IRAQI STUDENTS' SOCIETY IN UNITED KINGDOM
— The Facts
PREPARED FOR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Dr. R. M. AJINA
Published by I.S.S., 37 King Street, W.C.1
Printed by R. Jobson, 242 Evering Road, E.5
Here is a collection of facts and figures meant to give a brief account of the situation in our homeland, with a short background of the political history, touching on the prolonged and consistent strife of our peoples for their legitimate rights against the ruling circles who had imposed themselves against the wishes of the people for a long period.
The pamphlet gives a short, but conspicuous picture of the factors which led to the present revolution. Unfortunately, the British press had distorted the clear facts about what was going on in Iraq during the corrupt reign of Nuri As-Said and Prince Abdul Ilah.
It is hoped this document will explain to the reader why it is that the new Republic is already enjoying, not only the support of the people in Iraq, but also that of the entire Arab Nation. The revolution was by no means unexpected. it is a clear manifestation of the ideals of Arab Nationalism, which characterises the struggle of the Arab people for independence and unity.
It is unfortunate that the British and American Governments are throwing their weight, by means of military intervention, to support the unpopular governments in Jordan and Lebanon, thereby subjecting our government to great pressure and intimidation.
The new government of Iraq has openly declared to honour all present agreements regarding oil. They also gave they pledge for the safeguard of all foreign lives inside the country.
The massing of foreign troops in the Middle East causes us great anxiety; it endangers peace and security in the area.
We, who have lived and studied in Britain find this estrangement of the fundamental rights and interest of ours people from the general political trend in this country both intellectually and emotionally painful. We had hoped that our people's aspirations to a better life would find the support of the British people, long known for a deep sense of justice.
We appeal to your good sense to bring an end this real danger.
London, 22nd July, 1958.
Before discussing the subject there are a few points we want to make clear: —
A. the information included here are derived from the official statistics, various publications by various authors and the analysis and the conclusions are based therefore on these figures.
B. The figures one finds here are not very representative because of the adverse circumstances under which this work was performed. On the other hand these informations, in addition to the fact that they are the only available ones, are not very far from the real situation.
There are many problems to discuss in this matter. It will take a very long time and space to tackle every aspect, and we think it is advisable to limit ourselves on a few sides. We need to take some examples and elaborate on them as Vital Statistics, certain preventable diseases, environment on the people and public health measures and facilities provided.
Vital Statistics. These include figures about birth and death rates, expectation of life, etc. The significance of these figures would be evident if they were compared with corresponding ones in other countries when available. Life expectation in Iraq is believed to be an average of 28 or 30 years. This is to be compared with that of the UK which is 68 for males and 71 for females. A significant thing to notice is that half of the population of Iraq are under the age of 20 years. This is important because it indicates that the death rate is very high, which is to be believed to be 30 per thousand (it is the number of deaths per thousand of the population in the middle of the year).
It shows also that the birth rate is high otherwise the population would have been exterminated. 1954 figures showed the number of births to be 64,000 and that of deaths 29,000. An important index to be born in mind is the physical fitness. It points out, in general terms, to the care taken in looking after the population. The figure is not found in the official statistics but it was found in 1951 (International Bank Report) that 20 per cent of young men called for National Service were physically unfit before finding out whether they were diseased or not.
There are many important indices in the vital statistics to be analysed when discussing public health problems, but there is one which is most important and significant. This is the Infant Mor-
tality Rate, which means the number of deaths of infants under one year of age per 1,000 lives births born in the same year. The importance and significance of this rate lies in the fact that it is a social measure of progress, advance of the community with bearing on the social progress and preventive medicine and health welfare measures. [Confusing sentence.] The rise in this index means the presence of three important basic factors which are: Poverty, Ignorance and Neglect. There are other secondary factors playing a part. It suffices it here to state that the Infant Mortality Rate in Iraq is believed to be 300 to 350 per 1,000 reported by Professor Critchley (British Journal of Industrial Medicine vol. 2, 1955, page 75.). This is definitely one of the highest figures in the world if not the highest. The importance of this will be even more realized if we know that the IMR in England and Wales is 24.9 per 1,000 for 1955, and this is not the lowest figure which exists in Norway and New Zealand. The most important cause for this high figure in Iraq is under-nourishment, and it comes on top of the list forming 717 deaths in 22,961 births in Baghdad, Basrah and Mosul for 1951. For comparison we mention the rates for different countries in 1939:—
England ... 162
Scotland ... 69
Germany ... 62
England & Wales ... 50
USA ... 48
Norway ... 37
New Zealand ... 31
Preventable Diseases. After mentioning some rates which, we think, are indicative for general purposes, we pass now to find out the spread of certain diseases which are called “Topical” or “Endemic.” First on our list comes, beyond any doubt — Malaria. It is widespread all over the country, with very disastrous results. It weakens very great numbers of industrial and farm workers besides the numbers it kills and adds to the problems of the poor masses. There are no definite numbers of the cases of malaria, but the preliminary estimates are illuminating:—
The number is fluctuating from year to year, but at the same time declining for reasons other than anti-malarial campaigns which if carried out properly would have wiped out malaria from the country in that period. This fluctuation could be attributed to floods and formation of marshes and general measures as distribution of quinine and due to the general advance of the human race as a whole. But the number of deaths due to malaria is still be-
lieved to be 50,000 per year. The distribution of the cases shows that the highest infected province, in 1951, was Baghdad, and also it is not evenly distributed as one expects. It is lowest in Amara and Kut, where the incidence, one would imagine, should be high because the conditions for spread of malaria are very favourable. We know that these areas are the most backward in the country and the society is not far from primitiveness. The health service is very poor, and most of the inhabitants live near the marshes or in floating rafts or huts in these marshes — or living in conditions of serfdom. Such conditions make it very difficult to know the real situation.
Bilharzia. Investigations and research work have been recently directed towards this disease. The real incidence has not been known for a long time. But people and public health workers know that it is very common especially in the southern parts of the country. Preliminary figures (the Iraqi Village, J. Khayat, 1950) give the spread in a few examples: Basrah 8.5 per cent., Baghdad 11.6 per cent., Kut 14.5 per cent., Mintifik 171. per cent. It was believed then that 33 per cent. of the population in the southern parts are affected. Since the work of the World Health Organization and the Institute of Endemic Diseases in this field it has been feared that the incidence is much higher and wider in extent and it may reach in some places 60 and 70 per cent. of the population. The incidence will reach even higher levels with opening of new canals for irrigation and increasing agriculture, because these measures not only make the landlords flourish but also have similar effects on the snail population and extend their distribution to new areas. Snails, as it is known, are necessary for propogation [sic] of bilharzia.
Eye Diseases. We include here Trachoma and other infections of the eye. The figures are very high and of serious significance. The spread of eye infections goes hand in hand with the multiplication of flies and with dirty hygienic habits. The cases in 1946 were about 1,110,000, and this was kept at this level with slight variations, and in 1954 the number rose to 1,114,000. Among these cases there were about 50 per cent. infected with Trachoma: 40,000 people lost their sight due to eye infection.
Hook Worms (Ancylostomiasis). The exact incidence is not known, but some workers believe that hook worms affect 33 per cent. of the whole population at least (Hashim Al-Witri). According to the Government figures there are about 15,000 cases diagnosed and who receive treatment every year over the last 10 years, but this does not represent all the cases. Besides there are about 100,000 cases of other intestinal worms treated every year. There are 10,000 cases of T.B. examined and treated every year in hos-
pitals. If we take all the endemic, epidemic and infectious diseases, i.e. the preventable diseases, the number for 1946 was about one million, and 760,000 for 1951. About 10 million patients attended the different health institutions in 1954—double the population of Iraq.
When we come to nutritional diseases, we mea under-nutrition of course, we find that the majority of the population do not get the necessary requirements of proteins, sugar, fat and vitamins, and also the food is not balanced in quality. The average intake of necessary food is believed to be 50 per cent. of the normal requirements. (The Iraqi Village: Economic Development of the Near East. A Bonne, 1945.)
One could go on listing similar distressing figures about the people of Iraq and their sufferings from diseases. Prof. A. M[.] Critchley summarised the situation when he said: “It is not exaggerating to state that the average agricultural worker is a living pathological specimen, as he is probably a victim of ancylostomiasis, ascariasis, malaria, bilharzia, trachoma, bejel, and possibly tuberculosis also.”
The environment and the facilities provided. After that brief survey of the vital statistics and some examples of the endemic diseases, it is necessary to examine the environment and the facilities provided for the people by the authorities. This should involve the discussion of public health measures such as sewage disposal plants, housing, hospitals, and other health institutions, doctors and medical workers, etc. Here again we have to be relatively brief as it is very difficult to exhaust the subjects especially as we know that there is a lack in research work.
Sewage Disposal Plants. These are very important and necessary measures to protect the population from the spread of infectious diseases and epidemics, and they are urgently needed when there is [a] water supply scheme. One is very sad to mention that there is not even one single sewage disposal plant in Iraq, not even in Baghdad, the capital, and whose populations are over a million.(1). The sewage and waste waters go either to the river and streams whose waters are used for drinking and daily use or to the subsoil water, and this in turn, either used directly from wells for drinking and daily use or it goes to the rivers, and therefore will have the same course. In places where there are water supply schemes the process of purification will be very difficult or incomplete because of the absence of the sewage disposal process which would remove most of the impurities and most of the germs. The other point to be remembered is the common use of sewage and waste water in agriculture as fertilizers. The danger of this practice
(1) A Sewage Disposal Plant was lately started by the Development Board.
is very clear and cannot be exaggerated. Without a perfect sewage disposal all over the country we can not really protect the lives of our population.
Water Purification. This is another problem. If we consider the number of diseases carried by water we shall find a considerably long list, and an important one too. Water plays a major part in spreading diseases in Iraq. This part becomes very clear if we study the available figures. We find that the average share per individual from water was about 3 gallons of purified water per day for drinking, cooking, washing, etc. In Diwaniah and Mintific the share is 0.5 to 1.0 gallon[s] per day. But we know that water supply schemes are limited to a few towns only. This means that the majority of the population cannot get purified water. The minority, in the towns which have water schemes get something around 10 to 15 gallons per day per head if we assume that water reaches every house in these towns, but this is not the case. An important point to be born in mind is that these estimations are based on [the] 1947 census when the population was about 5 millions. The recent census of October 1957 showed the figure to be 6,500,000. Therefore the number of gallons per head will drop considerably.
Housing. House conditions, the number of rooms per family or per person, water and electricity supply, ventilation, proximity to factories and unhygienic situations, etc. All these problems should be supervised and solved according to specific regulations recognised on [a] nation and international scale and are to be followed if we care for the people. We have got some illuminating information published by the Chamber of Commerce of Baghdad in April 1957 during the Development Week that was celebrated by the Iraqi Government to impress the people by the achievements. The analysis shows that there are 741,106 houses, their distribution is as follows:—
111,871 brick houses, 46,127 stone houses, 304,206 mud houses, 194,629 bamboo houses, 15,282 tents, and 68,906 other kinds (not specified). (In addition we have to add the number of houses in villages consisting of less than 15 houses whose number is 15,000 mud and 10,000 bamboo houses.) The number of rooms is 1,644,090, and if the population is 6.5 millions then there will be about 4.5 persons per room as an average. The facilities in these houses can be analysed from the following figures without going into more details:—
10.2 per cent. of the houses have bathrooms.
16.9 per cent. of the houses are provided with electricity.
20.8 per cent. of the houses have water.
33.4 per cent. of the houses have water-closets.
about 50 per cent. of the houses take water from rivers and streams.
As regards ventilation, the sunlight in these houses it is a known fact to us all that they are very negligible. [Confusing sentence.] The people who live in these houses are really miserable, especially in the country side where about 66 per cent. of the population live. Doreen Warriner has this to say: “They live on a bare subsistance [sic] margin in windowless mud huts built up out of earth.” We need not emphasize the effect of such conditions on the spread of diseases and the deterioration of the public health of the population plus the poverty and the ignorance which all form a vicious circle.
Hospitals. Surely with such conditions great efforts should be spent to provide reasonable medical service — we do not say first class service. We need enough hospitals with a sufficient number of beds readily available for patients whether emergencies or chronics. The existing number is very low. There must be a good standard medical staff consisting of doctors, nurses, etc. Hospitals should be of different types, e.g. Chest, Maternity, Mental, Eye, etc. In 1955 there were about 100 hospitals in the country, 67 of them belonged to Ministry of Health. The remaining 33 were private or belonged to the army, the police, etc. There were 4,792 beds, i.e. one bed for every 1,000 persons if we consider:—
a. The population to be 5 millions and not 6.5 millions.
b. The beds and hospitals are distributed evenly. This is not the case. There are 24 hospitals in Baghdad with 2,400 beds, i.e. about 40 per cent. of the total beds for a population of 1 million. This is to be compared with other areas (according to 1947 population):
Amara 0.21 bed per 1,000 persons;
Diwaniah 0.30 bed per 1,000 persons;
Dyala 0.31 bed per 1,000 persons;
Arbil 0.36 bed per 1,000 persons.
Of those 4,792 beds there are:
946 for chest diseases;
450 for mental diseases;
190 for child welfare;
180 for maternity.
Specialized hospitals are very few and are found in very few towns.
The situation of doctors, their number and distribution, is no better. The practising ones are about 800 (out of 900); 50 per cent. of them or even more (492) are found in Baghdad, and they are classified in one way as follows: 400 work for the Ministry of health, 240 are private doctors, etc. The study of 1947 census as regards the population and the number of doctors in different parts of Iraq will reveal: there is one doctor for every 30,000 persons in Diwaniah; there is one doctor for every 17,000 persons in Amara, Mintifik, Arbil and Sulaimaniah.
Our needs for hospitals, doctors and other medical staff (not considering the dispensaries and first aid centres) have been studied by a committee from the Medical Profession Association to advise the latter on a Health Service Project. The details of their study was [were] published in 1955 and are available for those who are interested in the subject. It suffices it here to mention a broad outline (considering the population—5 millions):—
Required in 10 years
No. of beds
No. of Doctors
No. of Dentists
No. of Pharmacists
No. of Nurses
it is almost impossible to think of a proper health administration and service when we look at the expenditure on public health measures and compare it with other expenditures. If we examine the available figures we find that: 5.9 per cent. of 1953-54 budget was devoted for the Ministry of Health, while 31.8 per cent. for Defence. The percentage for the Police Force in 1945 was 14 per cent. To give a clear idea we better study the actual expenditure for 1954-55. It was 3,007,850 pounds and formed 6.38 per cent. 1,550,000 of the sum (over 50 per cent.) were spent as salaries, only 0.5 million pounds for drugs. The share of the citizen from the budget for the Health Services was about 12 shillings per year, from these, 2 shillings only go for drugs. It seems that there has not been a radical change in the estimations of the expenditures of the Government in the 6-years' plan 1955-1960 for the development of Iraq. The health institutions shares from about 500 million pounds are only about 13 millions; from this sum 4 millions will be spent to build an academic medical centre. At the same time for roads 63.5 millions, bridges 23 millions, air-dromes 9 millions, railways 25 millions, ports 4 millions. The total is 124.5 million pounds to be spent on communication in the mentioned six years. At the same period 6,310,000 pounds will be for scientific institutions and a university.
The distribution of the £500 million is as follows,
Irrigation, Flood Control and Drainage
Miscellaneous (including Drinking Water Schemes)
What was the effect of the development expenditure? The words of Doreen Warriner provide the answer: “ . . . In Baghdad is to make the contrast between rich and poor more striking. The great increase in imports benefits chiefly the rich, whose consumption of cars, air-condition, and luxurious new houses is very conspicuous. The sarifa (mud hut) slums are growing fast, without sewage or drinking water. Very little has been spent on social welfare.”
The problem is deeply rooted, and it is connected with our social and political life of the past regime. Nevertheless, we can take the lighter side of the social problem for looking at other countries and compare their conditions with ours. From such comparison we shall discover the similarity between certain groups, we shall find that they have common characters; these are three cardinal ones: Poverty, Ignorance and Diseases. Although they form a vicious circle, the starting point of this circle is Poverty.
The following table, published by the UNO, shows the income per capita for a number of countries in 1949:—
Suadi Arabia [sic]
At present the income per capita for Iraq is believed to be £40 or £45 for the whole population if the wealth is distributed evenly and justly. It does not represent the income of the peasants, their share is very low and is feared to be around £10 or £15 per annum. The peasant populations are very miserable and live under very difficult conditions. The figures before the second World War were: peasants in the Northern parts had £6-£10 per annum and £3 in the Southern parts of the country. The reason as given by Doreen Warriner in her latest book: “For this misery two things are responsible: the low level of production, itself the result of adverse physical conditions and primitive methods; and the land system. The fellah income is low because the land produces little, and because the land owner takes most of what it produces.”
For an unskilled worker's family of five persons in Baghdad City in 1939 the income per annum was £40 and the monthly expenditure of such a family was: Food about £2 1s. 0d., Clothes £0 5s. 6d., Rent £0 6s. 0d., Fuel and Lighting and others £0 10s. 6d.
Let us listen to Doreen Warriner again to give the answer: “In the past Iraq was poor because its people could not master their environment. To-day, Iraq is poor because it has more money than it can invest; and the reason why this is so is that the social structure of the country is not adapted to expansion.” Connected with this impeding social structure there is the neglect of the population and its ignorance. There have not been serious efforts to investigate the different aspects of the life, the needs of the people or to know their wishes, what have been worked were the resources and the wealth that could be extracted from the country. If we got back to our previous reference we shall find: “The human resources of the country have never been surveyed. Much more is known about the rivers of Iraq than about its inhabitants. Though the census of agriculture and industry have begun to fill some of the gaps, there has been no long series of investigations into the possibilities of raising living standards comparable to the studies of the land and water potentials.”
Without going any further, it is already evident that the conditions for a resolution [revolution?] were ripe.
There are many current views as to the cause of the Iraqi Revolution. Most of them point to the Baghdad Pact; it has become an established fact that the previous regime was acting against the will of the people when they signed the Baghdad Pact. We think that there were other reasons as well. The suppression of civil liberties and the non-existence of democratic life had been important factors. We hope the following historical resume will throw some light on the situation and help uncover the real cause of the Revolution to the British people.
British influence in Iraq dates back to the eighteenth century. It was strengthened after the 1914-1918 War when British troops occupied Iraq. The promises of independence and freedom were not fulfilled. The policy of occupation was met with dissatisfaction from the beginning: it culminated in the June 1920 Revolution. Britain, to keep her position, resorted to the policy of unequal Treaties and Alliances. A “national” government was proclaimed in 1921. The first treaty was proposed in 1921 and signed by the Iraqi Government in 1922. After two years of persecution and repression, a Chamber of Deputies was 'elected' to ensure the ratification of the Treaty. Even then, when the Treat was being discussed by the Chamber, general opposition to it was expressed by thousands of demonstrators who besieged the Chamber on the 24th May, 1924. As a consequence, despite pressure from the High Commissioner, only 68 out of 100 members attended the Session; the vote was taken by a call; nevertheless only 36 members voted for the Treaty. The Resolution passed by the Chamber read: “Despite the weight of Treaties and the agreements attached to them, the Chamber trusts Britain's honour and the honesty of the British people; it trusts that Britain will not chain Iraq and encroach on the wills of the Iraqi people; hence the Chamber advises H.M. the King to ratify the Treaty, Protocol and Agreements.” The then Minister of Defence, Nuri El Said order [sic] a military unit to encircle the Chamber and shoot the demonstrators. Nevertheless, only 36 voted for the Treaty. [Stated for a second time.]
Britain then worked for the renewal of the Treaty and initiated another one in January 1926. Her attempts were abortive; no Iraqi Government could be found capable of getting the Treaty through a legislative assembly.
Nuri Es-Said [different spelling, same person] formed a government from elements known for their dependence on Britain. He launched a campaign of terror and oppression and then carried out 'general elections' to obtain a Chamber to ratify the Treaty. The majority of the Iraqi people continued to oppose the Treaty despite its ratification. It was over the interpretation of the terms of that Treaty that the clash between Britain and Iraq started in 1941.
1.—The Portsmouth Treaty:
Closely after the end of the Second World War, our people began to demand complete independence and sovereignty in implementation of the United Nations Charter. The demands for an end to British domination grew stronger. As a reaction renewed attempts were made to impose unequal treaties. Yet another sham general election was held. A delegation, led by Saleh Jabr, the then Prime Minister, came to London and initiated at Portsmouth a treaty which did not answer the aspirations of the people. In January 1948, an uprising started against the Treaty; thousands came out in the streets; they marched in a peaceful demonstration. Nevertheless, they were machine-gunned, and the scene changed into a horrible bloody massacre. Under the pressure of the uprising 25 deputies, including the Speaker, resigned in protest against the Treaty and the bloodshed. The government resigned and the Portsmouth Treaty was washed out by the blood of the people.
2.—The Baghdad Pact:
After the 1948 uprising the previous regime learned that it could only remain in office through ruthless suppression of the people and a pact with a foreign power.
Martial Laws were declared on the 15th May 1948, 107 days after the uprising, under the pretext of guarding the Army Rear during the Palestine War.
The Government seized the opportunity of the military martial administration which suspended all laws (interfering with the administration) and carried out severe terror rounds as a revenge from the people and to paralyse the national movement. Several governments came to power. They were imposed on the Iraqi people in an unconstitutional manner. The aim was, after breaking the national resistance, to create the conditions for a pact with Britain or with a block in which Britain is an important side.
During this stage the police force employed fire arms frequently and carried out bloody manslaughter against ever mass
movement having an anti-imperialist character. The interference of the political police force prevailed in school and college lives. Hundreds of students were dismissed and sent to prison instead. On many occasions shooting took place inside schools (in faculty of medicine in January, 1948, and in the teachers' training institute in November[,] 1952). In this period two criminal manslaughters were committed: the first was in the Central Baghdad Prison where eight people were killed and 92 were wounded, the second was in Kut Prison where 10 people were killed and about 100 were wounded. It became very clear that the course of justice in the courts was not possible because martial law prevailed widely and there was no real chance for defence, the principle of jurisdiction was carried out by officers chosen by the Government to harm the citizens. Even in periods during which the martial law was abolished certain judges were chosen—for political cases—to be used easily by the political police department. In both cases the hearings were unreal and the people were punished for false accusation fabricated by the police because the people took part in the national struggle against the Portsmouth Treaty, the rule was a police one. [Awkward sentence.]
November 1952 Resurrection:
The resistance fo the Iraqi people grew greatly against this brutal policy until it reached the stage of explosion in November 1952. The authority crushed this uprising by machine guns, armoured cars and tanks after the police force failed the Government asked for the army help. [Awkward sentence.] The Cabinet resigned and the Chief of Staff became the ruler. This is unconsitutional as it is not permissible to be a Minister and engage another post. The military Government declared martial law anew, carried out extensive campaigns against the citizens, suspended trade unions and the remaining political parties and thousands of people were sent to prisons. Among the arrested people were leaders of the opposition parties as Kamil Al-Chadarchi—chairman of the National Democratic Party and an ex-minister (Al-Chadarchi was in prison after being tried during the Suez War and was sentenced to three years hard imprisonment. [No end to the parenthesis.] Abdul Wahab Mahmud, then President of the Iraqi bar and ex-minister, Mohamed Mahdi Al-Jwahiri, a great poet and ex-M.P., with those were a great number of eminent personalities and thousands of ordinary people.
Nuri As-Said was brought to power to finally liquidate and destroy the National Movement. Nuri inaugurated his rule with a campaign of oppressive brutal measures.
This reminded one of his oppressive campaign twenty-candidates of the National Front could manage to win in spite of the Government intervention by all means of terror and falsifications. [Awkward sentence.] The Chamber was dissolved before it began its work because Nuri was afraid of the consolidation of the national resistance against his plan — Baghdad Pact, and he thought that the representation could change in the Chamber. Nuri could not stand any risk and that the national resistance eight years ago as a preparation for the 1930 Treaty. [Awkward sentence.] He was made P.M. on the assumption that he was the leader of the party of the majority in the Chamber of Deputies, who were selected under the police bayonet. But Nuri did not like that Chamber, whose majority was secured for him, because a few facing a serious situation as declaration of war. But Nuri did not care about this constitutional principle, he dissolved Parliament and formulated his fascist acts which included laws that was very deep and wide against it. [Awkward sentence.]
Instead of carrying out the election he produced a great number of Orders and Acts which suspended everything that ensures the people's freedom no matter how little it was; he suspended other constitutional articles and laws. This action was unconstitutional in itself because Acts in Iraqi legislation are legal laws, made by the Government, when there is not a legislative body and during the extreme emergency which is limited fundamentally to two basic things: the necessity to continue State administration when there is not a financial budget and when need not be legalised, he neglected the constitution and the principles of democracy. [Awkward sentence.]
One of those Acts concerned the Iraqi Nationality (22.8.1954) by which the Cabinet have the right, as advised by the Minister of the Interior, to withdraw the Iraqi Nationality from Iraqi citizens if they are sentenced by Articles 89A of the Baghdad Criminal Law. This article was especially introduced to destroy the National Movement under the screen of prohibiting Communism propogation [sic] or “the like,” or any ideaology [sic] opposed to the existing regime. As Article 7 of the Iraqi Constitution absolutely prohibited the banishment of Iraqis beyond the frontiers, that Act was a crude violation of the constitution and an illegal trick to send Iraqi citizens to exile after withdrawing their nationality. Since people were sentenced after false trials the Government used this trick to get rid of the opposition of a large number of citizens, they were unjustly sentenced with Article 89A first, and after they completed their imprisonment they were arrested, their nationality withdrawn and sent to exile. A num-
ber of lawyers suffered from these oppressive measures, as Tawefik Munir, the Vice-President of the Iraqi Bar, and Kamil Kazanchi an ex-Deputy-Consul in India. They were delivered to the Turkish Authorities who arrested them in the Foreign Prison near Ankara, where they live now. The new Government has now declared their willingness to bring them back. Nuri's Government went further in withdrawing Iraqi nationality from citizens opposing the pacts [sic] policy. Nationality was withdrawn without trials as in the case of Aziz Sherif—lawyer, chairman of the suspended People's Party, ex-M.P. and ex-member in the Supreme Court of Baghdad Region.
M. A. Al-Tahir—the well known Arab Politician—declared that he met Fadil Al-Jamali (ex-P.M.) who was sent to Tunisia to propogate [sic] against the Egyptian National Movement. Al-Tahir said: “While we talked to each other he tried to make the North Africa Arabs doubt the sincerity of President Nasser and accused the President as being a Communist. I answered in a way to uncover the intrigue of the baghdad Pact.” Nuri attempted to justify the Pact under the cover of anti-Communist measures which were used against every national fighter whatever his political ideology was. The Government reached the level of accusing every opposition as Communist. Nuri even went as far as accusing the late Salih Jabr—Member of the Senates and ex-P.M., who initiated the Portsmouth Treaty. Jabr asked in the Senates House: “Do you consider every opposition to your policy in Palestine and every demand for reform and respecting the laws as Communist?” S.M.R. Al-Shebibi—Member of the Senates, ex-Minister, ex-Speaker of the Senates—said to Nuri in the House.” [sic, wrong quotation mark placement] You consider every nationalist and every opponent to the British policy in this country as Communist.” It happened to the great nationalist, the leader of June 1920 Revolution—Ja'afar Abu Al-Timman—who said: “If the struggle against imperialism and for the liberation of my country is considered a Communist activity then you can consider me as the first Communist in this country.”
But Nuri's Government did not stop at accusing their opponents of Communism, they produced an Act (No. 16, 22nd August, 1954) to the effect that the Peace Movement “And the like” is punishable in the same way as Communist propogation [sic], and “the like”: the Peace Movement and the Democratic Youth Organization—and “the like”—were considered as serving the Communist purpose. This vague phrase “and the like” is repeated every now and then. The Peace Movement became, like Communism propaganda, a crime punishable in the extreme cases by hanging or hard life-imprisonment.
Nuri's Governments were against the basic principles of legislation, that they applied and forced the validity of this fascist Act on incidents taking place before its enactment. The Government produced the General Trade Unions Act (22nd August, 1954). According to which unions were under the absolute control of the Minister of the Interior and all existing unions were dissolved. The Government wanted to form new committees, from secret police agents, in the name of the workers who refused to join. There are now only two professional unions, one for the lawyers and the other for the medical profession. Again, the Government produced the Societies Act (22nd September, 1954) which enabled Nuri to ban all societies, clubs and parties, etc., whether political, artistic, religious or sport. There were 465 parties, societies and clubs banned by that Act. The Minister of the Interior and the Cabinet have the right to suspend or permit any society, or changing their program and constitution. Another Act was that of publications (10th November, 1954) by which all papers and other periodicals and magazines whether political, artistic, scientific or religious . . . were banned. Only a few governmental or pro-government papers were allowed, one of them is issued by the British Embassy in English. Assembly and demonstration [sic, should be capitalized] Act was formulated on 12th November, 1954. By this only the Ministry of the Interior had the right to permit meetings and demonstrations and the authorised officer had the right to disperse the crowds. This is again against Article 12 of the Constitution which affirmed the right of the people to assemble and to express their opinion. Although the Constitution was formed during the absolute domination of British occupation and although it is far from fulfilling the rights and wishes of the people for independence and freedom. Nuri's Government, in its preparatory oppressive campaign for Baghdad Pact robbed the people of everything that gave partial rights and liberties.
After extending and intensifying the oppression which often became more brutal, mobilising all his forces, paralysing the jurisdiction apparatus by appointing followers who took orders from the police; after this Nuri declared his determination to carry out a Free General Election!! How was it possible to have free election after banning national papers, unions, parties, meetings and demonstrations under military martial law? The majority of the people received that election, under the circumstance, with dismay and boycott. It was impossible to practice the minimum of freedom in the election. The few who wanted to take part were faced with oppressive policy. The police arrested every non-Governmental candidate, though they were very few, e.g. Tawfik
Munir, Vice-President of the Bar, Abdul Sattar Naji, Lawyer, Safa Al-Hafudh, Lecturer in faculty of Law. The first two were sentenced for two years imprisonment and to be under the police Surveillance later. The reason for their sentence was their attitude towards the Turko-Pakistani Pact and the phrases which came in their election manifesto. The first of them lost his Iraqi nationality. The result of the election. [Awkward sentence.] Free, as Nuri claimed, was about 100 elected unopposed from a total of 145. The rest won under routine sham election. This was called by the people the UNopposed Chamber. [Was UNopposed about emphasis, a typo, or about the UN?]
Iraqi People against the Baghdad Pact:
The first visit of Manderes to Baghdad, January 1955, was met with dissatisfaction and wide dismay. The demonstrations in Baghdad were silenced by force. When he returned on the 24th February, 1955, to Iraq to sign the documents of the Pact his arrival was surrounded by the utmost secrecy. Large numbers of armed forces filled the streets and squares. Armoured police forces were mobilised to prevent demonstrations and protest meetings. The Pact was signed at midnight on Friday, 25th February. On Saturday, 26th February both Chambers of Parliament were convened simultaneously to ratify the Pact very quickly without giving the text to the Deputies for study.
Besides the mass demonstrations, occurring on every occasion and stopped by force and arrests, the leaders of the banned national parties and distinguished personalities declared their protests several times and presented memoranda to the King expressing their fears at the Pact and at the oppressive policy followed by Nuri's Government to achieve the aims of the Pact. Nuri and the British Government attached to the Pact a military agreement called the Special Agreement between U.K. and Iraq to replace the 1930 Treaty which was about to expire. Nuri did not present the agreement and the memoranda attached to it to Parliament. He smuggled it. None of the members knew about it except from the foreign Press, while the matter was discussed in the House of Commons in U.K.
The Foreign Affairs Committees, in both Chambers, were given only ten minutes to study the text and to advise both Chambers to ratify the Pact. This was done on demand, ratification was carried out as advised. No chance was given to discuss the Pact, its subjects, aims or its dangers.
Here we present a sample of the opposition that took place in the Senate Chamber. The members, chosen by the Government,
were prevented from discussing the subject of the Pact. While the Pact was being discussed one of Nuri's men moved the guillotine. Al-Shebibe protested: “It seems to me that many of my brothers think that there has not been sufficient time for discussion. I appeal to you to give us more time, especially as there is still room for discussion and arguments. It gives me pleasure to find the Prime Minister more tolerant to listen to the speakers.”
Noises and Voices: this is irrelevant.
Al-Shebibi—continuing—I feel the members think it is not the time yet to end the debate.
Noise and Voice: this is irrelevant.
Al-Shebibi: we urgently need in these circumstances and situations some freedom. If you persist in interrupting I'll withdraw; but if you'd let me practice my constitutional right to express the opinion of the Upper Chamber . . .
Voices: Stop it.
Al-Shebibi (continuing and calling on the Prime Minister): Do you agree at this Mr. Prime Minister? You judge.
Deputy Speaker: I am putting the resolution, to end the debate; to a vote. [Awkward semicolon.] Those who are with, please raise your hands.
Hands were raised.
(Minutes of proceedings, Senates Chambers, 26th February, 1955).
The debate was ended in this manner and the conscience of the P.M. did not help Al-Shebibi.
Tawfik Al-Mukhtar, Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee, declared in the Chamber of Deputies,” [sic, wrong place and direction for quotation mark] I regret to say that the Government, at the time, presented to the Chamber only the principal agreement between Iraq and Turkey which is of no importance virtually compared with agreements which have been signed between Iraq and Britain. As regards the two memoranda which the Prime Minister sent to the British side and the two answers he received from the British representative, these serious documents—which are considered by the two sides as parts of the agreement, have not been presented to the Chamber. The danger exists in their articles and in their lines. From the discussions that took place in the British Parliament and which came out we have been able to know about these letters and to discover the harm that has been done to Iraq's sovereignty and interests.” (It is clear that the chairman has not known the whole text of the special agreement between Iraq and U.K. He only learnt about the memoranda attached to the agreement). [sic] In fact, the Special Agreement and the memoranda attached to it put Iraq backward and increased British influence extending its domination over Iraq territory, air, waters and army.
The Baghdad Pact policy has been reflected in impoverishment of the people and the sharpening of the economical difficulties. The Government expenditure (consists of oil royalties, 60 million pounds per annum, and ordinary revenues which amount to 50 million pounds per annum) was directed to serve war strategy purposes and to convert Iraq and making it a military base for foreign armies in a world war adventure. Consequently taxes were imposed and raised and as a result of this came the disturbances at Mosul before the uprising of October-December, 1956, after the tripartite aggression on Egypt, and the strike of the shopkeepers when the rents were raised, and also the strike of transport car owners after new taxes were imposed.
Because of the Baghdad Pact policy, Iraq's political, military and economic forces were isolated from the other Arab countries. The Iraqi Government supported the Israeli-Anglo-French aggression (the political demagogy followed by Nuri in “supporting” Egypt superficially was insignificant. The Government wanted to cover their real attitude and to save themselves and the Baghdad Pact). [sic, comma location]
It has been proved beyond doubt that Nuri's Government dispatched great quantities of arms and to hit at Syria while the latter was defended herself against a plotted aggression by Israel, Britain and France. Ali Sabri—a responsible politician—(then Political advisor to President Nasser) confirmed the news that the Iraqi Government supplied British planes with fuel on leaving one of the Iraqi airfields (Habbaniah) to take part in the invasion of Egypt. It was clear, from the notes of the Baghdad Pact Conference, that Nuri instigated Britain to frustrate the High Dam Plan as a measure to bring down the existing national rule in Egypt, he instigated Britain to carry out that criminal invasion as well. [Paul Johnson hints at this in his recent book—journey into chaos]. [This bracketed note was part of the original text.]
The numerous events which took place since the formulation of the Baghdad Pact and particularly since the invasion of Egypt and further still since the exposition of the plot to arm anti-Government elements in Syria by Nuri's Government, all these factors plus the consolidation of the continuous national resistance led, in the final analysis, to the 1956 uprising of the Iraqi People. Our unarmed people rose against the Baghdad Pact and against Nuri's Government.
The world learnt a lot about the murder crimes committed by Nuri's Governments which flooded the masses with blood and transformed Iraq into a big prison where thousands of citizens
were sent into terrifying concentration camps. In spite of all measures of oppression and censorship it was easy for the external world to know about the extent and depth of the people's resistance against the Pact policy and Nuri's Government whose criminal hands had been stained with blood. This extent and depth becomes clear when one considers the brutal revengeful measures which the Government took against the Iraqi people. In addition to the large number of martyrs and the wounded due to police fire in Baghdad, Najaf, Mosul and Hai, which was bombarded by field artillery—two citizens were hanged in the open in front of the people and in the daylight—the Government extended its oppressive arrest campaign to many distinguished political, scientific and religious personalities. M. Al-Pachachi was under house arrest (ex-Prime Minister), a number of the leaders of the National Congress Party were arrested as Kamil Al-Chadarchi—the chairman, ex-Minister and a famous politician, Hussain Jamil, then the President of the Iraqi Bar, Saddik Shenshal—a well known lawyer (a member of the present Cabinet), Faik Al-Samarrai (now President of the Iraqis Bar), and so on. The Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce was arrested too—Ja'afar Al-Shebibi. A number of professors such as Abdul Rahman Al-Bazzaz—Dean of Faculty of Law, Hassan Al-Dujaili also met the same fate. Religious personalities were persecuted. This is not the place to mention the victims of Nuri's oppression. Schools were closed and a double reign of terror prevailed: a police rule backed by military martial administration. Parliament was suspended because the Government did not dare to face even that “selected Chamber.”
We have limited our discussion to one aspect of the political consequences of the Baghdad Pact, i.e. in Iraq and the wide disturbance it caused in the country and the encroachment on the civil liberties and security. The consequences in the Middle East are quite clear as it caused uncertainty and confusion and threatened the peace of the whole area. Therefore the attempt to revive and strengthen the Pact meant the renewal of the intrigues against the security and the peace of the people of the Middle East.
The situation couldn't remain like that. Peace and security could never return to the country without the liberation of the people from the chains of the Pact and from a policy which was imposed on us.
After the Suez war, Nuri was met with more isolation, both in Iraq and in the Arab world. Arab Nationalism had taken a
definite progressive policy. The moving current of Arab Nationalism rallied all Arab peoples around it. Nuri's short-sightedness led him to try to stop against it. When Arab Unity was established with the proclamation of the “UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC,” our rulers declared the federation of Iraq, and Jordon [sic] in what they called the “Arab Union.” The declaration of this rival union was an insult to our sentiment and to our true leaders. We always looked at it as an extension of the Baghdad Pact and an intensification of Western domination, designed to hinder the inevitable current of Arab Nationalism.
Nuri found himself faced with a general election. He wanted a House which could bless the “UNION” and agree to renew the Baghdad Pact without much fuss. On the other hand our people found themselves in no position to freely participate in them. The result was that the elections were met with a nation-wide boycott. Only 17 seats out of the 145 were contested. At this time the Lebanese crisis was just started. When Nuri came to London, it was becoming clear that he was with America and Britain against our brethren in the Lebanon. On the decisive day, the plan of action in the Lebanon, the Iraqi people with their army in front declared their revolution. The regime, for which consolidation millions of pounds were spent, crumbled in a few hours. The old regime has collapsed, and Iraq has made its decision for a better life.
The Iraqi People were fully determined to get rid of their corrupt rulers who were only supported by foreign influence. The people have decided to catch up with the rest of the free Arab people and march with them in the road of freedom and Arab Unity. Our people, who suffered their sacrifices, could never accept to remain fettered in spite of the efforts to keep us so.
We have gone through the underlying political factors of the revolution. We have reason to believe that the new republic is a healthy element internationally. The new republic needs your support and your consolidation. It is a symbol of our aspirations. Our people have proved to the British peoples that they were misinformed, and that Iraq was not “the most stable and progressive State in the Middle East,” as some people believed it to be.