It has been a crazy couple of weeks at Avalon and that state won’t change until June 9th, the last day of school this school year. One of my many projects and long-term seminar assignments was for a media studies seminar with the title and topic of Iraq. The only three assignments in that seminar are a 3-5 minute speech, a 5-7 minute speech, and a seminar reflection. It was earlier today that I gave my 3-5 minute speech which I chose to do on why Saddam Hussein’s rise to power was the natural course of action if you consider the history of Iraq. The delivery of the speech at 9:31 am today lasted 4 minutes and 26 seconds, so well within a respectable timeframe of the 3-5 minute requirement. If any of you feel the urge to read the speech you’ll find the full text in the extended body. Please provide any questions, comments, or suggestions for me about the speech in the comments of this post. Enjoy, Alex.
I’m standing up here today to tell you why Saddam Hussein’s rise to power in Iraq’s government was the natural path of events if you consider the history of Iraq. The basic fact is that his rise was nothing out of the ordinary for the way that Iraq’s government had been run unlike what Americans have come to assume based on what our media and our government get us to think. Here are my three examples: British occupations after the first world war; The rise of the Baath Party after multiple coups; And Saddam Hussein’s own rise to the presidency.
My first example will be the early history to the British invasions. At the beginning of time Iraq was called Mesopotamia. The name Mesopotamia means “the land between the rivers”. Mesopotamia occupied most of the land that rests between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, so that’s how the name got chosen. At the end of World War One Britain occupied Mesopotamia and was given a mandate over it in 1920. They were responsible for assigning the land the name of Iraq. Britain also reoccupied Iraq during World War Two because of its pro-Axis stance in the initial years of the war, but didn’t occupy it afterwards (until now with the current gulf war, though just last week they formally left Iraq).
My second example is the coups that brought the Baath Party into power. In 1932 Iraq gained full independence from Britain and had begun their monarchy-style government. About 2 decades later in 1958 the monarchy was brought to a swift close with an assassination and brought to power a military junta headed by Abdul Karem Kassim. Saddam Hussein was a member of this military junta and was actually fairly high on the pyramid of power because he was key in maintaining tight control between the government and military. In 1968 a coup of the military and Baath Party brought Ahmed Hasan Al-Bakr into power, Saddam Hussein played a role in this coup. Saddam Hussein rose to be the vice-president under Al-Bakr after the coup.
My third and final example is on Saddam Hussein’s own political rise. In 1979 Saddam Hussein knocked down and murdered Al-Bakr and established himself as the “president”, though by the standards of the United States he really was a dictator. Saddam Hussein’s rise to power was based from the coup of 1968 because that is what placed him in the position for overthrowing the current president, but the underlying structure of government ever since the monarchy was brought down facilitated his rise in many more ways too.
So, in conclusion, if you simply understand even the basic history of Iraq’s governing structure and the country more broadly (which these examples help to engrave) you’ll understand more of why Saddam Hussein’s rise was so natural and to some experts on Iraq even predictable. Thank you for your time.