IRAQ History Monthly E-Newsletter
Inside This Issue:
1. IRAQ’s Kings & Leaders Part II
2. Important Announcements
3. Introducing The Historians Behind This Newsletter
4. The Purpose of These Monthly E-Newsletters & How To Join This Group List
1. IRAQ’s Kings & Leaders - Part II
Compiled & Translated to English by Wafaa’ Al-Natheema
In part one of this series, King Faisal I (1885-1933) was featured
in a short article, that can be accessed at http://historyofiraq.blogspot.com/2006/01/kings-presidents-last-jews-in-baghdad.html
An interesting debate began following the article's publication and emailing of part I to the IRAQ History group list, which focused on the way King Faisal I had died. One of the previous subscribers to the list indicated that the death of the king was not due to a strange heart attack shortly after drinking a cup of tea, but it was due to an appendectomy surgery in Switzerland in 1933. However a couple of sources indicated that the appendectomy surgery took place in the early 1920s in Iraq by a British doctor.
The following links provide more information about King Faisal I and mention the way he died. Some offer more details about his death than others. However, none of the links provide sources:
King Faisal I in a rare picture http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/flashback/0306/
Because Prime Minister, Abdul Qareem Qassim, was executed on February 9th, 1963, this February e-newsletter is dedicated in his memory.
In this occasion of writing in memory of a man who was accused (of many things he was not) and killed by few Iraqis following the orders and support of the CIA, I will question and even modify certain inaccuracies. If history continues to be written by males, it is long overdue for women to modify and correct it.
Politics to western males can be summarized by the notion presented in Uriel Dann’s words in his book “Iraq Under Qassim – A Political History, 1958-1963,” page 377:
“It is sad that the last achievement is the most irrelevant. Qassim never lost the faith of the poor. They accepted his solicitude for their fate as genuine, as it undoubtedly was. When drawing up the balance sheet, this item should not be overlooked. It was of no political value.”
These words were written as part of a list of successes achieved by Qassim. My concern about Dann's quote was in the conclusion, “it was of no political value.” I beg to differ with this notion. The actions of EASTERNERS beginning with the first laws written in recorded history by Gilgamish and Hammurabi (until the 20th century when they began to be influenced by and/or mimic western politics) proved that this notion is null. Caring for the poor and fairly distributing the wealth and rights between citizens were important achievements in evaluating leaders’ success and should be so at all times.
In the 20th century politics of the Middle East, two excellent examples shine firmly in contradiction with that western notion, Mohammed Mosaddeq of Iran and Abdel Kareem Qassim of IRAQ.
Abdul Kareem Qassim (1914-1963)
Qassim, the first Prime Minister of the Iraqi Republic, was born in the Mahdiya part of the city of Baghdad. His siblings, in order of birth, are:
1. Hamid Qassim Mohammed al-Bakr (1905-1986), worked in commerce.
2. Abdul~Lateef Qassim (1907-1977), worked in the army as deputy officer who retired in 1959.
3. Ameena Qassim (1909-1983), housewife.
4. Najiyya Qassim (1916-1986), housewife whose husband was the general Abdul Jabbar Jawad (brother of the colonel pilot Mohammed Ali Jawad).
Qassim’s parents, according to an official document published while he was in office, were of pure Arab descent: His mother’s originated from the Adnan clan and his father’s from the Qahtan clan. However, many reliable sources indicate that his mother was a Shiite (Faily) Kurd. Qassim never married.
When he was six years of age, the family moved to Suwayra, a small town near the Tigris. Then moved to Baghdad in 1926. Qassim was an excellent student; he entered secondary school on a government scholarship. After his graduation in 1931, he taught at the Shamiyya Elementary School. He began his teaching on October 22, 1931 and resigned on September 3, 1932. His resignation was due to the fact that he was accepted into the Military College. In 1934, he graduated as a second lieutenant. Then, he attended al-Arkan (Iraqi Staff) College and graduated with honor (grade A) in December 1941. In 1951, he completed a senior officers’ course in Britain.
Militarily, he participated in the suppression of the tribal disturbances in the Middle Euphrates region in 1935, in the one-month war against Britain in May 1941 and in the Kurdistan war in 1945. Qassim also served during the Iraqi military involvement in Palestine from May 1948 to June 1949. Toward the latter part of the Palestinian mission, he commanded a battalion of the First Brigade, which was situated in the Kafr Qasem area south of Qilqilya. He left Kafr Qasem with the reputation of a disciplinarian, meticulous and honest. In 1956-57, he served with his brigade at Mafraq in Jordan in the wake of Israel’s Sinai campaign against Egypt.
The End of the Monarchy (July 14, 1958)
Prince Abdul Ilah objected to any resistance to the forces that besieged the Royal Rihab Palace. His hope was to gain permission to leave the country. Therefore, the commander of the Royal Guards battalion on duty, Col. Taha Bamirni, ordered the palace guards to cease-fire.
It was a little after 7 AM when all the royal family descended: King Faisal II; the Crown Prince Abdul Ilah; Princess Hiyam, Abdul Ilah's wife; Princess Nafeesa, Abdul Ilah’s mother, with the Qur'an in her hand; Princess Abadiya, the king’s aunt; and several servants. When all of them arrived in the courtyard they were told to turn towards the palace wall, and were all shot down by Captain Abdus~Sattar As~Sab’ with a submachine gun.
King Faisal II and Princess Hiyam were injured. The King died later before reaching hospital. Princess Hiyam was treated at the hospital and luckily no one recognized her. Later she left for Saudi Arabia where her family lived and then moved to Egypt until her death.
The coup was discussed and planned by the Free Officers, but was mainly executed by Qassim and Col. Abdes~Salam Aref. By 1956, the committee of Free Officers included; Qassim, Naji Talib, Abdul Wahab Ameen, Muhiddeen Abdel Hameed, Abdes~Salam Aref, Abdul Wahab Ash~Shawwaf, Abdul Kareem Farhan, Rifat al-Hajj Sirri, Col. Tahir Yihya, Rijab Abdul Majeed, Wasfi Tahir, Col. Sabeeh Ali Ghalib and Mohammed As~Sab’.
The killing of the entire royal family was a gloomy start in Qassim’s era. His enemies accuse him of giving orders to kill the royal family. However, this was untrue. Qassim did not give orders to kill the King, never mind the entire family. It was a spontaneous decision made by Abdus~Sattar As~Sab’ and two others (I could not find their names). As~Sab' committed suicide later in Basrah. Despite that Qassim did not give orders to kill the king, not condemning the aggression against the royal family in his early speeches was a mistake.
Qassim’s accomplishments were many covering a large range of improvements with regard to social services, legal system, agriculture, health and education, construction and the arts. Considering his short-term leadership (four and a half years) and the youngest experience in the life of the Iraqi Republic, Qassim’s era brought the highest number of accomplishments and positive changes to Iraq compared with eras that preceded and followed him.
Some of these achievements were the passing of law No. 80 which took back the right of owning 98% of Iraqi land from the British-owned Iraq Petroleum Company, distributing fairly the farms owned by the few amongst the farmers, and, as a result of the two achievements, increasing in middle class percentage and privileges, the building of 35,000 residential units to house the poor and low middle class, the rewriting of the constitution for the benefit of all Iraq’s minorities and women, effectively encouraging and implementing laws with regard to women’s participation in the society, and giving birth to many other improvements, laws and projects pertaining literacy, education and the arts.
His accomplishments and successes in the Arab world’s scene can be summarized by his continuous moral and financial support to Algerians and Palestinians in their struggle for self-determination. In addition, Qassim succeded in the struggle against Abdul Nasser of Egypt. “No doubt the fact that he had incurred Abdul Nasser’s displeasure weighed against Qassim’s position. But in the direct contest Abdul Nasser was thwarted; he grudgingly acknowledged his defeat, just as he has since acknowledged defeat against other opponents in the Middle East arena.”1
Qassim’s Last Moments:
The coup to overthrow Qassim by the Baathists was successful on February 8, 1963. Abdul Kareem Qassim was brought to the Broadcast Building on February 9 by his opponents. He was not awarded a fair trial. Qassim was executed at noon on February 9th, 1963.
The names and fate of the Iraqi collaborators who ruthlessly murdered Abdul Kareem Qassim are as follows:
1. Abdus~Sattar Abdullateef, died in early 2005 in Spain.
2. Abdus~Salam Aref, president of Iraq after the assassination of Qassim, died in 1966 in an airplane crash believed to be orchestrated on purpose.
3. Ahmed Hasan al-Bakr, president of Iraq from 1968 to 1979, who was, believed to be, killed by orders from Saddam Hussein.
4. Hardan At~Tikreeti, Minister of Defense who was killed by the Baathist secret intelligence in Kuwait.
5. Ali Salih As-Saadi, Deputy Prime Minister, died of sickness with rumors of being killed with poison.
6. Hazim Jawad, lived in the UAE, is currently living in London. His memoire was published in the al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper http://www.alquds.co.uk/.
7. Talib Hussein Shabeeb, was a Foreign Minister & Iraqi Ambassador, then joined the Iraqi opposition against Saddam Hussein. He died in 2004.
8. Hani al-Fukaiky, Baath member and worked in commerce, later joined the Iraqi opposition against Saddam. He died of cancer in 2000.
9. Saleh Mahdi Ammash, Baath member, whose last post was Iraq's ambassador in Finland. He was believed to be poisoned in Finland by orders from Saddam Hussein.
A radio clip (in Arabic) of the last moments in the life of Qassim can be heard by clicking on http://zennobia.blogspot.com/2006/02/abdul-kareem-qassim-last-moments.html It narrates and includes the argument that went on between the nine individuals (listed above) and Abdul Kareem Qassim, which lasted about ten minutes and ended with a violent shower of bullets shot at Qassim, al-Mahdawi and al-Shaikh Ahmed.
That radio clip features a commentary by the Kuwaiti broadcaster, Najm Abdul Kareem, who aired it on London’s Radio Spectrum, the Arabic Broadcast in 1999. The recording of the argument that went on between Qassim and those (mentioned in the list above), who executed him, was unclear. After writing and posting this article and the radio clip on the Internet, I became aware of the fate of the individuals who witnessed and/or participated in the killing of Qassim. Please note that the radio clip does NOT provide accurate details about some of the individuals who were present at Qassim's execution.
The radio clip;
1. Does not mention an important person, Saleh Mahdi Ammash, who was present and gave orders to execute Qassim.
2. It mentions that Tahir Yihya was present, but he was not. The broadcaster even indicated that Tahir Yihya was executed while in prison, which was not true.
3. Because the clip aired in 1999, the fate of some of the individuals who were present at Qassim's execution has been updated in the list above.
Abdul Kareem Hani, former minister of labor and social affairs as well as a close friend of Tahir Yihya wrote, "Tahir Yihya, was imprisoned and later freed (unlike what the broadcaster had stated in the radio clip). Tahir Yihya was put under house arrest after being released from prison; he was not indicted nor sentenced. I visited him many times after his release. Then he had a stroke with hemiplegia and loss of speech, which lasted till his death."
According to Col. Ali Hussein Jassim, London-based member of the Royal United Services Institute, Tahir Yihya and Abdul Ghani Ar-Rawi were not present at the February 9th execution of Qassim. Col. Jassim was a witness (not a collaborator) during the execution. Ali H. Jassim provided the information regarding the presence of Saleh Mahdi Ammash and the fate of both Hani al-Fukaiky and Talib Hussein Shabeeb.
Main Reasons WHY the CIA Overthrew Qassim
1. The Passing of Law No. 80, which took back the right of owning 98% of Iraqi land from the British-owned Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) and giving it to the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC), baring in mind that the British right to the Iraqi land was for life and without relinquishment.
2. Disclosing interests to bring back Kuwait within IRAQ the way it used to be before British colonization, an interest was also disclosed by King Ghazi (1933-1939) who was killed by the British and by Saddam Hussein who was hanged in December 2006 by the USA!
3. Qassim's political neutrality and popularity among Iraqi people while still allowing political freedom for Iraqis to enjoy was a matter the USA-UK collaborative never wanted to see in an oil-rich country.
The following was not a reason, but an excuse provided to the public to justify killing him:
Qassim was accused of being a communist. He was not. In fact he belonged to no political party unlike the presidents who succeeded him. Additionally, he made no attempt to form his own political party. He gave freedom to most political parties to exercise their activities. His actions were backed up by some speeches in which he emphasized numerous times that the army must be above all political party affiliations.
1. "Iraq Under Qassem - A Political History 1958-1963" by Uriel Dann, published by Frederick A. Praeger, Inc. USA in 1969 page 377.
1. "Iraq Under Qassem - A Political History 1958-1963" by Uriel Dann, published by Frederick A. Praeger, Inc. USA in 1969.
2. Talib Qassim, nephew of Abdul Kareem Qassim, currently living in the UAE
3. "The Secrets of the July 14, 1958 Revolution", by Ismael al-Aref, published by Al-Majid Publishing Co. in London, 1987. (in Arabic language)
2. Important Announcements:
* The IRAQ History e-newsletter will be published and posted on bi-monthly bases. This is to ensure better quality e-newsletters and diverse participation. This is also to allow more time until the next issue to find additional Iraqi historians living outside of IRAQ who are able to participate more conveniently in the writing of IRAQ's history and in the discussion of this group list. Therefore the next issue will be published and emailed in April.
* We welcome Amer Fattuhi to the Research/Translation Team. Amer Fattuhi is an artist and a researcher whose focus is on the ancient history of IRAQ (BCE). He has published a book and numerous journals on the history of Chaldeans. He currently lives in Detroit, MI.
* We welcome May Tawfik to the Research/Translation Team. May has worked in social research in the Babel College for Theology and has participated in the reasearch and documentation of the ancient history of Arameans in Iraq. She currently lives in IRAQ.
3. Introducing The Historians Behind This Newsletter
4. The Purpose of the IRAQ History Monthly e-Newsletters & How to Join the Group List!
This group focuses on documenting and discussing various fields in IRAQ's history (politics, sciences, religions, law, the arts and other areas). The IRAQ History Group consists of a Writing/Editing Team made of historians and scholars and of Translating/Research Team made of researchers and translators (translating to English). The group's e-newsletters will be sent to the group list subscribers on bi-monthly bases.
The purpose of the group list goes beyond documenting to encourage discussions on regular (not daily) bases and the exchange of information and announcements. Those interested in learning about and/or in discussing IRAQ's history are welcome to subscribe, but subscribing to the list does not mean participation in the writing/editing of IRAQ's history. These e-newsletters will eventually be posted on a special website/blog for Internet use. We hope to receive grants/contributions to be able to compensate historians/scholars of the writing/editing team should we invite them to participate in events related to IRAQ's history or for writing essential studies/essays for the purpose of publishing them in journal/book forms and not placed freely on the Internet.We appreciate your recommendation of four Moslem and non-Moslem Iraqi women historians to join the writing/editing team.
The IRAQ History Group List was initiated and launched by Wafaa' Al-Natheema, an independent writer, editor, translator and an art researcher and critic.
Writing/Editing Team (in First-Name Alphabetical Order):
Prof. Abdul Jabbar Naji
Dr. Mahmood Al-Qaisy
Nahar Mohammed Nuri
Ms. Saba Hussein Al-Moula
Dr. Sinan Sadiq Az-Zaidy
Dr. Suhaila Shindi Al-Badri
Hanan Mohammed Mahdi
Wafaa’ Al-Natheema, IRAQ History Group List Moderator