During the first year after the Revolution the Iraqi Communist Party and its front organizations were gaining strength and popularity so that the party was able to command the streets of Baghdad. The ICP interpreted the events as a bourgeois democratic revolution and demanded the creation of bourgeois democratic institutions and a functioning parliamentary system. In this phase the nationalists lost the struggle to win the hearts and minds of Iraqis to the ideals of Arab unity. Since the ICP had captured substantial sections of progressive opinion not only in Baghdad but in most of southern Iraq and in many parts of Kurdistan, the nationalists and their associates decided to promote their cause partly by relying on anti-communist or religious elements, but more crucially on members of the armed forces who were unhappy with the existing regime. The peak of communist influence lasted approximately one year. The bloody events at Kirkuk on the first anniversary of the July Revolution marked the beginning of the end of this phase.
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