In Baghdad and throughout the country after 1945, many underground party cells were formed in Iraq and support for the Communist Party of Iraq began to develop within the Iraqi military camps. By 1946, under Fahd's leadership, several thousand Iraqis were members of the Communist Party of Iraq.
Between February 1942 and April 1945, when British imperialism was a World War II ally of the Soviet Union, the Communist Party of Iraq did not work for the overthrow of the puppet feudal monarchy in Iraq. But in April 1945, the Railway Workers Union, whose leaders were members of the Communist Party of Iraq, held a 15-day strike in Iraq. Although the striking railway workers were granted wage increases, their railway workers union was declared an illegal organization by Iraqi authorities following the strike.
After martial law was lifted by the monarchical regime on March 2, 1946, press censorship was ended, Iraq's detention camp was closed and five Iraqi political parties were finally allowed to engage in aboveground legal political activity. On May 23, 1946, however, the government of Arshad al-Umari reversed the monarchical regime's liberalization policy.
But a new wave of anti-imperialist Iraqi popular revolt soon began to sweep the country again after June 1946. Organized by a coalition of the Communist Party of Iraq-led League Against Zionism and the illegal non-communist National Liberation Party, 3,000 students and workers in Baghdad marched on the British Embassy on June 28, 1946 to demand both the expulsion of the British imperialists from Iraq and justice for the Palestinians.
The police of the puppet Iraqi monarchy first clubbed the anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist Iraqi protesters; and then they started shooting at them. One demonstrator, a Communist Party of Iraq member named Shaul Tuwayyeq, was killed and four other protesters were wounded.
The June 28, 1946 Iraqi police shooting of Iraqi demonstrators marked the first time that the Iraqi monarchy's police had ever shot at peaceful Iraqi protesters since the British government had set up its puppet regime. A few days later, on July 3, 1946, 5,000 workers at the Iraq Petroleum Company facility in Kirkuk, under the leadership of Communist Party of Iraq activists, went out on strike for higher wages. In the Iraqi town of Gawurpaghi, the striking workers then began to hold mass meetings.
On July 12, 1946, however, the police of Iraq's puppet monarchy tried to break up a meeting of the striking workers in Gawurpaghi by shooting at the oil workers. Ten Iraqi oil workers were killed and 27 oil workers were wounded in what is known in Iraqi history as the "Massacre of Gawurpaghi."
To prop up its puppet regime, the UK imperialist government then sent more British troops into Iraq in August 1946. But the increase of UK troops in Iraq provoked more street protests, leading to the resignation of the monarchical regime's premier, Al-Umari, on November 16, 1946.
The puppet royal government's new premier, Nuri as-Said, promised free elections. But on November 26, 1946 the Communist Party of Iraq leader Fahd called for the overthrow of the puppet monarchy's government and an end to British imperialist control of Iraq.
On January 18, 1947, however, the Iraqi monarchy's Nuri as-Said government arrested Communist Party of Iraq leader Fahd and another party leader, Zaki Basim, in the house of a Baghdad pharmacist. Fahd and Zaki Basim were then taken to the Iraqi police investigation department in Central Baghdad, flung into latrines and beaten with canes. According to the 1978 book The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq by Hanna Batatu, "the police preferred to cane first and interrogate after."
When the Iraqi police beatings failed to break Fahd and Zaki Basim, they were both transferred to cells in the Abu Ghraib military prison. The cells were "narrow, damp, and without air, and so dark that they soon lost the sense of day and night," according to The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq book. They were allowed to exercise only half an hour each day; and a petition to transfer Fahd and Basim to healthier cells was ignored by the puppet monarchy's regime.
(End of part 3)