Faisal II of Iraq

Faisal II (Arabic: الملك فيصل الثاني Al-Malik Fayṣal Ath-thānī) (2 May 1935 – 14 July 1958) was the last King of Iraq. He reigned from 4 April 1939 until July 1958, when he was executed during the 14 July Revolution together with numerous members of his family. This regicide marked the end of the thirty-seven-year-old Hashemite monarchy in Iraq, which then became a republic.

Faisal II
Faisal II of Iraq
King of Iraq
Reign4 April 1939 – 14 July 1958
Regency ended2 May 1953
PredecessorGhazi I
SuccessorMonarchy abolished
Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i, President of Iraq
Prime Minister
Prince Abdullah
Born2 May 1935
Baghdad, Kingdom of Iraq
Died14 July 1958 (aged 23)
Baghdad, Arab Federation (Now Iraq)
Royal Mausoleum, Adhamiyah
Full name
Faisal bin Ghazi bin Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali
FatherGhazi I
MotherAliya of Hejaz
ReligionSunni Islam[1]

Family and early life

Birth and early years

Faisal2 5 edit1
King Faisal II at the age of 5

Faisal was the only son of Iraq's second king, Ghazi, and his wife Queen Aliya, second daughter of 'Ali bin Hussein, King of the Hijaz and Grand Sharif of Mecca. Faisal's father was killed in a mysterious car crash when he was three years old; his uncle 'Abd al-Ilah served as regent until Faisal came of age in 1953.

King Faisal II was the model used by Belgian comic writer Hergé for his character Prince Abdullah of Khemed in The Adventures of Tintin.[2] He suffered from asthma.[3]

1941 coup

INF3-79 King Feisal of Iraq Artist Tim
King Faisal II of Iraq c.1944

Faisal's childhood coincided with the Second World War, in which the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraq was formally allied with the British Empire and the Allies. In April 1941, his uncle 'Abd al-Ilah was briefly deposed as Regent by a military coup d'état which aimed to align Iraq with the Axis powers. The 1941 coup in Iraq soon led to the Anglo-Iraqi War. German aid that was promised however never materialised, and 'Abd al-Ilah was restored to power by a combined Allied force composed of the Jordanian Arab Legion, the Royal Air Force and other British units. Iraq resumed its British alliance, and at the end of the war joined the United Nations.

During his early years, Faisal was tutored at the royal palace with several other Iraqi boys. During World War II, he lived for a time with his mother at Grove Lodge at Winkfield Row in Berkshire in England. As a teenager, Faisal attended Harrow School with his second cousin The Prince Hussein, later to become King Hussein of Jordan. The two boys were close friends, and reportedly planned early on to merge their two realms, to counter what they considered to be the threat of militant pan-Arab nationalism.

In 1952, Faisal visited the United States, where he met President Harry Truman, Dean Acheson, the actor James Mason, and Jackie Robinson, among others.

Hastening Faisal's demise was the decision taken by his regent (later confirmed by him) to allow the United Kingdom to retain a continued role in Iraqi affairs, through the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1948, and later the Baghdad Pact, signed in 1955. Massive protests greeted news of each of these alliances, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of demonstrators and an increasing deterioration of loyalty to the Iraqi Crown.

End of Regency

Prince Abdul Ilah of Iraq at Mount Vernon
Prince Abdullah (holding hat) at Mount Vernon USA. He was the regent for his nephew Faisal during his infancy. They were both killed during the 1958 coup.

Faisal attained his majority on 2 May 1953, commencing his active rule with little experience and during a changing Iraqi political and social climate exacerbated by the rapid development of pan-Arab nationalism.

Faisal initially relied for political advice upon his uncle Prince 'Abd al-Ilah and General Nuri al-Sa'id, a veteran politician and nationalist who had already served several terms as Prime Minister. As oil revenues increased during the 1950s, the king and his advisers chose to invest their wealth in development projects, which some claimed increasingly alienated the rapidly growing middle class and the peasantry. The Iraqi Communist Party increased its influence. Though the regime seemed secure, intense dissatisfaction with Iraq's condition brewed just below the surface. An ever-widening gap between the wealth of the political elites, landowners and other supporters of the regime on the one hand, and the poverty of workers and peasants on the other, intensified opposition to Faisal's government. Since the upper classes controlled the parliament, reformists increasingly saw revolution as their sole hope for improvement. The Egyptian Revolution of 1952, led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, provided an impetus for a similar undertaking in Iraq.

On 1 February 1958, neighbouring Syria joined with Nasser's Egypt to form the United Arab Republic. This prompted the Hashemite kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan to strengthen their ties by establishing a similar alliance. Two weeks later, on 14 February, this league formally became the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan. Faisal, as the senior member of the Hashemite family, became its head of state.

Downfall and murder

King Faisal and King Hussein 2 1957
Faisal (left) with his cousin King Hussein of Jordan. In February 1958, the two Hashemite Kingdoms formed the Arab Federation that lasted until Faisal was deposed in a bloody coup on 14 July 1958.

An opposition forms

Faisal's political situation deteriorated in 1956, with uprisings in the cities of Najaf and Hayy. Meanwhile, Israel's attack on Egypt, coordinated with Britain and France in response to Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal, only exacerbated popular revulsion for the Baghdad Pact, and thus Faisal's regime. The opposition began to coordinate its activities; in February 1957, a "Front of National Union" was established, bringing together the National Democrats, Independents, Communists, and the Ba'ath Party. An identical process ensued within the Iraqi officer corps with the formation of a "Supreme Committee of Free Officers". Faisal's government endeavoured to preserve the military's loyalty through generous benefits, but this proved increasingly ineffective as more and more officers came to sympathise with the nascent anti-monarchist movement.

14 July Revolution

In the summer of 1958, King Hussein of Jordan asked for Iraqi military assistance during the escalating Lebanon crisis. Units of the Royal Iraqi Army under the command of Colonel Abd al-Karim Qasim, en route to Jordan, chose to march on Baghdad instead, where they mounted a coup d'état on 14 July. During the 14 July Revolution, Faisal II ordered the Royal Guard to offer no resistance, and surrendered to the insurgents. Around 8 am, Captain Abdul Sattar Sabaa Al-Ibousi, leading the revolutionary assault group at the Rihab Palace, which was still the principal royal residence in central Baghdad, ordered the King, Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, Crown Princess Hiyam ('Abd al-Ilah's wife), Princess Nafeesa ('Abd al-Ilah's mother), Princess Abadiya (Faisal's aunt) and several servants to gather in the palace courtyard (the young King having not yet moved into the newly completed Royal Palace). There they were told to turn toward the wall and were immediately machine-gunned by their captors. Faisal did not die during the initial fusillade and was transported to a hospital, but died en route. His body was publicly strung up from a lamppost.[4]

Many years later, when the Iraqi historian Safa Khulusi met Al-Ibousi, who was once one of Khulusi's students, and questioned him on his part in Faisal's death, the former student answered, "all I did was remember Palestine, and the trigger on the machine-gun just set itself off".[5]

Notable published works

Faisal II was the author of How to Defend Yourself (1951), an Arabic book on judo and self-defence.[6]

Military ranks

Faisal held the following ranks:[7]


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(eponymous ancestor)
Abd al-Muttalib
Abu TalibAbdallah
(Islamic prophet)
(fourth caliph)
(fifth caliph)
Hasan Al-Mu'thanna
Musa Al-Djawn
Abd Al-Karim
(Sharif of Mecca)
(Sharif of Mecca)
Abu Numayy I
(Sharif of Mecca)
(Sharif of Mecca)
(Sharif of Mecca)
(Sharif of Mecca)
Barakat I
(Sharif of Mecca)
(Sharif of Mecca)
Barakat II
(Sharif of Mecca)
Abu Numayy II
(Sharif of Mecca)
(Sharif of Mecca)
(Sharif of Mecca)
Auon, Ra'i Al-Hadala
Abdul Mu'een
(Sharif of Mecca)
Monarch Hussein
(Sharif of Mecca King of Hejaz)
Monarch Ali
(King of Hejaz)
Monarch Abdullah I
(King of Jordan)
Monarch Faisal I
(King of Syria King of Iraq)
(pretender to Iraq)
'Abd Al-Ilah
(Regent of Iraq)
Monarch Talal
(King of Jordan)
Monarch Ghazi
(King of Iraq)
(pretender to Iraq)
Monarch Hussein
(King of Jordan)
Monarch Faisal II
(King of Iraq)
Monarch Abdullah II
(King of Jordan)
(Crown Prince of Jordan)


Martyr Faisal II College (Kolleyet Al-Shahid Faisal Al-Thani) is a military school in Jordan that was named after him.

See also


  1. ^ "IRAQ – Resurgence in the Shiite World – Part 8 – Jordan & The Hashemite Factors". APS Diplomat Redrawing the Islamic Map. 2005.
  2. ^ Michael Farr, Tintin: The Complete Companion, John Murray, 2001.
  3. ^ S9.com. Retrieved on 14 July 2008.
  4. ^ Margaret MacMillan, "Iraq's twisted British roots". The Globe and Mail, January 23, 2003: A17.
  5. ^ Professor Safa Khulusi, Obituary, The Independent, 5 October 1995.
  6. ^ Royal Ark Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  7. ^ Royal Ark
  8. ^ Kamal Salibi (15 December 1998). The Modern History of Jordan. I.B.Tauris. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Family tree". alhussein.gov. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2018.

External links

Further reading

  • Khadduri, Majid. Independent Iraq, 1932–1958. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 1960.
  • Lawrence, T. E. Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Retrieved 14 July 2008
  • Longrigg, Stephen H. Iraq, 1900 to 1950. Oxford University Press, 1953.
  • Morris, James. The Hashemite Kings. London, 1959.
  • De Gaury, Gerald. Three kings in Baghdad, 1921-1958 (Hutchinson, 1961).
Faisal II of Iraq
Born: 2 May 1935 Died: 14 July 1958
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ghazi I
King of Iraq
4 April 1939 – 14 July 1958
14 July Revolution
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Ghazi I
King of Syria
4 April 1939 - 14 July 1958
Reason for succession failure:
Kingdom abolished in 1920
Succeeded by
Zeid bin Hussein
Loss of title
King of Iraq
14 July 1958


was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1958th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 958th year of the 2nd millennium, the 58th year of the 20th century, and the 9th year of the 1950s decade.

Aliya bint Ali

Queen Aliya bint Ali of Hejaz (1911 – December 21, 1950), was an Arabian princess and a queen consort of Iraq. She was the spouse and first cousin of King Ghazi of Iraq and the queen mother of King Faisal II of Iraq. She was the last Queen of Iraq.

Arab Federation

The Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan was a short-lived country that was formed in 1958 from the union of Iraq and Jordan. Although the name implies a federal structure, it was de facto a confederation.

The Federation was formed on 14 February 1958, when King Faisal II of Iraq and his cousin, King Hussein of Jordan, sought to unite their two Hashemite kingdoms, as a response to the formation of the United Arab Republic between Egypt and Syria. The union lasted only six months, being officially dissolved on 2 August 1958, after Faisal was deposed by a military coup on 14 July.

Arthur Pan

Professor Arthur Pan (floruit 1920–1960) was a Hungarian artist and portrait painter, whose subjects included Winston Churchill.

Cinema of Iraq

The cinema of Iraq went through a downturn under Saddam Hussein's regime. The development of film and film-going in Iraq reflects the drastic historical shifts that Iraq has experienced in the 20th century. The Iraq War which began in 2003 had an influence on many films being produced.

Faisal of Iraq

Faisal of Iraq may refer to:

Faisal I of Iraq, leader during the Arab Revolt

Faisal II of Iraq

HMS Defender (D114)

HMS Defender was a Daring-class destroyer of the Royal Navy.

Built as yard number 609 at Alexander Stephen and Sons, and originally intended to be named Dogstar, she was launched on 27 July 1950. After a career which saw her involved in the Korean War and conflicts in Malaya, Cyprus, Suez and Aden, she was listed for disposal in 1969, and was used for target practice in the Forth. She was sold to James A White & Co Ltd, Inverkeithing, Fife for breaking in 1972.

Humphrey Paget

Thomas Humphrey Paget OBE (13 August 1893 – May 1974) was an English medal and coin designer and modeller.

Paget's designs are indicated by the initials 'HP'.

Paget was first approached by the Royal Mint in 1936 after the accession of King Edward VIII. Paget's recommendation had come via his earlier design for the obverse of a medal featuring the then-Prince of Wales. After some controversy regarding the direction the monarch was to face on the coinage (it had been tradition for each successive monarch to face in the opposite direction to the predecessor, but the King felt that the features of his left were better than his right), Paget's work was approved in two slightly differing designs: one for silver and another for non-silver. However Edward's abdication meant that, apart from a few trial pieces, Paget's designs never reached the minting stage. Some did find their way out of the Mint for testing purposes, and as such have become amongst the rarest and most collectable pieces of all sterling coinage.

A measure of the success of the Edward portrait can be seen in the fact that Paget alone was commissioned to design George VI's effigy in 1937. He is the only artist to have a second obverse design approved for use in sterling coinage in the 20th century. The portrait of George VI has since been described as "the classic coinage head of the 20th century".Although principally known as an obverse designer, Paget carried out some work for reverses, including most famously a design featuring the Elizabethan galleon the Golden Hind. Originally intended for the halfcrown, it was adopted for the halfpenny in 1937 where it remained until decimalisation took place in 1971.He was awarded the O.B.E. (Civil) in the King's Birthday Honours of 1948. His O.B.E. was gazetted in the Supplement to The London Gazette, Number 38311 [1], Page 3377, published on 4 June 1948.

Paget later designed a wide variety of issues for both Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries. Notable amongst his later work included an effigy of King Faisal II of Iraq in 1955 and the 1970 Commonwealth Games medal which featured the Duke of Edinburgh. He also produced an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II for a commemorative Isle of Man issue in 1965.

List of people on the postage stamps of Iraq

This is a list of people on stamps of the Iraq.

List of people on the postage stamps of Lebanon

Lebanon was formerly a part of the Turkish Empire, and used Turkish postage stamps during that time. In the immediate aftermath of World War I, when it was a French mandate, it used French stamps overprinted for use in the combined territories of Greater Syria. The first Lebanese stamps in 1924 were overprinted French stamps.

List of wars involving Iraq

This is a list of wars involving the Republic of Iraq and its predecessor states.

Order of Al-Hussein bin Ali

The Order of al-Hussein bin Ali is the highest order of the Kingdom of Jordan. It was founded on 22 June 1949 wit one class (i.e. Collar) by King Abdullah I of Jordan with the scope of rewarding benevolence and foreign Heads of State. The class of Grand Cordon was introduced by King Hussein on 23 September 1967.

Order of Pahlavi

The Order of Pahlavi of the Empire of Iran, in Persian: "Neshan-e Pahlavi" was the highest order of the former Imperial State of Iran.

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Sharif Ali Bin al-Hussein (Arabic: الشريف علي بن الحسين‎; born in 1956, in Baghdad, Iraq) is currently the leader of the Iraqi Constitutional Monarchy political party and claims to be the legitimate heir to the position of King of Iraq, based on his relationship to the last monarch, the late King Faisal II.


Stanwell is an urban and suburban village in the Surrey borough of Spelthorne, 16 miles (26 km) WSW of Charing Cross and centred 1⁄2 mile (800 m) from the southern boundary of London Heathrow Airport, adjoining its cargo depot. It is the northernmost settlement in Surrey.

The semi-rural neighbourhood of Stanwell Moor has its own village association and is separated from the village centre by a field, large reservoir and dual carriageway, and includes most of the remaining village farms. However, it is included within a ward and parish of Stanwell. In common, both localities have large areas of reservoir and are within 2 miles (3 km) of a junction of the M25 London Orbital Motorway. To the west of the village proper stretch further areas of open land, much of which is part of the Metropolitan Green Belt and is important primarily for fish and bird life, including the Staines Moor SSSI and the Colne Valley regional park.

Stanwell lost land to a fraction of the adjoining airport and to Berkshire in the mid and late 20th century respectively. Its main industrial and business area, Poyle, was detached and added to Colnbrook, Berkshire, in 1995 due to the completion of the M25 London Orbital Motorway. Stanwell is adjoined by two towns and includes Ashford Hospital and the Staines Reservoirs named after these. The largest of its neighbours is Staines upon Thames which is a retail, entertainment, dining and leisure venue and has corporate offices. The nearest railway station is centred 1 mile (1.6 km) south, or 1 1⁄2 miles (2.4 km) south of the conservation area which has a partly medieval parish church, village green and brief winding section of street with buildings from the 17th to early 19th centuries, some with earlier elements.

Stanwell Place

Stanwell Place was a manor house and associated estate and tenant farms, located to the west of the village of Stanwell, Middlesex. During the early part of the 20th century parts of the estate were sold off to create a reservoir and a series of local small holdings.

The manor house was constructed in the 17th century at least, standing about half a mile to the west of the parish church, north of Park Road. The last house to stand on the site is believed to have been built in the early part of the 19th century by the Sir John Gibbons, 2nd Baronet, who owned the manorial rights from 1754 to 1933. The house had two storeys and was cement rendered with a low-pitched roof behind a parapet. The later west wing was built of red brick, and some of the outbuildings were older than the main house.

The surrounding park land was laid out in the 18th century. The bend at the entrance gates in Park Road is probably due to Sir John Gibbons diverting the road in 1760. After Gibbons had enclosed Borough Field in 1771, the Park extended from Oaks Road in the east to Borough Green to the north and was over 300 acres (1.2 km2). The size of the park went down over the years, however.The last of the Gibbons family to live there sold Stanwell Place to a civil engineer, Sir John Watson Gibson, in 1933. Gibson moved to Stanwell whilst building the Queen Mary Reservoir at Littleton (then the largest water storage reservoir in the world). He lived at Stanwell Lodge before his purchase of Stanwell Place (90 acres), and the adjoining Stanhope farm (261 acres, including Hammonds farm). In 1936 the Metropolitan Water Board bought most of Gibson's estate, in a contract encompassing 346 acres. It used this land in 1947 to develop the King George VI Reservoir.During the Second World War, Gibson, as deputy director-general civil engineering (special) at the Ministry of Supply (1943–44), was one of the principal people responsible for the construction of the top secret Mulberry Harbours. It was as a result of this that he lent Stanwell Place to the SHAEF Commanders, and they held two top level meetings there during the buildup to D-Day and the Normandy Invasion. The highest level US commanders, including Henry L. Stimson, General George C. Marshall, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Admiral Ernest J. King, and General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold, stayed at Stanwell Place for these meetings.After Gibson’s death, Stanwell Place and 22 acres were sold to King Faisal II of Iraq, leaving 17 acres of Stanhope farm still in the ownership of Gibson's sons. After the assassination of King Faisal in 1958, the house and its grounds was purchased for gravel extraction. Despite local attempts to prevent it, the house was allowed to become derelict and was eventually demolished.

Timoor Daghistani

Timur (al-)Daghistani, GCVO, (born in Baghdad, on 4 January 1948) served as the Jordanian ambassador to the United Kingdom.

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