IRAQ: THE OVERALL IMPACT AFTER THE ACCESSION OF KING ĠĀZĪ TO THE THRONE (1933 – 1934)
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In the summer of 1933, King Fayṣal’s health deteriorated and in September 1933 he left Iraq for medical treatment in Switzerland. He died there within a week of his arrival, suddenly and in mysterious circumstances which gave rise to speculation. He was succeeded by his son Ġāzī, a young man of twenty-one who had little interest in the political world, but whose general sympathies were broadly pan-Arab. Ġāzī ibn Fayṣal ibn al-Ḥusayn assumed the throne very young. He lacked the necessary experience to fill his father’s role of political balancer. Moreover, neither his training nor his temperament was suited to the task. In most respects, Ġāzī stood in contrast to his father. As a member of the younger generation with a western education, he was much less attuned to the mentality and interests of the tribal and religious leaders or to the older Ottoman-trained politicians. Jamīl al-Midfacī, who succeeded Rashīd cĀlī al-Kaylānī as prime minister in the autumn of 1933, introduced the National Defence Bill into parliament. This was passed in February 1934, setting up the machinery for conscription and for rapid expansion of the armed forces – a project dear to the hearts of most of the Sunnī Arab elite.
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