July 14 revolution agenda for current political groups – analysts

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July 14 revolution agenda for current political groups – analysts

Post by GottaDash on Mon Jul 14, 2008 7:51 am

BAGHDAD, July 14 (VOI) – Iraqi politicians and analysts concurred that the principles brought about by the July 14, 1958 revolution have become an agenda for most parties on Iraq's political chessboard despite difference in attitudes.

"The current political development in Iraq or the region would not be extension of the national political movement led by Abdelkareem Qassem during that time," Ezzat al-Shabandar, a legislator from the Iraqi National List (INL), told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).
"The national line of thinking of Abdelkareem Qassem had laid an emphatic stress on the need to expel foreign influence and enhance Iraq's sovereignty," said Shabandar, whose INL has 19 seats in the 275-seat parliament of Iraq.
The revolution, also known as the Tammuz 14 Revolution and the Massacre of al-Rahab Palace, was responsible for the overthrow of the Iraqi Hashemite monarchy under Faisal II and the regime of Prime Minister Nouri al-Said. The revolt would herald the end of the Iraqi Hashemite dynasty and usher in the era of the Iraqi Republic, as well as precipitating social and economic reform in the country.
During the early hours of July 14, 1958, military detachments under Colonel Abdelsalam Aref and the Free Officers Movement leader, Brigadier Abdelkareem Qassem, took control of the Iraqi radio station in Baghdad, the Defense Ministry, and the royal palaces.
The first statement by the revolution, made from the national radio building, addressed the Iraqi people and announced the demise of the Hashemite monarchy in Iraq under King Faisal II and Crown Prince Abdelilah and the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Said and the rise of the republican regime in the country.
Qassem (1914-1963) was the new republic's prime minister, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and minister of defense from July 14, 1958 until February 9, 1963.
Internal tumultuous developments took place during Qassem's rule as the first president of the republic. The unrest culminated in a coup opposing his rule on February 8, 1963 by the Baath (Resurrection) Party, ending in his execution and the declaration of Abdelsalam Aref as president.
Nozad Saleh, a member in the Kurdistan Coalition (KC), the second largest bloc with 55 seats, said most political parties are now adopting the July 14 revolution's progressive ideology.
"Many of these parties raise the slogans of transitional government, democracy, multi-party system, formation of parties, constitutional government, and presidential and parliamentary elections," Saleh told VOI.
Saleh termed the revolution's interim constitution as "great achievement" because it has "announced an agrarian reform law and licensed formation of political parties. The Unified Democratic Party was the first Kurdish party to enjoy official status."
"The Kurds have welcomed the July 14 Revolution because the new authority then had announced that it would grant the Kurds all their rights," he said.
Kurds make around 17 percent of Iraq's population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in Northern Iraq which are known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds also have a presence in Kirkuk, Mosul, Khanaqin and Baghdad.
There are around 300,000 Kurds living in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul and around 100,000 Kurds living elsewhere in southern Iraq.
"The 3rd article of the interim constitution, drafted a few weeks after the revolution, has provided that Iraq is a country run in partnership between the Arabs and Kurds, which was the first time an official Iraqi government recognizes that Kurds were partners with Arab in the Iraqi nation," he added.
Academic Hashim Hassan said history was repeating itself about the similarity between the political shift that occurred in the Tammuz 14 Revolution and the current political transformation at work in Iraq.
"The circumstances that led to the outbreak of the revolution were to the liking of all political groups from the nationalist and leftist camps, which worked together with the aim of toppling the royalty," Hassan, a professor of mass communications at Baghdad University, said.
He indicated that the Arab environment then did not accept the revolution for personal and family-related reasons that had to do with some Arab regimes and others with the nationalist tide spearheaded by late Egyptian leader Jamal Abdelnasser.
"The arms sent to Mosul under the cover of nationalism caused the notorious al-Rahab Palace Massacre," he said.
Aref had dispatched two detachments from his regiment; one to al-Rahab Palace to deal with King Faisal and the crown prince, the other to Said’s residence.
Despite the presence of the crack Royal Guard at the Palace, no resistance was offered by order of the crown prince. It is uncertain what orders were given to the palace detachment, and what level of force they detailed.
However, at approximately 08.00 a.m., the King, crown prince and the other members of the Iraqi Royal Family were executed as they were leaving the palace.
"The milestone in this revolution was that it drew near to the have-nots' ambitions and dealt with economic problems like lack of services, social welfare, the building of the first highway and the floods that used to strike Baghdad," Hassan said.
However, Asos Hirdi, a Kurdish writer and intellectual, told VOI that the 14th of July 1958 was a "black day in the history of Iraq".
"The revolution has propagated glib false slogans that it would save us from the monarchy and entrench national unity. It has actually brought dictatorship and totalitarian regimes," Hirdi said, adding that the revolution "has heralded successive dictatorial revolts".
"It was true that the country's riches under the monarchy were at the disposal of the British colonialism, but after the monarchy was gone they became at the disposal of a dictatorial regime that used these funds to churn out repressive agencies that crushed the Iraqi people. The rule of Saddam Hussein and his dictatorial regime was only the product of the Tammuz 14 revolution," he indicated.

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