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Sunday, August 14th, 2005
America and Britain helped overthrow Iraq dictator and helped Saddam Hussein come to power
Question:Name the Iraqi dictator which America and Britain overthrew for the freedom and democracy of Iraq.
Karim Qasim, in 1963.
The CIA and Britian overthrew dictator Abdul Karim Qassim in 1963, and installed their dictator, Saddam Hussein.
Abdul Karim Qassim
Iraq dictator (1958-1963)
Why doesn't every American know about this?
Why was it not covered in the book I read about Iraq, Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq?
Why am I hearing about this for the very first time?
It was the CIA's favorite coup. "We really had the t's crossed on what was happening," James Critchfield, then head of the CIA in the Middle East told us. "We regarded it as a great victory." Iraqi participants later confirmed American involvement. "We came to power on a CIA train," admitted Ali Saleh Sa'adi, the Baath Party general secretary, who was about to institute an unprecedented reign of terror
--The CIA is Back on Campus Quoting Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein (New York: Harper, 1999), 74-75.How the west helped Saddam gain power and decimate the Iraqi elite UPI: Saddam key in early CIA plot
U.S. forces in Baghdad might now be searching high and low for Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, but in the past Saddam was seen by U.S. intelligence services as a bulwark of anti-communism and they used him as their instrument for more than 40 years, according to former U.S. intelligence diplomats and intelligence officials.Pacific News Service:Four Questions for Saddam -- and the U.S.
United Press International has interviewed almost a dozen former U.S. diplomats, British scholars and former U.S. intelligence officials to piece together the following account. The CIA declined to comment on the report.
While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.
In July 1958, Qasim had overthrown the Iraqi monarchy in what one former U.S. diplomat, who asked not to be identified, described as "a horrible orgy of bloodshed."
According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. For example, in the mid-1950s, Iraq was quick to join the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact which was to defend the region and whose members included Turkey, Britain, Iran and Pakistan.
Little attention was paid to Qasim's bloody and conspiratorial regime until his sudden decision to withdraw from the pact in 1959, an act that "freaked everybody out" according to a former senior U.S. State Department official.
Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of "real power," according to this official. The domestic instability of the country prompted CIA Director Allan Dulles to say publicly that Iraq was "the most dangerous spot in the world."
In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed "close ties" with Qasim's ruling Baath Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abd Nassar. In a recent public statement, Roger Morris, a former National Security Council staffer in the 1970s, confirmed this claim, saying that the CIA had chosen the authoritarian and anti-communist Baath Party "as its instrument."
According to another former senior State Department official, Saddam, while only in his early 20s, became a part of a U.S. plot to get rid of Qasim. According to this source, Saddam was installed in an apartment in Baghdad on al-Rashid Street directly opposite Qasim's office in Iraq's Ministry of Defense, to observe Qasim's movements.
Adel Darwish, Middle East expert and author of "Unholy Babylon," said the move was done "with full knowledge of the CIA,"...
The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim's driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.
"It bordered on farce," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. But Qasim, hiding on the floor of his car, escaped death, and Saddam, whose calf had been grazed by a fellow would-be assassin, escaped to Tikrit, thanks to CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents, several U.S. government officials said.
Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred by Egyptian intelligence agents to Beirut, according to Darwish and former senior CIA officials. While Saddam was in Beirut, the CIA paid for Saddam's apartment and put him through a brief training course, former CIA officials said. The agency then helped him get to Cairo, they said.
One former U.S. government official, who knew Saddam at the time, said that even then Saddam "was known as having no class. He was a thug -- a cutthroat."
In Cairo, Saddam was installed in an apartment in the upper class neighborhood of Dukki and spent his time playing dominos in the Indiana Caf�, watched over by CIA and Egyptian intelligence operatives, according to Darwish and former U.S. intelligence officials.
One former senior U.S. government official said: "In Cairo, I often went to Groppie Caf� at Emad Eldine Pasha Street, which was very posh, very upper class. Saddam would not have fit in there. The Indiana was your basic dive."
But during this time Saddam was making frequent visits to the American Embassy where CIA specialists such as Miles Copeland and CIA station chief Jim Eichelberger were in residence and knew Saddam, former U.S. intelligence officials said.
Saddam's U.S. handlers even pushed Saddam to get his Egyptian handlers to raise his monthly allowance, a gesture not appreciated by Egyptian officials since they knew of Saddam's American connection, according to Darwish. His assertion was confirmed by former U.S. diplomat in Egypt at the time.
In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup. Morris claimed recently that the CIA was behind the coup, which was sanctioned by President John F. Kennedy, but a former very senior CIA official strongly denied this.
"We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened," this official said.
But the agency quickly moved into action. Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down Iraq's communist, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions.
Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.
A former senior U.S. State Department official told UPI: "We were frankly glad to be rid of them. You ask that they get a fair trial? You have to get kidding. This was serious business."
A former senior CIA official said: "It was a bit like the mysterious killings of Iran's communists just after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. All 4,000 of his communists suddenly got killed."
The Saddam-U.S. intelligence alliance of convenience came to an end at 2 a.m. Aug. 2, 1990, when 100,000 Iraqi troops, backed by 300 tanks, invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. America's one-time ally had become its bitterest enemy.
At the time [of the coup], France's L'Express stated outright, "The Iraqi coup was inspired by the CIA." London's Guardian reported some years later that declassified British cabinet papers "disclose that the coup had been backed by the British and the CIA."
The new government was an unstable coalition, so in 1967, after a series of military coups, the Johnson administration dispatched former Treasury Secretary Robert Anderson to Baghdad to assist the Baath. On July 30, 1968, the Baath faction, led by acting President Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr, with Saddam a close ally, ousted the non-Baath elements from the government. Iraq's Deputy Chief of Army Intelligence Col. Abdel Razaq Al Nayyef later confirmed in his memoirs, "for the 1968 coup you must look to Washington."
Robert Freeman: Is Iraq Another Vietnam? Actually, It May Become Worse
Iraq...bears the scars of a long and repressive colonial legacy. It was created in the aftermath of World War I, literally carved out of the sand by the British for the sole purpose of controlling the world’s oil supply. The US helped Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party overthrow the uppity Karim Qasim in 1963 but its purposes were the same as the British’s: to control the world’s supply of oil. The aggressively disinformed American public is unaware of this legacy and, therefore, the reason behind Iraq’s vociferous resistance to its would-be “liberation.” CIA
In 1969, General Herdan al-Takriti, who in 1968 was Defense Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and a member of the Revolutionary Command Council, had a disagreement with the leadership; he heard the news of his replacement from Baghdad Radio when he was in Algeria, where he wisely decided to stay. He subsequently sent for his wife and children, but meanwhile foolishly granted interviews to the press in which he expressed his grave concern over the Iraqi government’s excesses in dealing with the opposition. The Ba'athists used his wife to teach him a brutal lesson.
Prior to leaving Baghdad Airport with her three children to join her husband, Mrs. al-Takriti was told she had to be vaccinated before departure and was accordingly given an injection. By the time the Iraqi Airways jet landed at Algiers Airport, she was dead and her three children were screaming in shock.
General al-Takriti retaliated by calling a press conference, giving the press a detailed account of how the 1968 coup had been carried out, highlighting the connection between Saddam Hussein`s Jihaz Haneen and the C.I.A.
Three months later, he was invited for lunch with the Iraqi ambassador in Kuwait. As he sat next to the diplomat in his car, a Mukhabarat agent walked calmly up to the vehicle and shot General al-Takriti dead before crossing the road to a waiting car and being driven away. The Kuwaiti police did not even attempt to stop the vehicle, which had Iraqi number plates.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 21
Although (the Prime Minster of Abd al-karim) Qasim
had retained his personal popularity among the lower classes after implementing a land reform program and giving workers their rights, he had created a power vacuum by isolating himself former political parties. Amongst those who were opposed to him were the landowner class and some Western oil companies who plotted with certain members of the military to overthrow him.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 24
Reports of attempts on Qasim’s life were rife. A number of these attempts were attributed to the CIA
which, in one of the more fanciful accounts, was reported to have sent the Iraqi dictator a poisoned handkerchief as a present.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 21
From their first day in power, the Ba’athists and Arab nationalists showed new dimensions in brutality. At eight o’clock in the evening of the day of the coup, Baghdad Radio broadcast a decree calling for the massacre of all communists after accusing them of plotting to save ‘God’s enemy, Qasim’. Years later it transpired that the CIA had supplied the Ba’athists with the names and addresses of communist leaders. Five thousand communists and pro-Quaism sympathizers were killed in the first three days of the coup as Ba’athist gangs carried out house-to-house searches and on-the-spot-executions.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 25
The Ba’athists executed a successful coup on 17th July 1968. Once again there were rumors of CIA involvement. Former Ba’ath party members claimed that the agency had been supplying the Jihaz Haneen (the clandestine intelligence organization of the Ba’ath party) with the names of left-wing activist whom Saddam systematically executed. In addition, Saddam had made several contacts with the Americans and the British in Beirut. But the evidence suggesting Saddam sought their cooperation is circumstantial; all Ba’ath party member who spoke to journalists about these contacts, or who themselves took part and could thus testify about them, were brutally assassinated. Some former party members, one of whom served as an official in the Ministry of Oil, point at strong link between the Ba’ath secret apparatus and British intelligence offices, saying that Britain wanted to see an Iraqi regime in power which would grant oil companies favorable concessions. Whatever the truth, no satisfactory explanation has ever been given as to how the Ba’ath party, with a membership of only nine hundred, managed to seize power again in 1968.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 203 He was our SOB
According to Geoffrey Kemp, the head of the Middle east section in the national Security Council during the Reagan administration…We really weren’t naïve. We knew [Saddam] was an SOB, but he was our SOB.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 63 Middle East Violence
On 1984 Hezbollah kidnapped William Buckley
, the new Lebanon CIA station chief…The CIA retaliated on 8th March 1985 by planting a car bomb with the intention of assassinating Hezbollah’s spiritual leader, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a disciple of Ayatollah Khomeini. Fadlallah escaped unhurt but eighty-one people were killed in the explosion. This led to more kidnapping of Westerners and the hijacking a month later of a TWA airliner.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 64 Everything which the Arab reality offers that is generous…is crushed
“Everything which the Arab reality offers that is generous, open and creative is crushed by regimes whose only anxiety is to perpetuate their own power and self-serving interest. And what is often worse is to see that the West remains insensitive to the daily tragedy while at the same time accommodating, not to say supporting, the ruling classes who strangle the free will and aspirations of their people.”
--Abdellatif Laabi, Jeune Afrique, September 5th, 1990, Moroccan writer, commenting on the Western response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Quoted in Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 71
For decades, the West tolerated large-scale suppression by certain regimes of their own ethnic minorities, such as the measures taken by the government of Saudi Arabia against the Shia population in the eastern provinces and the laws passed by the Turkish government against the Kurds, prohibiting any activates which displayed any aspects of Kurdish national culture and forbidding the use of the Kurdish language in public. On numerous occasions the West looked the other way when large ethnic populations suffered aggression and genocide of the kind perpetuated by the Iraqi regime against the Kurds. During the Gulf War, Iraqi forces used chemical weapons against Kurdish guerillas with the full knowledge of Western diplomats who reported to their foreign ministers.
In fact, the first proven use by Iraq of chemical weapons was reported as early as 1982, when they were used against Iranian troops on the Majnoon Islands in the southern marshes. But it was not until March 1988 that some politicians in the West decided to condemn the use of such weapons, and even then this was due to a coincidence rather than a planned policy. On 16th March 1998, only hours before Saddam Hussein gave his approval for the use of hydrogen cyanide and mustard gas against its seven thousand inhabitants, the Kurdish mountain village of Halabaja fell into Iranian hands. It was thus subsequently possible for the Iranians to fly Western television camera crews to the village and for the world to see the horrific effects of Iraqi genocide which had resulted in the deaths of over five thousand Kurds, mainly women and children.
When Western interests were at stake, such behavior was met with only muted condemnation or was simply ignored. Maintenance of the status quo, as long as it was compatible with Western interests, was the main concern. This was the case with Iraq during the Gulf War, Israel in the occupied territories in Palestine and in Lebanon in 1978, 1981 and 1982, and Syria in Lebanon in 1976, 1988 and 1990.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 74 Fascist Ba’ath
The Ba’ath party had been established in Damascus in 1942 by two Syrians, Greek Orthodox Christian Michel A’flaq and Sunni Muslim Salah al-Bitar. Their philosophy was based on the ideology of German national socialism and on Italian Fascism.
--Darwish, Adel and Alexander, Gregory "Unholy Babylon, The Secret History of Saddam's War" Victor Gollenz Ltd London 1991 p 199