Iraqi rulers' Page
During the long history of this country there were hundreds of rulers and prominent personalities that affected the history of Iraq, however I chose to present the Heads of modern Iraqi state since it's foundation in 1921 until our days.
King Faysal I ( 1921-1933 )
King Ghazi I ( 1933-1939 )
King Faysal II ( 1939-1958 )
Abdul-Karim Qassim ( 1958-1963 )
Abdul-Salam Arif. ( 1963-1966 )
Abdul-Rahman Arif. ( 1966-1968 )
Ahmad Hassan al-Bakir. ( 1968-1979 )
Saddam Hussein. ( 1979- )
King Faysal I
b. May 20, 1885, Mecca
d. Sept. 8, 1933, Bern
The son of Hussein bin Ali the Grand Sheriff of Mecca and the ruler of Hijaz (1916-1924). He was quite gifted in politics the matter that made his father to depend on him in the negotiations with Britain and in the peace conference of Paris 1919. In addition he led his father's troops in the Arab revolt against the Ottoman empire in 1916. He succeeded in taking most of Syria and he declared himself as a king of Syria in September 1918 with the blessings of the leaders of the nascent Arab-Nationalism movement. However, The French forced him to leave the thrown of Syria very abruptly after the failure of the negotiations and he was forced into a temporarily exile in Britain.
The British administration of the occupied Iraq at the time had enough troubles with controlling the violent resentment of the Iraqi people for the occupation. Specially after the August 1920 revolt in almost all over the country it was decided by the British government to change it's presence in Iraq into an indirect one by giving Iraqis their own government. Faysal was the most appropriate candidate for the suggested Iraqi throne, and he had the support of the local national movement. Subsequently he was crowned on the 23rd of August 1921 as Faysal I of Iraq after a referendum controlled by the British administration.
Through his reign he had a wide support of the local power poles in Iraq and the region. His governments managed to sign different treaties with Britain and achieving the independence in 1932 when Iraq became a full member of the league of nations. He died in the 8th of December 1933 in a clinic in Bern, Switzerland after having heart problems.
King Ghazi I
b. March 21, 1912, Mecca
d. April, 1939, Baghdad
The only son of Faysal I after three daughters. He was left to the care of his grandfather while his father was busy in his campaigns and travels. Thus he grew as shy inexperienced young man which had allot of effect on his short reign. He left Hijaz to Jordan with the rest of the Hashimites in 1924 after their defeat by the Saudis. He came to Baghdad at the same year and was appointed as the crown prince.
He was crowned as Ghazi I after the death of his father in December 1933. He was very known of his pro-Arab Nationalism. He had sympathies to the Nazi Germany. He was claiming Kuwait to be annexed to the Iraqi territories, and for that purpose he had his own radio station in al-Zuhoor royal palace in which he promoted that claim.
Under his reign the first coup d'état in Iraq and the Arab world took place in 1936, when general Bakir Sidqi led a coup to bring back the ousted prime minister Hikmat Sulayman.
He was killed in a mysterious car accident in April 1939.
King Faysal II
b. May 2, 1935, Baghdad
d. July 14, 1958, Baghdad
The only son of Ghazi I and Queen 'Aalya. He became king in the age of four after the death of his father in 1939. He was quite dependent on his uncle the regent Abdul-Ilah whom was appointed as the crown prince too.
He grew very shy and was rarely active in public. Under his reign Iraq took part in the war of Palestine in 1948. Under his time the hashimite union of Iraq and Jordan was declared.
He was killed at the massacre of al-Zuhoor palace on July 14th, 1958 with the rest of the royal family. The traumatic experiences of this young king throughout his short life from the death of his father to the violent death in a bloody massacre gained him a special place in the Iraqis' memory.
b. 1914 al-Suayra
d. Feb 9, 1963 Baghdad
Among all the rulers who came to power in the modern state of Iraq stands Qassim as the most popular figure. The masses liked his common origin. He was a very regular citizin like them and he didn't decend from the Iraqi aristochracy. Qassim attended the Iraqi military academy and advanced steadily through the ranks until by 1955 he had become a high-ranking officer. Like many Iraqis, he disliked the socially conservative and pro-Western policies of the monarchy. By 1957 Qassim had assumed leadership of the several opposition groups that had formed in the army. On July 14, 1958, Qassim and his followers used troop movements planned by the government as an opportunity to seize military control of Baghdad and overthrew the monarchy. This movement was widely supported by the people and it still refered to as the revolution of the 14th of july.
Qassim assumed the post of the prime minister of the newly formed republic. He had the very diffecult mission of stearing Iraq through that era when pro-Arab nationalism was in it's peak of power in the Arab world, specially after the formation of U.A.R between Egypt and Syria under the leadership of Jamal abdul-Nassir of Egypt.
Though the pan-Arabs had established a very strong position in Iraq, Qassim chose not to be involved in any kind of federation and prefered to concentrate on the development of Iraq itself. This policy brought him the resentment of Nassir and his Pan-Arab allies in Iraq and the region.
He tried to maintain the political balance by using the traditional opponents of pan-Arabs the left wing and the communists. He was able to maintain the loyality of the army however that had changed after the war with the Kurdish factions in the north broke out.
He started a very serious attempts to develop the country and to improve it's infrastructers. He was killed after a phony trial by those who made the bloody coup of February 8th, 1963.
d. April 14, 1966
Arif was one of the officers that overthrown the monarchy in the 14th of July 1958. He was known to be a very faithful pan-Arab and an admirer of the Egyptian president Nassir. He disliked the position of Qassim who rejected the pan-Arabs' projects of wide unplanned series of federations among Arab countries. He was trailed and imprisoned in the time of Qassim , but Qassim issued a special pardon for him.
Eventually he and other officers and the right-wing forces specially the Ba'th party planed to overthrow Qassim by military coup, the matter they successfully managed to execute on the 8th of July 1963.
Arif assumed the presidency directly and a very bloody wave of political revenge swept the entire country in which speachless crimes were committed by the infamous National-Guard. The first victim was Qassim and many members of his cabinet who were subjected to a phoney trial then shot at the spot.
After turning his back to his Ba'thiest allies in November 1963, Arif ruled in a one man state in which no clear ideology was prevailing. At his last days he was planing to merge Iraq with the U.A.R of Egypt and Syria.
He died on the 14th of July 1966 in a helicopter accident.
He was one of the officers who perpetrated the 1958 and 1963 seizures of power though very little was known about his role in them or even about his ideological stands. He was appointed by the leading military junta to succeed his brother Abdul-Salam after The Helicopter accident in 1966. He ruled in tow years until ousted by the Ba'thiest coup d'état in July 1968. He was exiled to Istanbul where he lived until the late eighties when he was allowed by Saddam to return back to live a very quite life in Baghdad.
Ahmad Hassan al-Bakir
b. 1914, Tikreet
d. October 4, 1982, Baghdad
He entered the military academy in 1938 after working as a primary-school teacher for sex years. He joined the Ba'th party very early and that cost him to be forced to resign from the army in 1959. He was a prime minister under the first 10 months of 1963 coup, until Arif had broken his ties with the Ba'thiests. He was appointed as president by the perpetrators of the coup of 17th July 1968.
He was seen to be a more or less as a facade hiding the real man in power who was Saddam. He officially stepped down to hand over the presidency to His vice president Saddam Hussein on the 16th of July 1979 and to retire entirely from his political courier. the official version was claiming his bad health to be the excuse for his stepping down.
He died on the 4th of October 1982.
b. April 28, 1937
Hardly in the entire history of Iraq has a single man caused as much destruction to Iraq as Saddam has done through his reign of terror and violence.
Saddam left his village Aoja near Tikreet to live at his uncles' in Baghdad where he adopted his pan-Arab Ba'th ideology. He advanced in the ranks of this party thanks to his terror methods to deal with the opponents of the Ba'th. The matter that gained him the admiration of his superiors in the party. He was one of the Ba'thiest group that attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate Qassim in 1959. he fled Iraq to Syria and then Egypt until the coup of 1963 took place and he returned to Iraq to join his party in preparing the blood bath to get their revenge from all the opponents of Ba'th. He was imprisoned temporarily under Abdul-Salam Arif's reign at accusations of preparing a scheme to overthrow the regime. However he didn't finish his sentence and fled the prison. He was a key figure in preparing the coup of 17th of July 1968 and of the cleansing campaign on the 30th of July to ensure absolute power for the Ba'thiests.
He managed to build one of the most complicated oppressive systems in the world making an advantage of the huge revenues that oil yield generously, and by using speechless cruelty. He started making his terror apparatus since the time he was a vice president and by officially becoming the president on the 16th of July 1979 he made sure that nothing would restrict his absolute power.
Three major wars , hundreds of thousands of dead, millions of Iraqi refugees, Executions , long imprisonment without any form of trail, torture, rape, kidnappings, disappearances and complete destruction of the country's wealth and infrastructure are among the long list of Saddam's achievements.