VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > E. The Middle East and North Africa, 1945–2000 > 3. The Middle East and Egypt, 1943–2000 > i. Iraq
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See June 1–2)
i. Iraq
An attempt at political liberalization. The government tolerated the formation of opposition parties, the most notable of which were the Istiqlal Party and the National Democratic Party. Both parties were left-wing organizations whose constituencies, confined to urban and educated classes, left them with a narrow base of support. Labor unrest and, above all, the wariness and insecurity of the political establishment led ultimately to the failure of the liberalization policy.  1
1948, Jan
Widespread popular demonstrations, known as the wathba (uprising). The protests were sparked by the announcement of the Portsmouth Treaty with Britain (Jan. 15), a renegotiated version of the 1930 treaty. The British agreed to remove their troops from Iraq and gave up sovereignty over their two air bases in Iraq, but they still retained a voice in Iraqi military planning and remained as the sole supplier of training and equipment to the Iraqi army. Together with Britain's role in the escalating Palestine crisis, the treaty roused nationalist opposition in Iraq and failed to win popular approval. The political crisis was compounded by economic difficulties in the wake of a bad harvest, bread shortages, and accelerating inflation. In the end, the cabinet fell, and the treaty was never ratified.  2
Failure of negotiations to unify Iraq and Syria. The attempt was largely inspired by the ambitions of the regent, Abd al-Ilah. An attempt to revive the project in 1953 came to nothing.  3
Establishment of the Development Board, made possible by the recent increase in oil revenues. Most projects were devoted to agricultural improvements. Communications and transportation were of secondary priority, and industry received the least amount of funding.  4
New agreements with the Iraq Petroleum Company. The first (1950) substantially raised Iraqi royalties, and the second (1952) gave Iraq half the profits.  5
Flight of nearly the entire Jewish community (over 130,000) to Israel. The emigrés were forced to leave their assets behind (estimated at over $150 million).  6
Formation of THE BA`TH PARTY, which was committed to the cause of pan-Arabism. Before 1958 the party attracted only a handful of political activists.  7
Nov. 23
Appointment of a military government and the outlawing of all political parties. A series of strikes and riots earlier in the year had led to the breakdown of order. The military regime organized new elections and stepped down on Jan. 22, 1953.  8
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.