Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr bigraphy, stories - Iraqi president

Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr : biography

July 1, 1914 - October 4, 1982

Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr (Arabic أحمد حسن البكر '; 1 July 1914 – 4 October 1982) was the fourth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 17 July 1968 until 16 July 1979. A leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party, and later, the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organisation Ba'ath Party – Iraq Region (the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi cell), which espoused ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism.

Al-Bakr first rose to prominence following the 14 July Revolution which overthrew the monarchy. In the newly established regime, al-Bakr was involved in improving Iraqi–Soviet relations. In 1959 al-Bakr was forced to resign from the Iraqi military; the then Iraqi regime accused him of being involved in anti-government activities. Following his forced retirement, he became the chairman of the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi cell's Military Bureau. Through this office he was able to recruit members to the ba'athist cause through patronage and cronyism. Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim was overthrown in the Ramadan (8 February) Revolution; al-Bakr was appointed Prime Minister, and later, Vice President of Iraq in a ba'ath-nasserist coalition government. The government lasted for little more than a year, and was ousted in November 1963.

Following the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party's ouster from government in 1963, al-Bakr and the party ensued underground activities and became vocal critics of the government. It was during this period that al-Bakr was elected the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi cell's Secretary General (the head), and appointed his cousin, Saddam Hussein, to be the party cell's deputy leader. Al-Bakr and the Ba'ath Party regained power in the coup of 1968, later referred to as the 17 July Revolution. In the coup's aftermath, al-Bakr was elected Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and President; he was later appointed Prime Minister. Saddam, the Ba'ath Party's deputy, became Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council and Vice President, and was responsible for Iraq's security services.

During his rule, Iraq was blossoming; high economic growth due to high international oil prices strengthened Iraq's role in the Arab world and increased the people's standard of living. Land reforms were introduced, and wealth was distributed more equally. A sort of socialist economy was established in the late-1970s, under the direction of Saddam. Al-Bakr gradually lost power to Saddam in the 1970s, when the latter strengthened his position within the party and the state through security services. In 1979, al-Bakr resigned from all public offices for "health reasons" and died in 1982.

Later life and death: 1979–1982

Al-Bakr died in 1982 of unreported causes.

Presidency: 1968–1979

Domestic policy

Economics

Economic system

Despite al-Bakr's and the Iraqi-led Ba'ath Party's radical rhetoric, their economic policies were neither radical or very socialistic. Al-Bakr's policy can be divided in two lines; the first being a largely populist economic policy, and the second, an economic policy based on cronyism, patronage and nepotism. By the late-1970s, Saddam had de facto control over Iraq's economic development by being chairman of the most important economic committees. A transparent shift happened under Saddam's command; a socialist economy, according to Con Coughlin, with government ownership of natural resources and the means of production was established. Saddam also started a diversification programme, to ensure that Iraq would not be depended on its oil revenues in the future. The Iraqi government used, even before the ba'ath takeover, based economic growth on economic planning. The Revolutionary Command Council (RCC), the highest legislative and executive organ of party and state, implemented and decided the goals of the plan. It was the political elite, and not the economic elite, which decided the content of an economic plan; before the ba'ath took power it was the other way around. The RCC convened every year to set up a budget for each year to come.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine