Iraq History – The Ba’th and Arab Awakening

By | December 19, 2021

A rebellious child, leader of a small gang already in elementary school, a good gun shooter at ten, raised without his father, Saddam does nothing but torment his mother until he takes an uncle with him to Baghdad, an officer purged for being involved in Thirties in one of the various anti-British conspiracies. The uncle understands that the boy has, as they say in jargon, ‘an edge over’ so that he plays on his self-love by urging him to present himself as a privatist for the entrance exam to the prestigious al-Kharkh high school in Baghdad, a hotbed of anti-monarchist activists. In 1955 Saddam joined the Ba’th, the ‘socialist’ party of the Arab revival (Al-ba’th al-arabi the birth of a single Arab nation that goes from Lebanon to Sudan, from Iraq to Morocco, combines Arab cultural revanchism with the improvement of popular living conditions; unification, in fact, would make the Arabs the masters of their enormous wealth which instead are controlled by the tiny ‘petromonarchies’, the sheikhdoms of the Gulf: inventions of the colonial powers concerned with maintaining control of the great resource, the greatest of all: oil “(S. Kiwan, R. Cristiano, Saddam Hussein, Rome, Associated Editions, 1991). For Iraq history, please check

If there is an AOC Iraqi, a Ba’thist par excellence, he is the young Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti. It should be remembered here how Iraq is the unfortunate creature born from Lawrence’s Utopia, a failure because if it is true that Turkey is displaced, thanks to the tactical-strategic genius of Lawrence, from the territory that will become a Kingdom entrusted to the dreamer King Faisal It is equally true that this kingdom became in fact a colony, albeit ‘invisible’, of Great Britain. The young Saddam made a career in the party: for his zeal, for the visceral hatred he brought to the Great Empires and their followers. Or Arab satellites. On July 14, 1958, Colonel Kassim, a convinced Nasserian, overthrew the monarchy with a textbook coup. While the radio was playing the Marseillaise, let the people cheerfully tear apart the Prince Regent, Prime Minister Nuri Al Said, and an unknown number of courtiers. Literally. I was on duty in Beirut and together with three other (crazy) envoys, all three British, I chartered an old DC3, which flew low and landed us in Baghdad. In that distant summer, Baghdad was a frenzied multiplication of Piazzale Loreto. Cheering boys or old men with no more teeth but with a lot of bile in their mouths offered me the modest price of two fils (cents of dinar) pieces of meat tanned by the heat (50 degrees in the shade) “guaranteed for those of the ruling prince”. If so much gives me so much, I can imagine that many in Iraq have been disappointed that Saddam’s two sons were killed by the Americans. If they had given them to the people, they would have cut them into small pieces. Perhaps not wrongly, not a few in Italy and abroad have criticized the Americans for killing Uday and Qusay with excessive use of means, thus preventing them from being brought to trial: it would have been interesting to listen to them instead. I don’t think so, I really don’t think so: the children were two amoral wretches, perhaps even sadists. But nothing more. They counted as much as a Russian cigarette butt, they knew nothing, they were plagued by boredom to which they reacted with violence.

The speech changes with Saddam. Provided they are capable, the Americans should see to it that the Tyrant is arrested and duly prosecuted. He, Saddam, deserves an authentic trial, not along the lines of Nuremberg: a fair trial, from which we, presumptuous Westerners, could draw an important lesson. On what colonialism has been, on the importance of the religious vector in secular Iraq, on the authentic spring that urges the so-called nationalism of pride, intimately connected with the so-called Arab Awakening, which combines the fanatical hatred of Osama with the legitimate desire of redemption of the Arab masses. These exist and continuing to neglect their moods could mean laying the foundations for a devastating new Middle Eastern war. Because the point is this: for us Westerners that of Palestine is an age-old geopolitical problem to be solved in the best possible way. That is to say, displeasing both the Israelis and the Palestinians (“Peace has a price”, Ytzaak Rabin never tired of repeating). But for the Arab masses, the Palestinian problem must be seen in ethical terms. Let me be clear: one thing is the top relations of the so-called Palestinian Authority with the various Arab regimes, one thing is the intimate, I would say sacred, relationship of any little Arab with the idea of ​​Palestine-Nation. Saddam, a skilful unscrupulous politician, had an ambiguous relationship with the Palestinians, paying more attention to ‘compromising’ Arafat than to really helping him. As a skilled politician, he managed to ride the Palestinian steed by linking his withdrawal from Kuwait to the Palestine problem. The fruitful Madrid Conference of 1991, which was followed by the Oslo accords, is ultimately due to his ‘provocation’. Ten and more years later Desert storm, the Palestinian problem continues to rot, while, not without difficulty, attempts are made to redesign, or rather to paint with new colors, the Middle Eastern map.

Iraq History - The Ba'th and Arab Awakening