Abdul Rahman Arif

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Abdul Rahman Arif Aljumaily
عبد الرحمن محمد عارف الجميلي
Abdel-Rahman Aref.jpg
3rd President of Iraq
In office
16 April 1966 – 17 July 1968
Prime Minister Abd ar-Rahman al-Bazzaz
Naji Talib
Tahir Yahya
Preceded by Abdul Salam Arif
Succeeded by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Prime Minister of Iraq
In office
10 May 1967 – 10 July 1967
President Himself
Preceded by Naji Talib
Succeeded by Tahir Yahya
Personal details
Born 14 April 1916
Bagdad, Ottoman Empire
(now Baghdad, Iraq)
Died 24 August 2007 (aged 91)
Amman, Jordan
Political party Arab Socialist Union
Spouse(s) Faika Abdul-Mageed Faris Alanee
Children 5
Religion Sunni Islam
Military service
Allegiance Iraq
Service/branch Iraqi Army
Rank General
Battles/wars 1958 Iraqi coup
Six-Day War

Hajj Abdul Rahman Mohammed Arif Aljumaily (Arabic عبد الرحمن محمد عارف الجميلي`Abd al-Raḥmān `Ārif; April 14, 1916 – August 24, 2007) was the third President of Iraq, a position he held from April 16, 1966 to July 17, 1968.


From left to right, Houari Boumediene of Algeria, Nureddin al-Atassi of Syria, Abdul Rahman Aref of Iraq, Gamel Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and Ismail al-Azhari of Sudan in 1968

He was a career soldier, and supported the military coup in 1958 that overthrew the monarchy. He also supported the coup that brought his brother, Abdul Salam Arif, to power in 1963. His brother appointed him head of the army following the coup, and when the younger Arif died in an aircraft crash in April 1966 (a probable act of sabotage[1]), Prime Minister Abdul Rahman al-Bazzaz became acting president; three days later, al-Bazzaz was chosen to become president, then al-Bazzaz immediately relinquished the presidency to Abdul Rahman Arif. It is speculated that the transfer of power possibly occurred because the Iraqi military thought that Abdul Salam should be succeeded by his weak and easier to manipulate brother instead. Arif was appointed president by the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council. He continued his brother's policies, but with a more nationalistic profile.[citation needed]

Like his brother Abdul Salam, he was an overt supporter of Egypt's pan-Arabist president Gamal Abdel Nasser. He sent Iraqi troops to fight in the Six-Day War of June 1967 against Israel which ended in considerable Arab casualties. Nonetheless, the Iraqi military performed better than the troops of other Arab states. Arif Abdul Razzak, another pro-Nasser Air Force Commander, attempted a coup d'état on Arif, and lightly bombed the Presidential Palace with Soviet MiG 17 jets, but the coup failed and he was arrested. It was his second failed coup attempt on the Arif government. President Arif went on TV to declare that on this occasion, Abdul Razzak would definitely be punished, only to then release him with a pardon.

His presidency was widely believed to be slack and indecisive. However, there are historical clues that he was not corrupt. The ill-advised law that he passed in 1967 to absolve himself from paying income tax is probably an indication that he was not capable of getting wealth otherwise. On July 17, 1968, while Arif was sleeping, his own assistants along with members of the Ba'ath Party, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr, overthrew him in a bloodless coup. As Arif and his brother had done in the 1963 coup against Qasim, the coalition declared victory once they had captured the radio station and the ministry of defense. It was accomplished when the defense minister, Hardan Al-Tikriti, phoned Arif informing him that he was no longer president. Arif was exiled to Turkey.

He returned to Iraq in 1979, when Saddam Hussein came to power, and largely stayed out of the public and political spotlight afterwards. He was allowed to leave the country once to undertake the Hajj. Arif left Iraq permanently after Hussein was removed from power by the U.S.-led invasion, and lived in Amman, Jordan from 2004. He died in Amman on August 24, 2007,[2] being yet the only Iraqi leader to die a normal death. He was married to Faika Abdul-Mageed Faris Alanee.


  • "The existence of Israel is an error which we must put right. This is our opportunity to wipe out the disgrace which is Israel which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map", speaking on the Radio, 1 June 1967[3]
  • "I hope there will be stability and security in all parts of Iraq and neighboring Arab countries", he said. "I hope there will be national unity in Iraq by forgetting the past and looking for the future."[4]


  1. ^ "Abdel-Rahman Aref, 91, Former Iraqi President, Is Dead" The New York Times. August 25, 2007.
  2. ^ "Iraq ex-president dies in Jordan", Middle East Online, August 24, 2007 at age 91.
  3. ^ Scott-Baumann, Michael (May 2007) [1998]. "The Causes of the Six-Day War of 1967". Conflict in the Middle East: Israel and the Arabs. Hodder 20th Century History (Second ed.). London, United Kingdom: Hodder Education. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-340-92934-6. 
  4. ^ "Abdel-Rahman Aref, 91, Former Iraqi President, Is Dead". The New York Times. August 25, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Abd ar-Rahman al-Bazzaz
President of Iraq
April 16, 1966 – July 17, 1968
Succeeded by
Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Preceded by
Naji Talib
Prime Minister of Iraq
Succeeded by
Tahir Yahya