More Memorable Coups

ByKausar Fatima

Works in an international audit firm and writes for magazines


June 16, 2023

More Memorable Coups

Kausar Fatima recollects some famous

More Memorable Coups – The term coup d’état first came to fore in the 17th century that was translated as ‘stroke of the state’ or ‘blow against the state’ implying as an overt attempt to overthrow a sitting head of state through illegal and often violent means. This tendency to supplant head of a ruling dispensation is known to be a significant aspect of governance since times immemorial and has still not lost its attraction for ambitious individuals or groups operating in the corridors of power. Western civilisation has tried hard to make transition of power through peaceful means but still this activity occurs periodically in the western governance process as was witnessed in America when Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the American parliament in an attempt to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory but the supposed coup did not succeed.

1952 Egyptian revolution was the first of its kind in the modern Middle East. The original objective of the 23 July military coup was to remove King Farouk I, but it quickly evolved into an outright overthrow of the constitutional monarchy and aristocracy in order to create a republic of Egypt. Known as the 23 July revolution the coup d’état was conducted by a group of military officers known as “The Free Officers Movement,” led by Mohammed Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser.

1953 Iranian coup d’état known technically as Operation Ajax was a coup planned by the United States and United Kingdom and executed by the Iranian military to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. The objective was to restore power to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, and gain back Great Britain’s control over Iran’s oil industry which Mosaddeq had nationalised. The CIA did not publicly admit its involvement in the coup until 19 August, 2013. The events of August 1953 would forever change the relationship between Iran and the U.S.

1955 Revolución Libertadora took place in Argentina. After losing the support of the Catholic Church and much of the military, Argentine President Juan Perón was overthrown in a violent military coup d’état in September 1955 that cost thousands of civilians their lives. This was the second of two coup attempts. The first took place on 16 June with a bombing of Plaza de Mayo, which killed more than 300 people. It remains the largest bombing ever conducted on Argentina’s mainland.

1967 Greek Junta took over government in Greece. From 1967 to 1974, Greece was ruled by far-right military juntas known as the Greek Junta or regime of the Colonels, starting with a coup on 21 April, 1967, before an election that Georgios Papandreou’s Centre Union was expected to win. Life under the junta saw restricted civil liberties and the imprisonment/exile of political opponents.

1969 Libyan coup d’état brought the maverick Qaddafi to international stage. Driven by a deep-seated disdain for Libyan monarchy, on 1 September, 1969 with the help of 70 co-conspirators, 27-year-old Muammar al-Qaddafi seized power from King Idris, thus beginning a 42-year reign of terror and oppression that lasted until his death during the Arab Spring uprising of 2011.

1971 Ugandan coup d’état surprised the world. On 25 January, 1971, while President Milton Obote was in Singapore for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, General Idi Amin led the Ugandan armed forces in a coup d’état. Having gotten word that Obote had ordered his arrest for misappropriating funds, Amin acted while the president was abroad. Dubbing himself the “Last King of Scotland,” Amin ruled until 1979 and is considered one of the most ruthless despots of all time, having killed an estimated 300,000 political opponents.

1973 Chilean coup d’état became an international issue. On 11 September, 1973, Chilean forces led by General Augusto Pinochet seized power from President Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected Marxist leader. Pinochet ruled over Chile as a brutal dictator for 17 years, overseeing several thousand extrajudicial executions, torture and forced disappearances. He was charged in 1998 with crimes against humanity but died before facing trial.

1999 Pakistani coup d’état brought the army back to power after 11 years. Since gaining its independence in 1947, Pakistan has experienced several coups and coup attempts. The latest took place on 12 October, 1999 as General Pervez Musharraf seized control from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf would go on to win a controversial referendum with 98% of the vote which many alleged to be fraudulent. The Weekender


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