By November 28, 2017 Read More →

1921 The British Create Iraq Including Kurds, Shi’a, and Sunnis Tribes

Map of IraqThe eventual result was the Iraq establishment of the Hashemite kingdom of Iraq with three very different constituencies, divided by language, ethnic origins, and religion. In effect, the British stitched together three sections of the Ottoman Empire, the only commonality among them being the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The southern provinces, largely consisting of Shi’a tribes, received short shrift in the new kingdom, both because of their role in the 1920 revolt and because of Shi’a religious and tribal leaders’ refusal to participate in the political negotiations leading up to the kingdom’s creation. The Kurds in the north were included in the new state as an afterthought – helped by discovery of oil near Mosul – thus leaving the Sunnis in the central portions of Iraq in control by default. Not Surprisingly, the Sunni elites were delighted to take full advantage of the situation. Thus Iraq was the fabrication of outsiders who had little understanding of region, its culture, or its politics. Iraq’s first monarch, Faisal, installed by the British and undoubtedly the most effective and humane of Iraq’s rulers since its creation, remarked in 1933 that ‘there is still – and I say this with a heart full of sorrow – no Iraqi people, but unimaginable masses of human beings, devoid of any patriotic idea, imbued with religious traditions, and absurdities, connected by no common tie, giving ear to evil, prone to anarchy, and perpetually ready to rise against any government whatever.’  ”

Source: Hanna Batatu, The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq: A Study of Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of Its Communists, Ba’athists, and Free Officers.

Comments are closed.