After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Iraq's "Mubarak"

Iraq's "Mubarak" was not Saddam but Nuri asSaid, the Iraqi Prime Minister from the creation of the "Independent Kingdom" in 1932 up to the revolution of 1958. Reading through the the archives of the Time magazine, I noticed many similarities between General Nuri Pasha (as he was known) and Mubarak.

Like Mubarak, he was a military man having trained as an officer in the Ottoman Empire. In the 50's Time, regularly promoted him as "Iraq's 70-year old Strongman". Not without reason:

In Iraq, Western diplomats reported that 50 of Premier Nuri es-Said's police were injured putting down the latest of a series of almost daily pro-Nasser riots in Baghdad. The government replied by ordering high schools and universities closed indefinitely.(THE ARABS: New Alignments
Monday, Dec. 03, 1956

Nice move - close down the whole education system because the students disagree with you! If there was Internet, Nuri would have not hesitated to pull the plug.

Also, like Mubarak he clung on to power for almost 30 years - a revolution rather rudely unseating him. And even more like Mubarak he was not too worried about pushing votes in his favour regardless of the interests of the Iraqi people. On British orders he planned to dissolve the state of Iraq and form a new union with Jordan as counterweight to Egypt. Time wrote:
Circumstances demanded an election ... Nuri asSaid needed a mandate from his Iraqi voters. They had no more choice in the matter of candidates than Nasser gave the Egyptians in the plebiscite he ran off last February. Nuri was not even so insistent as Nasser that everyone get out and vote. Last week about 25% of the voters turned out peaceably at the polls, and Nuri Pasha's candidates, being unopposed, won all 145 seats. Most Baghdad newspapers reported the results next day on inside pages.

The new Parliament ... duly ratified the federation (IRAQ: The Pasha's Poll
Monday, May. 19, 1958

This proved the last straw for Iraq's nationalists. And two months later a small group of officers in his army instigated a rebellion leaving Nuri asSaid to the mercy of the Iraqi people. His fate does not bode well for Mubarak and his cronies:
Nuri asSaid ... escaped from his house disguised as a woman—only to be hunted to death and dragged dead through the streets the next day.(IRAQ: The Dissembler
Monday, Apr. 13, 1959

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Blogger Touta said...

what would you predict for Maliki's future then, or his just dessert?
I still wonder why there is such a strong Iraqi backing for Nuri asaid, perhaps to do with the more 'elite' Iraqis, and the fact that his death played out Iraqis' violent characteristics. Made him look a martyr.

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