The last day of Peace in Iraq (July 16, 1979) - History Key

The last day of Peace in Iraq (July 16, 1979)

This day in history, in 1979, a critical resignation and at the same time an ascension to power changed Iraq’s history. Iraqi President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr resigns and Saddam Hussein takes his place. Iraq is a country that has been in a constant state of conflict or under international sanctions since Saddam Hussein became the leader the country.

Iraq before 1979

Most of us remember Iraq as a state of conflict and it is difficult to imagine how Iraq looked before the major conflicts. Like most of the countries, Iraq was a normal country with beautiful landscapes and diversity in the urban and rural places. The capital Bagdad was a modern city with large boulevards and intense traffic.

Beautiful Baghdad Postcard, 1960s
Beautiful Baghdad Postcard, 1960s © Image Source: images.delcampe.com

People were relaxing at the public pools.

Public Pool
Public Pool © Image Source: youtube.com screenshot

Girls were encouraged to go to school.

Girls at school in Iraq
Girls at school in Iraq © Image Source: youtube.com screenshot

South of Iraq, the city of Basra was also called the Middle East Venice.

Port of Basra
Port of Basra © Image Source: youtube.com screenshot

Full documentary Iraq 1950-1959 made by British Pathe:

The big change

All of this changed when Saddam Hussein came to power. He engaged Iraq in a conflict with Iran for almost nine years (1980-1988). The war left more than 1,000,000 military casualties on both sides.

 Aftermath of an Iraq Armed Forces strike on US barracks
Aftermath of an Iraq Armed Forces strike on US barracks © US Army/ Image Source: Wikipedia

The occupation of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 and the repeated attack by international troops isolated Iraq globally until in the spring of 2003, when US troops and UK troops invaded Iraq and removed the Saddam Hussein from power.

NASA Landsat 7 image of Baghdad, 2 April 2003. The dark streaks are smoke from oil well fires set in an attempt to hinder attacking air forces
NASA Landsat 7 image of Baghdad, 2 April 2003. The dark streaks are smoke from oil well fires set in an attempt to hinder attacking air forces © USGS EROS Data Center / Image Source: Wikipedia

Iraq is now facing a new crisis after the outbreak of a conflict between Iraqi forces and an unusual coalition led by Islamist insurgents, including former Saddam Hussein army officers. In other words, we can say that since 1979 this country is in a permanent state of conflict.

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