Abdul Muhsin al-Sa'dun

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Abd al-Muhsin Bey as-Sadun)

Abd al-Muhsin al-Sa'doun
Prime Minister of Iraq
In office
19 September 1929 – 13 November 1929
MonarchFaisal I
Preceded byTawfiq al-Suwaidi
Succeeded byNaji al-Suwaydi
In office
11 January 1928 – 28 April 1929
MonarchFaisal I
Preceded byJa'far al-Askari
Succeeded byTawfiq al-Suwaidi
In office
26 June 1925 – 21 November 1926
MonarchFaisal I
Preceded byYasin al-Hashimi
Succeeded byJa'far al-Askari
In office
20 November 1922 – 22 November 1923
MonarchFaisal I
Preceded byAbd Al-Rahman Al-Gillani
Succeeded byJafar al-Askari
Personal details
Abd al-Muhsin bin Fahad al-Sa'doun

Nasiriyah, Basra Vilayet
Died13 November 1929(1929-11-13) (aged 49–50)
Baghdad, Iraq
Political partyProgress Party
Alma materOttoman Military Academy
Military service
Allegiance Ottoman Empire
Branch/serviceOttoman Army
RankBinbashi (1905–1909)
Second Lieutenant (1909)

Sir Abd al-Muḥsin al-Sa‘doun, KCMG (Arabic: عبد المحسن السعدون;‎ 1879 – 13 November 1929) was an Iraqi politician who served as the Prime Minister of Iraq on four occasions between 1922 and 1929.

Background and early career[edit]

Abd al-Muhsin al-Sa'doun hailed from a family descended from the Sa'douns, the most powerful tribe within the Muntafiq Confederation.[1]: 188  In the mid-nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire fostered rivalries between the dominant Sa'dun chiefs by offering enticing land deals to the highest bidders among them, pursuant to a policy of tribal weakening and division. In 1871 Midhat Pasha finally split the chiefs in two between "Ottomanizers" and their opponents by offering some chiefs permanent ownership of once communal tribal lands, when, previously, they could only exact tribute from farmers. The tribal chiefs then grew very wealthy by converting the rest of the tribe into tenant farmers for their exploitation.[1]: 74–75 

When the United Kingdom took Iraq from the Ottomans following World War I, it pursued a policy whereby it lavished political and economic favours on tribal leaders in order to encourage them to exert their influence in ways conducive to British economic designs in the country. Al-Sa'doun was one of many to consistently obtain seats in Parliament in exchange for this service. Notably, however, while many tribal leaders at the time were provincial in outlook, al-Sa'doun was distinguished by being a sayyid (a descent from the Prophet Muhammad), and by having broadened his horizons at the Military Academy in Istanbul. Al-Sa'doun served as a military officer during Ottoman control of the country, as an aide-de-camp to Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid II, and as a ten-year member of the Ottoman Parliament.[2]: 34  Afterward, he returned to Iraq and embarked on a career as an influential politician.

Time in Parliament[edit]

Al-Sa'dun was a shrewd politician with many tribal and British connections, as demonstrated by his control over the Parliamentary alliance known as the Progressives. This made him one of King Faisal's most bitter rivals, as he frequently acted as an instrument of British supremacy over the Iraqi interests Faisal was trying to pursue.[1]: 190–191  In 1923, he suppressed a Shi'a movement calling for election boycotts.[1]: 190  He was President of the Constituent Assembly in 1924.[3]: 12  Then, in 1926, he assured the application of the unequal twenty-five-year "Financial and Military Agreement" between Iraq and Britain in spite of its unpopularity.[1]: 190–191 

He was elected as the president of the Chamber of Deputies from 1926 to 1928 and in 1929.[4]: 12 [5]: 12 

During his third term as Prime Minister, al-Sa'doun also negotiated the Treaty of Ankara in which Iraq promised to pay Turkey 10% of its revenues from the Mosul oil fields in return for Turkish recognition of Iraqi control of the area.[citation needed] By December 1928, popular protest over British domination of Iraq had become more fervid, and al-Sa'doun began to support King Faisal's demands for more autonomy. He resigned in protest in January 1929.[1]: 191–192 


On 13 November 1929, during his fourth term in office, al-Sa'doun died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His actions were considered to be a consequence of the criticism he had received from the Iraqi population and, subsequently, the British and international community for his "disloyalty". He left behind a letter to his son stating, "I have suffered with forbearance all possible insults and contempt".[6]: 102-103 


In his memory, the street where he was killed became known officially as "al-Sa'doun Street" and a bronze statue dedicated to him was built in the street.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Batatu, Hanna (1978). The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691052417. OL 21622322M.
  2. ^ Suwaydi, Tawfiq (1987). وجوه عراقية عبر التاريخ [Iraqi Faces from the Past] (in Arabic). Riyadh al-Rayyis Publishers. ISBN 9781869844431. OL 8649495M.
  3. ^ Report by His Britannic Majesty's Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Iraq (Report). Colonial Office. 1923–1924.
  4. ^ Report by His Britannic Majesty's Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Iraq (Report). Colonial Office. 1926.
  5. ^ Report by His Britannic Majesty's Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Iraq (Report). Colonial Office. 1929.
  6. ^ Sinderson, Sir Harry Chapman (1973). Ten Thousand and One Nights: Memories of Iraq's Sherifian Dynasty. Hodder and Stoughton Press. ISBN 9780340176184. OL 10616469M.
  7. ^ Limited, Elaph Publishing (11 February 2008). "شارع السعدون شجرة الحزن تمطر مواويل بكاء". Elaph - إيلاف (in Arabic). Retrieved 16 September 2023.
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Iraq
18 November 1922 – 21 November 1923
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Iraq
19 June 1925 – 1 November 1926
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Iraq
14 January 1928 – 20 January 1929
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of Iraq
19 September 1929 – 13 November 1929
Succeeded by