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The Rise of al-Bakr in Iraq

al-Bakr ruler of Iraq
In 1958 a coup led by an army officer, General Abd al-Karim Qassem overthrew the monarchy, murdering the royal family, ministers and many others. The communists supported the regime, but the Baathists opposed it. A young Saddam Hussein was part of the resistance. He participated in a failed assassination attempt on General Qassem. But the Baathists finally succeeded in overthrowing Qassem's government in 1963, instituting a blood bath of human destruction in an attempt to secure their political victory. Even so, the Baathists still faced opposition from the Communists who led a successful counter-coup that was just as violent and vicious as that of the Baathists.

In 1967 Iraq participated in a minor way in the 1967 Six-Day War against Israel. In this war the Israelis decisively defeated Arab forces, mostly from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. The communist regime in Iraq was also discredited by the defeat. The Baath party stepped up with yet another coup in 1968. The new leader was Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr. If possible, the regime proved more brutal than the previous ones. Al-Bakr had thousands killed as traitors to the state. Saddam Hussein was a member of al-Bakr's staff, serving as chief administrative assistant and head of the secret police. In this position he filled important posts with his own cronies.

  1. Ancient Antecedents of Iraq
  2. Iraq Independence
  3. The Rise of al-Bakr in Iraq
  4. Saddam and the Gulf War
  5. The Iraq War and Its Aftermath

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