King Hussein (left) and King Faisal II in Baghdad announcing the Hashemite Union on February 14, 1958 (Getty)

A confederation (non-integration) was officially announced on February 14, 1958 between the Kingdom of Iraq and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It aimed to strengthen political, economic and military relations between the two countries and confront colonial threats and foreign interventions in the region. It was open to the joining of any other Arab country that wished to join. This ended only 5 months after its founding when the July 14 revolution took place in Iraq, overthrowing the monarchy and dissolving the union.

Origin and establishment

The Arab Union, also known as the “Arab Hashemite Union,” is a confederation established by the King of the Kingdom of Jordan, Hussein bin Talal, with his cousin, King Faisal bin Ghazi, King of the Kingdom of Iraq at the time, and officially announced on February 14, 1958.

The first steps of its establishment began with the King of Jordan sending the Minister of the Royal Court, Suleiman Touqan, to Baghdad, carrying a message to the then King of Iraq, Faisal II, inviting him to visit the Jordanian capital, Amman. On February 11, 1958, King Faisal visited Jordan at the head of a large delegation, after which the Arab Union was announced. Between the two countries.

Reasons for establishing the union

There are many reasons upon which the Hashemite Arab Union was announced. It was a reaction to the establishment of the United Arab Republic, which Egypt and Syria intended to announce on February 22, 1958.

Also, the desire to achieve union between Iraq and Jordan was not new, as the ruling regimes in both countries were ruled by one family, represented by the Hashemite family, which dates back to the leader of the Great Arab Revolt, Sharif Hussein bin Ali (the Sharif of Mecca), who revolted against the Ottoman Empire in 1916. .

Prime Minister of the Hashemite Arab Union, Nouri Al-Saeed (Getty)

Terms of agreement

The agreement stipulated the establishment of an Arab union between the then Iraqi kingdoms and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, provided that each of them would maintain its independent international personality and sovereignty over its lands and its system of government.

The union includes foreign policy and political representation, the unity of the Jordanian and Iraqi armies in the name of the Arab Army, the removal of customs barriers between the two countries, the unification of education curricula and the establishment of a unified flag and currency.

The agreement included other provisions, including coordination of financial and economic policy, that the Union’s affairs would be handled by a federal government composed of a legislative council and an executive authority, and that both the Jordanian and Iraqi National Assembly would elect members of the Legislative Council from among their members in an equal number for each of the two countries.

The agreement also stipulated that the King of Iraq would be the head of the union government, and that its headquarters would be located periodically for 6 months in Baghdad and for the other six months in Amman.

The Hashemite Union Government was formed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Saeed and his Jordanian deputy, Ibrahim Hashem. Iraqi Tawfiq al-Suwaidi assumed the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jordanian Suleiman Toukan served as Minister of Defense, and Iraqi Abdul Karim al-Azri assumed the position of Minister of Finance.

Tawfiq Al-Suwaidi assumed the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Hashemite Arab Union government (social networking sites)

Major stations

The Hashemite Arab Union was officially announced on February 14, 1958, and on March 12, 1958, the final version of the draft constitution was drawn up, and it was enacted 5 days later.

The Constitution stipulates that the Federation Council shall consist of 40 members divided equally between Iraq and Jordan, and that executive authority shall be vested in the President of the Federation and exercised through the Union Council of Ministers.

The Iraqi National Assembly ratified the union agreement on February 17, while the Jordanian National Assembly ratified it the next day, after which discussions were held to draft a constitution for the union.

The Union advanced at the legislative level, as a final version of the constitution was drawn up, announced in Amman and Baghdad in March, and approved by the National Assembly on March 26, 1958.

According to the secret British documents revealed, the announcement of the union could have been months before the date of its announcement, but many obstacles were still under negotiations, as Iraq was a member of the Baghdad Pact, which was forming a front against the socialist camp, while Jordan was not. Member, in addition to the fact that Iraq was insisting on Kuwait joining the union.

In light of these obstacles and after reaching an agreement between Iraq and Jordan stipulating that Iraq would remain in the Baghdad Pact without Jordan being part of it, and after the Iraqis realized that Kuwait refused to integrate into the union, Iraq and Jordan decided to move forward with its formation.

After long rounds of negotiations that lasted for months, the Hashemite Union Government was established, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Saeed and his Jordanian deputy, Ibrahim Hashem, assumed responsibility.

Ibrahim Hashem, former Prime Minister of Jordan and deputy to Nouri al-Saeed, Iraqi Prime Minister in the Union Government (social networking sites)

Some accounts say that British secret documents reveal that the formation of the union came under British pressure to confront the United Arab Republic, which was close to the Soviet Union, especially since the region at that time was witnessing important interactions, such as the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the declaration of the Baghdad Pact in 1955, leading to the United Arab Republic (between Egypt and Syria). .

End of union

A revolution occurred in Iraq on July 14, 1958, in which the formation of the Free Officers turned against King Faisal, and he and his Crown Prince, Prince Abdul-Ilah, and Pasha Nouri al-Saeed, the veteran Iraqi politician and Prime Minister of the Union, were killed. At that time, no more than 5 months had passed since the founding of the Union.

Two days after the coup, on July 16, 1958, Abdul Karim Qasim, Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, issued a statement announcing the withdrawal of the Republic of Iraq from the Hashemite Arab Union.

The statement said, "The union between Iraq and Jordan - in the form it was in - was not a real union targeting the interests of the people in the two countries, but rather its goal was to strengthen the corrupt monarchy and tear apart the unity of the liberal Arab ranks."

Source: Al Jazeera + websites