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Legacy::Abd al-Karim Qasim

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Legacy The 1958 Revolution can be heralded as a watershed in Iraqi politics, not just because of its obvious political implications (e.g. the abolition of monarchy, republicanism, and paving the way for Ba’athist rule) but due to domestic reform. Despite its shortcomings, Qasim’s rule helped to implement a number of positive domestic changes that benefitted Iraqi society.

Land reform

The revolution brought about sweeping changes in the Iraqi agrarian sector. Reformers dismantled the old feudal structure of rural Iraq: for example the 1933 "Law of Rights and Duties of Cultivators" and the Tribal Disputes Code were replaced, benefiting Iraq’s peasant population and ensuring a fairer process of law. The Agrarian Reform Law (September 30, 1958<ref name="Iraq"/>) attempted a large-scale redistribution of landholdings and placed ceilings on ground rents; the land was more evenly distributed among peasants who, due to the new rent laws, received around 55% to 70% of their crop.<ref name="Iraq"/> Despite the positive intentions of the Agrarian Reform Law, its implementation proved relatively unsuccessful due to disagreements between the lower classes and the landed middle classes, as well as a time consuming implementation.

Women's rights

Qasim attempted to bring about greater equality for women in Iraq. In December 1959 he promulgated a significant revision of the personal status code, particularly that regulating family relations.<ref name="Iraq"/> Polygamy was outlawed, and minimum ages for marriage were also outlined, with 18 being the minimum age (except for special dispensation when it could be lowered by the court to 16).<ref name="Iraq"/> Women were also protected from arbitrary divorce. The most revolutionary reform was a provision in article 74 giving women equal rights in matters of inheritance.<ref name="Iraq"/> The laws applied to Sunni and Shi’a alike. The laws encountered much opposition and did not survive Qasim’s government.

Social reform

Education was greatly expanded under the Qasim regime. The education budget was raised from approximately 13 million Dinars in 1958 to 24 million Dinar in 1960 and enrollment was increased.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }} Attempts were also made in 1959 and 1961 to introduce economic planning to benefit social welfare; investing in housing, healthcare and education, whilst reforming the agrarian Iraqi economy along an industrial model. However these changes were not truly implemented before Qasim’s removal.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}

Qasim was also responsible for the nationalisation of the Iraqi oil industry. Public Law 80 dispossessed the IPC of 99.5% of its concession territory in Iraq and placed it in the hands of the newly formed Iraq National Oil Company taking many of Iraq’s oilfields out of foreign hands.<ref name="Iraq"/>

Human rights violations

The 1958 military coup that overthrew the Hashemite monarchy brought to power members of "rural groups that lacked the cosmopolitan thinking found among Iraqi elites". Iraq's new leaders had an "exclusivist mentality [that] produced tribal conflict and rivalry, which in turn called forth internal oppression [...]"<ref name=sng1/>

According to Shafeeq N. Ghabra, a professor of political science at Kuwait University, and, in 2001, director of the Kuwait Information Office in Washington D.C.:<ref name=sng1>Ghabra, Shafeeq N., "Iraq's Culture of Violence", article in Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2001, accessed October 16, 2013; in a footnote at the end of the first sentence ("... political compromise."), Ghabra cites Sa‘d al-Bazzaz, Ramad al-Hurub: Asrar ma Ba‘d Hurub al-Khalij, 2d edn. (Beirut: al-Mu'assasa al-Ahliya li'n-Nashr wa't-Tawzi‘, 1995), p. 22.</ref>

After the 1958 revolution, Iraq's ruling establishment created a state devoid of political compromise. Its leaders liquidated those holding opposing views, confiscated property without notice, trumped up charges against its enemies, and fought battles with imaginary domestic foes. This state of affairs reinforced an absolute leader and a militarized Iraqi society totally different from the one that existed during the monarchy.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis fled the country within four years of the 1958 revolution.<ref name=sng1/>


Abd al-Karim Qasim sections
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Legacy
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