Reviving that Spirit of Patrotism and Fredom of the 14 July Revolution

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Reviving that Spirit of Patrotism and Fredom of the 14 July Revolution

Post by Kiny0625 on Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:47 pm

Fifty years on, the 14 July revolution still evokes among Iraqis the virtues of patriotism and unity, writes Salah Hemeid

years after the Iraqi army toppled the pro-West monarchy on 14 July
1958, Iraqis who live in their now terror- stricken nation are too
preoccupied with survival to celebrate what many of them esteem as a
revolution of national liberation against the colonial power of the
time, Great Britain.

The episode is not forgotten, however. If
there is a lesson to be drawn, especially by Iraq's new rulers, it is
that winning public support and confidence cannot be substituted for
dependency on foreign occupiers and their protection. On the other
hand, the anniversary raises questions about how much US colonial
officials know Iraq's history and the memory Iraqis still have of their
former occupiers.

On that day, nationalist army officers,
disgruntled by then existing corrupt and repressive regime and its
blind loyalty to Britain, overthrew the Hashemite monarchy and declared
Iraq a free and independent republic. It wasn't just a military coup,
but rather a vast social revolt from below, supported by nationalists
who were trying to build a modern state in Iraq while steering it away
from Western influence.

Iraqis now may lament the fact that the
14 July revolution failed to achieve its national goals, but that does
not stop them from looking at events since then through the same lens,
especially the nation's current crisis, awakening them from nostalgia
to deal with foreign occupation and sectarianism today that threaten to
tear their nation apart.

Two of the main goals of the 14 July
revolution, which had deep roots in the Iraqi people's struggle, were
liberating Iraq from foreign domination and restoring sovereignty over
its vast oil wealth that was plundered by British, French and US
monopolies. Nothing better summed up that stance than the decision by
the revolutionary government to pull out of the Baghdad Pact, a
military alliance with Britain and the United States, as well as
limiting energy exploitation by foreign oil companies to 0.5 per cent
of the original oil concessions they received from the pre- revolution

Today, history seems to be repeating itself, as if the
clock in Iraq has come full circle to 50 years ago. Iraqis now have to
fight for the same old goals: liberating their country and their
national resources from both foreign occupiers and their divided,
corrupt protégés and stooges who had carved Iraq into sectarian

One of the most daunting challenges Iraqis face now is
the strategic agreement that the Bush administration and Nuri
Al-Maliki's government are negotiating that would allow for a long-term
presence of the American forces in Iraq. Regardless of controversy over
the nature and terms of the agreement, the two governments have been
committed to establish an "enduring relationship" under a November 2007
US-Iraqi "Declaration of Principles" President George W Bush and
Al-Maliki signed.

Indeed, one cannot miss the alarming parallel
between the proposed pact between the United States and Iraq and the
failed treaty that the British government tried to impose on Iraq in
1948 and that prompted a nationalist uprising in Baghdad, which many
regarded as the trail run of the revolution that toppled the monarchy a
decade later.

Obviously the deals that Iraq announced last month
with three major American oil companies, including Exxon Mobil and
Chevron, to develop some of its largest fields will affirm suspicions
that Iraqi oil was the point of war, especially with the disclosure
that US government lawyers and private-sector consultants provided
template contracts and detailed suggestions on drafting contracts. With
its proven 112 billion barrel oil reserve, the second largest in the
world, along with roughly 220 billion barrels of probable and possible
resources, Iraq's oil seems destined -- if foreign colonial powers get
their way -- to be under foreign control, some 34 years after its

In historical terms, the 14 July revolution
suffered a setback because it failed to build a democratic state for
all its citizens. Eventually Iraq stagnated and degenerated under the
autocratic rule of Saddam Hussein's one party system, becoming easy
prey for its new colonisers. Despite its failure, however, the
revolution is of profound historical significance because it rekindled
in Iraqis the twin spirits of unity and patriotism. Combined emerges a
virtue that expresses itself now in the Iraqis' awakening to their
present national plight, demonstrated when many Iraqis braved violence
in recent years to celebrate the revolution's anniversary in Baghdad's

There is nothing more important now than reviving that
spirit of patriotism and freedom of the 14 July revolution by which
united Iraqis can reshape their destiny in an independent, democratic,
strong and modern state. If US occupiers are oblivious to these Iraqi
ideals, and certainly they are, the question is why the ruling clique
of local puppets is so inept at gauging the anti-occupation and
anti-sectarian mood of the people.


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