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Fuad al-Rikabi

Fuad al-Rikabi
فؤاد الركابي
Minister of Rural Affairs
In office
November 1964 – 10 July 1965
Prime Minister Tahir Yahya
Preceded by Post established
Succeeded by Ahmad 'Abd al-Hadi al-Habboubi
Minister of Development
In office
14 July 1958 – 7 February 1959
Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim
Preceded by Post established
Succeeded by Talat al-Shaybani
Regional Secretary of the Regional Command of the Iraqi Regional Branch
In office
1954 – 29 November 1959
National Secretary Michel Aflaq
Preceded by Fakhri Qadduri
Succeeded by Talib Hussein ash-Shabibi
Member of the National Command of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party
In office
June 1954 – August 1960
Member of the Regional Command of the Iraqi Regional Branch
In office
December 1955 – 29 November 1959
Personal details
Born 1931
Nasiriyah, Kingdom of Iraq
Died November 1971
Baghdad, Republic of Iraq
Political party Iraqi Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (1951–1961)
Arab Socialist Union
Religion Shia Islam

Fuad al-Rikabi (1931 – November 1971) was an Iraqi politician and a founder of the Iraqi Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party. Al-Rikabi became the Secretary of Iraqi Regional Command of the Ba'ath Party in 1954 and held the post until 1959. Throughout his term of leadership, the Iraqi Regional Branch expanded its membership and became a leading party in Iraq's political landscape. Following the 14 July Revolution of 1958 which toppled the monarchy, al-Rikabi was appointed Minister of Development in Abd al-Karim Qasim's unity government.

As soon as the government was established, a power struggle quickly began between Qasim, an Iraqi nationalist who supported the Iraqi Communist Party, and Abdul Salam Arif, an Arab nationalist. Al-Rikabi supported the latter. Along with other cabinet members, al-Rikabi resigned in protest when Arif lost the power struggle in late 1958. Al-Rikabi and the Iraqi Regional Branch of the Ba'ath Party came to the conclusion that the only way to expedite Iraq's entry into the United Arab Republic was to assassinate Qasim. The assassination attempt failed, and most of the leading Ba'athists and co-conspirators, including al-Rikabi, fled to Syria. Shortly after, on 29 November 1959, the Iraqi Regional Command was dissolved.

Al-Rikabi supported the Ba'athist thought. Al-Rikabi tried but failed to get the Iraqi Regional Branch of the Ba'ath Party to break away from the National Command, and on 15 June 1961 he was expelled from the party. From then on al-Rikabi was a prominent Nasserite, active first in Rimawi's Revolutionary Ba'ath Command and then in Arif's Arab Socialist Union. Following the Ba'ath Party's seizure of power in the 17 July Revolution of 1968, al-Rikabi was arrested. He was killed by fellow inmates according to an official account, media unaffiliated to the Iraqi state claimed he was killed by the Iraqi security services.

Early life and career

Al-Rikabi was born into a Shia family in Nasiriyah in 1937. He attended the engineering school in Baghdad.[1] The Iraqi Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party was established either in 1951[2] or 1952.[1] While there is some confusion between the various sources, some historians claim Rikabi became Regional Secretary in either 1951 or 1952 and was the Iraqi Regional Branch's first head, others claim that he took the post first in 1954 (succeeding Fakhri Qadduri).[3][4][5][1]

The party initially consisted of a majority of Shia Muslims, as al-Rikabi recruited supporters mainly from his friends and family, but it slowly became

The National Command replied to these accusations by declaring that al-Rikabi was unqualified to speak for the party, and furthermore that he had lost his right to speak on the behalf of the Iraqi Regional Branch of the Ba'ath Party when the Iraqi Regional Command was dissolved on 29 November 1959. The reconstituted Iraqi Regional Command passed a resolution on 2 February 1962 which expelled al-Rikabi from the organisation and appointed Talib Hussein ash-Shabibi as Secretary General. Attacks on al-Rikabi continued, and the Iraqi Regional Congress in July 1960 called the National Command to initiate an investigation against him. At the fourth national conference in Beirut, the National Command passed a resolution stating that al-Rikabi had henceforth no responsibilities in Ba'ath Party affairs. On 14 October 1960 the Ba'ath Party ordered al-Rikabi to reply to the accusations leveled against him by the Iraqi Regional Congress. Al-Rikabi was expelled from the Ba'ath Party on 15 June 1961 for his failure to reply to the accusations leveled against him, his support for the Revolutionary Ba'ath Command, and his distribution

During the era of the UAR, the Ba'ath Party was split into two factions; Aflaqites—the followers of Aflaq—and Arab nationalist groups such as the communists, and the expulsion of members who held national revolutionary views. Al-Rikabi also believed that the National Command had lost faith in its Ba'athist beliefs, while the Iraqi Regional Branch needed it the most. The Iraqi Regional Branch was involved in the Mosul uprising of 1959.[15]


[15] and on 29 November 1959 the Regional Command was dissolved.[14] The failure of both Arif and the

A cabinet headed by Abd al-Karim Qasim as Prime Minister and Minister of Defence was established shortly after the 14 July Revolution. Al-Rikabi, who represented the Ba'ath Party, was appointed Minister of Development.[7] Shortly after the new government took control, a power struggle began between Qasim, who represented the Iraqi nationalists and the communists, and Abdul Salam Arif, who represented the interests of the Arab nationalists.[8] Iraq had been invited to join the United Arab Republic (UAR), a union consisting of Egypt and Syria.[9] Michel Aflaq, the principal founder of Ba'athism, the Ba'ath Party, and the UAR, visited Iraq by the end of July 1958 to try to convince Qasim's government to join the UAR.[10] Arif lost the power struggle, and on 30 November 1958 he was forced to resign from his posts of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. This in turn led to a clampdown on Arab nationalist activities, which included the Iraqi Regional Branch of the Ba'ath Party. To protest Arif's forced resignation and the increased authoritarian behaviour of Qasim's government, a number of cabinet members, including al-Rikabi, resigned in protest.[11]

Qasim years


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