The Acts of the Democracies

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1963

Coup in Iraq (Assassination of Abdul Karim Kassem)

The leader of Iraq, Abdul Karim Kassem, is overthrown in a coup and summarily executed. The USA CIA gives the new regime (the Ba'ath Party) the names of around 5,000 communists who are then killed. Saddam Hussein, who would eventually take charge of the Ba'ath Party, is involved in torture of opponents. Forty years later his regime would be removed by the USA (with the UK).

UK government papers later declassified would indicate that the coup was backed by the USA and UK. One UK Foreign Office official writes the "such harshness may well be necessary as a short term expedient" and that the new regime "have shown courage and steadfastness in hatching and executing their plot" and should be "somewhat friendlier to the West". According to Roger Allen, the UK ambassador reported that the new regime "suits our interests pretty well".

Kassem had helped found the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in an attempt to curtail Western control of Arab oil. He had been planning to nationalise the Iraq Petroleum Company in which the USA had an interest. Iraq had also disapproved when Kuwait had been given independence by the UK with a pro-west emir (king) and oil concessions to Western companies.

A few days before the coup, the French newspaper La Monde had reported that Kassem had been warned by the USA government to change his country's economic policies or face sanctions.

The new government promises not to nationalise American oil interests and renounces its claim to Kuwait. A brutal offensive is launched against the minority Kurdish population who were seeking autonomy. The UK supplies 18,000 rockets to the Iraqi air force and large amounts of ammunition, mortar bombs, machine guns and helicopters. Kurdish villages are demolished with equipment supplied by the UK and bombed by UK supplied Hawker Hunter aircraft. Poison gas is also used while the West turns a blind eye. The USA recognises and praises the new government.

© 2017, KryssTal


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