Iraq in Twentieth Century

At the dawn of the 20th century, movements in favor of an “Arab renaissance” in the region were also noticeable in Iraq, preparing the great rebellion that shook Turkish rule during the First World War.

British Empire (1917-1932)
The English were trying to expand their influence in the region. With the Turks defeated, the independence expectation was frustrated when the secret Syles-Picot Treaty of 1916 was known, by which France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland divided the Arab territories. Faisal, son of Sherif Hussain, was expelled from Syria by the French. The formalization of the British mandate over Mesopotamia sparked an independence rebellion in 1920.

In 1921 Emir Faisal ibn Hussain was crowned king of Iraq as compensation. In 1930 General Nuri as-Said, who had taken over as Prime Minister, signed a treaty with the British whereby on October 3, 1932 the country obtained nominal independence.

Kingdom of Iraq (1932-1958)
That same year the Baghdad Pact was signed, which established a military alliance between Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Great Britain and the United States. The pact was resisted by Iraqi nationalists.

Iraqi Republic’s anti – imperialist agitation led to the military coup of July of 1958, led by General Abdul Karim Kassim, and culminated with the execution of the royal family. The new regime dissolved all parties in July 1959 and proclaimed the annexation of Kuwait. The Arab League, then dominated by Egypt, authorized the landing of British troops to protect the oil enclave and thwarted the attempt.

The collaboration of the USSR and China supported an agrarian reform in the country that weakened the power of the big landowners while restricting the profits of the Iraq Petroleum Company). But in 1963 Kassim was overthrown by the pan-Arab sectors of the army. After some unstable governments, in July 1968 a military coup installed the Baath party in power.

Founded in 1940, the Baas (in Arabic “resurgence”) conceived the whole of the Arab world as an “indivisible political and economic unit”, in which no country, by itself, “can meet the necessary conditions for its life independently of the others”. The Baath proclaimed that “socialism is a necessity that springs from the very reason of Arab nationalism” and was organized at the “national” (Arab) level, with “regional” directions for each country. He nationalized foreign companies and defended the use of oil as a “political weapon in the fight against imperialism and Zionism.” He insisted on defending prices and consolidating OPEC. The agrarian reform was decreed and ambitious development plans led to the investment of oil revenues in the industrialization of the country.

In 1970 the Baghdad government made the Kurdish language official and endowed Kurdistan with internal autonomy. However, instigated by Iran, the traditional warlords took up arms. In March of 1975 the border agreement Iran-Iraq deprived of its main external support. The rebels were defeated. The teaching of Kurdish in local schools, increased investment in the region and the appointment of Kurds to high positions in the public administration were arranged.

In July of 1979 President Ahmed Hassan el-Bakr resigned and was replaced by Vice – President Saddam Hussein, who tried to take Iraq to a position of leadership in the Arab world.

Hussein rejected the Camp David peace accords [1] signed between Israel, Egypt and the United States, but his relations with other Arab countries also deteriorated. As a country located in Middle East according to DIRECTORYAAH.COM, Iraqi forces began in September of 1980 the attack on Iranian positions, sparking a war that lasted eight years. The West backed Iraq against the government that emerged from the revolution that overthrew the Shah in Iran [2] .

The 17 of June of 1981, on the pretext that Iraq intended to produce atomic weapons, aircraft Israel destroyed the nuclear power Civil Tammuz.

During the war, Saudis and Kuwaitis, encouraged by the United States, granted credits to Baghdad, which were used both in the conflict and in infrastructure works. An oil pipeline was laid through Turkey as an alternative to the one that crossed to the Mediterranean (closed by Syria in solidarity with Iran) and the roads to Jordan were improved.

After 17 years of diplomatic rupture, in November of 1984 official ties with the United States were restored. Despite Washington’s statements about its neutrality in the Iran- Iraq conflict, the Iran-Contra scandal exposed the double game of the superpower. By the armistice of 1988 Iraq was left with 2,600 km 2 of Iranian territory.

Gulf war

Neighboring Kuwait was extracting more oil from the fields on the Iraqi border than it should have. In an apparent wink of American neutrality, on August 2, 1990, he invaded Kuwait and took thousands of foreigners hostage.

Four days later the UN [4] decided on a total economic and military blockade until Iraq unconditionally abandoned the occupied territory. A withdrawal proposal was rejected in exchange for discussing the problems of the Middle East at an international conference. When Iraq began releasing the hostages and attempting negotiations, the United States closed the doors to dialogue and demanded an unconditional surrender.

The alliance of 32 countries, led by the United States, attacked on January 17, 1991 [5] . When the ground offensive began in March, Saddam Hussein had already announced that he would withdraw unconditionally. The Iraqi army did not resist the offensive and barely attempted an organized withdrawal, but it also suffered heavy losses. The war ended in early March with the total defeat of the Iraqis.

Upon the end of the offensive, the United States encouraged internal revolt by the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north against Hussein. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people died in the war, mostly civilians. As a result of the subsequent blockade, 70,000 more people would have died, including 20,000 children. At the end of 1991, both the Turks and the Iraqis continued to repress militarily the Kurds in the border area.

Iraq in Twentieth Century