By the mid-1930s, several officers of the Iraqi army had become actively interested in politics and found that the army's reputation for suppressing the Assyrian rebellion was a political asset. The most influential officers were true nationalists, that is, pan-Arabists, who inspired many of the junior officers. They looked to the examples of neighbouring Turkey and Iran, where military dictatorships were flourishing. Under the leadership of General Bakr Iidqi the army took over the government in the fall of 1936, and opened a period of military meddling in politics. During December 1938 General Nuri as-Said, a staunch partisan of close ties with Great Britain seized power. While professing democratic principles, he and his followers did not hesitate to use identical repressive measures to their predecessors. Nuri as-Said used the outbreak of the war as an excuse for imposing emergency legislation upon the country and abandoning all pretence of democracy.
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