IRAQ: THE RULE OF ABDARRAHMĀN ĀRIF AND ITS END (1966 – 1968)
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The July Revolution of 1958 in Iraq brought Staff Brigadier Abdalkarīm Qāsim to power, in alliance with a loose group of Communists, Kurds, bathists, patriotic democrats and Arab nationalists from the outset. Over the following five years he lost the support of each of these groupings. His overthrow in February 1963 was carried out by a combination of bacthist and Arab nationalist military officers. Although the presidency was placed in the hands of Abdassalām Ārif, a non-bathist army general, the Bath party played the predominant role in the government which succeeded the rebellion. A campaign of severe repression against the Communist party was initiated. In November 1963, following attempts by the Bath party to entrench its hold on power, Abdassalām Ārif ousted the principal bathist leaders from the government and dismissed senior bathist military officers from their posts. To the extent that organised civilian involvement in government continued, it was a loosely organised grouping of Arab nationalists and nāṣirists who provided the regime’s civilian base. In April 1966 Abdassalām Ārif was killed in a helicopter crash and was succeeded by his elder brother Abdarrahmān Ārif, a man of weaker personality. His rule was of short duration: in July 1968 the Bath party returned to power again after a coup.
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