Tuesday, November 5, 2019

This Day In Iraqi History - Nov 5

1914 England and France declared war on Ottoman Empire Would lead Mesopotamia into
1914 British Gen Delamain head of Indian Expeditionary Force told to protect oil infrastructure
and only take Basra if Ottomans joined WWI
1917 Battle of Tikrit between British and Ottoman forces
1956 Encouraged by Egypt and Syria along with Communists and opposition parties protests
strikes and riots broke out in Baghdad Mosul Najaf over Suez crisis
(Musings On Iraq book review Red Star Over Iraq, Iraqi Communism Before Saddam)
(Musings On Iraq Interview with Prof Johan Franzen on the history of the Iraqi Communist Party)
1958 Arif arrested on charges of attempting to assassinate Gen Qasim in coup
1968 Baath militia fired on Communist strikers at factory outside Baghdad killing 2 Govt
assassinated some Communist organizers
(Musings On Iraq book review Red Star Over Iraq, Iraqi Communism Before Saddam)
(Musings On Iraq Interview with Prof Johan Franzen on the history of the Iraqi Communist Party)
1978 Arab League condemned Camp David peace agreement between Egypt and Israel at Baghdad
1981 Iraq offered Muharram ceasefire Iran rejected it
(Musings On Iraq interview with author Anthony Tucker-Jones on Iran-Iraq War)
(Musings On Iraq interview with author Tom Cooper on Iran-Iraq War)
(Musings On Iraq book review The Iran-Iraq War 1980-1988)
(Musings On Iraq book review Iran-Iraq War, The Lion of Babylon, 1980-1988)
(Musings On Iraq book review The Iran-Iraq War)
1997 Iraq blocked US weapons inspectors into facilities in last two days
1998 UN Resolution 1205 condemned Iraq suspending work with weapons inspectors
(Musings On Iraq book review The Saddam Tapes)
(Musings On Iraq article UN Inspectors Were Right Iraq Was Not A Threat)
(Musings On Iraq article Iraq’s Rejection of UN Inspectors Led To Mistrust Over WMD and 2003 Invasion)
(Musings On Iraq Chilcot Report Sec 1.1 UK Iraq Strategy 1990 To 2000)
(Musings On Iraq article Charles Duelfer’s Account Of The End Of The 1990s U.N. Inspections)
2000 Syria announced it would re-open pipeline with Iraq once sanctions ended Sign of improved
relations between two
2001 Badr leadership of Abu Muhandis Amiri Safi Basra and commanders working in Iraq met Talked
about transition after US invasion Talked about replacing Iraqi leadership while maintaining Baathist state Talked about US backing a coup in Iraq
2001 Time magazine OpEd said U.S. should go to war with Iraq because connected to 9/11
2001 State Dept intel agency said looked like Iraq renewed production of chemical weapons
2005 US-Iraqi Op Steel Curtain started to clear Qaim Started in Karabila that was cleared in Oct 05
but insurgents moved back in right afterward
2006 Saddam convicted on charges of killing 148 people in Dujail 1982 and sentenced to death
2007 Sadrists accused PM Maliki Dawa and ISCI of going after its followers in Karbala and Diwaniya using
            militias Were clashes between Mahdi Army and Badr in Oct
2007 Report British Army report from 06 said Iraq invasion and occupation badly planned Didn’t think of
options or implications Said lack of postwar plans meant Iraq fell into chaos 3 months after invasion
2009 Oil Min signed deal with Exxon and Shell to develop West Qurna 1 field in Basra Won auction in Jun
(Musings On Iraq Iraq Moves Ahead With Oil Deals)
2015 Maliki said people shouldn’t support Abadi’s reforms anymore
(Musings On Iraq interview with Reidar Visser on PM Abadi’s reform program) 


Harry Barnes said...


On 5th November 1956 Britain and France invaded Egypt in what became known as the Suez Crisis. The Iraqi Government then had Nuri al-Said as Prime Minister and were under British influence having signed the Baghdad Pact in 1955. Immediately riots broke out against the Suez invasion in areas such as Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Najaf, Kafu and Hilla. Theses could be seen as triggers which eventually led to the Iraqi Revolution of 1958 under Qasim.

At the time of the outbreak of the unrest I was in Iraq. I had undertaken the bulk of my National Service in the Royal Air Force at a Movements in Basra. But as I was due to be demobbed I had been moved to the RAF camp at Habbaniya to await a plane to take me back to Britain. So I did not directly experience the unrest, being stuck in the camp.

But on 5th November a flight in front of mine set of from Habbaniya to Cyprus on the first leg of its journey back to Britain. But as it was approaching a fighter base in Syria permission was withdrawn for it to fly over that country. So it had to double back to Habbaniya.

Whilst having a meal in Habbaniya I listened to the BBC News over the loud speakers telling us that there were no British troops remaining in Iraq ! Plans were then made, however, for RAF flights to and from Iraq to be made via Ankara in Turkey. And I was given a place on the first of these. Although we were intercepted by Turkish fighters who made signs to us that we would be shot down if we did not return to Iraq. Luckily they must have received radio information confirming that we had permission to proceed, as they then flew away.

As reservists who had completed their National Service were at the time being called up to help with the fight in Eqypt, I was worried that I would not be demobbed and be caught up in the conflict. But I only had clerical experience working with Iraqi State Railways and Shipping lines. Pen pushers such as myself (filling out Arabic forms in English) were not what the invasion needed.

Unfortunately, my life was then taken over by my being demobbed and returning home to my previous job as a railway clerk. So I never discovered exactly what turmoil faced my former RAF colleagues at Basra. I had served there for 20 months and had never experienced any problems whatsoever from the local community; yet I moved almost daily around areas such as its railway station, good yards, docks and the Basra town centre. Then Iraqis worked as clerks and labourers on our camp. But this peace and tranquility are likely to have changed a great deal after 5 November. I avoided any problems by the skin of my teeth.

For what was happening in Iraq at the above time, the following is a useful source – see pages 115 to 117 of “Iraq” by Adeed Dawisha, Princeton University Press. I refer to the first paperback version published in 2009.

It was, however, my experiences in Iraq and the Suez Crisis which drew me into subsequent political activity. I have since attempted to make up for my failure to reconnect with RAF Basra personnel at the time of my demob and now hold a proud certificate of honorary membership of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions – who surfaced in 2003.

Joel Wing said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences Harry

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