Conflicted Loyalties: The Arab Union's Regional Counter-Alliance and Iraq's 14 July 1958 Coup

Friday, January 4, 2019: 9:30 AM
Crystal Room (Palmer House Hilton)
Elizabeth Bishop, Texas State University
Wm Roger Louis' Revolutionary Year addressed Egypt and Syria’s union. According to Malcolm Kerr, the region witnessed an 'Arab cold war,' and as Charles Tripp pointed out, the United Arab Republic “represented a defeat for the pro-Iraqi party in Syria, and brought Nasser’s influence to the very borders of Iraq.” This paper addresses a Hashemite union that balanced Nasser’s UAR. On 14 February 1958, King Faisal II of Iraq and his cousin, King Hussein of Jordan, united their realms. Three months later, Iraq’s parliament ratified a constitution for the new Arab union, transferring defense to it.

This ‘Arab cold war’ gave rise to conflicted loyalties. al-Jaridah, reported twelve Jordanian officers were arrested for attempting a coup d’état. al-Shaab confirmed, “King Husayn recently arrested 60 Jordanian officers on charges of plotting a coup.” In Iraq, a government was formed with Ahmad Mukhtar Baban as prime minister, and two months later a minister persuaded the king to postpone his departure to Istanbul, and sign a few documents from the Iraqi-Jordanian union, while the Turkish ambassador (on the pretense of coffee) told the prime minister of a conspiracy in Iraq’s Army.

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