As a new diplomat to an Eastern country, Pakistan, my brother and wife in 1963 with new baby David, began with the usual meet the friendlies after dinner parties. If you'll notice the invitation to the Iraq Embassy was declined. Like so many of the middle eastern countries other than Isriael some American Diplomats refused to recognize their (Iraq) sovereignty.  I remember one of my brother's favorite stories though, was having sat with President John F. Kennedy's future Secretary of State, Dean Rusk all night the day of Kennedy's inauguration.

Iraq's 5th Anniversary
 
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During the last few centuries, the world, Christians included, has fallen into
 a bad habit. We have bought into some early Roman propaganda. We have used the
 name Palestine, which Roman Emperor Hadrian placed on the country of Israel in
 135 A.D., for so long that it has become common usage. This would be as
 incorrect as calling the Russia of today the "Soviet Union" or referring to
 Berlin as "East Germany." The thoughts in this website linked by senior theologian,
 Dr. Thomas S. McCall, completely explore the subject. If you know somebody
 who’s fallen into this habit, please share this article with them.

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.


 
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