Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr

Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr

Iraqi military, political and statesman.
Date of Birth: 01.07.1914
Country: Iraq

  1. Biography of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
  2. Rise to Power
  3. Turbulent Times
  4. Return and Ascendancy
  5. Rise and Fall
  6. Succession

Biography of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr

Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr was an Iraqi military, political, and state official. He was born on July 1, 1914, in Tikrit. In 1938, he joined the military academy. In 1941, al-Bakr actively participated in the anti-British uprising led by Rashid Ali al-Gaylani. After the rebellion was suppressed, Ahmed Hassan was expelled from the armed forces, but he managed to reinstate himself in 1957. The following year, a revolution took place in Iraq.

Rise to Power

During the armed coup on February 8, 1963, al-Bakr assumed the position of Prime Minister of Iraq as one of the leaders of the coup and a representative of the Ba'ath Party. The Ba'ath Party came to power and, with the help of the National Guard, initiated repressions against communists and other opposition forces. From February to November 1963, approximately 5,000 people were killed and over 10,000 were imprisoned. However, disagreements arose between the Ba'ath Party, Iraqi Nasserists, and the DAN, as they differed in their approach to negotiations regarding the unification of Iraq with Egypt, leading to the disintegration of the Socialist Bloc.

Turbulent Times

Repressions by the government undermined the trust of feudal lords and peasants in the authorities' policies. At the same time, military operations against Kurdish rebels began in the north. Ba'ath's attempts to find a way out of the situation led to the escalation of contradictions within the party leadership. In September 1963, two factions emerged within the party, and their disagreements escalated into armed clashes. Taking advantage of the situation, Aref organized a coup on November 18 with the support of the military, removing Ba'athists from power. Many leaders of the Ba'ath Party were arrested. In January 1964, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr lost his position as Prime Minister, and Tahir Yahya took his place. By removing the Ba'athists from power, Aref concentrated all power in his hands and established a military dictatorship in the country.

Return and Ascendancy

In February 1964, the Arab leadership of the Ba'ath Party decided to form a new Iraqi leadership consisting of five people, including the popular general Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein. Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr became the Secretary General of the regional leadership of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party. In the spring of 1968, Iraq experienced a series of government crises. In April, thirteen retired officers, including two former Prime Ministers and five Ba'athists, presented a memorandum to Aref, demanding the dismissal of Prime Minister Tahir Yahya, the establishment of a legislative assembly, and the formation of a new government. The following month, President Aref, fearing a loss of power, postponed parliamentary elections, the development and implementation of a constitution by another two years, but a conspiracy was already being prepared against him.

Rise and Fall

The illegal organization of young officers, known as the Arab Revolutionary Movement, launched active activities against the government, aiming to overthrow the existing regime. To prepare for the coup, the leaders of this organization, Deputy Chief of the Second Intelligence Bureau Colonel Abd al-Razzaq an-Naif and Commander of the Presidential Guard General Ibrahim Abd al-Rahman Dawud, established contact with the leaders of the Ba'ath Party, Generals Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, Saleh Mahdi Ammash, Hardan Tikriti, and a group of conservative officers led by General Abdel Aziz al-Oqaili. On July 17, 1968, the Ba'ath Party came to power in Iraq as a result of a bloodless coup. Baghdad Radio announced another coup, stating that the Ba'ath Party had "taken power and ended the corrupt and weak regime represented by a clique of ignorant, illiterate opportunists, thieves, spies, and Zionists." President Abdel Rahman Aref (brother of the deceased President Abdel Salam Aref) was sent into exile in London. Upon coming to power, the Ba'athists immediately started eliminating potential rivals. Fourteen days after the coup, the members of the conspiracy, Naif, Dawud, and Nasser al-Hani, who were part of the Arab Revolutionary Movement, were removed from power. Power was concentrated in the hands of al-Bakr.


After coming to power, the Ba'ath Party formed the Revolutionary Command Council headed by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. On the council's list, 31-year-old Saddam Hussein was listed as number five. Saddam, al-Bakr's deputy in the party and the state, was responsible for internal security in the country, overseeing the party and state security services. Control over the security services allowed Saddam Hussein to consolidate real power in his hands. On July 16, 1979, President al-Bakr resigned, allegedly due to illness (it was claimed that he was put under house arrest). His successor was declared Saddam Hussein, who also became the leader of the regional leadership of the Ba'ath Party. In essence, Saddam Hussein thus assumed dictatorial powers.