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Abdul Rahman Arif
Arabic: ¢abd 'ar-rahman ¢ārif

Abdul Rahman Arif

Abdul Rahman Arif.

(1916-2007) Iraqi military leader and politician, president 1966-1968.
Abdul Rahman came to power by being the brother of Abdul Salam Arif, president of Iraq 1963-1966. Abdul Rahman never proved to be as powerful and charismatic as his brother. His politics represented a continuation of his brother's, but he was less pan-Arab, and kept Iraq out of the Six-Day War.
Eventually he proved incapable of maintaining the necessary friends, as well as the peace of the Iraqi population. There were many demonstrations in the city streets, calling for free elections. When he was removed from power, it was by his own Ba'th Party members and the military intelligence chief, Abdul Rahman Nayif.
His weakness is well illustrated by the fact that he never was assassinated, only forced to exile, and allowed to return to Iraq in the 1980's.

1916: Born into a middle-class family in Baghdad.
1930's: Enrols in a local military academy, and becomes officer.
1958 July: Joins the Free Officers in the coup against the monarchy.
September: His brother Abdul Salam clashes with president Qasim, and is later sentenced to death (a sentece that is commuted by Qasim himself).
1963 February: Following the Ba'th coup against Qasim, Arif's brother becomes president, and he himself becomes chief of staff.
1966 April 16: Following the death of his brother, Arif is appointed president by the Revolutionary Command Council. He continues his brother's politics, but with a more nationalistic profile.
1968 July 17: Ousted by a Ba'th coup d'etat, led by Ahmad Hassan Bakr and Abdul Rahman Nayif. He is forced into exile in Istanbul, Turkey. Bakr becomes new president.
Late 1980's: Is invited back to Baghdad by president Saddam Hussein, where he would lead a life far from the political scene.
2004: With the change of power in Iraq, he leaves for Amman, Jordan.
2007 August 24: Dies in Amman.

By Tore Kjeilen