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Digital Archive International History Declassified

July 13, 1971

PREPARING A PLAN FOR A COUP IN SUDAN AND IRAQ

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    A detailed outline of attendees and discussions of a secret conference of Arab communist parties to plan a coup in Sudan and Iraq, including a proposed agenda for escalation.
    "Preparing a Plan for a Coup in Sudan and Iraq," July 13, 1971, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 9, File 29/9, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119887
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Subject: Preparing a Plan for a Coup in Sudan and Iraq

By invitation by the Prague Communist Party Bureau of International Relations, a secret conference of the Arab communist Parties was held on Jul 13, 1971 in Karlovy Vary, which is a region in Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia.

This conference was held under the auspices of the Czech Central Committee of the Communist Party.  Omanis and foreigners were banned from walking around the conference area, which was in the party building.

The conference itinerary was as follows:

First: to study the Sudan coup plan

Second: to study the Iraq coup plan

Third: the world situation

Fourth: the Arab situation

Fifth: the Palestinian cause

Sixth: the causes of the national liberation movements

Discuss reports coming from:

    the political committee in Iraq

    the political committee in Sudan

Members attending the Karlovy Vary conference are:

The Jordanian Communist Party:

Fuad Nassar

Head of the conference

Faiq Warrad

Member

Muhammed Jawhar 

        "

Ali Said  

        "

Zaky Al-Tawwal

        "

Naif Al-Amarin    

        "



Delegation for the Tunisian Communist Party

Muhammed Harmal

Secretary General of the party

 

The Algerian Communist Party

Ja’far Mustafa

Political Bureau Member and Secretary of the Central Committee



Delegation for the Soviet Communist Party

Vladimir Lomiko

Head

Dimitri Mocenko

Member

Alexander Dobrovin

Member

 

Delegation of the Syrian Communist Party

Daniel Ni’ma

Head

Murad Fotly

Member

Adel Fargooly

Member

Muhammed Fikry

Member

Muwaffaq Al-Haffar

Member

Ahmad Abadha

Member



Delegation of the Saudi Communist Party

Abdul-Rahman Ali        

Secretary General of communist expats



Delegation of the Iraqi Communist Party

Majid Abdul-Ridha

Delegation Head – Civilian

Anwar ZakiDeputy

Delegation Head Military – Retired Colonel

Kadhim Ali

Secretary General for Expat Operations – Member

Ghazy Al-Sharif

Abdul-Jabbar Abdulla

Yousef Alias

Adnan Darwish Al-khateeb

Ghassan Al-Dawdi

Shemran Al-Yassiri

Hammam Al-Marani

Isam Al-Khafaji

Baha’ddin Nouri

Salim Al-Fakhri

Retired military

Hashim Abdul-Jabbar

Retired military

Zentoon Ayoob

Retired army captain

Taha Al-Sheik Ahmad

Head of Iraqi Army military planning- retired

Jalal Al-Adqani

Retired Air Force Colonel

Majid Abdul-Ridha

Delegation Head – Civilian

  

Delegation of the Iraqi Communist Party

Shukry Obaida

Commander of First Regiment – Artillery- Retired

Abdul-Majeed Haqqi

Retired Colonel

Saeed Matar

First Lieutenant   Released

 

The Delegation for the Iraqi Communist Party has authorization to support the movement from the following organizations:

Farmers Union

Workers Union

Women’s Association

Student Union

Secret Popular Resistance Organization

Iraqi Youth Union

Teachers syndicate

Writers Union

Journalists Syndicate

Lawyers Syndicate

Democratic National Party

Socialist Workers Party

Progressive Nasiri Organization

Progressive Officers Organization in the Iraqi army

Educated Kurds – Talabani Organization

Ansar Brigades Organization in Northern Iraq

 

Delegation of the Lebanese Communist Party

Nicola Al-Shawi

Head

Artin Madoyan

Member

George Batal

   "

Nadim Abdul-Samad

   "

Fadhl Al-Hallab

   "

 

Delegation of the Moroccan Communist Party

Ali Noori

Political Bureau Member

 

Delegation of the Yemeni Communist Party – North-

Abdulla Bathib

Secretary General

  

Delegation of the Sudanese Communist Party

Izziddin Ali Amer:

Political Bureau Member  Secretary of the Central Committee

Muslih Muhammed Al-Ameen:

Lieutenant Colonel

Ahmed Al-Zubair:

Lieutenant Colonel

Babekar Muhammed Salih:

Lieutenant Colonel

Hussein Othman Bayoomi

Lieutenant Colonel

Hassan Makki

Major

Sharaf Al-Tayyib Yassin

Major

Salahiddin Sayyid Bakri

Captain

Almahi Al-Nijani

Nijani Babekar

Alhaj Abdul-Rahman

Ahmad Al-Sayyid Hamad

Al-Rashid Na’il

Muhammed Ahmad Sulaiman

Shawqi Al-Malassi

Taj Al-Sarmas

Jibli Abdul-Rahman

 

The Sudanese Communist Party has an authorization supported by National Movement from the following organizations:

Workers General Union

Democratic Youth Union

Women’s Union

Students General Union

Farmers General Union

Teachers General Union

The Socialist Party

The Democratic Party in the South

Writers Union

Lawyers Union

Progressive Judges Organization

Free Officers Organization in the Sudanese army



Date:  Jul 14
th, 1971

A discussion of the overall conditions in Sudan.

 

Date:  Jul 15
th, 1971

A discussion of the overall conditions in Iraq

 

Date:  Jul 16
th, 1971

A discussion of the military report by the Sudanese delegation.

A discussion of the political report by the Sudanese delegation.

 

Date:  Jul 17
th, 1971

Everyone approved the Sudan coup set to take place on Jul 19th, 1971.

Postponing the Iraq coup awaiting the results of the Sudan situation and whether the coup will succeed or fail, and looking to these factors to assess the situation for the Iraq coup.



The Iraqi delegation

Military Members

Demanded a revolutionary military coup.

 Civilian members

Demanded undertaking an armed intifada tactic to transform the [situation] to civil war by opening two fronts:

The first in the north between the regime there and the Kurds, the second in the south where farmers are oppressed and because the countryside is ripe for gang wars.



The Sudanese Delegation

Civilians and officers are in agreement about the military coup.  In case of failure, tactics of popular war is undertaken starting next October/November 1971.  This gives enough time for civilian and military friends of the Sudanese Communist Party to prepare for long-term war to take down the regime for good by popular intifada.



The Iraq civilian delegation:

Says that – Popular war in the south – the countryside- and opening a second front in the north adopting gang war in the countryside as basic strategy.

In the cities, moving toward protests and demonstrations, in addition to mobilizing the army as an important strategy.

Using violent and non-violent popular disobedience economically and politically in service of the strategy of armed resistance in general.

 

We are laying before you the following agenda:

1- Economic protest to be escalated to political to become the spark for an armed intifada.

2- Protests to be escalated to a farmers’ insurgency to spread into urban areas that can attract sections of the army to transform in armed popular intifada.

Majid Abdul-Ridha continues: reading the report saying that during Lenin’s time in 1905, no revolutionary or reactionary military coups took place that the social revolution could fix from which the desired results could come out.

It’s true that military coups have played an important role recently, especially since the fifties, which has made their serious study by nationalist forces and their thinkers very important.  It’s true that political struggles that can become armed are the more guaranteed and more important than military coups whose results are unpredictable in case of failure since it brings dangerous physical annihilation to the party and its bases.

Lastly, I end my report by requesting approval for opening an armed front in the country and instigating the Kurds against the regime.

To be accompanied by political surge and resistance in urban areas to bring down the regime and establishing progressive rule that would include all national bodies in the government led by the Iraqi Communist Party.

This report was supported by:

Kadhim Ali, Isam Al-Khafaji, Ghazi Al-Sharif

[illegible] Al-Yassiri, Adnan Al-Khateeb

  

Members of the Iraqi military delegation:

A report by: Anwar Zaki   Released army colonel

Dear Comrades,

Dear Comrade Majid saying that military coups are a new thing is completely untrue.

Throughout history, many coup have taken place, some of them failed and some succeeded.  These preceded the time of Marx, Ingles and Lenin.  For your information:

1- The Cromobile coup in England that was to express the interests of the developing British bourgeois that aimed to limit the total authorities of the King and in turn feudal authorities.

2- The coup attempt against the Czar during Pushkin’s time that was undertaken by junior officers and educated Russians who were influenced by the French Revolution.

Also, the Blankist ideas which were ruthlessly defeated by Marxist thinkers.  Weren’t they in essence expressions of violent coup ideas developed by Louis Blank and his followers, who are a select group of educated revolutionaries and some officers?  Wasn’t the aim to bring down the regime and build a new society through a military plot.

Then Colonel Anwar Zaki was killed in action

The role of sailors and soldiers in the 1905-1917 Revolution and the great attention Lenin and the Bolsheviks paid to them.  These soldiers had a big, decisive role in achieving victory for the 1917 Revolution.  Lenin paid special attention to inviting the soldiers and including them in the political worker meetings.

Lenin had said that the military plot would have to be Blankist in case the events of the revolution had caused the spread of Bourgeois lies and if most revolutionary struggle organizations have not shared the victory of the revolution.

In case the mood hasn’t transformed completely within the ranks of the army during the war.  Those working against the government who get sucked into an unjust war that is against the wishes of the people and if the intifada banners are not, for example, power to the people, land for the farmer.

That’s where all the popularity was even when some prominent workers hadn’t bought into the desperation of the people and the countryside as reflected in the active farmer movement and the armed protests against serfdom and the governments that protect it. Also, when the economic situation shows hope that a good solution to the crisis can be achieved peacefully and through parliament.

Therefore, One can conclude that Lenin had established the objective and subjective circumstances that allowed the revolutionary party to conduct what was called at the time – the military conspiracy – without committing the mistakes of the “Blankists” that could spell the end of the general revolutionary movement in the country and the intensification of amred and unarmed struggles in urban and rural areas.

We, military men see that the main factors for the success of revolutions depends mostly on:

 1- The Iraqi army is not an army of mercenaries.  It did not play certain roles, the most important of which are:

2- The army as an establishment and as protection for the country has created a breach for a long time.  It is a tool that can be used as a weapon that can be used for it or against it.

3- When this tool is frequently used tens or hundreds of times by all classes and forces, especially in in third world countries at this age, isn’t it incumbent on revolutionaries to think about this phenomenon and look into it from a logical point of view.  When this tool succeeds within this class [of people] or that political authority or resolve the conflict to benefit revolutionary classes or launch the dawn of social revolution, shouldn’t revolutionaries take it seriously and adopt it into consideration.

4- The army has become the main tool in conflicts to get to the government, to protect and maintain it.  It is possible to say based on the level and nature of the Iraq conflict that any class will not be able to assume power without making use of the army is a basic tool.

5- The main battlefield is the capital, Baghdad. Many prior experiences have proven any stroke directed at the head of the political authority in Baghdad can put an end to the battle around the country from this end to this end.  On the other hand, the same experiences have proven that take another position to the battle, however heroic or destructive, will not be able to overthrow the government, but rattle or weaken it at best.

6- The best to an intifada is a military coup.  As for the other methods, they are merely necessary methods than can help.

 

Majid Abdul-Rahman to Anwar Zaki’s report was as follows:

Dear Comrades

These aspects do not reflect dialectical analysis of the events.  They put the revolution in a mechanical box that is isolated, not connected to anything and incomplete.

Thus, they are not dependent on true Marxist class analysis.  Now, is describing the points on the report as mentioned above mere (inflexible) Marxist expressions that have nothing to do with present circumstances and we have to first determine our Iraqi army characteristics.

1- The Iraqi army as an apparatus in not a national army.  Since factions of it had played a decisive role on July, 14th, it has been used likewise in many cases as an oppressive apparatus against the popular movement.

Examples of apostasy revolutions are:

The February coup

The Shawwaf conspiracy

The war against the Kurds

Suppressing uprisings

Instances during the king’s rule and others

In a feudalistic capitalist country, the army as an apparatus cannot be a neutral entity.  It is a basic tool to oppress the workers class and the revolutionary movement.

In Iraq, British imperialism had a key role in forming the Iraqi army in order to assume a decisive role in protecting the treasonous feudalist royals.  The Brits set its strict bourgeois laws – based on backwards traditions – but the Iraqi army in its core had been influenced by the Arab and international internal political events.

Then the intense Iraqi popular struggle in the cities and rural areas against the royal rule and imperialist pacts, and the increasing Arab, national liberation movement, especially after the important developments taking place in Syria and the tri-aggression against Egypt.  Also the treasonous position by the Iraqi government at the time, in addition to the general situation of the royal regime and the crises within it.

All of this contributed to the forming of the Free Officers cells within the army, which united after the unification of the nationalist forces within the National Union in 1957.

Most internal subjective condition within the army and those objective outside it were abundant that the Free Officers declared the revolution on Jul 14th, 1958.  This instigated the population, especially communists to defend the revolutions in its early hours, and help the army attack to completely annihilate the last of its opposition.  However, now, where are the subjective conditions within the army and objective ones outside it?



Response by Anwar Zaki in the name of the military committee

The internal subjective conditions are still there.  They are being planned for full consciously.  We don’t ask anything of you except [illegible] support and popular movement to support the coup to pave the way for political movement in support of the revolution.

I’m allowing myself to say that:

All progressive, nationalistic parties and groups in Iraq, in addition to the heroic Communist Party will not be able to assume power without a military coup.

The reasons are clear.

First: Not all political parties in Iraq have widespread popular support.

Second: All top officers in the army and most other officers are susceptible to influences by the anti-communist, anti-workers and anti-Kurdish nationalism.

Therefore, a military coup is necessary to end the spread of these corrupt groups in the army.

After a five-hour discussion between the Iraqi Communist Party and the Russian guests.

The following decision was issued:

In principle – Approval of a military coup in Iraq.  Support of the communist organization in the army by the political bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.

Approve the secrecy of the plan and limiting it to the army only and delaying the coup in Iraq until the Sudan situation becomes clear, especially the coup of Jul, 1971.

In case it succeeds or fails, another meeting is to be held in the German Communist Party headquarters to lay down a new plan to an Iraq coup to be take place between September and November 1971.

The end



Delegation of the Sudanese Communist Party

The military and political wings:

They are in agreement about the coup even before their arrival in Czechoslovakia: they had met in Moscow with members of the political bureau of the Soviet Communist Party and members of the military committee in the Central Committee.  They have a complete authorization from the Military and Political Committees in Moscow to support the coup.

Hussein Bayoumi, a lieutenant colonel in the Sudanese army, had said, “I am informing you that we have decided to carry out a coup against Numairi’s rule to iron out the path of the revolution.  We will not have sole rule, rather we have decided to include all representatives of national committees and independents in a left-wing government.

We have also decided not to relay the two political and military reports in this meeting due to a recommendation by the external bureau of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party with the approval of members of our delegation.

However, we are also informing you that the timing of the revolution will be before Jul, 25th 1971.  We thank you for attending this conference.  We will meet again in your country, Sudan.  We might delay the reading of the rest of the reports till things are clearer in Sudan as we await the coup.



Speech by the head of the Soviet delegation; Vladimir Lomiko:

Dear Comrades,

We support fully your people’s ambitions for a better life.  We consider the situations in Sudan and Iraq similar to each other.  In the name of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party and the Soviet people, we wish you success and progress for the sake of the international liberation movement.



Saeed Matar, a former officer in the Iraqi army:

Proposed that the two Sudanese and Iraqi Communist Parties immediately adopt the decision by the political bureau of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party to take up armed insurrection in rural areas and the war of popular liberation.

 That is through expanding armed movement in rural areas and occupying the regime with daily struggle with it.

Strikes – economic – popular protest escalated – vandalism at vital, important government offices.

                             _______________________

In houses owned by the Communist Party, they had many furnished rooms 60-70 person capacity in the Party building.  The center is next to the country palace at Marconi Square near the big statue of Lenin. Note that Lebanese presence was for observation only, most parties are only for monitoring.  The discussion was limited to the Iraqi and Sudanese parties – no Czechs were present – the Russian delegation was supposed to discuss the Sudan issue, however time did not allow for it, it was spent on Moscow, it wasn’t discussed at all.  At the end of the conference, they delivered a congratulatory speech. Nothing else was discussed because their schedule was full.

They left on Jul 7th and came back Jul 31st.  Artin came on the 28th, George Batal came, he wasn’t with them, and he went to Moscow on a Russian plane from Damascus.

 Cold discussions and huge disagreement between the between the political and the Iraqi military committees.  Note that there was no agreement between the two committees.

A working organization was formed comprising of heads of delegations.  The committees would direct questions to the organization that would in turn ask the delegations.

The Sudanese delegation is in full agreement.

The Sudanese delegation left quickly on the 18th after being called to return.

                             ______________________                                

They were confident that Egypt is not against communism and interferes – They were trapped in a public park, after the Sudan coup, they came out – accompanied by Czech translators –

They were expecting failure, in which case the party would enter a war of popular liberation – gangs, not right away, but for two months in preparation –



Anwar Zaki

In Iraq, most top officers are against communism – whoever captures Baghdad and quickly gets rid of the top leaders in the regime is guaranteed loyalty of all of Iraq – In case of assuming power, all of them (officers) have to be taken out immediately – Any political organization in Iraq, including the Communist Party, cannot be in power without army support – in Northern Iraq, there are large military units.  This is appropriate for them since they’re tied to the armed Ansar Brigades.  They can be stopped from reaching Baghdad by mobilizing the armed brigades in the countryside –

7/18 after the Sudanese delegation left, the meeting ended and they relaxed - they were waiting for the Sudanese delegation to go back so they can discuss the Iraqi coup –

The flight was paid by them –

                             _______________

There was a conference in Prague for Gulf Student Leagues – completely separate.

10/5 a conference near Aden for the Gulf [region].

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