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ON THIS DAY

14 July 1958. Coup in Iraq sparks jitters in Middle East. A group of Iraqi army officers have staged a coup in Iraq and overthrown the monarchy. Baghdad Radio announced the Army has liberated the Iraqi people from domination by a corrupt group put in power by “imperialism”. From now on Iraq would be a republic that would “maintain ties with other Arab countries”. It said some 12,000 Iraqi troops based in neighbouring Jordan have been ordered to return. Major-General Abdul Karim el Qasim is Iraq’s new prime minister, defence minister and commander-in-chief. Baghdad Radio also announced that Crown Prince Abdul Illah and Nuri es Said, prime minister of the Iraq-Jordan Federation, had been assassinated. It said the body of the Crown Prince, the powerful uncle of 23-year-old King Faisal, was hanging outside the Defence Ministry for all to see. Reports from the US Embassy in Baghdad say the British Embassy has been ransacked and set on fire. The ambassador, Sir Michael Wright, and his wife were held at the embassy until late this afternoon when they were released. They are now in a Baghdad hotel. Unconfirmed reports suggest King Faisal himself has also been killed. His cousin, King Hussein of Jordan, has declared himself head of the Arab Federation – the five-month alliance between Iraq and Jordan – in the “absence” of King Faisal. In a broadcast to his subjects, King Hussein condemned the coup as the work of outsiders. While Iraqis are celebrating on the streets of Baghdad, the news is a cause for concern for western powers worried about their oil interests and instability in the region. The insurrection was probably inspired by a similar uprising staged in Egypt by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser six years ago. In February this year he formed a political union between Egypt and Syria known as the United Arab Republic (UAR). (Source: BBC)

14 July 1991. UK forces withdraw from Kurdish haven. British troops protecting the Kurdish population in Iraq have begun to pull out of the region. They had been part of a western relief effort – Operation Haven – to re-settle 450,000 Kurdish refugees who fled into the Turkish mountains when Iraqi President Saddam Hussein crushed their rebellion in March. At its height the allied presence in northern Iraq – which began in May – numbered 20,000 men from 13 nations. The decision for the remaining 3,300 soldiers to leave was announced in Washington two days ago. Some Kurds have spoken of their fear of reprisals from Saddam Hussein as the allies withdraw and there have been peaceful demonstrations around the former headquarters. All foreign troops – including American, French and Dutch – are on schedule to meet the withdrawal deadline of sunset tomorrow. Local guerrilla leader Tawfiq Abu said: “It would be better for us if they stayed, so Europe would remember us. But they helped us at the right time. If they hadn’t come we would all be dead.” A force of around 3,000 American, British and French – and possibly Italian and Turkish – troops will form a Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) in southern Turkey to preserve the Kurdish security zone 50 miles into north-western Iraq. The allied command hopes this will provide enough support for the Kurdish leadership to reach agreement with Baghdad. The Pentagon has warned Saddam Hussein no Iraqi aircraft are to fly over the Kurdish settlements north of the 36th parallel air exclusion zone and US planes will continue to fly over the region. (Source: BBC)

15 July 1995. Serbs force Muslims out of Srebrenica. Thousands of Muslim refugees are fleeing the captured “safe area” of Srebrenica forced out by the Bosnian Serbs. United Nations officials say it is the biggest “ethnic cleansing” operation since World War II. Some 40,000 women, children and elderly people have been ordered to leave the compound at Potocari where they had been under the protection of Dutch peacekeepers. The Dutch soldiers – part of the UN peacekeeping force – appear to have been powerless to defend S

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