Fw: CIA Lists Provide Basis for Iraqi Bloodbath

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Fri May 02 2003 - 17:40:54 EDT

Subject: CIA Lists Provide Basis for Iraqi Bloodbath

> CIA Lists Provide Basis for Iraqi Bloodbath 
> By Hanna Batatu 
> The following is an excerpt from The Old Social Classes and the
> Revolutionary Movements of Iraq (Princeton: Princeton University
> Press, 1978). 
> In this excerpt, Hanna Batatu describes the ferocious violence of the
> Ba`athists when they came to power in their first coup in Iraq in
> early 1963.  Some reliableOf special interest is his mention of the lists, which he
> believes U.S. intelligence provided to the coup-makers. Evidently,
> the CIA helped bring Saddam Hussein's thuggish party to power and
> fatally weakened the prospects for Iraqi democracy.
> sources believe that more than ten thousand were killed and more than
> a hundred thousand arrested in the coup and the bloody weeks that
> followed, described by historians Peter and Marion Sluglett as "some
> of the most terrible violence hitherto experienced in the postwar
> Middle East." 
> (pp. 985-987) 
> On the reckoning of the Communists, no fewer than 5,000 "citizens"
> were killed in the fighting from 8 to 10 February, and in the
> relentless house-to-house hunt for Communists that immediately
> followed. Ba`athists put the losses of their own party at around 80.
> A source in the First Branch of Iraq's Directorate of Security told
> this writer in 1967 that some 340 Communists died at the time. A
> well-placed foreign diplomatic observer, who does not wish to be
> identified, set the total death toll in the neighborhood of 1,500.
> The figure includes the more than one hundred soldiers who fell
> inside the Ministry of Defense and "a good lot of Communists." 
> At any rate, the wound to the Community party was severe and, insofar
> as its members were concerned, proved to be only the prelude of a
> seemingly unending year of horror. The new rulers had a past score to
> settle and, in their revengeful ardor, went to unfortunate extremes.
> This districts that had risen against them were treated as enemy
> country, Nationalist Guardsmen and units of the armed forces spread
> through them combing houses and mud huts. Upon the slightest
> resistance or on mere suspicion of an interest to resist, Communists
> - real or hypothetical - were felled out of hand. The number of those
> seized so taxed the existing prisons that sports clubs, movie
> theaters, private houses, an-Nihayah Palace and, in the first days,
> even a section of Kifah Street, were turned into places of
> confinement. The arrests were made in accordance with lists prepared
> beforehand. It cannot be unerringly established where these lists
> came from or who compiled them, but in this connection something that
> King Husain of Jordan affirmed seven months later in a tête-à-tête
> with Muhammad Hasanein Haikal, chief editor of Al-Ahram, at the Hotel
> Crillon in Paris, is well worth quoting: 
> You tell me that American Intelligence was behind the 1957 events in
> Jordan. Permit me to tell you that I know for a certainty that what
> happened in Iraq on 8 February had the support of American
> Intelligence. Some of those who now rule in Baghdad do not know of
> this thing but I am aware of the truth. Numerous meetings were held
> between the Ba`ath party and American Intelligence, the more
> important in Kuwait. Do you know that . . . on 8 February a secret
> radio beamed to Iraq was supplying the men who pulled the coup with
> the names and addresses of the Communists there so that they could be
> arrested an executed. [Al-Ahram, 27 September 1963] 
> It is not clear what prompted Husain to say these things. He had, of
> course, never been a friend of the Ba`ath party. But his observations
> should be read in the light of the recent revelation that he has been
> since 1957 in the pay of the C.I.A. It is perhaps pertiment to add
> that a member of the 1963 Iraqi Ba`ath Command, who asked anonymity,
> asserted in a conversation with this writer that the Yugoslav embassy
> in Beirut had warned certain Ba`athi leaders that some Iraqi
> Ba`athists were maintaining surreptitious contacts with
> representatives of American power. The majority of the command in
> Iraq was, it would appear, unaware of what was said to have gone on.
> Be that as it may, it is necessary, in the interest of truth, to
> bring out that, insofar as the names and addresses of Communists are
> concerned, the Ba`athists had ample opportunity to gather such
> particulars in 1958-1959, when the Communists came wholly into the
> open, and earlier, during the Front of National Unity Years -
> 1957-1958 - when they had frequent dealings with them on all levels.
> Besides, the lists in question proved to be in part out of date. They
> at least did not lead the Ba`ath immediately to the Communists of
> senior standing. Some of the latter were, anyhow, out of the country.
> 'Abd-us-Salam an-Nasiri was in Moscow on an undisclosed mission.
> 'Aziz al-Hajj in Prague on the staff of the World Marxist Review.
> Zaki Khatiri had been in People's China and, returning at this
> juncture, sought refuse with Tudeh. 'Amer 'Abdullah lived in exile in
> Bulgaria, by order of the party. Baha-ud-Din Nuri was recuperating
> from an illness somewhere in Eastern Europe. Other Communist leaers
> had slipped into Kurdistan or had changed their addresses. However,
> Hamdi Ayyub al-'Ani, a member of the Baghdad Local Committee, fell
> into the net that the Ba`ath had cast. Losing courage under
> examination, he gave away party secretary Hadi Hashim al-A`dhami,
> from whose lips more secrets were forced, but only after he had been
> laid limp with a broken back. Ultimately, on 20 February, First
> Secretary Husain ar-Radi himself was taken. Although various means
> were employed to make him speak, he did not yield. Four days later he
> died under torture. When eventually the new government gave notice of
> his death, it circumstanced the facts after its own manner: on 9
> March it announced that ar-Radi, together with Muhammad Husain
> Abu-l-`Iss, an ex-member of the Politbureau, and Hasan `Uwainah, a
> worker and a liaison member of the Central Committee, had been
> condemned on the firth to be handed until they were dead for bearing
> arms "in the face of authority" and inciting "anarchist elements to
> resist the revolution" and that the sentences had been carried out on
> the morning of the seventh. 
> One adversity after another now pounded the party. It was the 1949
> ordeal reenfacted, but on a wider and more intense scale. The hurt to
> the cadre went this time very deep. Not a single organization in the
> Arab part of Iraq remained intact. Violence was perpetrated even upon
> the women. Executions by summary judgment grew rife. Sympathizers
> were paralyzed by despondency. The influence of fear became extreme. 
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Peter and Marion Sluglett, in their authoritative book Iraq Since
> 1958 (London, I.B. Taurus, 1990) have this to say about these events:
> (p. 86) 
> Although individual leftists had been murdered intermittently over
> the previous years, the scale on which the killings and arrests took
> place in the spring and summer of 1963 indicates a closely
> coordinated campaign, and it is almost certain that those who carried
> out the raid on suspects' homes were working from lists supplied to
> them. Precisely how these lists had been compiled is a matter or
> conjecture, but it is certain that some of the Ba`athist leaders were
> in touch with American intelligence networks, and it is also
> undeniable that a variety of different groups in Iraq and elsewhere
> in the Middle East had a strong vested interest in breaking what was
> probably the strongest and most popular Communist Party in the
> region. 
> (p. 117) 
> The Communists . . . were astonished to find themselves offered three
> ministerial portfolios at the beginning of August [1968]. This was
> all the more remarkable, as [Le Monde correspondent] Eric Rouleau
> comments, since al-Bakr, who was now 'extending the hand of
> friendship to them, was the same man who, in 1963, had presided over
> a government responsible for the death of tens of thousands of
> sympathisers or militants of the extreme left and the arrest of more
> than a hundred thousands other.' The Communists refused to
> participate unless full civil liberaties were restored, political
> parties legalised and democratic elections held, demands to which the
> Ba`ath was either unable or unwilling to respond. 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> A Tyrant Forty Years in the Making
> By Roger Morris*
> New York Times
> March 14, 2003
> On the brink of war, both supporters and critics of United States
> policy on Iraq agree on the origins, at least, of the haunted
> relations that have brought us to this pass: America's dealings with
> Saddam Hussein, justifiable or not, began some two decades ago with
> its shadowy, expedient support of his regime in the Iraq-Iran war of
> the 1980's. 
> Both sides are mistaken. Washington's policy traces an even longer,
> more shrouded and fateful history. Forty years ago, the Central
> Intelligence Agency, under President John F. Kennedy, conducted its
> own regime change in Baghdad, carried out in collaboration with
> Saddam Hussein. 
> The Iraqi leader seen as a grave threat in 1963 was Abdel Karim
> Kassem, a general who five years earlier had deposed the
> Western-allied Iraqi monarchy. Washington's role in the coup went
> unreported at the time and has been little noted since. America's
> anti-Kassem intrigue has been widely substantiated, however, in
> disclosures by the Senate Committee on Intelligence and in the work
> of journalists and historians like David Wise, an authority on the
> C.I.A. 
> >From 1958 to 1960, despite Kassem's harsh repression, the Eisenhower
> administration abided him as a counter to Washington's Arab nemesis
> of the era, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt - much as Ronald Reagan and
> George H. W. Bush would aid Saddam Hussein in the 1980's against the
> common foe of Iran. By 1961, the Kassem regime had grown more
> assertive. Seeking new arms rivaling Israel's arsenal, threatening
> Western oil interests, resuming his country's old quarrel with
> Kuwait, talking openly of challenging the dominance of America in the
> Middle East - all steps Saddam Hussein was to repeat in some form -
> Kassem was regarded by Washington as a dangerous leader who must be
> removed. 
> In 1963 Britain and Israel backed American intervention in Iraq,
> while other United States allies - chiefly France and Germany -
> resisted. But without significant opposition within the government,
> Kennedy, like President Bush today, pressed on. In Cairo, Damascus,
> Tehran and Baghdad, American agents marshaled opponents of the Iraqi
> regime. Washington set up a base of operations in Kuwait,
> intercepting Iraqi communications and radioing orders to rebels. The
> United States armed Kurdish insurgents. The C.I.A.'s "Health
> Alteration Committee," as it was tactfully called, sent Kassem a
> monogrammed, poisoned handkerchief, though the potentially lethal
> gift either failed to work or never reached its victim. 
> Then, on Feb. 8, 1963, the conspirators staged a coup in Baghdad. For
> a time the government held out, but eventually Kassem gave up, and
> after a swift trial was shot; his body was later shown on Baghdad
> television. Washington immediately befriended the successor regime.
> "Almost certainly a gain for our side," Robert Komer, a National
> Security Council aide, wrote to Kennedy the day of the takeover. 
> As its instrument the C.I.A. had chosen the authoritarian and
> anti-Communist Baath Party, in 1963 still a relatively small
> political faction influential in the Iraqi Army. According to the
> former Baathist leader Hani Fkaiki, among party members colluding
> with the C.I.A. in 1962 and 1963 was Saddam Hussein, then a
> 25-year-old who had fled to Cairo after taking part in a failed
> assassination of Kassem in 1958. 
> According to Western scholars, as well as Iraqi refugees and a
> British human rights organization, the 1963 coup was accompanied by a
> bloodbath. Using lists of suspected Communists and other leftists
> provided by the C.I.A., the Baathists systematically murdered untold
> numbers of Iraq's educated elite - killings in which Saddam Hussein
> himself is said to have participated. No one knows the exact toll,
> but accounts agree that the victims included hundreds of doctors,
> teachers, technicians, lawyers and other professionals as well as
> military and political figures. 
> The United States also sent arms to the new regime, weapons later
> used against the same Kurdish insurgents the United States had backed
> against Kassem and then abandoned. Soon, Western corporations like
> Mobil, Bechtel and British Petroleum were doing business with Baghdad
> - for American firms, their first major involvement in Iraq. 
> But it wasn't long before there was infighting among Iraq's new
> rulers. In 1968, after yet another coup, the Baathist general Ahmed
> Hassan al-Bakr seized control, bringing to the threshold of power his
> kinsman, Saddam Hussein. Again, this coup, amid more factional
> violence, came with C.I.A. backing. Serving on the staff of the
> National Security Council under Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon in
> the late 1960's, I often heard C.I.A. officers - including Archibald
> Roosevelt, grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and a ranking C.I.A.
> official for the Near East and Africa at the time - speak openly
> about their close relations with the Iraqi Baathists. 
> This history is known to many in the Middle East and Europe, though
> few Americans are acquainted with it, much less understand it. Yet
> these interventions help explain why United States policy is viewed
> with some cynicism abroad. George W. Bush is not the first American
> president to seek regime change in Iraq. Mr. Bush and his advisers
> are following a familiar pattern. 
> The Kassem episode raises questions about the war at hand. In the
> last half century, regime change in Iraq has been accompanied by
> bloody reprisals. How fierce, then, may be the resistance of hundreds
> of officers, scientists and others identified with Saddam Hussein's
> long rule? Why should they believe America and its latest Iraqi
> clients will act more wisely, or less vengefully, now than in the
> past? 
> If a new war in Iraq seems fraught with danger and uncertainty, just
> wait for the peace. 
> *About the Author: Roger Morris, author of "Richard Milhous Nixon:
> The Rise of an American Politician," is completing a book about
> United States covert policy in Central and South Asia. 

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