the Royal Iraqi Army up until the coup of July 1958.

Brigadier is a military rank, the seniority of which depends on the country. In some countries, it is a senior rank above colonel, equivalent to a brigadier general, typically commanding a brigade of several thousand soldiers. In other countries, it is a non-commissioned rank.

Kingdom of Iraq 1921-1958 monarchy in the Middle East

The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq was founded on 23 August 1921 under British administration following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the Mesopotamian campaign of World War I. Although a League of Nations mandate was awarded to the UK in 1920, the 1920 Iraqi revolt resulted in the scrapping of the original mandate plan in favour of a British administered semi-independent kingdom, under the Hashemite allies of Britain, via the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty. The Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq was granted full independence in 1932, following the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty (1930). The independent Iraqi Kingdom under the Hashemite rulers underwent a period of turbulence through its entire existence. Establishment of Sunni religious domination in Iraq was followed by Assyrian, Yazidi and Shi'a unrests, which were all brutally suppressed. In 1936, the first military coup took place in the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq, as Bakr Sidqi succeeded in replacing the acting Prime Minister with his associate. Multiple coups followed in a period of political instability, peaking in 1941.

Contents

During his rule, Qasim was popularly known as al-za‘īm (الزعيم) or, "The Leader". [2]

Early life and career

Qasim in 1937. Qasim 1937.jpg
Qasim in 1937.

Abd al-Karim's father, Qasim Muhammed Bakr Al-Fadhli Al-Zubaidi, was a farmer from southern Baghdad [3] and an Iraqi Sunni Muslim [4] who died during World War 1, shortly after his son's birth I. Qasim's mother, Kayfia Hassan Yakub Al-Sakini [5] was a Shiite Muslim from Baghdad.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Baghdad Capital of Iraq

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq. The population of Baghdad, as of 2016, is approximately 8,765,000, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world, and the second largest city in Western Asia.

When Qasim was six his family moved to Suwayra, a small town near the Tigris, then to Baghdad in 1926. Qasim was an excellent student and entered secondary school on a government scholarship.[ citation needed ] After graduation in 1931, he taught at Shamiyya Elementary School from 22 October until 3 September 1932, when he was accepted into Military College. In 1934, he graduated as a second lieutenant. Qasim then attended al-Arkan (Iraqi Staff) College and graduated with honours (grade A) in December 1941. In 1951, he completed a senior officers’ course in Devizes, Wiltshire. Although shy and lacking in "the rabble-rousing skills on which most successful Arab politicians rely", he was nonetheless nicknamed "the snake charmer" by his classmates in Devizes, because of his gift in convincing them to undertake improbable courses of action during military exercises. [6]

Devizes town in Wiltshire, England

Devizes is a market town and civil parish in the centre of Wiltshire, England. It developed around Devizes Castle, an 11th-century Norman castle, and received a charter in 1141 permitting regular markets, which are held weekly in an open market place. The castle was besieged during the Anarchy, a 12th-century civil war between Stephen of England and Empress Matilda, and again during the English Civil War when the Cavaliers (Royalists) lifted the siege during the Battle of Roundway Down. Devizes remained under Royalist control until 1645, when Oliver Cromwell attacked and forced the Royalists to surrender. The castle was destroyed in 1648 on the orders of Parliament, and today little remains of it.

Wiltshire County of England

Wiltshire is a county in South West England with an area of 3,485 km2. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. The county town was originally Wilton, after which the county is named, but Wiltshire Council is now based in the county town of Trowbridge.

Militarily, he participated in the suppression of the tribal disturbances in the Middle Euphrates region in 1935, during the Anglo-Iraqi War in May 1941 and in the Kurdistan War in 1945. Qasim also served during the Iraqi military involvement in the Arab-Israeli War from May 1948 to June 1949. Toward the latter part of the mission, he commanded a battalion of the First Brigade, which was situated in the Kafr Qasem area south of Qilqilya. In 1956–57, he served with his brigade at Mafraq in Jordan in the wake of the Suez Crisis. By 1957 Qasim had assumed leadership of several opposition groups that had formed in the army. [7]

Anglo-Iraqi War war

The Anglo–Iraqi War was a British-led Allied military campaign against the Kingdom of Iraq led by the Axis aligned government of Rashid Ali, which had seized power during the Second World War. The campaign resulted in the downfall of Ali's government, the re-occupation of Iraq by the British Empire, and the return to power of the Regent of Iraq, Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, an ally to imperial Britain.

Suez Crisis diplomatic and military confrontation in late 1956 involving Egypt, Britain, France and Israel

The Suez Crisis, or the Second Arab–Israeli War, also named the Tripartite Aggression in the Arab world and Operation Kadesh or Sinai War in Israel, was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by the United Kingdom and France. The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had just nationalized the canal. After the fighting had started, political pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Nations led to a withdrawal by the three invaders. The episode humiliated the United Kingdom and France and strengthened Nasser.

14 July Revolution

Qasim (back row, left of centre) and other leaders of the revolution, including Abdul Salam Arif (back row, second from left) and Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i (back row, fifth from left). Also included is Ba'athist ideologue Michel Aflaq (front row, first from right). Leaders of July 14 1958 Revolution.jpg
Qasim (back row, left of centre) and other leaders of the revolution, including Abdul Salam Arif (back row, second from left) and Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i (back row, fifth from left). Also included is Ba'athist ideologue Michel Aflaq (front row, first from right).

On 14 July 1958, Qasim and his followers used troop movements planned by the government as an opportunity to seize military control of Baghdad and overthrow the monarchy. This resulted in the killing of several members of the royal family and their close associates, including Nuri as-Said.

The coup was discussed and planned by the Free Officers, but was mainly executed by Qasim and Col. Abdul Salam Arif. It was triggered when King Hussein of Jordan, fearing that an anti-Western revolt in Lebanon might spread to Jordan, requested Iraqi assistance. Instead of moving towards Jordan, however, Colonel Arif led a battalion into Baghdad and immediately proclaimed a new republic and the end of the old regime. Put in its historical context, the 14 July Revolution was the culmination of a series of uprisings and coup attempts that began with the 1936 Bakr Sidqi coup and included the 1941 Rashid Ali military movement, the 1948 Wathbah Uprising, and the 1952 and 1956 protests. The 14 July Revolution met with virtually no opposition.

Prince Abdul Ilah wanted no resistance to the forces that besieged the Royal Rihab Palace, hoping to gain permission to leave the country. The commander of the Royal Guards battalion on duty, Col. Taha Bamirni, ordered the palace guards to cease fire.[ citation needed ]

On 14 July 1958, the royal family including King Faisal II; the Prince 'Abd al-Ilah; Princess Hiyam, Abdullah's wife; Princess Nafisah, Abdullah's mother, Princess Abadiyah, the king's aunt, and several servants were attacked as they were leaving the palace. When all of them arrived in the courtyard they were told to turn towards the palace wall. All were then shot by Captain Abdus Sattar As Sab’, a member of the coup led by Brigadier Abd al-Karim Qasim. [8]

King Faisal II and Princess Hiyam were wounded. The King died later before reaching hospital. Princess Hiyam was not recognized at the hospital and managed to receive treatment. Later she left for Saudi Arabia where her family lived. She later moved to Egypt and lived there until her death.

In the wake of the successful coup, the new Iraqi Republic was headed by a Revolutionary Council. [8] At its head was a three-man sovereignty council, composed of members of Iraq's three main communal/ethnic groups. Muhammad Mahdi Kubbah represented the Shi’a population; Khalid al-Naqshabandi the Kurds; and Najib al Rubay’i the Sunni population. [9] This tripartite was to assume the role of the Presidency. A cabinet was created, composed of a broad spectrum of Iraqi political movements: this included two National Democratic Party representatives, one member of al-Istiqlal, one Ba’ath representative and one Marxist. [8]

After seizing power, Qasim assumed the post of Prime Minister and Defence Minister, while Colonel Arif was selected as Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister. They became the highest authority in Iraq with both executive and legislative powers. Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i became chairman of the Sovereignty Council (head of state), but his power was very limited.

On July 26, 1958, the Interim Constitution was adopted, pending a permanent law to be promulgated after a free referendum. According to the document, Iraq was to be a republic and a part of the Arab nation whilst the official state religion was listed as Islam. Powers of legislation were vested in the Council of Ministers, with the approval of the Sovereignty Council, whilst executive function was also vested in the Council of Ministers. [9] The constitution proclaimed the equality of all Iraqi citizens under the law and granting them freedom without regard to race, nationality, language or religion. The government freed political prisoners and granted amnesty to the Kurds who participated in the 1943 to 1945 Kurdish uprisings. The exiled Kurds returned home and were welcomed by the republican regime.[ citation needed ]

Prime minister

Qasim with future president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani. Massoud Barzani & Abd al-Karim Qasim.jpg
Qasim with future president of Iraqi Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani.
The flag of Iraq from 1959 to 1963, whose symbolism was associated with Qasim's government Flag of Iraq 1959-1963.svg
The flag of Iraq from 1959 to 1963, whose symbolism was associated with Qasim's government

Qasim assumed office after being elected as Prime Minister briefly after the coup in July 1958. He held this position until he was overthrown in February 1963.

Despite the encouraging tones of the temporary constitution, the new government descended into an autocracy with Qasim at its head. The genesis of Qasim's elevation to "Sole Leader" began with a schism between himself and his fellow conspirator Arif. Despite one of the major goals of the revolution being to join the pan-Arabism movement and practice qawmiyah policies, Qasim soon modified his views, once in power. Qasim, reluctant to tie himself too closely to Nasser's Egypt- and sided with various groups within Iraq (notably the social democrats) that told him such an action would be dangerous- instead found himself echoing the views of his predecessor, Said, by adopting a wataniyah policy of "Iraq First". [10] [11]

The Iraqi state emblem under Qasim was mostly based on the sun disk symbol of Shamash, and carefully avoided pan-Arab symbolism by incorporating elements of Socialist heraldry. Emblem of Iraq (1959-1965).svg
The Iraqi state emblem under Qasim was mostly based on the sun disk symbol of Shamash, and carefully avoided pan-Arab symbolism by incorporating elements of Socialist heraldry.

Unlike the bulk of military officers, Qasim did not come from the Arab Sunni north-western towns nor did he share their enthusiasm for pan-Arabism: he was of mixed Sunni-Shia parentage from south-eastern Iraq. Qasim's ability to remain in power depended, therefore, on a skillful balancing of the communists and the pan-Arabists. For most of his tenure, Qasim sought to balance the growing pan-Arab trend in the military.

Qasim lifted a ban on the Iraqi Communist Party, and demanded the annexation of Kuwait.[ citation needed ] He was also involved in the 1958 Agrarian Reform, modelled after the Egyptian experiment of 1952. [12]

Qasim is said by his admirers to have worked to improve the position of ordinary people in Iraq, after the long period of self-interested rule by a small elite under the monarchy which had resulted in widespread social unrest. Qasim passed law No. 80 which seized 99% of Iraqi land from the British-owned Iraq Petroleum Company, and distributed farms to more of the population. [13] This increased the size of the middle class. Qasim also oversaw the building of 35,000 residential units to house the poor and lower middle classes. The most notable example, and indeed symbol, of this was the new suburb of Baghdad named Madinat al-Thawra (revolution city), renamed Saddam City under the Baath regime and now widely referred to as Sadr City. Qasim rewrote the constitution to encourage women's participation in society. [14]

Qasim tried to maintain the political balance by using the traditional opponents of pan-Arabs, the right wing and nationalists. Up until the war with the Kurdish factions in the north he was able to maintain the loyalty of the army. [15]

Power struggles

Despite a shared military background, the group of Free Officers that carried out the July 14 Revolution was plagued by internal dissension. Its members lacked both a coherent ideology and an effective organizational structure. Many of the more senior officers resented having to take orders from Arif, their junior in rank. A power struggle developed between Qasim and Arif over joining the Egyptian-Syrian union. Arif's pro-Nasserite sympathies were supported by the Baath Party, while Qasim found support for his anti-unification position in the ranks of the Iraqi Communist Party.

Qasim's change of policy aggravated his relationship with Arif. The latter, despite being the subordinate of Qasim, had gained great prestige as the perpetrator of the coup itself. Arif capitalised upon his new found position by partaking in a series of widely publicised public orations, during which he strongly advocated union with the UAR, making numerous positive references to Nasser, while remain noticeably less full of praise for Qasim. Arif's criticism of Qasim became gradually more pronounced leading the latter to take steps to counter his potential rival. Qasim began to foster relations with the Iraqi Communist Party, who attempted to mobilise support in favour of his policies. He also moved to counter Arif's base of power by removing him from his position as deputy commander of the armed forces.

On September 30 Qasim removed Arif's status as Deputy Prime Minister and as Minister of the Interior. [16] Qasim attempted to remove Arif's disruptive influence by offering him a role as Iraqi ambassador to West Germany in Bonn. Arif refused, and in a confrontation with Qasim on October 11, Arif is reported to have drawn his pistol in the presence of Qasim; although whether it was to assassinate Qasim or commit suicide is a source of debate. [16] [17] No blood was shed, and Arif agreed to depart for Bonn. However his time in Germany was brief, as he attempted to return to Baghdad on November 4 amid rumours of an attempted coup against Qasim. He was promptly arrested, and charged on November 5 with attempted assassination of Qasim and attempts to overthrow the regime. [16] He was brought to trial for treason and condemned to death in January 1959; but was subsequently pardoned in December 1962 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.[ citation needed ]

Although the threat of Arif had been negated, another soon arose in the form of Rashid Ali, the exiled former Prime Minister who had fled Iraq in 1941. Ali attempted to foster support among officers who were unhappy at Qasim's policy reversals. A coup was planned for December 9, but Qasim was prepared, and instead had the conspirators arrested on the same date. Ali was imprisoned and sentenced to death, although the execution was never carried out.[ citation needed ]

Relations with Iran

Relations with Iran and the West deteriorated significantly under Qasim's leadership, he actively opposed foreign troop presence in Iraq and spoke out against it. Relations with Iran were strained due to his call for Arab territory within Iran to be annexed to Iraq, and Iran continued to actively fund and facilitate Kurdish rebels in the North. Relations with the Pan-Arab Nasserist factions such as the Arab Struggle Party caused tensions with the UAR, and as a result the UAR began to aid rebellions in Iraqi Kurdistan against the government. [18]

Kurdish revolts

Qasim with Mustafa Barzani. Barzani & Qasim.jpg
Qasim with Mustafa Barzani.

The new Government declared Kurdistan “one of the two nations of Iraq.”[ citation needed ] During his rule, the Kurdish groups selected Mustafa Barzani to negotiate with the government, seeking an opportunity to declare independence.

After a period of relative calm, the issue of Kurdish autonomy (self-rule or independence) went unfulfilled, sparking discontent and eventual rebellion among the Kurds in 1961. Kurdish separatists under the leadership of Mustafa Barzani chose to wage war against the Iraqi establishment. Although relations between Qasim and the Kurds had initially proved successful, relations had deteriorated by 1961, with the Kurds becoming openly critical of Qasim's regime. Barzani had delivered an ultimatum to Qasim in August 1961 demanding an end to authoritarian rule; recognition of Kurdish autonomy; and restoration of democratic liberties. [19] Qasim's response was to negotiate with the Kurds and successfully restored relations between the Arabs and the Kurds.

The Mosul uprising and subsequent unrest

Tumultuous military parade in Baghdad, July 14, 1959

During Qasim's term, there was a much debate over whether Iraq should join the United Arab Republic, led by Gamal Abdel Nasser. Having dissolved the Arab Union with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Qasim refused to enter Iraq into the federation, although his government recognized the republic and considered joining it later.[ citation needed ]

Qasim's growing ties with the communists served to provoke rebellion in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul led by Arab nationalists in charge of military units. Qasim, in an attempt to mitigate against a potential coup had encouraged a communist backed Peace Partisans rally to be held in Mosul on 6 March 1959. Some 250,000 Peace Partisans and communists thronged through Mosul's streets on that date, [20] and although the rally passed peacefully, on 7 March, skirmishes broke out between communists and nationalists. This degenerated into a major civil disturbance over the following days. Although the rebellion was crushed by the military, it had a number of adverse effects that impacted on Qasim's position. First, it increased the power of the communists. Second, it encouraged the ideas of the Ba’ath Party's (which had been steadily growing since the 14 July coup). The Ba’ath Party believed that the only way of halting the engulfing tide of communism was to assassinate Qasim.

Of the 16 members of Qasim's cabinet, 12 were Ba'ath Party members. However, the party turned against Qasim due to his refusal to join Gamel Abdel Nasser's United Arab Republic. [21] To strengthen his own position within the government, Qasim created an alliance with the Iraqi Communist Party, which was opposed to any notion of pan-Arabism. [22] Later that year, the Ba'ath Party leadership put in place plans to assassinate Qasim. Saddam Hussein was a leading member of the operation. At the time, the Ba'ath Party was more of an ideological experiment than a strong anti-government fighting machine. The majority of its members were either educated professionals or students, and Saddam fitted in well with this group. [23]

The choice of Saddam was, according to journalist Con Coughlin, "hardly surprising". The idea of assassinating Qasim may have been Nasser's, and there is speculation that some of those who participated in the operation received training in Damascus, which was then part of the UAR. However, "no evidence has ever been produced to implicate Nasser directly in the plot." [24]

The assassins planned to ambush Qasim at Al-Rashid Street on 7 October 1959: one man was to kill those sitting at the back of the car, the rest killing those in front. During the ambush it was claimed that Saddam began shooting prematurely, which disrupted the whole operation. Qasim's chauffeur was killed, and Qasim was hit in the arm and shoulder. The assassins believed they had killed him and quickly retreated to their headquarters, but Qasim survived. [25]

The growing influence of communism was felt throughout 1959. A communist-sponsored purge of the armed forces was carried out in the wake of the Mosul revolt. The Iraqi cabinet began to shift towards the radical-left as several communist sympathisers gained posts in the cabinet. Iraq's foreign policy began to reflect this communist influence, as Qasim removed Iraq from the Baghdad Pact on 24 March, and later fostered closer ties with the USSR, including extensive economic agreements. [26] However, communist successes encouraged attempts to expand on their position. The communists attempted to replicate their success at Mosul in Kirkuk. A rally was called for 14 July which was intended to intimidate conservative elements. Instead it resulted in widespread bloodshed.[ citation needed ] Qasim consequently cooled relations with the communists signalling a reduction (although by no means a cessation) of their influence in the Iraqi government.[ citation needed ]

Foreign policy

Qasim soon withdrew Iraq from the pro-Western Baghdad Pact and established friendly relations with the Soviet Union. Iraq also abolished its treaty of mutual security and bilateral relations with the UK. Also, Iraq withdrew from the agreement with the United States that was signed by the monarchy during 1954 and 1955 regarding military, arms, and equipment. On 30 May 1959, the last of the British soldiers and military officers departed the al-Habbāniyya base in Iraq.[ citation needed ]

Qasim supported the Algerian and Palestinian struggles against France and Israel.[ citation needed ]

However, he further undermined his rapidly deteriorating position with a series of foreign policy blunders. In 1959 Qasim antagonized Iran with a series of territory disputes, most notably over the Khuzestan region of Iran, which was home to an Arabic-speaking minority, [26] and the division of the Shatt al-Arab waterway between south eastern Iraq and western Iran. [27] On 18 December 1959, Abd al-Karim Qasim declared:

"We do not wish to refer to the history of Arab tribes residing in Al-Ahwaz and Mohammareh (Khurramshahr). The Ottomans handed over Muhammareh, which was part of Iraqi territory, to Iran." [28]

After this, Iraq started supporting secessionist movements in Khuzestan, and even raised the issue of its territorial claims at a subsequent meeting of the Arab League, without any success. [29]

In June 1961, Qasim re-ignited the Iraqi claim over the state of Kuwait. On 19 June, Qasim announced in a press conference that Kuwait was a part of Iraq, and claimed its territory. Kuwait, however, had signed a recent defence treaty with the British, who came to her assistance with troops to stave off any attack on 1 July. This was subsequently replaced by an Arab force (assembled by the Arab League) in September, where they remained until 1962. [30] [31]

The result of Qasim's foreign policy blunders was to further weaken his position. Iraq was isolated from the Arab world for its part in the Kuwait incident, whilst Iraq had antagonised its powerful neighbour, Iran. Western attitudes towards Qasim had also cooled, due to these incidents and his implied communist sympathies. Iraq was isolated internationally, and Qasim became increasingly isolated domestically, to his considerable detriment.

Overthrow and Execution

In September 1960, Qasim demanded that the Anglo American-owned Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) share 20% of the ownership and 55% of the profits with the Iraqi government. Then, in response to the IPC's rejection of this proposal, Qasim issued Public Law 80, which would have taken away 99.5% of the IPC's ownership and established an Iraqi national oil company to oversee the export of Iraqi oil. British and US officials and multinationals demanded that the Kennedy administration place pressure on the Qasim regime. [32] The Government of Iraq, under Qasim, along with five petroleum-exporting nations met at a conference held 10–14 September 1960 in Baghdad, thereby creating OPEC. [33]

Qasim's position was fatally weakened by 1962. His overthrow took place the following year. The perpetrators were the Ba’ath party. By 1962, the Ba’ath was on the rise as a new group of leaders under the tutelage of Ali Salih al-Sa’di began to re-invigorate the party. The Ba’ath Party was now able to plot Qasim's removal.

Qasim after execution Abd al-Karim death.jpg
Qasim after execution

Qasim was overthrown by the Ba'athist coup of February 8, 1963. While there have been persistent rumours that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) orchestrated the coup, declassified documents and the testimony of former CIA officers indicate there was no direct American involvement, although the CIA was actively seeking to find a suitable replacement for Qasim within the Iraqi military and had been informed of an earlier Ba'athist coup plot by a high-ranking informant within the Party. Despite evidence that the CIA had been closely tracking the Ba'ath Party's coup planning since "at least 1961," the CIA official working with Archie Roosevelt, Jr. on a separate plan to instigate a military coup against Qasim, and who later became the head of the CIA's operations in Iraq and Syria, has "denied any involvement in the Ba'ath Party's actions," stating instead that the CIA's efforts against Qasim were still in the planning stages at the time. [34]

Qasim was given a short trial and he was shot soon after. Later, footage of his execution was broadcast to prove he was dead. [35] Between 1,500 and 5,000 Iraqis were killed in the fighting during 8–10 February 1963, and in the house-to-house hunt for "communists" that immediately followed. [36]

In July 2004, Qasim's body was discovered by a news team associated with Radio Dijlah in Baghdad. [37]

Legacy

Statue honouring Abd al-Karim Qasim, by Khaled al-Rahal, now in Al-Rasheed Street, Baghdad Abd al-Karim Qasim's statue.jpg
Statue honouring Abd al-Karim Qasim, by Khaled al-Rahal, now in Al-Rasheed Street, Baghdad

The 1958 Revolution can be considered to be a watershed in Iraqi politics, not just because of its obvious political implications (e.g. the abolition of monarchy, republicanism, and paving the way for Ba’athist rule) but also because of its domestic reforms. Despite its shortcomings, Qasim's rule helped to implement a number of positive domestic changes that benefited Iraqi society.

Land reform

The revolution brought about sweeping changes in the Iraqi agrarian sector. Reformers dismantled the old feudal structure of rural Iraq. For example, the 1933 "Law of Rights and Duties of Cultivators" and the Tribal Disputes Code were replaced, benefiting Iraq's peasant population and ensuring a fairer process of law. The Agrarian Reform Law (30 September 1958 [37] ) attempted a large-scale redistribution of landholdings and placed ceilings on ground rents; the land was more evenly distributed among peasants who, due to the new rent laws, received around 55% to 70% of their crop. [37] Despite the positive intentions of the Agrarian Reform Law, its implementation proved relatively unsuccessful due to disagreements between the lower classes and the landed middle classes, as well as a time consuming implementation process.

Women's rights

Qasim attempted to bring about greater equality for women in Iraq. In December 1959 he promulgated a significant revision of the personal status code, particularly that regulating family relations. [37] Polygamy was outlawed, and minimum ages for marriage were also set out, with 18 being the minimum age (except for special dispensation when it could be lowered by the court to 16). [37] Women were also protected from arbitrary divorce. The most revolutionary reform was a provision in article 74 giving women equal rights in matters of inheritance. [37] The laws applied to Sunni and Shi’a alike. The laws encountered much opposition and did not survive Qasim's government.

Social reform

Education was greatly expanded under the Qasim regime. The education budget was raised from approximately 13 million Dinars in 1958 to 24 million Dinars in 1960 and school enrolments increased.[ citation needed ] Attempts were also made in 1959 and 1961 to introduce economic planning to benefit social welfare; investing in housing, healthcare and education, whilst reforming the agrarian Iraqi economy along an industrial model. However, these changes were not truly implemented before Qasim's removal.[ citation needed ]

Public Law 80 intended to take over 99.5% of the IPC's concession territory in Iraq and place it in the hands of the newly formed Iraq National Oil Company taking many of Iraq's oilfields out of foreign hands. [37]

Notes

Related Research Articles

Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr Iraqi president

Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was President of Iraq, from 17 July 1968 until 16 July 1979. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organisation Ba'ath Party – Iraq Region, which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.

Abdul Salam Arif Iraqi politician

‘Abd ul-Salam Mohammed ‘Arif Aljumaily was President of Iraq from 1963 until his death in 1966. He played a leading role in the 14 July Revolution, in which the Hashemite monarchy was overthrown on July 14, 1958.

Human rights in pre-Saddam Iraq were often lacking to various degrees among the various regimes that ruled the country. Human rights abuses in the country predated the rule of Saddam Hussein.

Mustafa Barzani Kurdish nationalist

Mustafa Barzani also known as Mullah Mustafa, was a Kurdish nationalist leader, and one of the most prominent political figures in modern Kurdish politics. In 1946, he was chosen as the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to lead the Kurdish revolution against Iraqi regimes, although at times he also allied himself to the Iranian government. Barzani was the primary political and military leader of the Kurdish revolution until his death in March 1979. He led campaigns of armed struggle against both the Iraqi and Iranian governments.

Hardan al-Tikriti Iraqi air marshal

Hardan ’Abdul Ghaffar al-Tikriti was a senior Iraqi Air Force commander, Iraqi politician and ambassador who was assassinated on the orders of Saddam Hussein. Additionally he held the titles of vice chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council and Vice President of Iraq.

Adnan Khairallah Ex Iraqi minister; Saddam Husseins brother-in-law

Adnan Khairallah, was Saddam Hussein's brother-in-law and cousin. He held several titles and was a member of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council. He also served as the Defence Minister of Iraq from 1979 to his death, having been appointed days after Saddam Hussein succeeded to the Presidency. He died in 1989 in a helicopter crash that was officially labeled an accident. The circumstances surrounding his death, including his disputes with Saddam and rumors of a potential coup have led some to believe Khairallah was assassinated under orders from Saddam.

The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has had a long history of its involvement in Iraq. Although the CIA was not directly involved in the 1963 Ba'athist coup that ousted Abd al-Karim Qasim, it had been plotting to remove Qasim from mid-1962 until his overthrow, developing contacts with Iraqi opposition groups including the Ba'ath Party and planning to "incapacitate" a high-ranking member of Qasim's government with a poisoned handkerchief. After the 1968 Ba'athist coup appeared to draw Iraq into the Soviet sphere of influence, the CIA colluded with the government of Iran to destabilize Iraq by arming Kurdish rebels. Beginning in 1982, the CIA began providing Iraq intelligence during the Iran–Iraq War. The CIA was also involved in the failed 1996 coup against Saddam Hussein.

Iraq–United States relations

Diplomatic relations between Iraq and the United States began when the U.S. first recognized Iraq on January 9, 1930, with the signing of the Anglo-American-Iraqi Convention in London by Charles G. Dawes, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Today, the United States and the Republic of Iraq both consider themselves as strategic partners, given the American political and military involvement after the invasion of Iraq and their mutual, deep-rooted relationship that followed. The United States provides the Iraqi security forces millions of dollars of military aid and training annually.

Ramadan Revolution

The Ramadan Revolution, also referred to as the 8 February Revolution and the February 1963 coup d'état in Iraq, was a military coup by the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi-wing which overthrew the Prime Minister of Iraq, Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1963. It took place between 8 and 10 February 1963. Qasim's former deputy, Abdul Salam Arif, who was not a Ba'athist, was given the largely ceremonial title of President, while prominent Ba'athist general Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was named Prime Minister. The most powerful leader of the new government was the secretary general of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, Ali Salih al-Sa'di, who controlled the National Guard militia and organized a massacre of hundreds—if not thousands—of suspected communists and other dissidents following the coup.

After World War I, Iraq passed from the failing Ottoman Empire to British control. Britain established the Kingdom of Iraq in 1932. In the 14 July Revolution of 1958, the king was deposed and the Republic of Iraq was declared. In 1963, the Ba'ath Party staged a coup d'état and was in turn toppled by another coup in the same year, but managed to retake power in 1968. Saddam Hussein took power in 1979 and ruled Iraq for the remainder of the century, during the Iran–Iraq War of the 1980s, the Invasion of Kuwait and the Gulf War of 1990 to 1991 and the UN sanction during the 1990s. Saddam was removed from power in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Kurdistan Democratic Party political party

The Kurdistan Democratic Party, usually abbreviated as KDP or PDK, is one of the main Kurdish parties in Iraqi Kurdistan. It was founded in 1946 in Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan. The party claims it exists to combine "democratic values and social justice to form a system whereby everyone in Kurdistan can live on an equal basis with great emphasis given to rights of individuals and freedom of expression."

Iraqi Republic (1958–68)

The Iraqi Republic was a state forged in 1958 under the rule of President Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i and Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim. ar-Ruba'i and Qasim first came to power through the 14 July Revolution in which the Kingdom of Iraq's Hashemite monarchy was overthrown. As a result, the Kingdom and the Arab Federation were dissolved and the Iraqi republic established. The era ended with the Ba'athist rise to power in 1968.

The First Iraqi–Kurdish War also known as Aylul revolts was a major event of the Iraqi–Kurdish conflict, lasting from 1961 until 1970. The struggle was led by Mustafa Barzani, in an attempt to establish an autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq. Throughout the 1960s, the uprising escalated into a long war, which failed to resolve despite internal power changes in Iraq. During the war, 80% of the Iraqi army was engaged in combat with the Kurds. The war ended with a Kurdish Victory in 1970, resulting in between 75,000 to 105,000 casualties. A series of Iraqi–Kurdish negotiations followed the war in an attempt to resolve the conflict. The negotiations led to the Iraqi–Kurdish Autonomy Agreement of 1970.

Arab Socialist Baath Party – Iraq Region Baathist regional organisation

The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – Iraq Region, officially the Iraqi Regional Branch, is an Iraqi Ba'athist political party founded in 1951 by Fuad al-Rikabi. It was the Iraqi regional branch of the original Ba'ath Party before changing its allegiance to the Iraqi-dominated Ba'ath movement following the 1966 split within the original party. The party was officially banned following the American invasion of Iraq, but despite this it still continues to function.

November 1963 Iraqi coup détat coup détat

The November 1963 Iraqi coup d'état took place between November 13 and November 18, 1963 when, following internal party divisions, pro-Nasserist Iraqi officers led a military coup within the Ba'ath Party. Although the coup itself was bloodless, 250 people were killed in related actions.

Fuad al-Rikabi Baathist politician

Fuad al-Rikabi was an Iraqi politician and a founder of the Iraqi Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Al-Rikabi became the Secretary of Iraqi Regional Command of the Ba'ath Party in 1954 and held the post until 1959. Throughout his term of leadership, the Iraqi Regional Branch expanded its membership and became a leading party in Iraq's political landscape. Following the 14 July Revolution of 1958 which toppled the monarchy, al-Rikabi was appointed Minister of Development in Abd al-Karim Qasim's unity government.

Abd al-Wahab al-Shawaf

Abd al-Wahab al-Shawaf was a colonel in the Iraqi Army and played a part in the 14 July Revolution in 1958 as a member of the Free Officers Movement of Iraq.

1959 Mosul uprising

The 1959 Mosul Uprising was an attempted coup by Arab nationalists in Mosul who wished to depose the then Iraqi Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim, and install an Arab nationalist government which would then join the Republic of Iraq with the United Arab Republic. Following the failure of the coup, law and order broke down in Mosul, which witnessed several days of violent street battles between various groups attempting to use the chaos to settle political and personal scores.

The following lists events that happened during 1959 in Iraq.

Khaleel Jassim Iraqi military officer

Major-general Khaleel Jassim Al-Dabbagh was an Iraqi senior officer from the first era of the old Iraqi Army, the Commander of the Mosul zone, the Commander of the Light regiments Jash, the commander of the Iraqi commando units in the Iraqi army between 1963–1968, the commander of the fourth division 1966–1967. He was well known for his role in the 1948 Arab–Israeli war, for his letters and negotiations with the Israeli army officers, defending 'Ara, Ar'ara and other territories, and also setting up the Palestinian regiments. Additionally, he commanded couple of campaigns and battles in northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels between 1943-1969, starting with The second Barzani movement, The third Barzani movement, The fourth Barzani movement, The Iraqi Campaign on Alquosh 1963 against communist elements and Kurd rebels allies known as Alansar army in Alqosh, during the First Iraqi–Kurdish War in the Iraqi–Kurdish conflict. Furthermore, driving other Campaigns against Kurdish insurgents under the command of Mustafa Barzani the most well known 1961campaigns, 1963 campaigns, The campaign on Amadiya in 9 September, 1965. Also, he played a major role in foiling the coup of Arif Abd ar-Razzaq in the Arif Abd ar-Razzaq second coup against the former president of Iraq Abdul Rahman Arif in 12 June 1966 which resulted in arresting Arif Abd ar-Razzaq as well as other officers at Mosul Airport.

References

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/ .

  1. Benjamin Shwadran, The Power Struggle in Iraq, Council for Middle Eastern Affairs Press, 1960
  2. Dawisha (2009) , p. 174
  3. Yapp, Malcolm (17 October 2014). The Near East Since the First World War: A History to 1995. Routledge. p. 84. ISBN   978-1-317-89054-6.
  4. "Iraq - REPUBLICAN IRAQ". www.country-data.com.
  5. "من ماهيات سيرة الزعيم عبد الكريم قاسم" (in Arabic). Am Mad as Supplements. 29 October 2014.
  6. "The Dissembler". Time. April 13, 1959.
  7. Tucker, Spencer C. (2014). Persian Gulf War Encyclopedia: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-Clio. p. 355. ISBN   978-1-61069-415-5..
  8. 1 2 3 T. Abdullah, A Short History of Iraq: 636 to the present, Pearson Education, Harlow, UK,(2003)
  9. 1 2 Marr (2004) , p. 158
  10. Polk (2005) , p. 111
  11. Simons (1996) , p. 221
  12. "Iraq - Land Tenure and Agrarian Reform". countrystudies.us.
  13. "Iraq - REPUBLICAN IRAQ". countrystudies.us.
  14. Marr (2004) , p. 172
  15. Rubin, Avshalom (13 April 2007). "Abd al-Karim Qasim and the kurds of Iraq: Centralization, resistance and revolt, 1958–63". Middle Eastern Studies. 43 (3): 353–382. doi:10.1080/00263200701245944.|access-date= requires |url= (help)
  16. 1 2 3 Marr (2004) , p. 160
  17. Kedourie, Elie; Politics in the Middle East, p. 318.
  18. "Factualworld.com". www.factualworld.com.
  19. Marr (2004) , p. 178
  20. Marr (2004) , p. 163
  21. Coughlin (2005) , pp. 24–25
  22. Coughlin (2005) , pp. 25–26
  23. Coughlin (2005) , p. 26
  24. Coughlin (2005) , p. 27
  25. Coughlin (2005) , p. 30
  26. 1 2 Marr (2004) , p. 164
  27. Marr (2004) , p. 180
  28. Farhang Rajaee, The Iran-Iraq War (University Press of Florida, 1993), pp. 111-112.
  29. Karsh, Efraim, The Iran-Iraq War: 1980–1988, London: Osprey, 2002, p. 7.
  30. Marr (2004) , p. 181
  31. Simons (1996) , pp. 223–225
  32. Little, Douglas. American Orientalism: The United States and the Middle East Since 1945. The University of North Carolina Press. p. 62.
  33. Styan, David. France and Iraq: Oil, Arms and French Policy Making in the Middle East. I.B. Tauris, 2006. p. 74.
  34. Gibson, Bryan R. (2015). Sold Out? US Foreign Policy, Iraq, the Kurds, and the Cold War. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. xxi, 45, 49, 57–58, 121, 200. ISBN   978-1-137-48711-7.
  35. Coughlin (2005) , p. 40
  36. Coughlin (2005) , p. 41
  37. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Iraqis Recall Golden Age". Institute for War and Peace. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-05. Reporting article on discovery of Qasim's body

Bibliography

Political offices
Preceded by
Ahmad Mukhtar Baban
Prime Minister of Iraq
1958–1963
Succeeded by
Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr