IRAQ's FIRST COUP GOVERNMENT (1936 - 1937)
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By the mid-1930s, several officers of the Iraqi army had become actively interested in politics and found that the army's reputation for suppressing the Assyrian rebellion was a political asset. The most influential officers were true nationalists, that is, pan-Arabist, who inspired many of the junior officers. They looked to the examples of neighbouring Turkey and Iran, where military dictatorships were flourishing. Under the leadership of General Bakr Iidqi the army took over the government in the fall of 1936, and opened a period of the army's meddling in politics. A monolithic, totalitarian form of government seemed to offer a more effective means of unifying fragmented countries and modernizing backward societies than did constitutional democracy and the free enterprise system. The authoritarian regime that exerted the most powerful influence on Iraqis was that of Kamal. Many of the army officers and Ottoman-educated civilians could easily imagine themselves in the Turkish president's role. As an Islamic country with a background of similar traditions and problems, Turkey offered a more attainable example than European regimes. Moreover, rapid development, political unity, and greater social discipline were the desiderata of this line of thought. The assassination of Bakr Iidqi marked the collapse of the Bakr Iidqi - Eikmat Sulayman axis and the end of Iraq's first coup government.
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