Alan Rush

The enlightened king of Iraq

Faisal I was humane, far-sighted, distinguished — and rather dishy, shows Ali A. Allawi in his hefty if loosely-written biography 

Faisal’s dark, liquid eyes and distinguished bearing caused a sensation at the Paris Peace Conference [Getty Images/Shutterstock/iStock/Alamy]

‘King of Iraq’ has an odd ring even to those who know that Iraq was called Mesopotamia and was part of the Ottoman empire before falling into and out of the clutches of the British. Many people, including Iraqis, seem unaware that it was a monarchy until 1958. Some 45 years after its overthrow, members of Iraqi families that flourished in those royal days launched ambitious plans to restore the monarchy after Saddam Hussein’s demise.

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