Feb. 8, 1963 - Iraq’s Premier Abdel Karim Kassem (pictured in 1959) was reported overthrown and assassinated today by the same coterie of young army officers who helped him to destroy the Iraqi monarchy and rise to power in 1958. The coup was regarded as a triumph for the Nasserites of the Arab world. The rebels announced they had crushed Kassem’s rule with tanks and planes and “destroyed the tyrant.” The Cairo-headquartered Middle East News Agency said there was no doubt about Kassem’s death. The insurgents ordered a crackdown on communists and named Abdel Salam Mohammed Aref, the pro-Nasser former co-leader of Kassem’s own revolution, to serve as transitional president. United Arab Republic President Gamal Abdel Nasser, arch-enemy and rival of Kassem, hailed the Iraqi coup as a victory for the “Arab struggle.” Nasser’s bid for Middle East supremacy, bolstered by the Cairo-oriented Yemen revolt last fall, was seen as on the rise again. The UAR, its Yemen satellite, and Algeria — three revolutionary governments — quickly recognized the new Iraqi regime.
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