Abd al-Khaliq al-Samarra'i

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Abd al-Khaliq al-Samarra'i
Member of the Revolutionary Command Council
In office
November 1969 – July 1973
RCC Chairman Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Member of the Regional Command of the Iraqi Regional Branch
In office
1964 – July 1973
RC Secretary Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Personal details
Born 1935
Samarra, Kingdom of Iraq
Died 1979
Nationality Iraqi
Political party Iraqi Regional Branch of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party

Abd al-Khaliq al-Samarra'i (Arabic: عبد الخالق السامرائي‎) was an Iraqi Ba'athist politician and leading member of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in Iraq. He was a member of the Regional Command from 1964 to 1973, and considered a serious rival of Saddam Hussein for leadership of the civilian faction of the Ba'ath Party. He was arrested in 1973 for his alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow the government, and executed in 1979 by Hussein.


He was born in the city of Samarra[1] into a poor family[2] in 1935 and received a secondary education there. He became a member of the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party in Iraq in 1952, the Iraqi Regional Command in 1964, the National Command in 1968 and the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) in 1969. In 1972, he was Chairman of the Cultural Bureau of the RCC. During the 1966 Ba'ath Party split, al-Samarra'i sided with Michel Aflaq. Throughout his tenureship, he was Saddam Hussein's most notable contender for the leadership of the civilian faction,[3] and was considered the third most powerful man in Iraq by observers.[4] By 1973, al-Samarra'i had become a focal point for those Ba'athists who still believed in the tenants of Ba'athism, and did not wish to follow blindly the rule of Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr.[5]

In 1973, he became implicated in Nazim Kazzar's plot to overthrow the government. Following the failed coup attempt al-Samarra'i was found guilty of anti-state activities and arrested. There are several who doubt al-Samarra'i's involvement in the failed coup. Even so, al-Bakr never ratified his death sentence, and al-Samarra'i lived in house arrest until 1979. The reason for his house arrest was that Aflaq and Kamal Jumblatt, a Lebanese Druze, campaigned actively against giving him a death sentence. Even so, in August 1979, Saddam executed al-Samarra'i along with others who Saddam claimed were members of a conspiracy to overthrow the government.[3]



  1. ^ Hashim 2005, p. 127.
  2. ^ Karsh & Rautsi 1991, p. 51.
  3. ^ a b Ghareeb & Dougherty 2004, p. 208.
  4. ^ Makiya 1998, p. 12.
  5. ^ Tripp 2010, p. 209.