Reported assassination of Crown Prince and Nuri Pasha.A full meeting of the Cabinet was held last night to discuss the situation in Iraq, where the Army was yesterday reported to have seized power and proclaimed a republic.
It appeared clear that the British Embassy in Bagdad had been ransacked and virtually destroyed. One member of the Embassy staff was reported to have been either killed or badly wounded by a bullet; otherwise the rest of the hundred or so British officials, wives and children were safe.
Bagdad Radio earlier claimed that Army officers had arrested King Feisal, and that Crown Prince Abdul Illah and General Nuri es-Said, Premier of the Jordan-Iraq Union, had been killed and their bodies burned. King Feisal and Nuri Pasha should have gone to Istanbul for a meeting of the Moslem States of the Bagdad Pact.
News of the events in Iraq was received with surprise and alarm in Western capitals. In Washington, Mr Dulles had an emergency meeting with President Eisenhower. Later the President saw Congressional leaders, and there was speculation about whether he was considering United States military intervention.Events seen as result of Lebanese failure [by our diplomatic correspondent].Bagdad Radio claimed that the monarchy had been overthrown and that Iraq had been declared a republic. A Republican Government had been set up under a three-man council of sovereignty and martial law had been declared.
In Amman it was announced that King Hussein of Jordan had assumed power as head of the Arab Union between Iraq and Jordan and Commander-in-Chief of its military forces, in the absence of his cousin, King Feisal. Such a step is provided for in the constitution of the new Arab Union.
While yesterday's reports from Bagdad were being greeted with loud rejoicing in Cairo and Damascus, Western capitals were highly disturbed. President Chamouh of Lebanon, Nuri es-Said, if he is still alive, and the Governments of Israel and of Turkey all, almost certainly, take the view that the failure of the Western Powers to intervene effectively in the Lebanon has been primarily responsible for the present coup in Iraq.
But it would seem to be just as difficult for the Western Powers to find just cause for intervening in Iraq as they have in the Lebanon; not that there seem to be any illusions in London or Washington about the extremely serious consequences which will probably flow from yesterday's events in Bagdad.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Fifty years and one day ago: