PLS 470-B01

Iraq: Historical baggage

  • Sunni: 15-20%
  • Shia: 55-60%
  • Kurds: 15-20%
  • Other: 5% (Turkmen)

Iraq under Ottoman empire

  • 1520BCE onward
  • governed separately
  • 3 provinces(all governed by Sunni)
    • Mosul (north)
    • Baghdad (central)
    • Basra (south)

WWI

  • Britain fighting on 2 fronts
    • western front v. Germany
    • eastern front v. Ottoman empire
  • Arab revolt v. Ottomans
    • led by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
      • United Arab tribes
      • guerilla army

How did he unite Arabs?

  • money
  • promise of liberation
  • charisma
  • overacting
  • promise of independent Arab state

Sykes-Picot agreement 1916

  • UK & France
  • carved up Ottoman empire
  • France got Syria, Lebanaon
  • UK got Iraq, Jordan & Palestine
  • kept secret
  • betrayal of Arabs

The problem

  • UK helps unify Arab tribes
  • creates sense of Arab “nation”
  • then denies that nation
  • generated resentment against colonial powers

1920 San Remo conference

  • league of nations
  • dominated by UK & FR (no USA)
  • “mandate” system

1920 Iraq revolt

  • 160k rise up against UK occupation
  • Sunni, Shia unite
  • Kurds not involved
    • rebelled separately
  • UK suppress rebellion, 10k IQ deaths

New Iraqi state

  • Baghdad+
  • Basra
  • joined together in 1921 to create Iraq
  • given a king (Faisal)
  • 96% vote of approval
  • given a new flag

attaching the Kurds

  • treatey of Sevres (1920)
  • between allies & Ottomans
  • envisaged Kurdish state
  • Mosul to be part of this state
    • add Kurds from TR

The problem

  • Ataturk heads Turkish nationalist movement
  • rebelled against Ottoman empire
  • rejected Sevres
  • routed the Greeks
  • reconquers land

treaty of Lausanne

  • recognizes today’s borders
  • Mosul attached to Iraq
  • Iraq = Arab + Kurd
  • no state for the Kurds

Why attach Mosul?

  • what else to do with it?
  • sectarian balance (Kurds are Sunni)
  • divide and rule
  • strategic value

governing Iraq

  • new constitution
  • King Faisal = head of state, has power
  • PM & cabinet
  • “elected” parliament
  • IQ independent 1932

the real power

  • British “advisors”
  • Brit military force (RAF + Assyrians)
  • back up Sunni Arab elite

Problems

  • regime = British puppets
  • rule by Sunni Arab minority
  • Kurds in constant rebellion
  • no real democracy
  • no nat’l identity
  • Iraq is state but not nation

Sunni dominance

  • all monarchs = Sunni
  • from 1921-1958
  • important political leaders
  • 60% were Sunni
  • 25% Shia
  • 15% Kurd (military officers)
  • Sunnis dominate military

Kurdish rebellions

  • 1919
  • 1920’s constant
  • UK chemical weapons
  • 1930-31
  • 1945 (major)
  • 1960’s constant
  • 1970-75 (major)
  • 1980s  (v. Iran)
  • 1991
  • 1995

No real democracy

  • not possible when minority rules majority
  • “managed” democracy to get “right” result
  • same people always in power
  • parties exist
    • cannot win elections

Iraqi Communist Party (ICP)

  • haves v. have nots
  • ICP illegal (cannot work within system)
  • organizes resistance to regime
  • strikes, demonstrations, etc
  • regime crushed these with violence
  • party very popular

What unifies Iraqis?

  • Arab identity (pan-Arabism)
  • Islam?
  • anti-British feeling
  • socialism/communism

But the regime is

  • elitist
  • secular
  • sunni
  • dependent on Brits for power

subsequently

  • Ghazi’s son too young
  • regent appointed
  • Abdul Illah
  • hated by everyone
  • 1953, Faisal II becomes King

The Middle East during 1950’s — rise of Arab nationalism

What fuels Arab nationalism?

  • British betrayal of Arab revolt
  • control over Arab oil
  • creation of Israel
  • exploits of Nasser (EG)

Baath party ideology

  • formed 1947 in Damascus
  • 3 principles
    1. Arab Unity
    2. Liberty from colonialism (and Israel)
    3. Socialism
  • secular
  • branches throughout the Arab world
  • 2 main parties: Syria, Iraq

The first step to unity?

  • United Arab Republic
  • 1958
  • Syria + Egypt
  • Yemen joins
  • lasted until 1961

1958 revolution in IQ

Qassim

  • father, Sunni Arab
  • mother, Shia Kurd
  • should be ideal
  • created Council of Sovereignty
    • 1 Kurd
    • 1 Shia
    • 1 Sunni
  • Qassim was PM and CinC

internal struggle

  • Arif & Baath want to join UAR
  • Qassim & ICP want focus on Iraq
  • assassination attempt 1959 (1st political appearance of Saddam Hussein)
  • Saddam fled to EG
    • got a law degree
  • 1963, Baath leads coup (with military)

Iraq under Baath

  • Baath lasted 9 mos
  • chaos
  • national Guard (militia) established
  • Slaughtered communists (4000)
  • 1963, another coup
  • General Arif leads military coup

Iraq under Arif

  • quells chaos
  • military dictatorship
  • stability
  • bashes Kurds
  • died 1966
  • brother takes over

1968: another coup, Baath back in town

  • Saddam becomes VP and head of internal security

Iraq 1958-1969

  • in chaos
  • 4 coups
  • 10 attempted coups
  • military was power broker
  • Baath party imposes stability

Problems facing Baath

  • controlling military
  • coup-proofing regime
  • Kurds
  • Shia

Rise of Saddam

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