Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr


Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr

Infobox Officeholder
name =Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr


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order =4th President of Iraq
term_start =July 17, 1968
term_end =July 16, 1979
primeminister =Abd ar-Razzaq an-Naif
Himself
predecessor =Abdul Rahman Arif
successor =Saddam Hussein
order2 =48th & 56th Prime Minister of Iraq 2nd & 10th Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
term_start2 =February 8, 1963
term_end2 =November 18, 1963
July 31, 1968July 16, 1979
president2 =Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i
Himself
predecessor2 =Abd al-Karim Qasim
Abd ar-Razzaq an-Naif
successor2 =Tahir Yahya
Saddam Hussein
birth_date =July 1, 1914
birth_place =Tikrit, Ottoman Empire
death_date =October 4, 1982 (aged 68)
death_place =Baghdad, Iraq
nationality =
party =Baath Party
spouse =
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
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profession =
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religion =


website =
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General Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr (Arabic أحمد حسن البكر "ArabDIN|'Aḥmad Ḥasan al-Bakr") (July 1, 1914October 4, 1982), was President of Iraq from 1968 to 1979.

Military career

Al-Bakr entered the Iraqi Military Academy in 1938 after spending six years as a primary-school teacher. During his early military career, he took part in the Rashid Ali revolt in 1941, was arrested, imprisoned, and compulsorily retired from the army, but was reinstated in 1957.

As a brigadier general, he was one of the "free officers," a group that overthrew the monarchy in 1958. He was again forced to retire from the Army in 1959 under allegations that he led a rebellion in Mosul by officers who favoured closer ties with the United Arab Republic.

A leading member of the Ba'ath Party he orchestrated the 1963 coup that overthrew Iraq's military leader Abdul Karim Kasim. He became Prime Minister and Vice President but left the government in November 1963 - after ten months - when Field Marshal Abdul Salam Arif staged a countercoup. He remained Vice President until he was removed in January 1964.

Al-Bakr retained control of the regional command of the Ba'th Party and in 1968, with Egyptian help, he orchestrated an internal coup within the government of President Abdul Rahman Arif. Arif was exiled and al-Bakr installed as president.

President of the Republic (July 1968 – July 1979)

Al-Bakr became the leading face of the Ba'ath party and Iraqi pan-Arabism and was praised as "leader of the revolution."

He quickly nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company and compensated all foreign oil companies operating within its borders while introducing wide-ranging social and economic reforms.

The country enjoyed a massive increase in oil revenues starting in late 1973 when international petroleum prices began a steep rise. His economic policy began with a cautious continuation of the former regime's five-year plan but turned toward industrial expansion as oil revenues increased.

His government supported closer ties with Nasser and under his rule Iraq almost joined the United Arab Republic. The flag of Iraq was modified in preparation for this goal.

Bakr's regime also strengthened Iraq's ties with the Soviet Union: On April 9, 1972, Iraq and the Soviet Union signed a treaty of friendship. The two countries agreed to cooperate in political, economic, and military affairs. The Soviet Union also agreed to supply Iraq with arms.

His government also aided Syria with troops and weapons during the Yom Kippur War of October 1973. Calling for military action against Israel, he denounced the cease-fire that ended the 1973 conflict and opposed the interim agreements negotiated by Egypt and Syria. Iraq was able to hurt the Western economy when it participated in the oil boycott against Israel's supporters.

Under Bakr conflicts intensified between the government and the Kurds. In early 1974 heavy fighting erupted in northern Iraq between government forces and Kurdish nationalists, who rejected as inadequate a new Kurdish autonomy law based on a 1970 agreement. The Kurds, led by Mustafa al-Barzani, received arms and support from Iran.

After Iraq agreed in early 1975 to make major concessions to Iran in settling their border disputes, Iran halted aid to the Kurds, and the revolt was dealt a severe blow.

In July 1978 a decree was passed which made all non-Ba'thist political activity illegal and membership of any other political party punishable by death for all those who were members or former members of the Armed Forces.

Resignation and death

Al-Bakr appointed Saddam Hussein, his Tikriti cousin, as his Vice President. In 1976, Saddam (who had never served in the armed forces) took the title of general in the Ba'th party's Popular Army and rapidly became the strongman of the government. As the weak, elderly al-Bakr became unable to execute his duties, Saddam took on an increasingly prominent role as the face of the government both internally and externally, eventually becoming de-facto leader of Iraq some years before he formally became president.

On July 16, 1979, the 65-year-old Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr stepped down, ostensibly on health grounds, and Saddam Hussein assumed the presidency in a move that was widely regarded as a formality. It is commonly believed, based on accounts of witnesses, that Saddam forced the president to step down under threat of being removed by force. Shortly thereafter, Saddam executed several top members of the Ba'ath party under claim of espionage.

Al-Bakr died in 1982 of unreported causes.

Persondata
NAME=Bakr, Ahmed Hassan al-
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=أحمد حسن البكر (Arabic)
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Iraqi president
DATE OF BIRTH=July 1, 1914
PLACE OF BIRTH=Tikrit, Iraq
DATE OF DEATH=October 4, 1982
PLACE OF DEATH=Baghdad, Iraq


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