By Ali A. Allawi
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Extra info for Faisal I of Iraq
The events were sufficiently distant so that a reassessment need not have threatened the hold of the Ba’ath Party on the country. In some ways it resembled the ‘rediscovery’ of Russia’s Tsarist past through figures such as Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great at the outbreak of the war between Germany and Russia to buttress Stalin’s claims as a patriotic leader. Taking on the mantle of Faisal may have helped Saddam in burnishing his patriotic claims and linking him to a figure of great historical import.
1933 Faisal returns to Switzerland in early September to continue medical treatment. 1933 Faisal dies in Berne, Switzerland on 8 September 1933, aged fifty. indd xix 05/11/13 2:56 PM P ROLO G U E SEPTEMBER, 1933: DEATH OF A KING B y the time Faisal I, King of Iraq, had returned to his interrupted holiday in Switzerland in early September 1933, he was in a dangerously exhausted state. Less than a year before, on 3 October 1932, Iraq had finally gained formal independence by being admitted to the League of Nations as a fully fledged member country.
Faisal’s exhibits, which had been housed in a special room in the Iraqi Museum, were removed to the basement, safely away from public view, and his image – on stamps, coins, banknotes – disappeared over time. indd xxx 05/11/13 2:56 PM prologue xxxi country. In Syria, the loss of historical memory was even more complete, with little knowledge of, or interest in, the Faisalian period there. It was seen as a short and mostly obscure interlude between the end of the Ottoman Empire and the imposition of the hated French mandate.