By John Kekes
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Additional resources for Against Liberalism
This struggle dominated the brief regime of Qassim and eventually sabotaged what might otherwise have been a brave new start for the Iraqi nation. Qassim’s reign promised much but ended up delivering very little. Considerable efforts were dedicated to the formulation of a government apparatus that would faithfully reﬂect Iraq’s divergent groupings. A three-man Council of Sovereignty (essentially a collegial presidency) was created in which each of Iraq’s three major groups—Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and Shi’a Arabs—were allocated seats.
The infamous Republican Guard was thus not a creation of Saddam Hussein—though it was subsequently to fulﬁll an identical function under his regime. Through a careful combination of such manipulations, Arif was able to impose some order on Iraq. The exception, predictably, was in the north. Despite 40 The Future of Iraq initial promises to end the Kurdish war peacefully, negotiations between the government and Kurdish leader Mulla Mustafa Barzani broke down with the usual rapidity, and full-scale ﬁghting resumed in the summer of 1964.
The regime rounded up 57 Arab nationalist “enemies of the state” (mostly Party members) and herded them into the People’s Court for the obligatory show trial. The intention was to provide a public forum for the humiliation and intimidation of these opponents of the regime. To this end, the trials were broadcast live throughout the Arab world. But the tactic backﬁred as one by one, the accused refused to recant, and instead used the occasion to mount deﬁant attacks on the regime, accusing it of betraying the Arab cause.