British Policy in Mesopotamia, 1903-1914 (St. Antony's Middle East Monographs)

British imperial pursuits in Iraq in the course of and after the 1st global conflict are popular and feature usually been studied. yet what of British coverage in the direction of the Mesopotamian provinces earlier than 1914? during this well-documented research, Stuart Cohen presents the 1st coherent account of becoming British curiosity in those provinces, during which the security of India, advertisement concerns, the security of Shia Muslim pilgrims, and worry of a German-dominated Berlin-to-Baghdad railway all had an essential position to play. First released in 1976 and now on hand in paperback for the 1st time, this booklet is vital interpreting not just for an figuring out of the making of British coverage in the direction of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman empire, but additionally of the final days of Turkish rule in Iraq itself.

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Seventy nine The warfare workplace proved both incapable of offering the skill to impression a coercive Mesopotamian coverage. The Imperial common employees favored the geographical and tactical merits of remarkable at Mesopotamia while Turkish troops have been diverted by way of a insurrection in Albania, a frontier dispute with Persia and a battle within the Yemen. eighty however the conflict workplace disparaged those issues. as a substitute, it warned the Committee of Imperial Defence that British motion on the head of the Gulf could invite Turkish reprisals on Egypt or arouse Moslem antagonism in India. Even a brief British profession of Kuwait, which would steer clear of either situations, could “not reason Turkey any fabric inconvenience or loss”. eighty one Nicolson82 defined that “so quickly because the ships or troops went away, and lets now not . . . hold them in those locations completely, the Turks could come again back. ”83 In 1912, the struggle place of work firmly rejected the govt of India’s recommendation that British forces may perhaps try to occupy Basra. eighty four The Imperial normal employees doubted no matter if the steered operation was once “practicable”. eighty five It was once additionally doubtful of the forces the scheme may possibly require. 86 It hence refused to opposite its prior determination. Even the Indian gurus eventually said this verdict. In January 1912, a central authority of India committee thought of that, if particularly priceless, a British strength may perhaps briefly occupy Basra and the encompassing area. however it hesitated to recommend this degree. The committee ultimately admitted that it may possibly simply suggest a constrained profession of El Bidea and the elimination of Turkish lighters and buoys from the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab. It rejected extra bold operations simply because to fasten up a department in Basra “might be a question of great [158] 591 Mesopotamia 07 Ch 7 12/6/08 8:51 AM web page 159 T H E P R E S S U R E S O N S T R AT E G Y inconvenience in reference to army operations elsewhere”. 87 In June 1912, India printed that its plans for an assault on Basra have been purely tentative, “and must be revised within the mild of the political state of affairs on the time of project the enterprise”. 88 As early as December 1910, Nicolson had published a prescient experience of the strategic, in addition to diplomatic, realities of Britain’s Mesopotamian place. “The difficulty”, he instructed Marling, “is to deliver fairly powerful strain to endure at the Turkish govt . . . it's of little use administering homilies to them until one is ready to stick with them up with a few determined motion. ”89 The Committee of Imperial Defence proved both real looking. In may well 1911, it agreed to attempt for a political instead of army cost of Britain’s Mesopotamian and Gulf quarrels with Turkey. ninety Hirtzel hostile this course;91 yet Mallet stated, and Parker reiterated, that “we cannot do greatly” in these areas. ninety two Crewe eventually admitted that “there is not any sensible likelihood of our . . . coercing Turkey. ”93 Conceptual Conceptual pressures on British policy-makers among 1910 and 1914 proven the need for an abrogation of the formidable claims of 1910.

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