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By Dale Lightfoot

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The coup opened the door to future military involvement in Iraqi politics. A moderate government was accepted by the king and held power until 1939. In April 1939, King Ghazi was killed in an automobile accident, leaving his three-year-old son, Faisal II, the titular (in title only) king. Between 1936 and 1941, there were seven attempts by different factions to seize power. The last attempt was sponsored by the Germans in April 1941, due Iraq Through Time King Ghazi, pictured here shortly after taking the throne in 1933, salutes members of the Iraqi military as he descends the steps of the Parliament building in Baghdad.

OnJuly 15, Iraq Through Time the new government announced the establishment of close relations with the UAR and the disbanding of the Arab Union. General Kassem attempted to soothe and gain the confidence of the West by maintaining the flow of oil. In June 1959, Iraq withdrew from the sterling bloc (a group of countries whose currencies were tied to the British pound sterling). A year later, the British protectorate over Kuwait ended, and Iraq claimed the area, asserting that Kuwait had been part of the Iraqi state at the time of its formation.

39 40 Iraq Britain and Iraq By the mid-1800s, European interest in the Ottoman territories had increased. As Ottoman control over their territories weakened, European powers pushed for commercial trade and competed for political influence in the region. By the end of the 1800s, Britain and Germany had become rivals in Mesopotamia. The British were interested in Iraq as part of an overland route to India, and by 1861 they had established a steamship company for navigating the Tigris to the port of Basra.

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