The successor of King Faisal I of Iraq. He became king in 1939, and took over from his regent Abdul Illah when he became 18 in 1953. He had neither the experience nor the strength of his father, and was killed on July 14, 1958 in a revolution led by Abdul Karim Kassem.

During his reign, the army gained power in Iraq's political life. After a bloody war against an Assyrian revolt, General Bakr Sidqi came to be considered a popular hero. The general forced the king to install Hikmat Suleiman as Prime Minister.

This was to be the first of a series of Iraqi coups, each more bloody and violent than the last.


Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf by Judith Miller and Laurie Mylroie.

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