Iraq, Communist Party of

Iraq, Communist Party of


(CPI, Hizb al-Shuyui al-Iraqi), organized illegally on Mar. 31, 1934, by a merger of Marxist groups and circles. During World War II, the party grew in numbers, strengthened its organizational structure, and firmly established itself ideologically.

In 1944 the CPI held its first conference and in 1945 its First Congress. The congress adopted rules and a program and elected a Central Committee headed by Yusaf Salman Yusaf (party name Fahad). Working underground, the party mobilized workers for the struggle against British imperialism and the antina-tional regime of Nuri Said. The main organ of the party, the newspaper Al-Qaida (Foundation), which began to appear illegally in 1942, played a large role in these activities.

The Iraqi authorities subjected the CPI to severe repression. Fahad and two other members of the Central Committee, Zaki Basim and Husayn al-Shabibi, were arrested in 1947 and executed in 1949. The second conference of the party (1956) adopted the document “The Political Line of the Party in the Struggle for National Independence” and elected a new Central Committee headed by Salim Adil (Al-Radi).

During the upsurge of the national liberation movement in Iraq in the late 1950’s, the party initiated the creation in 1957 of the Front of National Unity, within which the CPI participated in the antifeudal and anti-imperialist revolution of 1958. After the revolution the party emerged from the underground and turned into a powerful political force. Frightened by the growing influence of the CPI, the Qasim government began in late 1959 to persecute the party and in February 1960 banned it.

The CPI was compelled to go underground again. After the reactionary coup d’etat in 1963, the leadership core of the party, headed by Salim Adil, was destroyed and thousands of Communists were thrown into prison. In August 1964 new leadership organs of the party were elected. The coming to power in July 1968 of the Baath Party (the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party) freed the Communists from prison. The CPI and the Baath cooperated in creating a national front of progressive forces. In May 1972 two representatives of the CPI were officially appointed to the government. However, the CPI remains as before in an unofficial position.

The Second Congress of the CPI, held in September 1970, adopted a new program and amended the party rules. Delegations of the CPI took part in the work of the International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties in 1957, 1960, and 1969 in Moscow. The CPI endorsed the documents adopted at these meetings.

The first secretary of the CPI Central Committee is Aziz Muhammad. The CPI legally publishes the monthly sociopolitical journal Al-Thaqafa al-Jadida and the weekly newspaper Al-Fikr al-Jadid.


Garshin, I. “Irakskaia kommunisticheskaia partiia v bor’be za nat-sional’nuiu nezavisimost’ i demokraticheskoe razvitie strany.” In Bor’ba narodov protiv kolonializma. Moscow, 1965.
Zhizn’ otdannaia bor’be, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1966. (The articles “Fahd”and “Salim Adil”.)
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