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The Kingdom of Iraq ( ) was the sovereign state of Iraqmarker during and after the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. The League of Nations mandate started in 1920. The kingdom began in August 1921 with the coronation of Faisal bin al-Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi as King Faisal I. The kingdom ended in 1958 when the monarchy was over thrown in a bloody coup led by Abd al-Karim Qasim.

Hashemite monarchy

In 1932, the British mandate ended and the Kingdom of Iraq was granted independence under King Faisal I. This made Iraq the first mandate created under the Treaty of Versailles to be granted independence. However the British retained military bases in the country. After Faisal died in 1933, King Ghazi reigned as a figurehead from 1933 to 1939 when he was killed in a motor accident. Pressure from Arab nationalists demanded that the British leave Iraq, their demands were ignored by the United Kingdommarker.



Iraq was granted official independence in 1932 in accordance with an agreement signed by the United Kingdommarker in 1930, whereby the United Kingdom would end its official mandate on the condition that the Iraqi government would allow British advisers to take part in government affairs, allow British military bases to remain, and a requirement that Iraq assist the United Kingdom in wartime.

Political instability and army coups, 1930s-1941

Upon achieving independence in 1932, political tensions arose over the continued British presence in Iraq, with Iraq's government and politicians split between those considered pro-British politicians such as Nuri as-Said who did not oppose a continued British presence and anti-British politicians, such as Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, who demanded that remaining British influence in the country be removed. From 1936 to 1941, five coups by the Iraqi army occurred during each year led by the chief officers of the army against the government to pressure the government to concede to army demands.

Anglo-Iraqi War and Second British Occupation

The 1941 Iraqi coup d'├ętat overthrew Nuri as-Said and placed Rashid Ali al-Gaylani as prime minister. Ali did not overthrow the monarchy, but installed a more compliant Regent, and attempted to restrict the rights of the British under the treaty from 1930.

On April 30 the Iraqi Army established itself on the high ground to the south of the Habbaniya air force base. An Iraqi envoy was sent to demand that no movements, either ground or air, were to take place from the base. The British refused the demand and then themselves demanded that the Iraqi army leave the area at once. After a further ultimatum given in the early hours of May 2 expired, at 0500 hours the British began bombing the Iraqi troops threatening the base.

Hostilities lasted from April 18 to May 30, 1941. The British would continue to occupy Iraq for many years afterward.


After the Anglo-Iraqi War ended, Nuri as-Said returned as Prime Minister and dominated the politics of Iraq until the overthrow of the monarchy and his assassination in 1958. Nuri as-Said pursued a largely pro-western policy during this period.

Republic Declared

Hashemite monarchy lasted until 1958, when it was overthrown through a coup d'├ętat by the Iraqi Army, known as the 14 July Revolution. King Faisal II along with members of the royal family were executed. The coup brought Abd al-Karim Qasim to power. He withdrew from the Baghdad Pact and established friendly relations with the Soviet Unionmarker.

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