History of Oil in Iraq
| British Colonialism and the Kurds
War and a Decade of Sanctions | US and British
Support for Hussein Regime
and Armored Cars: Imposing British Colonial Control on Iraq in the 1920s (1998)
In this brief excerpt from his book Colonial Empires and Armies 1815 – 1960,
V.G Kiernan explains how Britain used armored cars with air support to impose
its colonial rule. The armored and air units operated jointly under the command
of the fledgling Royal Air Force.
Air Power and Colonial Control in Iraq 1920 – 1925 (1990)
selection, by historian David Omissi, describes emerging policy on the use of
airplanes to attack Iraqi opponents of British rule. Planes would strafe and bomb
villages that offered resistance to the ground forces. Winston Churchill, the
responsible cabinet minister, proposed the use of mustard gas from the air as
the cheapest means of controlling Iraq militarily.
Royal Air Force in Iraq (1976)
Peter Sluglett, a leading historian
of modern Iraq, here discusses the British use of air power to impose colonial
rule. While officials in London sometimes expressed discomfort, military commanders
and colonial officials used air attacks to teach obedience and to force tax collection
from even the poorest Iraqis.
RAF Has Done Wonders" (1922, 1924)
Gertrude Bell, a British colonial
official, describes in personal letters the use of British air power in Iraq in
the 1920s, exclaiming that "the RAF has done wonders bombing insurgent villages."
(Gertrude Bell Project)
on Mesopotamia by T.E. Lawrence (August 22, 1920)
A 1920 newspaper
letter by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) denounces brutal conduct by British
colonial forces in Iraq during the revolt of 1920. (Sunday Times)
Deceit and Duplicity: Some Reflections on Western Intervention in Iraq (March-April 2003)
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, occupying powers in Iraq have expressed the right of Iraqi self-determination, but they have not allowed their lofty proclamations into practice. This article from Third World Resurgence gives a chronology of the Kurdish, Shi'ite and other uprisings that Iraq's occupiers brutally quashed.
Lessons of 1920 Revolt Lost on Bremer (November 17, 2003)
US occupation forces should heed the lessons of previous British rule in and departure from Iraq, argues the Financial Times. The British gave the Iraqis a "free hand . . .as a result of rebellion" in 1920.
Tried First. Iraq Was No Picnic Then. (July 20, 2003)
to the British occupation of Iraq, Lawrence of Arabia wrote that the public had
been led "into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honor."
Veteran Middle East journalist John Kifner draws on the history of British colonialism
in the Middle East to comment on the US occupation. (New York Times)
and British Bombers (January 19, 1991)
Iraq is no stranger to aerial
bombardment. In this article, historian David Omissi recalls the 1920s, when gas
shells and explosives were used as part of the British colonial war against Iraq.
Imperialism (April 24, 2003)
A good way to understand US policy
is to look at the era of European colonization. Today many problems are consequences
of the British colonial past in the Middle East. (Le Monde)
Bell's Lines in the Sand (March 12, 2003)
The Guardian describes
the influential role played by Gertrude Bell, an archaeologist, linguist, and
British colonial official, who helped shape British plans to carve out the boundaries
of an Iraqi state "which was too weak to be independent from Britain."
The Imperial Precedent (January, 2003)
According to British historian
Charles Tripp, the US war for "regime change" in Iraq echoes the British invasion
of Mesopotamia in 1914. Tripp takes examples from the modern history of Iraq to
argue that US actions, like those of Britain at an earlier period, reflect the
"logic of imperial power." (Le Monde Diplomatique)
More Information on Iraq's History
Information on the Iraq Crisis
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