In October, Iraq achieves independence and expands its national army. The country becomes the first former Ottoman state to achieve sovereignty and is admitted to the League of Nations.
King Faisal dies. His 21-year-old son Ghazi takes the throne, continuing the Hashemite monarchy.
In the first of seven military coups over the next six years, Gen. Bakr Sidqi overthrows the parliamentary government with backing from disgruntled political leaders. Other coups involve similar coalitions of military and political leaders.
King Ghazi dies in car accident, leaving his 3-year-old son Faisal II as heir to the throne. His reign is overseen by the regency of Abd al-Ilah, a prince of a prominent Hashemite family and ally of Nuri al-Said, the Iraqi prime minister.
Nuri al-Said resigns the premiership because of his unpopular pro-British stance among military personnel.
During World War II, Iraq is occupied by British troops. They push Nuri al-Said back into power with the king's regent, and support the two leaders' attempts to consolidate power and marginalize their political enemies.
Iraq joins the United Nations and becomes a charter member of the Arab League.
Iraq participates in the Arab League's military invasion of the newly established State of Israel.
King Faisal II comes of age but is unable to govern due to the political strength of Premier Nuri al-Said, who continues to consolidate power after the British occupation ends.
As the oil industry flourishes, Iraq uses its new wealth to finance national development programs. In an effort to limit Soviet Union influence in the Middle East, the United States extends technical aid and military assistance to Iraq.
Iraq adopts the Baghdad Pact, also known as the Central Treaty Organization, binding the country with the United Kingdom, Turkey and Pakistan under the auspices of protecting the region from the encroaching Soviet Union.
Saddam Hussein, a 20-year-old nationalist from Tikrit, enters the political arena and joins the anti-monarchic Baath Party.
Brigadier Abdul Karim Qasim overthrows the Hashemite monarchy in a bloody military coup. King Faisal II, Prince Abd Al-Ilah and Nuri al-Said are all killed. Qasim withdraws Iraq from the Baghdad Pact and begins diplomatic relations with the USSR. Qasim also seeks Kurdish political support by guaranteeing national Kurdish rights and arranging for the release of Kurdish leader Mustafa al-Barzani from the Soviet Union.
An attempt by Baath separatists to assassinate Qasim fails; Saddam Hussein flees to Egypt to avoid arrest for his involvement.
Kurds rebel under al-Barzani's leadership, but fail to convince the government to provide Kurdish autonomy.
Because of his refusal to join Egypt and Syria in the fledgling United Arab Republic and accept other pan-Arabism policies, as well as his failure to quell the costly Kurdish uprising, Qasim is overthrown by a militia led by Abd al-Salam Arif. A few months later, Arif usurps the Baath Party leadership.
Al-Salam Arif participates in talks with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser about integrating their military and economic policies. The two leaders also discuss plans to form a union within a few years.
On April 13, al-Salam Arif is killed in a helicopter crash, and four days later, is succeeded by brother al-Rahman Arif. Saddam Hussein, who returned to Iraq following the Qasim coup, continues his rise to power and is appointed deputy secretary general of the Baath Party by leader Hasan al-Bakr, a Hussein relative. The new government brokers a cease-fire agreement with the Kurds.
As part of the Six Day War between Israel and Jordan, Syria and Egypt, Iraq mobilizes troops to Jordan, but does not engage in battle. During the war, the Israeli Air Force bombards Iraqi Air Force bases.