Ba'athist Iraq: Wikis


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جمهورية العراق
Jumhūriyat Al-Irāq (Arabic)
Republic of Iraq




Flag Coat of arms
Wahda, Hurriyah, Ishtirakiyah
("Unity, Freedom, Socialism", 1986-1991)
Allāhu Akbar
("God is the Greatest", 1991-2003)
Ardulfurataini Watan
("The Land of The Two Rivers", 1981-2003)
Map of Iraq.
Capital Baghdad
Language(s) Arabic
Government Dominant-party system
 - 1963-1966 Abdul Salam Arif
 - 1968-1979 Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr
 - 1979-2003 Saddam Hussein
Prime Minister
 - 1963, 1968-1979 Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr
 - 1979-1991 Saddam Hussein
 - 1994-2003 Saddam Hussein
Legislature National Assembly
 - Overthrow of Qassim government by Ba'athists 1963
 - Overthrow of al-Bakr and Ba'athists by president Abdul Salam Arif 1963
 - Restoration of al-Bakr and Ba'athists to power 1968
 - Disestablished 2003
 - 2003 est. 25,175,000 
Currency Iraqi dinar (IQD)

Ba'athist Iraq refers to Iraq during the rule of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in 1963 and 1968 to 2003. Ba'athist rule in Iraq first occurred briefly in 1963 under Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr until overthrown that same year. Ba'athism was restored to power five years later after al-Bakr and the Ba'ath Party overthrew Abdul Rahman Arif. Ba'athism became entrenched in Iraq's government as a dominant-party system committed to pan-Arab unification, state socialism, and secularism. Al-Bakir resigned as President in 1979 and was replaced by Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti. The Ba'athist regime was overthrown in 2003 after the invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition, and formally dissolved by the Coalition Provisional Authority that year.



During the Ba'athist era, Iraq officially maintained most of the territory currently part of Iraq. A border dispute existed with Saudi Arabia until 1981. From 1980 to 1988, during the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq occupied and attempted to annex portions of Iran. From 1990 to 1991, Iraq occupied and annexed Kuwait. The annexation of Kuwait was not recognized and was declared an illegal violation of Kuwait's sovereignty by the United Nations. A UN-authorized international military coalition forced Iraqi military forces to retreat from Kuwait during the Gulf War and subsequently Kuwait's sovereignty was restored.

Culture and Society

Saddam Hussein and women students. Ba'athism promoted greater participation of women in Iraqi society.

The Ba'athist era was a period of official secularization in Iraq. The government included people from multiple religious affiliations including Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, and Christians; though Sunni Muslims dominated the government. However, the period was marked, especially under Saddam Hussein, with sectarian religious and ethnic strife between the dominant Sunni Muslim minority Arabs versus the Shiite Muslim majority Arabs and minority Kurds. The government promoted women's rights including allowing women to access education and serve in the armed forces. The government sought the restoration of Iraqi cultural heritage, such as rebuilding replicas of sections of the ancient city of Babylon. Under Saddam Hussein, glorification of Hussein and the Ba'athist government was common in state-sponsored artwork.

During the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein sought to gain support from the Muslim religious community for the government and inscribed the Takbir to the flag, and coat of arms, and motto of Iraq.


By the end of the Iran–Iraq War, Iraq fielded the world's 4th largest military, with more than 70 army divisions, over 800 aircraft in the Iraqi Air Force,[1] and a small navy, thanks to funding from the surrounding Persian Gulf states and billions in loans and funding given or secured by the United States to support Iraq's war with Iran.[2][3] Losses during the Gulf War from the United States-led coalition resulted in the reduction of Iraq's ground forces to 23 divisions and the air force to less than 300 aircraft.



Presidency of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr

Upon taking power, al-Bakir pursued a policy of pan-Arab unification. Iraq prepared for unification with Egypt and Syria), however the plans never went through and later tension with the Syrian faction of the Ba'ath Party brought unification plans to an end. Al-Bakir established a government dominated by the Ba'ath Party in alliance with the Iraqi Communist Party. This fractious alliance was broken up from 1978 to 1979, and multiple communists were arrested and persecuted.

Presidency of Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti

Saddam Hussein al Tikriti, former president of Iraq, 1979–2003

After pressuring al-Bakir to resign, Saddam Hussein rose to power as President. Hussein radically altered the Ba'athist party. The party became militarized and party members took on uniforms.

Iran-Iraq War

Shortly after gaining power, Saddam Hussein waged war on Iran. The Iran-Iraq War occurred from 1980 to 1988.

Halabja poison gas attack

During the Iran-Iraq War, Iraqi armed forces launched a poison gas attack against the Iraqi Kurd town of Halabja in 1988. The attack instantly killed 3,200-5,000 people instantly and injured 7,000-10,000, most of them civilians.[4][5]

Gulf War

In August 1990, Saddam Hussein declared war on Kuwait, basing the attack on the claim that Kuwait was illegally slant-drilling its oil wells into Iraqi territory. Upon occupying Kuwait, Hussein declared that Kuwait was annexed to Iraq. The United Nations denounced the occupation as illegal and repeatedly ordered Iraq to withdraw its military forces from Kuwait and recognize Kuwait's sovereignty. Sanctions were imposed on Iraq by the UN to pressure Iraq to withdraw. In 1991, The UN Security Council approved international military action to restore Kuwait's sovereignty. The coalition led by the United States attacked and defeated Iraqi forces in Kuwait, inflicting serious casualties on Iraq. Iraq in response launched tactical ballistic missile attacks against Israel and Saudi Arabia, both US' Middle Eastern allies. Retreating Iraqi forces sabotaged Kuwaiti oil wells causing massive fires across Kuwait's oil fields. Coalition forces inflicted serious damage on both the state and civilian infrastructure of Iraq.

Shiite revolt

Shortly after the end of the Gulf War in 1991, members of Iraq's Shiite community rebelled against the Iraqi government. Iraqi government forces forcefully crushed the revolt.

Disarmament, United Nations weapons inspections, sanctions

Upon being militarily defeated in the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein submitted to allow UN weapons inspection, disarmament of Weapons of mass destruction, and no-fly-zones over northern and southern areas of Iraq.

In 1998 Iraq accused UN weapons inspections of being infiltrated by spies and forced UN weapon inspectors to leave Iraq. In 2002, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 1441, ordering Iraq to immediately restore UN weapons inspections and commit to demonstrate its commitment to disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. Resolution 1441 was presented to Iraq as a "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" that had been set out in several previous resolutions.[1] Iraq permitted UN weapon inspectors led by Hans Blix, head of United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), to investigate sites suspected of potentially having weapons or weapon material.

Iraq War

The United States, United Kingdom and other countries were not satisfied with Iraq's commitment to Resolution 1441 and claimed that Iraq had failed to fulfill its obligations, thus authorizing military action under the authorization of Resolution 1441, and claimed that it wouldpursue military action regardless of the position of the UN Security Council. However the position by the United States and the United Kingdom, both permanent members in the UN Security Council was challenged by other permanent members including the People's Republic of China, France, and Russia that opposed military intervention in Iraq. Among non-permanent members, Spain supported military intervention, Germany opposed military intervention. The remaining non-permanent members including Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Germany, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan, and Syria were neutral on the issue, favouring more time for UN weapon inspections to identify whether Iraq was in compliance of its obligations. It was highly suspected that a resolution to authorize military action against Iraq would fail in the Security Council due to vetoes by the People's Republic of China, France, and Russia as permanent members. The vote was never cast however as proponents of military intervention abandoned pressing for the new resolution. Furthermore the United States, United Kingdom and other countries had already amassed military forces around Iraq, prepared for invasion.

The United States, United Kingdom, and a coalition of other countries that referred to themselves as the "Coalition of the Willing" declared war on Iraq, claiming that Resolution 1441 was not upheld by Iraq and that under Resolution 1441, the coalition was authorized to force Iraq to comply with its obligations. United States President George W. Bush stated that such compliance could only come by the removal of Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party from power and the establishment of a new government that would comply with the responsibilities of the United Nations.



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