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Rashid Ali al-Gailani


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Prime Minister of Iraq 1933, 1936–8, 1940–1 Born in Baghdad from a distinguished Sunni family, he graduated from Baghdad Law School. In 1924, he became Minister of Justice, and in 1925–8 he served as Minister of the Interior. His nationalist sentiments made him strongly hostile to the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 negotiated by Faisal I, as he resented Britain's strong residual influence. He founded the nationalist National Brotherhood Party in 1931. His first period in office as Prime Minister lasted six months, though he remained as one of the pivotal figures in Iraqi politics. He was Minister of the Interior (1935–6), and in December 1938 became Chief of the Royal Cabinet. A group of increasingly powerful anti-British and pro-German colonels made him Premier. His subsequent denial of help to the British army, and his expulsion of the Hashemite dynasty, led to the intervention by British forces, who deposed him and reinstated Faisal I. He fled to Nazi Germany, and remained in exile in Saudi Arabia until 1958, when he returned to support Qassem's revolutionary regime. He was soon linked with attempts to oust Qassem, for which he was sentenced to death. He was pardoned, and released from prison in 1961.

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