Saturday, May 4, 2013

‘Abd al-Salam 'Arif

‘Abd al-Salam 'Arif (b. March 21, 1921 - d. April 13, 1966) was an Arab nationalist leader of Iraq in 1958, and President of Iraq from 1963 to1966.  'Abd al-Salam 'Arif was born in al-Karkh, Baghdad, to a poor Sunni Arab rug merchant.  His family had strong tribal connections in the Ramadi province (west of Baghdad).  From 1938 to 1941, he attended military college.  While he was too junior to be held responsible for the Rashid Ali al-Kaylani pro-Axis revolt of 1941, 'Abd al-Salam strongly sympathized with the revolutionaries.  He first met 'Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1942.  In 1948, 'Abd al-Salam participated in the Iraqi Expeditionary Force that fought in the first Arab-Israel war.

Because of Qasim's insistence, 'Abd al-Salam was incorporated into the central organization of the Free Officers in 1957.  Until the 1958, revolution, he was regarded as Qasim's protege.  On the eve of the revolution (July 14), 'Abd al-Salam's brigade was ordered to move to Jordan through Baghdad, but in coordination with Qasim, he entered the city and took it during the early morning hours.  In the revolutionary government, he became deputy prime minister of the interior, and deputy supreme commander of the armed forces.  By September 1958, he was relieved of his posts, since he supported Iraq's unification with the United Arab Republic.  In November, he was arrested and sentenced to death for attempting to kill Qasim.  However, he was released in early 1961, to be made figurehead president by the Ba'th regime that toppled Qasim in the Ramadan Revolution of February 8, 1963.  Later that year, he ousted the Ba'th from power and became sole leader.  His power base was the loyalty of the Pan-Arabian army officers, most of who came from his family's region, Ramadi.

In 1964, 'Abd  al-Salam signed a unification agreement with Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser and introduced social and economic changes designed to create a similar system to that of Egypt.  These included the establishment of a Nasserite political party and wide-ranging nationalizations.  However, actual unification with Egypt never materialized.
'Abd al-Salam's social policy caused an economic decline, and his attempt to crush the Kurdish revolt failed.  'Abd al-Salam was killed in a helicopter crash on April 13, 1966.  Despite his many failures, his charisma and devotion to Islam were highly regarded by many Sunni Arabs in Iraq.  The Shi'a feared him, but his religiosity and tolerance for their educational autonomy enabled the two Islamic sects to co-exist.  He was succeeded by his older brother 'Abd al-Rahman Arif.

'Abd al-Salam was the second President of Iraq from 1963 till his death. He played a leading role in the coup in which the Hashemite monarchy was overthrown on July 14, 1958.
Along with Abdel Karim Qasim and other Iraqi military officers, Arif was a member of the clandestine organisation, the Free Officers of Iraq. During the summer of 1958, Prime Minister Nuri as-Said ordered Iraqi troops under Arif to aid Jordan, as part of an agreement of the Arab Federation. Instead, however, he led his army units into Baghdad and on July 14 launched a coup against the Hashemite monarchy. Qasim formed a government under the newly-proclaimed republic and Arif, his chief aide, was appointed deputy prime minister, interior minister, and deputy commander-in-chief of the armed forces.[2]
Almost immediately however, tensions rose between the pan-Arabist Arif and Iraqi nationalist Qasim who also had the support of the Iraqi Communist Party. The former supported a union with the United Arab Republic (UAR)—composed of Egypt and Syria—under president Gamal Abdel Nasser, but the latter opposed merging with the UAR. As a result, the two leaders engaged in a power struggle, ending in Qasim prevailing and the removal of Arif from his positions on September 12. He was appointed the low-ranking post of ambassador to Bonn. Arif refused to take up the post and upon returning to Baghdad on November 4, he was promptly arrested for plotting against the state. He was sentenced to death along with Rashid Ali al-Gaylani in February 1959.[2] Qasim had him released in November 1961.[3]

Qasim was overthrown on February 8, 1963, by a coalition of Ba'athists, army units, and other pan-Arabist groups. Arif had previously been selected as the leader of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council and after the coup he was elected president of Iraq due to his popularity.[3] Qasim pleaded with Arif to be exiled instead of executed and reminded Arif that he had commuted his death sentence two years before. Nonetheless, Arif demanded that Qasim swear to the Qur'an that it was he, Arif, who had been the real leader of the 1958 coup. Qasim refused and was consequently executed.[4]
Although he was chosen as president, more power was held by the Ba'athist prime minister, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. Following a Ba'athist-led coup in Syria in March 1963, Arif entered his country into reunification talks with Syria and Egypt (which had split from the UAR in 1961). After a fallout with Nasser in July, the Ba'athist government of Iraq removed all non-Ba'athist members from the cabinet, despite Arif's support for Nasser.[3] On November 18, Arif, with the support of disaffected elements in the military, took advantage of a split between the Ba'ath—which weakened the party—and ousted their members from the government. Arif formed a new cabinet, retaining a few Ba'athists, but mostly made up of Nasserist army officers and technocrats. He maintained his presidency and appointed himself chief-of-staff. A month later he handed the latter post to his brother General Abdul Rahman Arif, and the premiership to his confidant Lieutenant-General Tahir Yahya.[5] In the fall of 1964, the Ba'ath attempted to depose Arif, but failed when their plot was unveiled. Arif had the conspirators, including Saddam Hussein, arrested.[6]
On May 26, 1964, Arif established the Joint Presidency Council with Egypt. On July 14, the anniversary of the revolution, he declared the establishment of the Arab Socialist Union (ASU) of Iraq, commending it as the "threshold of the building of the unity of the Arab nation under Arab socialism." It was nearly identical in structure the ASU of Egypt and like in Egypt, many of the Arab nationalist parties were dissolved and absorbed by the ASU.[5] Also, all banks and over thirty major Iraqi businesses were nationalized. Arif undertook these measures in an effort to bring Iraq closer with Egypt to help foster unity and on December 20, plans for union were announced. Despite this, in July 1965, the Nasserist ministers resigned from the Iraqi cabinet.[7] President Arif played a major role in Iraq construction and developing its infrastructure.[8]
On April 13, 1966, Arif was killed in the crash of Royal Iraqi Air Force de Havilland DH.104 Dove 1RF392, in southern Iraq, and was replaced as president by his brother Abdul Rahman.[7][9] Reports at the time said Arif had died in a helicopter accident. This was probably an act of sabotage by Ba'athist elements in the Iraqi military.[10] Abdul Rahman al-Bazzaz became acting president for three days, and a power struggle for the presidency occurred. In the first meeting of the Defense Council and cabinet to elect a president, Al-Bazzaz needed a two-thirds majority to win the presidency. Al-Bazzaz was unsuccessful, and Abdul Rahman Arif was elected president. He was viewed by army officers as weaker and easier to manipulate than his brother.[11]

On December 13, 2004, Arif's daughter, Sana Abdul Salam, and her husband, Wamith Abdul Razzak Said Alkadiry, were shot dead in their home in Baghdad by unknown assailants. Rafal Alkadiry, their 22-year-old son, was kidnapped,[12] and later killed.
Alternative names include:

`Abd as-Salām `Ārif Al-jumaili
Abdul Salam Mohammed Arif Aljumaily

Arif, 'Abd al-Salam see ‘Abd al-Salam 'Arif

Friday, May 3, 2013

‘Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri

'Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri (1895-1971) was an Egyptian jurist, legal scholar, and architect of civil codes in several Arab countries.  The academic and professional life of Sanhuri is a reflection of the time during which the need for legal reform arose.  For some Muslim countries, this meant the codification and modernization of the shari‘a, and for others the replacement of imported legislation by national and Islamic laws.  Sanhuri drafted the modern civil codes of various Arab countries and attempted to reinvigorate the shari‘a in light of contemporary legal developments and to incorporate it in the study of comparative jurisprudence.

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1895, Sanhuri received a modern education and graduated from the Khedevial School of Law in Cairo in 1917.  He was appointed assistant prosecuting attorney and by 1920 had joined the School of Shari‘a Judges as a lecturer.  The following year, he went to France for postgraduate studies.  He wrote two theses, Les restrictions contractuelle a la liberte individuelle de travail dans la jurisprudence anglaise and Le Califat, obtaining dual doctorates in law and political science from the University of Lyon.  He was also awarded a diploma from the Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales in Paris.

In 1926, Sanhuri returned to Egypt and began teaching civil law at the Law School, where he became dean a decade later.  His involvement in politics led to his dismissal in 1936.  He then served as dean of the Law College in Baghdad and began drafting the Iraqi civil code.  Sanhuri went back to Egypt in 1937 and served in various cabinet posts, becoming president of the Council of State in 1949.

Sanhuri supported the movement of the Free Officers in 1952, and in his capacity as president of the Council, he provided the legal advisory opinion that gave a constitutional basis for the Revolutionary Command Council’s (RCC) exercise of power.  Following a falling out among RCC members, Sanhuri was forcibly ousted from the Council of State in 1954 and was later deprived of his political rights.  He devoted the rest of his life to teaching, research, and writing.

Sanhuri articulated his theoretical approach of legal reform in Le Califat: Son evolution vers une societe des nations orientale (Paris, 1926).  Unlike ‘Ali ‘Abd al-Raziq, who claimed that political authority was not an integral part of Islam, Sanhuri considered the restoration of the caliphate a necessity, signifying the unity of Muslims and the preservation of the law. To reflect prevailing conditions, he made a distinction between an irregular (temporary) and a regular caliphate.  He proposed that the caliphate develop into an Eastern League of Nations, with the caliph presiding over a body exercising only religious authority until a similar body with executive functions could be established.  The exercise of executive and legislative authority would be the prerogative of individual governments and heads of state.

The restoration of the regular caliphate, Sanhuri maintained, must be preceded by an evolution of Islamic law.  Despite his genuine belief in the relevance and significance of the shari‘a to the judicial and social institutions of the Muslim world, he was more concerned with maintaining the stability of legal practices and relationships.  In an effort to make legal reforms acceptable to all citizens, he differentiated the immutable and temporal parts of the shari‘a and claimed that only the variable rules of the temporal portion were subject to change.  His proposed modernization of Islamic law would pass through two phases.  The first would be that of scientific research, during which the shari‘a would be thoroughly studied in light of modern comparative law.  The second, the legislative phase, would include the gradual revision of existing codes.  These new legislative reforms would take into account the historical, social and legal experiences of each country.

Sanhuri put these ideas into practice in the revisions of the Egyptian and Iraqi codes, enacted in 1949 and 1951 respectively.  He selected provisions – Islamic or Western – according to their merit, but he often concluded that the shari‘a was more effective.  In Egypt, where the existing code was based on foreign laws, he added provisions that made it more Islamic. In Iraq, however, the code was based largely on the Mecelle, and he introduced Western provisions that made it more modern.  His final objective was a modern comparative legal system that would gradually come to emphasize Islamic rather than Western values and thus would become the basis for a unified Arab code.

Sanhuri was responsible for laying the foundation for modern legislation in the Arab world.  The codes he drafted for Egypt and Iraq have become models for other countries.  Sanhuri's codes were adopted with minor modifications by Syria, Libya, and Jordan.  His voluminous work on civil codes and Islamic law (Al-Wasit fi shar al-qanun al-madani al-jadid -- "Medium commentary on the new Civil Code") remains the main reference for Islamic scholarship in comparative law and codification to this day. 

'Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri was also known as an Egyptian legal scholar and professor who drafted the revised Egyptian Civil Code of 1948. He wrote the draft of the Iraqi Civil Code with the help of many Iraqi Jurists guided by him. Forced into retirement by Nasser and physically attacked by a mob for attempting to restore constitutional government in 1954, Sanhuri left Egypt and helped draft the civil codes of pre-Baath Syria of Husni al-Za'im (who ordered an exact copy of the Sanhuri Code to replace the majalla [the Ottoman Civil Code] in 1949), Jordan (only completed and implemented in 1976, after Sanhuri's death), and Libya (1954) and the commercial code of Kuwait (drafted by Sanhuri but only concluded and implemented in 1981, already after his death.

In 1970, Egypt awarded Sanhuri its prize for social sciences.

Sanhuri was known for attempting to recreate a "pure" Islamic law by modernizing the shari'a using Western civil law (mainly of American and French inspiration), and the guidance when needed of a natural law obviously just to all, to guarantee justice above religion (but reaching its humanistic ends), ideology, and personal opinion in general, when all else (including the countries legislation, the shari'a and traditional customs) fails to solve the problem. One commentator argued that Sanhuri's code reflected a "hodgepodge of socialist doctrine and sociological jurisprudence." Regardless of such interpretations, his place in the legal history of the modern Middle East is secure; his twelve-volume Al-Wasīṭ fī sharḥ al-qānūn al-madanī al-jadīd [Medium commentary on the new Civil Code] (Cairo: 1952–1970) "adorns the bookshelves of many an Arab law firm, even in countries where the Egyptian Civil Code is not law".

Alternative names include:

'Abd al-Razzaq al-Sanhuri
'Abd el-Razzak el-Sanhuri
Abdel-Rezzak el-Sanhuri
Al-Sanhuri, 'Abd al-Razzaq
El-Sanhuri, 'Abd el-Razzak
El-Sanhuri, Abdel-Rezzak
Sanhuri, 'Abd al-Razzaq al-
Sanhuri, 'Abd el-Razzak el-
Sanhuri, Abdel-Rezzak el-