British Mandate of Iraq


The dates of the mandate: Creation and Independence

- A British mandate of Iraq is created in 1920. Mandate is composed of three separate and distinct provinces - Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra.
These provinces " were among the most ethnically and religiously diverse Arab regions of the Ottoman Empire, their forced amalgamation
into a single country posed exceptionally difficult obstacles to nation building" (Cleveland 205).

- Iraq gained formal independence from Britain in 1932, but remained subject to British imperial influence.
The Leaders of the Mandate

- British policy makers seek to preserve and expand interest in the region (vital routes to India and Iraqi and Iranian oil fields) without having to
directly govern the state of Iraq. Thus they sought a leader that they could place full responsibility on as well as work along with. Thus the
British government selected Amir Faysal, commander of the Arab Revolt, son of Sharif Husayn, and leader of the recently dismembered Syrian
state. Britain believed Faysal to be “ an Arab figure of international stature [that] would prove attractive within Iraq… [as well as one that would be seen]
acceptable to a broad section of the Iraqi population” (Cleveland 206).

- The untimely death of Amir Faysal in 1933, forces his twenty- year-old son Ghazi to take the throne.

Treaties/ Agreements

- “Following the coronation of King Faysal, Britain had to be careful not to
compromise him by making him appear to be a British puppet” (Cleveland
207). Thus a series of treaties were signed between the years of 1922 and
1930. The 1930 treaty, claims Iraq was to gain full independence with in
two years, though Britain was “ to retain military and security privileges”
(Cleveland 208). The treaty called for British control and development of
the Iraqi armed forces , as well as Britain’s right tow maintain two air bases
in the country. In 1932, Iraq is formally admitted to the League of Nations.


Companies/Economy

- Britain was highly interested in gaining control of Iraq’s oil resources.
“ Iraqis, in desperate need for the funds that would come from royalty
payments, reluctantly conceded to British pressures and in 1925 signed
a twenty-five-year concession with the firm that became the Iraq Petroleum
Company” (Cleveland 208). This agreement prevented Iraqis from having a
any membership in the company. This provided tension to Anglo- Iraqi
relations.

Government/ Elections

- King Faysal is coroneted as monarch of Iraq in 1930.
- Organic Law of 1925 states that “ Iraq is defined as a hereditary constitutional monarchy
with an elected bicameral legislature”. It further states that that the Islam is the official religion of the mandate.

- Iraq is admitted into the League of Nations in 1932.

Conflicts

- British support of Sunni political prominence in the new state, although a numerical minority.
- Kurds (ethnically distinct with own language and culture) “ resist the centralizing efforts of new Iraqi state and their
unwillingness to assimilate into the majority outlook shaped a pattern of conflict” (Cleveland 205).

- Jewish community in Baghdad.
- Iraq does not own any portion of the Iraq Petroleum Company.
- Rejection of foreign rule. Tribe revolts against Britain and her attempt to replace the Ottoman system.

Religious Issues
-1/2 of the Arabs were shiites and had close ties with Iran.
-The remainders were sunnis whom the British supported and put into power.
-Kudish minority
-All these groups thought northern Iraq was important to their cultural history.
-Presence of Christian minority and substantial Jewish community

Other
-Did not have access to Persian Gulf. Kuwait had a nice water border which caused frequent conflict.





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