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Faisal II of Iraq

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Faisal II of Iraq
Faisal II of Iraq

Faisal II (May 2, 1935 - July 14, 1958) was the last king of Iraq from April 4, 1939 to 1958.

He was the son of the second king of Iraq, Ghazi, who was killed in an automobile accident when Faisal was three. For most of his reign his uncle Abdul Illah ruled as regent (until Faisal came of age in 1953).

As a teen, Faisal attended Harrow School in the United Kingdom, together with his cousin King Hussein of Jordan. The two boys were close, and reportedly planned even then to merge their two realms to counter what they considered the threat of militant pan-Arab nationalism.

On February 1 1958 neighbouring Syria joined with Nasser's Egypt to form the United Arab Republic. This prompted the two Hashemite kingdoms to strengthen their position by establishing a similar bloc. Just two weeks later, on February 14, it was signed into existence as the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan. Faisal, as the senior member of the Hashemite family, became head of state.

The reign of Faisal, together with the new state, came to an end a mere five months later. During the summer Hussein asked for Iraqi military assistance in Jordan. A military officer, Abdul Karim Qassim, used the resulting troop movements as the opportunity to stage a coup, capturing Baghdad and proclaiming a republic on July 14. On that same day the young king, other members of his family, and his chief minister Nuri as-Said were murdered. The extent of the murders effectively killed the future of any hope for a monarchial restoration in Iraq.

Preceded by:
King Ghazi
King of Iraq
1939–1958
Succeeded by:
Prince Zeid

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