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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 27, 1949

REPORT TO HE THE DIRECTOR OF THE SûRETé GéNéRALE, EMIR FARID CHEHAB, 'SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE SITUATION IN IRAQ AND AMMAN'

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    Letter to Emir Chehab regarding the political situation in Iraq and Communism in Iraq.
    "Report to HE the Director of the Sûreté Générale, Emir Farid Chehab, 'Some Information about the Situation in Iraq and Amman'," March 27, 1949, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 8, File 1D/8, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/176054
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1D/8

Baghdad—Amman—Beirut!

Report to HE the Director of the Sûreté Générale, Emir Farid Chehab:

Sir, I wish to share with Your Excellency the most important events that caught my attention during my trip, with the hope that they would be of assistance to you in your long-lasting endeavours and relentless struggle.

Subject: Some information about the situation in Iraq and Amman.

In Iraq:

1. Baghdad is divided into two:

Baghdad today is divided into two: one group is made up of Nouri Pacha al-Said, the Regent, and his coterie of rich and financially powerful people and high-level state employees, and the other of chose who are close to national organisations and pretend to work for national objectives. The latter are mostly fanatic Iraqi Arabs who boast about boycotting foreigners of all kind, and who were revolted by the Portsmouth Treaty and strongly attacked Saleh Jaber.

The Communists and Jews used the anger of the Nationalists against the Pact to infiltrate the large demonstrations and create chaos, perpetrate acts of terrorism, and engage in armed clashes with the police and army, causing many deaths. It was said that bodies were floating on the Tigris River.

It is well known that the first group, namely Nouri al-Said, who is now in power, is benefiting from his position to the maximum and acting as he pleases. Things have gone so far that the Iraqis, who live under pressure and in fear of terrorism, complain and threaten to revolt.

The second group are those who organise and foment revolution.

2. Nouri al-Said

Nouri Pacha told his intimates that he is very scared for his own life and his family's because he is receiving death threats on a daily and hourly basis. He also said that he has many enemies and that he will pay them back with some of their own medicine by using more violence against them than before. He said chat he never goes out without carrying two revolvers and being followed at all times by a Jeep full of secret police with their fingers on the trigger.

He thought of going to live in Egypt with his family because his daughter was married to a prominent Egyptian. However, he hates Egypt and the Egyptians and has said that he intended to fight their magazines, books, films, and economy because they are fanatic to their Egyptian identity and do not feel truly Arab but Pharaonic He told one Lebanese that although he banned Lebanese newspapers because they are 'immoral', he personally loves Lebanon in spite of Lebanon having failed to fulfil its duty towards Palestine because it was the Syrian armies that defended Lebanon’s territory and borders ... and so on.

3. The Jews of Iraq and their links to Lebanon:

The Jews in Iraq are a force unto themselves; they are powerful in two highly effective areas: money and women.

This power, which was unleashed on the Iraqis, weakened them so much that the Jews now have total control over trade markets and wield the strongest influence over a number of prominent Arab personalities and leaders in Iraq.

It was proven beyond doubt that the Jews are financing the Iraqi Communist Movement; money from their contributions was pouring into Hizb al-Taharror, which is nothing but a cover for the Communist Party, and on Yousef Salman Yousef (nicknamed Fahd), Secretary General of the Iraqi Communist Party, before he was hanged.

The latter used to distribute these donations to his party members and the Movement's leaders in the provinces and small and big cities. The Jews, chief among whom was Yehuda Sadiq (who was hanged) and Dalal Sassoon (who is in jail), were in constant contact with a Russian man by the name of Rosiroff whose identity is unknown and who lives in hiding.

It is said that he was the one who brought money, paper, printing presses, and communist newsletters, in all languages and using Marxist terminology and that whenever the Party needed money, it called upon Yehuda Sadiq and Dalal Sassoon who immediately approached Rosiroff to get from him what is needed.

These two individuals were in constant contact with the Russian Legation in Baghdad, and it supplied them with money in apparently legal ways, such as, among others, pocketing profits from showing Russian films or reselling large quantities of medicine sent to the Party for that purpose.

4. The Jews' aims behind sustaining the Communist Movement

The reason is simple; to launch many demonstrations in Baghdad and foment trouble and chaos in Arab countries (which is actually happening in some places) to distract the Arabs from the Palestinian cause.

Iraqi Jews are in very close contact with Jews in the rest of the Arab world.

The Jews today are fearful and worried because there are strong rumours that Nouri al-Said, whom they consider their only friend in Iraq, is leaving power. They are all the more fearful because the same rumour says that HE Sadeq al-Bassam will take over the Interior Ministry; the latter is the Jews' staunchest enemy and is responsible for hanging, jailing, and exiling them, and freezing their financial assets. Today, the Zionists' haunt in Baghdad is the Select nightclub whose owner is a Lebanese man from the Maalouf family. Movements centring round this nightclub are led by a stunningly beautiful Jewish woman by the name of Mme Levy who had close connections with the most prominent personalities and Arab Legations.

5. Relationship between Iraqi Communism and Lebanon:

The relationship between Iraqi Communism and its Syrian and Lebanese counterparts is natural, logical, and inevitable. Iraqi Communists consider Khaled Beikdache one of the main spiritual leaders of communism; he follows all important developments in the Iraqi movement and it is well known that the latter has sought his advice several times when considering launching a demonstration, planning acts of chaos, attacking the Portsmouth Treaty, or taking a position regarding the Palestinian cause.

Yousef Salman, nicknamed Fahd, Khaled Beikdache, and other Communist leaders in the Arab countries met together at the beginning of the last war, and agreed to unconditionally support the Russians, prepare themselves to spread communism in the Levant, and bring into Arab countries wireless transmitters to spread Soviet news. They changed their minds at the last minute, however, due to a number of events that impeded their plans.

Even after the five Communists were hanged, the Iraqi Communist Party remains in constant touch with its counterparts in Syria and Lebanon. The main link is the large number of Iraqi students in Syria and Lebanon most of whom are at the American University in Beirut and are known to have, and admit having, communist leanings. Another link is the group of Iraqis afflicted with tuberculosis being treated in Lebanon’s hospitals.

6. Communism in the Iraqi Army

Today, communism is spreading in Iraq like an epidemic; it has infiltrated the Iraqi Army and officers are joining its ranks with amazing speed. Worry is endemic, chaos reigns across the country, and the Iraqi and Iranian armies are deployed face to face. Officers are expecting something to happen, but do not say what it is, and refer to it only in whispers and with great secrecy. They speak ill against those in power in Arab countries and say that the salvation of the Arab youth can only come at their hands.

There is categorical proof that above all Russia, then Iran, are behind this pervasive revolutionary spirit.

7. How was Camille Chamoun received?

Mr Camille Chamoun arrived in Baghdad, invited journalists to a press conference at the Tigre’s Palace Hotel, attended many parties, and met with the presidents and leaders. He was embraced upon his arrival by Nouri al-Said and his supporters, which did not please nationalist extremists who started attacking, cursing, and reviling Camille. They whispered and winked at one another behind his back, and wondered why he really came to Baghdad, who sent him and why, and why did he embrace Nouri al-Said Pacha?

Sadeq al-Bassam said that Camille Chamoun is little George, i.e. that he is British, and is actually carrying out the role he was trained for in Britain when he was Minister Plenipotentiary there, a role which basically serves British interests in the Levant. When the Iraqis speak about the differences among Lebanese politicians they say: we are sorry for the role Lebanon is playing today, having twice stabbed the Palestinian cause in the back.

Iraqi extremists in general laud Syria, its position, and its national fervour. They say that, contrary to Lebanon, which is going in an opposing direction and against Arab national objectives, Syria understands the meaning of nationalism.

8. In Amman:

From Baghdad, I went to Amman, the second capital of the royal Hashemite throne and where I have many friends, chief among whom is His Majesty the King (…) to the Palestinian cause and tried to save it with all his might but other people refused.

He asked Egypt's Minister Plenipotentiary during a conversation:

'Look here; have I not offered Egypt my army, my assistance, and my men more than three times already?' And when he said yes, the King went on: 'Why didn’t Egypt accept them?' The Minister answered: 'I sent them your offer, Your Majesty, but got no answer.'

9. The people like King Abdullah:

The Jordanian people today like King Abdullah unlike two years ago when most of them hated him, did not believe in him, and accused him of being a friend of the British.

The people love him all the more for having welcomed and empathised with the Palestinian refugees. In spite of signs to the contrary, the King still seeks to fulfil the dream that consumes his thoughts and political energy, namely the Greater Syria Project. He incessantly says that Syria is rudderless and does not know which way to turn.

The King also says that the Syrian people are right to revolt and complain against their government, which is pursuing a policy that will lead to their impoverishment and humiliation. He also often says that the Lebanese blame him for things he is innocent of because he respects their country's independence, loves its people, and has many Muslim and Christian friends among them.

He also says that there is a genius and a very clever man indeed in Lebanon, meaning Riad al-Solh.

10. The Jordanian people believe that the British are now necessary:

The Jordanian people believe today that an alliance with the big powers is necessary for small countries, and that the Arab countries need a strong friend… They also think that it is not the fault of the British but that of certain Arab leaders who do not know how to fight diplomatically.

The Jordanians accept the friendship of the British: they willingly accepted the one and a half million pound sterling increase in British assistance to the Jordanian Army.

There is a lot of anger at Egypt in Amman, and all Egyptian publications are banned.

11. Gaza residents prefer the Jews to the Egyptians

Some Gaza residents who migrated to Amman say that the Egyptians treated them very brutally and that they therefore prefer any foreigner, even the Jews, to the Egyptians.

12. The King's Palace is full of Americans

There are many Americans at the King's big palace and they occupy all the rooms… they are discussing various issues with HM, chief among which is oil and concessions granted to certain companies.

There is word that the Iraqi Regent's wife is, for various reasons, not at all happy in her marriage to the Regent and wants to go back to Egypt. Rumour-mongers say that this break between two hearts could lead to tensions between two countries.

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