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Thanks Elga for an interesting article. I have a few comments: >From 1958, when the army overthrew the Monarchy and established a Republic, and until 1963, Iraq had no President. Abdul-Karim Qassim was Prime Minister and sole ruler. I don't think it is fair to state that "the powers in Washington .. were the patron saints of the Ba'ath Party." The 1963 coup that overthrew Qassim and brought the Ba'thists and Arab Nationalists is a very complicated issue that needs understanding of Iraq's affairs to comprehend. For an attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, from 1963 to 1965, James Akins seems to have little knowledge. The Ba'th Party was established in April 1947 in Syria as The Arab Ba'th Party by Michel Aflaq and others. Later, the party merged with The Arab Socialist Party of Akram al-Hourani, to become The Arab Ba'th Socialist Party. It is true that Qasim himself wasn't communist, nor was his government. But it was also true that his closest advisors and assistants were communists: for example, the commander of the Air Force, Jalal al-Awqati, was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. The army was fully communist controlled, purged of all nationalist elements. The "Peoples' Court" established to try members of the old regime and anti-revolutionary elements was headed by Qassim's cousin, Fadhil al-Mahdawi, and practically controlled by two communists: Majid Amin (the Prosecutor) and Hussein al-Douri (member of the panel). The media was controlled by Qassim's supporters and communists. Iraqis of that generation (myself included) would look at the situation from a different point: Since WWII, Iraq has been a field of competition between Britain and the US, not the East and West. This may be surprising, but many Iraqis believe that the Pro-British Monarchy was overthrown by a nationalist coup infiltrated by pro-US elements. Those were represented by Abdul-Salam Arif and a group of officers later executed by Qassim for plotting against him.. And so, until 1958, political figures in the establishment in Iraq were mostly Britain's men.. 1958 changed things a bit, with the emergence of communists in high places in the regime. But happenings since 1991 makes many Iraqis believe that even within the Leftist parties, allegiances are the same: Pro-Britain or pro-US.. Some communists have shifted completely into support for US presence and intervention.. And so, it would also seem incorrect to state that the 1963 coup was arranged by the CIA. There is no doubt that the US supported its men within the leadership of the coup, but it was not arranged by the CIA. The coup leadership included true nationalists and Britain's men too. Within 9 months, America's men took control and overthrew the Ba'thists.. Abdul-Salam Arif, who was brought in February 1963 from jail to become President took control with the aid of Nasserites within the army, and even some Ba'thist officers. In 1966, Arif was killed in a helicopter crash which many believe was arranged by the British.. His brother succeeded him as President. The CIA used the 1963 coup to get rid of communists, just like it used the coup attempt in Sudan in the 1970s(?) for the same reason.. Either Akins is ignorant or he is covering up. The US must have known Qassim's intentions and inclinations. Qassim was certainly NOT an Arab nationalist, being himself of Kurdish descent. What happened then was that Abdul-Salam Arif, the second man in the coup, tried to assassinate Qassim and take control. He failed and was arrested, tried and sentenced to death, then commuted to life. He was the CIA man in the coup, and perhaps Akins was hinting at this: that the US was waiting to see what emerges out of the situation after Qassim was removed.. The US failed. Qassim was very well known within the army, being one of the most senior at that time, with an honorable record of fighting against Zionists in Palestine. It therefore sounds amazing when Akins says that nobody knew very much about Qassim. Qassim was certainly an Iraqi nationalist, who used the communists and Arab nationalists against each other, tried to benefit from their differences to strengthen his hold, but failed to grasp the power of external forces. He talked often of an Iraqi identity, and opposed any calls for unity with Egypt. In fact, he hated Nasser of Egypt, and from 1959 until 1963, both countries devoted a lot of time and money to Radio programs directed at criticizing each other.. The new regime had no alternative but to turn to the Soviet Union for weapons. It could not have turned to the US which was seen by Qassim's close advisors as the symbol of imperialism. Iraq formally withdrew from the Baghdad Pact and signed economic and technical aid agreement with the Soviet Union in 1959. In quick succession Iraq withdrew from the sterling bloc, ordered British air force units out of the Habbaniya base, and cancelled the Point Four Agreement with the United States. Internal power plays led Qassim to give prominent, if temporary, cabinet roles to “Communist sympathizers.” Qassim did not nationalize oil in 1958. After the coup, he assured the United States and Britain that the new regime would not nationalize the oil fields. Negotiations with the IPC, around the cost accounting practices of the company in calculating the profits to be shred with the government, continued until they were finally cut off in October 1961. In December 1961, Qassim promulgated Law 80 which deprived the IPC of over 99.5 per cent of its concessional areas in Iraq, leaving only producing oilfields. Some would say that that was another reason for the overthrow of Qassim... In 1972 Law 69 nationalised the remaining interests.. The Monarchy was Pro-British, not within the US sphere of influence. That is what some see as another reasons why the Monarchy was toppled: to give the US a stronger presence in Iraq at the expense of the British. The communists did indeed have a lot of influence in the country, but Qassim did not allow the Soviet Union to have the influence it wanted. Akins' statement is wrong, aimed at justifying support for the 1963 coup. Because they failed to control Iraq after 1958, the Americans had to cook up an excuse for supporting another coup.. And so "Soviet influence" is a good, especially seen in hind sight. Akins says "the Ba'ath Party betrayed its own principles". For someone who doesn't know much about the history of the Ba'th, that sounds funny. I don't believe Akins knows what he is talking about. What Akins didn't say was that the US wanted Iraq to submit fully to the US. When that didn't happen, Iraq was found by the US in "material breach" of its principles... I didn't know that one of the principles of the Ba'th was to hand over Iraq to the US or to accept Zionist occupation of Arab land... Some remarks that I hope would be an addition to the excellent article. I am glad Iraq's political history interests some members of this list. HZ __________________________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Web Hosting - establish your business online http://webhosting.yahoo.com _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk