Iraq’s Revolutionary History

000016a coalition led by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s State of Law Party emerged victorious in last month’s violence-plagued parliamentary elections in Iraq.

Saudi-backed militants from Islamic State in Iraq & the Levant (ISIL) were unleashed.  over 3,500 people have been killed in sectarian violence already this year.

The US occupation of Iraq brought with it the installation of a ruling elite exiled for decades.  This monarchist clique attempts to transform the country from successful egalitarian Arab state to bastion of Wild West capitalism.  Years of revolutionary struggle had freed Iraq from Rothschild-led international banker hegemony.  That struggle will not be abandoned without a fight.

(Excerpted from Chapter 12: The Gulf Oil War: Big Oil & Their Bankers…)

In 1776 the British East India Company set up headquarters at what is now Kuwait.  When Kuwaiti members of the al-Sabah clan helped Ottoman Turks quell uprisings in southern Iraq, the Shiek of Muntafiq tribe gave the al-Sabahs date groves near Fao and Sufiyeh in southern Iraq.  Kuwait was seen as highly strategic by the British in protecting their Indian Ocean sea lanes.  By 1900 the British had cut a deal with Mubarek al-Sabah, carving Kuwait out of Iraq and making it a British protectorate.  The vast majority of people who lived there opposed the British plan, wanted to remain part of Iraq and have always considered Kuwait to be part of Iraq’s Basra Province. [1]

For decades Iraqi leaders have challenged the legitimacy of the 1920’s Sykes-Picot Agreement, through which the British and French created Kuwait as a British Protectorate.  Iraqis were never consulted when this “gentleman’s agreement” was signed.  Kuwait became an important provider of oil to the West and petrodollar banker for the world economy.

Former British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd stated that Kuwaiti oil money was propping up the British pound.  A running joke on Wall Street asks, “Why do the US and Kuwait need each other?”  The answer, “Kuwait is a banking system without a country.  The US is a country without a banking system.”

In 1937 and again in 1946 the Iraqi Communist Party called strikes at Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) headquarters in Kirkuk.  Since BP was IPC’s major owner, the British sent troops to put down the strikes.  Half a million acres of land in Kut province was taken over by the British lackey al-Yasin brothers. By 1958 1% of landowners in Iraq controlled 55% of the land. [2]

In the 1950’s IPC was at the center of an oil boom in Iraq.  Its many tentacles included Basra Petroleum and Mosul Petroleum.  Chevron, Texaco, Exxon, Mobil, Gulf and RD/Shell were cut into IPC after these Four Horsemen predecessors signed the Red Line Agreement.

The 1952 revolution in Egypt that deposed the Farouk monarchy and brought nationalist leader Gamel Abdel Nasser to power inspired a series of uprisings in Iraq aimed at IPC and the Iraqi monarchy.  In 1958 King Faisal was assassinated along with numerous members of the royal family.  The Iraqi monarchy, long a puppet of the British Empire, was deposed.

The US and the British acted quickly to ensure installation of another puppet in the form of General Nuri es-Said.  The US and Britain convinced es-Said to sign the Baghdad Pact, part of which called for official recognition of Kuwait.  Another part of the deal authorized Iraqi forces to be sent to Lebanon to prop up the unpopular pro-Western government of Camille Chamoun. [3]

In 1958 es-Said was deposed in a coup led by nationalist Army officers loyal to Abdul Karim Qassim.  The Paris weekly L’Expressreported, “The Iraqi coup was inspired by the CIA in a move to appease the nationalists.  The CIA saw Qassim as containable and preferable to more radical elements who were fast gaining support among the Iraqi people”.

Initially members of the Communist Party were banned from Qassim’s Cabinet. But under pressure from the burgeoning Iraqi left, Qassim soon dissolved the Iraqi monarchy and cultivated ties with the Soviet Union and China.  He withdrew from the Baghdad Pact and called for the incorporation of Kuwait into Basra Province.

He lifted a ban on the Iraqi Communist Party and they became a major force in his government.  He formed the state-run Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC), making Iraq the first Middle East country to nationalize Four Horsemen assets.  In 1961 Qassim passed Law 80 which repossessed 99.5% of IPC’s unexplored lands and called for the annexation of Kuwait. Big Oil and their Eight Families owners had seen quite enough.  By 1960 Sydney Gottlieb of CIA’s Technical Services Division hatched a plan to assassinate President Qassim. [4]

A low-intensity terror campaign was organized by CIA using the Nationalist and Ba’ath Parties to attack the Iraqi Communist Party, the most formidable leftist party in the region.  The CIA gave its stooges lists of leftist leaders to be targeted.  In 1961 Kuwait declared independence, taking Iraq’s only upriver port at Basra.  US troops were rushed to Lebanon and UK forces to Jordan. [5]

In 1963 CIA agent Bruce Odell arranged an airlift of arms to a right-of-center Ba’ath Party cell in Baghdad.  The Ba’ath operatives unleashed a wave of terror which featured countless massacres of civilians.  The CIA’s point man, whose right-wing Ba’ath faction emerged victorious after assassinating Qassim in 1963, was Saddam Hussein. [6]

According to an April 17, 2003 wire story from Indo-Asian News Service, the CIA spirited Saddam out of Iraq after the assassination and put him up in a Cairo hotel for a few nights.  Adb al-Salam Arif was installed as President.  His first decree repealed Law 80.  The Four Horsemen were back in the IPC saddle.

In 1967 IPC drilled several wells with 50,000 barrel/day potential. They hid these findings from the Iraqi government.  When the news leaked the Iraqi people were outraged. Arif followed their lead.  He nationalized Iraq’s banks and insurance companies, along with thirty-two other large firms.  Iraq passed Laws 97 and 123, which gave the state-run INOC a bigger role in Iraq’s oil industry, including an exclusive right to develop the North Rumaila oilfield next to Kuwait.  Houston-based Brown & Root had built the IPC oil terminal at Fao which serves North Rumaila, while the German company Mannesman built IPC’s Kirkuk-Dortyol pipeline. [7]

Now the multinationals ran for cover as an angry Iraq broke off relations with the US.

A year later leftist President Hassan al-Bakr was fighting off the CIA-backed Patriotic Union of Kurdistan faction led by Jalal Talibani, while Mustafa Barzani’s loyalist Kurd troops attacked IPC facilities near Kirkuk.  A March 11, 1970 Iraqi government decree rewarded Barzani’s Kurds with autonomy over the northern provinces of Kirkuk and Dohuk.  In 1971 Iraq broke ties with Iran after the Shah was found to be aiding Talibani’s faction on behalf of the CIA.  In 1972 al-Bakr nationalized IPC.  In 1973 Basra Petroleum was nationalized.  By December 1975 all foreign holdings in Iraq were nationalized. [8]

It should come as no surprise that the pliable Jalal Talibani is the President of US-occupied Iraq.

Syria led countries in the region in following the Iraqi example.  The IPC nationalization was wildly popular and bolstered the al-Bakr government, which now formed the Iraqi Company for Oil Operations (ICOO) to market INOC petroleum overseas.  ICOO signed supply agreements with Japan, India, Brazil, Greece and many Warsaw Pact nations.  From 1973-1978 Iraqi oil revenues went from $1.8 billion/year to $23.6 billion/year. [9]

Iraq implemented strict currency controls to prevent the international bankers from trashing their dinar.  They introduced import restrictions so foreign currency wasn’t wasted on frivolous luxury items.  Iraq became a respected leader of the price hawk faction of OPEC.  It was setting a global example in its bid to free itself from bondage to the Eight Families banker mafia who wanted al-Bakr’s head.  After a failed 1975 coup attempt against al-Bakr, Iraqi police found US dollars in possession of the plotters. [10]

Over four decades the Four Horsemen and their CIA henchman had tried to quell the nationalist urge of the Iraqi people.  Success was minimal and their puppet regimes short-lived.  Saddam Hussein’s regime looked promising to the international bankers.  He clamped down on nationalist parties, killing and deporting the most radical elements.  He invaded revolutionary Iran with a nudge from Rockefeller stooge Zbigniew Brzezinski.  He opened the Iraqi economy to Western multinationals.

But when the Saudis and Kuwaitis began pressing Saddam for repayment of $120 billion in Iranian war loans, which they had originally called “grants”, Saddam bristled.  The US told the al-Sabah monarchs to hold the line, pushing Saddam onto the well-worn socialist path of the Iraqi people. Soon he found himself in the crosshairs of his former sponsors.

Once the US withdraws completely from its current multi-trillion dollar neo-colonial nightmare, the Iraqis look set to continue down that familiar revolutionary socialist path. It’s not easy to repeal a people’s history, no matter the arrogance and wealth of the propagandist.

[1] Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader. Phyllis Bennis and Michel Monshabeck. Olive Branch Press. Brooklyn, NY. 1991. p.39

[2] Iraq Since 1958: From Revolution to Dictatorship. Marion Farouk-Sluglett and Peter Sluglett. I.B. Tauros & Company, Ltd. New York. 1990.

[3] Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East: A Documentary Record: 1914-1956. J.C. Hurewitz. D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. Princeton, NJ. 1956. p.236

[4] Iraq and Kuwait: A History Suppressed. Ralph Schoenman. Veritas Press. Santa Barbara, CA. 1990. p.14

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid. p.14

[7] Ibid

[8] Sluglett and Sluglett. p.120

[9] Bennis and Monshabeck. p.31

[10] Schoenman. p.20

Dean Henderson is the author of five books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel.  You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @


2 responses to “Iraq’s Revolutionary History

  1. Dean, thank you for the summary. You may wish to explore one angle that does not get much coverage. Earlier you referenced Saddam engaged “revolutionary Iran” at the behest of the Americans and the Gulf monarchies, who have a pathological hatred of all things Shia. But looking back at the middle east in 1977-1978, it was the Shah who was getting all the bad press, i.e. megalomaniacal, gold plated telephones, etc. etc. If you recall, it was the Shah that wanted oil at $100 a barrel, while the Saudis were content with $7-$14 per barrel. While the Saudis, Kuwaitis and Emiratis polished their shiny new BMWs, the shah sought and secured factories and industries. Iran moved from resource provider to manufacturer. The Shah was preparing Iran to compete with the West and Japan in electronic manufacturing, automobile production and even aerospace programs. By 1976-77 the US/Bankers had seen enough. The Shah was now enemy number and former fawning friends felt he had become too big for his britches. Like all rich despots, the Shah and his family lived excessively and walked right into a setup. The bulk of the people who had by 1977 still had not experienced the benefits of the oil bonanza were naturally rankled and openly expressed their disgust at his extended families decadence (remember the party at Persepolis and 2000 years of Persian royalty) and the very heavy hand of Savak. The BANKS used that unrest to replace the upstart Shah with the mullahs who had always been in the pockets of the Brits, just like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Forty years later and the potential of both Iraq and Iran has been destroyed. And all we are left with is princes who build shiny new cities in the middle of nowhere and religious tourist who travel to Mesopotamia to cut of people’s heads.

    • CIA orchestrated a coup,in ’53 to overthrow democratically elected Mossadeq who wanted to nationalize Iranian oil.The CIA then installed the Shah who functioned as our puupet for awhile.Interestingly the CIA also put Saddam in power in ’63.And Iran isn’t destroyed yet but the neocons and Nutanyahole are working on it as Iran is on the old list for regime change.

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