The Sykes -Picot Agreement map signed in May 1918 by the Imperial power of Great Britain and France, constituted the blueprint for redrawing the map of the Middle East after the dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, by the victorious Allies thus dividing the Arab territories as well as Kurdistan into its current form. In this book, the author makes an ambitious attempt to provide a comprehensive new insight into the Kurdish national movement and its struggle against the mandatory power (the British) and the Iraqi government for achievement of national self-determination from 1918 to 1982. The book explores both Kurdish and Arab nationalism within the context of power relations in international politics at the time on the one hand, and in relation to domestic political development in Iraq on the other. Thereby, salient issues are explored, inter alia, the reasons for the British failure to create a modern national state in Iraq, the reluctance of the Anglo-Iraqi authorities to accommodate Kurdish rights and their policy to incorporate Kurdistan into the nascent Iraqi state, the U.S. interests and implication in the region, and the impact of the principle of self-determination advocated by President Wilson on Kurdish and Arab nationalism. Revised with a new chapter.
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To My Parents
Nation and Nationalism
Miroslav Hroch and the Three-Phase Model of the Development of Nationalism
Print-Capitalism and National Consciousness
The Principle of Nationality
Nation-State Formation in Iraq: Politicization and
Homogenization of Ethnic Groups
National-Self-Determination: Its Meaning and Its Interpretation by Great Powers
Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points
Forging a New World Order: Anglo-American Program for the Middle East
Franco-British Settlement of the Mosul Question
The Paris Peace Conference
The Mandates System
Faisal’s Position: Aspirations for Arab Unity
The Emergence of Arab Nationalism: Arab Nationalism before 1914
The Tanzimat Reforms
The Missionaries’ Work: Contribution to the Revival of Cultural Awareness
Arab Nationalism Under the Young Turks, 1908-1914
The Arab Revolt of 1916
The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism
The Decline of the Kurdish Emirates and the Rise of the Shaikhs: The Tanzimat Reforms
The Rise of the Shaikhs
The Rebellion of Shaikh Ubaydallah of Nehri
Prelude to Kurdish Nationalism
Kurdish Cultural and Ethnic Distinctiveness
Foundation of Kurdish Cultural and Political Organizations
Kurdish Nationalist Activities, 1908-1918
Kurdish Wartime Nationalist Activities
Kurdish Activities During the Peace Conference of Paris
Great Powers’ Interests in the Region: From Preservation to Partition of the Ottoman Empire
The Significance of Iraq and its Oil in Great Britain’s Middle East Policy
Great Britain’s Occupation of Iraq: Direct or Indirect Rule
The Plebiscite of 1919: Preparation for the Making of Iraq
The Occupation of Mosul and the Kurdish Question: From Shaikh Mahmud’s Revolt to the Lausanne Conference, 1919-1922
Shaikh Mahmud’s First Rebellion
Shaikh Mahmud’s Defeat and Capture
Circumstances Leading up to Reinstallation of Shaikh Mahmud
The Cairo Conference and the Future of Iraq
Nationalist-Religious Propaganda and Counter Propaganda: The Turkish Menace and Propaganda in South Kurdistan
British Nationalist-Religious Counter Propaganda
King Faisal’s Position: Defending Iraq’s Unity
The Intensification of Turkey’s Activities in Kurdish Areas
The Reinstallation of Shaikh Mahmud: His Plan and Cooperation with the Turks
Shaikh Mahmud’s Cooperation with the Turks
From the Lausanne Conference to the Mosul Question
The United States’ Open Door Policy
Political Development in South Kurdistan During the Lausanne Conference
Continued Turkish Threat and Islamic Propaganda
Shaikh Mahmud’s Second Rebellion
Joint Anglo-Iraqi Efforts for the Incorporation of South Kurdistan into Iraq: The Subjugation of Shaikh Mahmud
Abd al-Muhsin’s al-Saadun’s Kurdish Policy
The Mosul Question: Territorial Settlement and Consolidation of the Iraqi State
The Significance of Territory and Boundary
The Constantinople Conference
The Mosul Question Before the League of Nations
The Work of the Mosul Commission of Enquiry
Turco-Arab Nationalist Propaganda and Counter Propaganda
Turco-British Continued Struggle for Oil
The Wirsén Report
The Swedish Proposal
The Permanent Court of International Justice
The Enquiry of the Laidoner Commission
The Decision of the Council of the League
Reactions in Iraq, Britain and Turkey to the Council’s Decision
Anglo-Iraqi Kurdish Policy, 1926-1931
The Kurdish Question and the Iraqi Parliament
Sati al-Husri: An Arab Nationalist Ideologue and Educationalist: His Kurdish Policy
Toward Incorporation of Kurdistan into Iraq
The Sulaimanya Uprising of September 6, 1930
Shaikh Mahmud’s Third Rebellion, 1930-1932
The Barzani Movement, 1931-1932
The Assyrian Settlement
Prelude to the Rebellion
The Outbreak of the Rebellion and the Military Actions Against Shaikh Ahmad, 1931
Following the dismantlement of the Ottoman Empire after WW 1, the Allied powers forged individual states with no particular considerations to their ethnic, religious and social characteristics introducing an artificial state system into the Middle East. One of these countries was Iraq, which was created by the British through the unification of the three former Ottoman Wilayats (provinces) of Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. However, Britain did not employ direct rule in Iraq and was obliged to compromise with the U.S. non-annexation policy strongly advocated by President Wilson. The U.S. entry into WW1 against the Central Powers led to the Allied powers’ victory. Based on this contribution and its anti-colonial policy, the U.S. supported non-annexation of the former colonies and dependent territories of the German and the Ottoman Empires and stressed the principle of self-determination and set about to establish a mandate system under the supervision of the League of Nations.
However, this policy did not rest on any “Wilsonian idealism” but was rather guided by Wilson’s realism. As this study will illustrate later, Wilson conditioned his approval of Iraq being under British mandate to the latter’s approval of the open door policy, i.e. equal political and economic opportunities for the U.S. and especially to have access to Iraq’s oil. On the other hand, Wilson’s concept of self-determination, which at the time had gained currency among the populations of the former Ottoman Empire, gave impetus to the national sentiments already ignited among the Kurds as well as the Arabs. However, the concept of national self-determination as a legal status was applied only in certain East European countries and was not really meant to be applied on countries in the Middle East.
According to the treaty of Sèvres, concluded on August 10, 1920, between the victorious Allied powers and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), the Kurds were entitled to an independent national state. But it was never realized partly due to the Kemalist military progress and subsequent British abandonment of the idea and partly due to the reluctance on the part of the Iraqi government to accommodate Kurdish wishes and instead to incorporate them into the structure of the nascent Iraqi state.
The aim of this book is hence to examine the policy of the British and Iraqi political elites with the objective to create a homogeneous nation-state in Iraq from the time of king Faisal I’s installation in Iraq by the British in 1921 until the end of the mandate period in 1932. In doing so prominence is given to some Iraqi personalities in carrying out this policy. These were ex-Ottoman officers who participated in the famous Arab revolt of Hijaz under Emir Faisal and returned to Iraq when the latter ascended the throne there in 1921 to constitute his closest entourage such as Nuri al-Sa’id, Jafar al-‘Askari and Jamil al-Mifa’i (he joined the government later, in 1930). Others, included Abdul Muhsin al-Saa’dun, who embarked on a political career and served as Prime Minister four terms, and Sati al-Husri, who was Director General of Education from 1921 to 1927. These Sunni Arab personalities who occupied leading positions in several Iraqi governments were actually the new ruling elite of the country. This is of course not to diminish the forceful role of the British decision making in Iraq during the mandate period. Previous studies, despite their valuable information, have either belittled the role of these key figures or have mentioned them only in passing. By highlighting the actions of these men, often motivated by Arab nationalism, and by the idea of welding together different ethnic and religious groups into a cohesive Iraqi nation in a country that not even today has become a nation, this study will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of the factors that hampered, or fostered if there were any, the trajectory of nation-state formation in Iraq.
As the largest ethnic group in the country, the Kurds with a distinct cultural and linguistic identity rejected this policy of ethnic homogenization and struggled for their national and cultural rights. However, unlike later Sunni Arab dominant groups, particularly during the reign of the Ba’thists from 1968 to 2003, who resorted to extreme measures and terror such as intensive Arabization, mass expulsion, and genocide of the Kurds in order to create a homogeneous nation-state, the rulers of the mandate period refrained from employing such methods. Although they also used military force in suppressing the Kurdish national movement, they sought primarily to incorporate the Kurdish region into the newly created Iraqi state and to impose cultural assimilation on the Kurds. Moreover, the British who as the mandatory power were obligated to supervise the implementation of minority rights in Iraq were reluctant to use extreme violence. Overall, the relations between the Anglo-Iraqi Authorities and the Kurds were characterized by hostilities and mistrust and on several occasions resulted in open armed conflicts.
At the threshold of the occupation of Iraq, nationalism had been for decades a powerful political force in Europe with a pervasive influence on the peoples of the Middle East, among them the Kurds and the Arabs. Kurdish as well as Arab nationalists claimed to act in the name of their peoples for their national rights and many of them laid down their lives for their cause. In Iraq, Arab nationalists, in the government alongside King Faisal, despite their cooperation with the British to consolidate the Iraqi state, wanted independence and the end of the mandate rule. Those outside the government, largely consisting of Shiites, desired also independence, but without any foreign rule. On the other hand, the Kurdish national movement under the leadership of Shaikh Mahmud Barzanji and later the Barzanis, strongly inspired by the principle of national self-determination, struggled against the Anglo-Iraqi authorities in order to set up an autonomous government of their own, preferably under the auspices of Great Britain, refusing subjugation to the dominant Arab rulers. This study provides then a historical background of Kurdish and Arab nationalism and their development since their inceptions until the end of the mandate period. Finally, since this study concerns principally the Anglo-Iraqi policy toward the Kurdish national movement, emphasis will therefore be put on significant features of this movement.
The prevailing belief among scholars of the modernist school is that nation and nationalism are modern phenomena, developing in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Anthony Smith summarizes the modernist perspective as follows: Nation and nationalism appeared in the last centuries, in the wake of the French Revolution, and they are regarded as the product of the specifically modern processes of capitalism, industrialism, bureaucracy, mass communications and secularism. 1
Thus, the modern social structure provided the context for the emergence of nation and nationalism. Eric Hobsbawm states that the nation is a changeable social entity which “belongs exclusively to a particular, and historically recent, period. It is a social entity only insofar as it relates to a certain kind of modern territorial state, the “nation-state”, and it is pointless to discuss nation and nationality except insofar as both relate to it.”2 In short, in his opinion nationalism precedes nations, and nations do not create states and nationalism, but the other way around.3 In addition, Hobsbawm focuses on components such as artefacts, inventions4 and “social engineering” that contribute to nation-building and refers in this connection to Gellner:
Nations as a natural, God –giving way of classifying men, as an inherent though long-delayed political destiny, are a myth; nationalism, which sometimes takes pre-existing cultures and turns them into nations, sometimes invents them, and often obliterates pre-existing cultures: that is a reality. 5
Based on the assumption that prior to the modern time no explicit link between nation and state-territorial organization existed, Hobsbawm again refers to Gellner and uses the term nationalism in the same sense as defined by him, that is to imply “primarily a principle which holds that the political and national unit should be congruent.“ 6According to Gellner, due to the relationship between power and culture, nation and nationalism cannot emerge in agrarian societies. A common denominator of such societies is that the ruling class is composed of a small minority of the population, namely, warriors, priests, clerics, administrators and burghers, and is firmly divorced from the large majority of direct agricultural producers, or peasants, who generally have “inward-turned lives”, and are connected to their localities by economic necessities rather than political prescription. This horizontally stratified ruling minority emphasizes cultural differentiation rather than cultural homogeneity. In fact, the state in agrarian society, consist of, two kinds of political units; local self-governing communities and large empires, is more interested in, and benefit more from, extracting taxes and maintaining peace than in imposing cultural homogeneity between its subjects at the lower social stratum.
Thus, in agro-literate societies “the two potential partners, culture and power, destined for each other according to nationalist theory, neither has much inclination for the other in the conditions prevailing in the agrarian age.”7 On the other hand, in industrial societies the relationship between power and culture is fundamentally different; “A high culture pervades the whole of society, defines it, and needs to be sustained by the polity. That is the secret of nationalism.” 8According to Gellner, hence, nation only can exist in industrial societies where the means for the homogenization of culture are available. He holds that “nation can be defined only in terms of the age of nationalism, rather than, as you might expect, the other way around...Rather, when general social conditions make for standardized, homogeneous, centrally sustained high cultures, prevailing entire populations and not just elite minorities.” 9 Similar to Hobsbawm, he takes the view that “it is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way around.” 10
A path-breaking comparative analysis of national movements with the aspiration of establishing national states has been done by Miroslav Hroch. Hroch’s concern is the study of the social basis of the national movements of mainly oppressed and non-dominant East European nationalities. However, since the development of the national movements of the peoples of the Ottoman Empire in some important aspects are similar to the East European ones, it would also be appropriate to use Hroch’s three-stage process for this study.
According to Hroch, during Phase A (the period of scholarly interest), the beginning of the national revival, groups of people or individuals and, above all, intellectuals felt affinity for and interest in the study of the language, culture, and history of the oppressed nation. Characteristic of this phase was the lack of will and interest on the part of the individuals for any organized political or social activity, and they did not even attempt to mount a patriotic agitation. They remained at the personal level of their agitation without any considerable influence on the people and were isolated from each other. They were motivated by patriotism of the “Enlightenment type” in that their affection and interest was confined to solely acquiring more knowledge about the region of their residence.11
This phase, Phase B, which he labels (the period of patriotic agitation) is the most important period for the formation of small nations. It was during this phase that the agitation of the patriots influenced and mobilized a great portion of the oppressed nationality in order to obtain nationalist ends. Language and establishment of various associations and networks occupied a central role in this phase. Hroch maintains that the national agitation was not destined to succeed in all cases and the transition of Phase B into Phase C was not certain, and in a number of cases, this transition did not take place. The transition from one Phase to the other did not occur at one stroke: “between the manifestations of scholarly interest, on the one hand, and the mass diffusion of patriotic attitudes, on the other, there lie an epoch which was decisive for the actual formation of the small nation, an epoch characterized by active patriotic agitation: the fermentation-process of national consciousness”12
In the concluding Phase, Phase C, (the rise of mass national movement), the national consciousness became the concern of the masses and the national movement was solid organized over the whole territory. In addition, nationalist programs normally achieved mass support and a basic level of vertical social mobility was created.13
Hobsbawm stresses the significance of the transition of Phase B to Phase C for the chronology of the national movements. In Europe the transition sometimes takes place before the establishment of a national state, and perhaps as a consequence of this establishment, it frequently takes place afterwards. On the other hand, in the so-called Third World, sometimes it does not occur even then.14
Although Hroch’s study focuses on the development of non-dominant nations in Central and Eastern Europe during the nineteenth century, he argues that the nation was the product of a long and complicated process of historical development in Europe. He traces the development of some of the “fully-formed“ state-nations in Western Europe back to the Middle Ages.In these countries the early modern state developed under the domination of one ethnic culture, either in absolutist form or in a representative-state system.15 For this reason his approach has been criticized to be close to primordialism. However, he contends that such critical views basically stem from misconceptions of his approach and explains that he does not perceive the nations as “eternal categories” and that he has employed the term “revival” in “metaphorical sense.”16
Print-capitalism and National Consciousness
Similar to Hroch, Benedict Anderson attaches a crucial role to national consciousness in the creation of modern nations. According to Anderson, the print-languages laid the foundation for the national consciousness in three ways. First, they “created a unified field of exchange and communication below Latin and above the spoken vernaculars.” Second, print-capitalism gave “a new fixity to language... which helped to build that image of antiquity so central to the subjective idea of the nation.” Third, print-capitalism “created languages-of-power of a kind different from the older administrative vernaculars.” In other words, what, in a positive sense, made the modern nations, or as Anderson calls them, the new communities, imaginable was “a half- fortuitous, but explosive, interaction between a system of production and productive relations (capitalism), a technology of communications (print), and the fatality of human linguistic diversity.”17
Regarding the evolution of the national language and its crucial role in the formation of the modern concept of nation-building, Benedict Anderson stresses the fact that printed literature, print-capitalism, and its dissemination alongside the wide range growth of literacy, commerce, industry and communications, which were characteristic of the nineteenth century “created powerful new impulses for vernacular linguistic unification within the dynastic realm.”18 Consequently, for instance, the Maronites and Copts, many of them educated at Beirut’s American College (founded in 1866) and the Jesuit College of St. Joseph (founded in 1875) played a major role in the revival of classical Arabic and the spread of Arab nationalism. In addition, the emergence of a lively vernacular press in Istanbul in the 1870s marked the birth of Turkish nationalism. This implied the rejection of “Ottoman”, which was a dynastic language of officialdom of the Empire consisting of Turkish, Persian and Arabic elements.19
Central in the modernist approach to the theme of nation and nationalism is that these concepts are perceived as modernist phenomena, that is, as products of a dynamic historical process which has emerged during the industrialization era, contrasting the primordialist perception of the nation formation in the longue durée. However, it is worth noting that despite this fact, it does not imply that affection for a language or the sense of belonging to a certain group or region did not exist before.
Anthony D. Smith, although he concedes that nationalism as an ideology and a movement is a quite recent phenomenon, dating from the late eighteenth century, he traces the growth of national sentiments back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in many states of Western Europe.20 He makes a distinction between ethnic communities, which he calls ethnie (using the French term) and modern ones, the nations. He defines the nation as “a named human population, which shares myths and memories, a mass public culture, a designated homeland, economic unity and equal rights and duties for all members”21,whereas he ascribes ethnie the following main attributes: a collective proper name, a myth of common ancestry, one or more differentiating elements of common culture, shared historical memories, association with a specific “homeland”, and sense of solidarity for significant sectors of the population. 22
Nation and ethnie, Smith points out, are both “forms of collective cultural identity that may coexist or compete with each other…within the boundaries of the political community of the nation.”They are “part of a wider ethno-cultural family of collective identities and aspirations.” This explains why nationalists “appeal to culture and symbolic repertoires within the antecedent populations with whom they claim a deep cultural continuity.”23
Thus, the modern nations, as mass phenomena can be seen as politicized, territorialized forms of ethnies. Their existence is due to a long and complex development of pre-existing collective cultural identities and particularly of ethnie. Smith, however, clarifies that not all ethnies have evolved into modern nations; many earlier ethnies disappeared or were absorbed by others or fell apart, while some of these ethnies have survived from pre-modern periods and often constituted the foundation for the rise of modern nations and nationalist movements.24
On the other hand, other factors of particular importance in the trajectory of nation-building were the administrative, the capitalist and the educational revolutions, which led to territorial integration as well as to political and cultural homogenization that occurred during the transition from feudalism to capitalism. In addition, the need for the standardization and centralization of political and cultural lives were more and more regarded as prerequisites of success of the state-making process. Alongside this process, a strong national consciousness developed.25
The Principle of Nationality
However, during the period from 1830 to 1880, Europe went through a dramatic change. Based on the national principle Germany and Italy emerged as two great powers which altered the European balance of power. At the same time, a number of small countries in southeast Europe, which had seceded from the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere achieved their independence and claimed to be recognized on the basis of the same principle. The problem that arose was the question which of the many European peoples acknowledged a “nationality” would acquire a state and which of the many existing states would enjoy the status of “nation”? 28
It was widely accepted by “the serious thinkers of the subject”, of the liberal era, that the “principle of nationality” would only be applied to nations of a required size. According to this “threshold principle” and Giuseppe Mazzini, the father of the Italian nationalism, and the proponent of the “principle of nationality”, small nationalities that did not fulfill the condition of the threshold could not become independent. Nations had to be viable culturally and especially economically in order to be eligible for self-determination. Thus, the “principle of nationality” and self-determination were implemented in a completely different sense by Mazzini and Woodrow Wilson. Based on the latter’s formulation of these principles twenty-seven states (including the Irish Free State) were created in Europe at the peace treaties after World War 1.
National movements were also considered to be movements of unifying nations. It was expected that small, and especially small and backward nationalities, would benefit from being absorbed into greater nations and hence make their contribution to humanity. An inevitable consequence of this view was that some of smaller nationalities and languages would disappear. This apparently conflicted with definitions of nations as based on ethnicity, language or common history.29 This also certainly was irreconcilable with the concept of self-determination as put in the French Revolution’s Declaration of Rights of 1795 “each people is independent and sovereign, whatever the number of individuals who compose it and the extent of the territory it occupies. This sovereignty is inalienable”. 30
Contrary to the pre-modern era, the modern national states, which ruled over the people directly and within a strictly defined territory, decided in “turning subjects into citizens” through democratization of politics. This implied that the citizens were given “a stake in the country and thereby made the state to some extent ‘our own’.” It was vital for states and regimes to claim loyalty, which they placed at the top of their political agenda, of their citizens. However, the state legitimacy lacked solid ground since not all nationalities constituting the ‘nation’ were willing to be absorbed into the dominant nation or to be eliminated by it. The failure of the state was reinforced by the very process of modernization since it implied a homogenization and standardization of its different nationalities, basically by means of a written ‘national language’. The primary schools became effective vehicles in this process as they disseminated the image and the heritage of the ‘nation’ and instilled attachment to it. The governments were thus “plainly engaged in a conscious and deliberated ideological engineering.” Consequently, nationalist movements, based on culture and language, opposed this kind of state policy and laid dawn political programs which they endeavored to carry out. 31
In Iraq, during the process of nation-building, Iraqi governments as well as King Faisal (1921-1933) pursued a policy of negligence vis-à-vis different ethnic and religious minorities in the country. Their efforts, backed by the mandatory power, were to create a nationally homogeneous nation-state from a heterogeneous population. The Kurds with a distinct culture and language and as the larger ethnic component in Iraq, formulated aspirations for national self-determination, but as this study will show they inevitably came into conflict with the incorporation program envisaged by the Anglo-Iraqi authorities.
1 Anthon D. Smith, Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995) , p. 29.
2 E.J.Hobsbawm, Nation and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth and Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp.9-10
3 Ibid., p. 10.
4 By invention Hobsbawm refers to the inventing of tradition in the process of nation- building. He uses the term“invented traditions” in a broader sense to mean “a set of practices normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.” See idem. The Invention of Traditions (Cambridge, 1983) p.1
5 Ernest Gellner, Nation and Nationalism (New York, Cornell University Press, 1983), pp. 48-49.
6 Ibid., p.1.
7 Ibid., pp. 9-13. The idea of nationalism is originally developed in Gellner’s Thought and Change (London, 1964), pp.147-178.
8 Ibid., p.18.
9 Ibid., p. 55.
10 Ibid. However, Hobsbawm underlines at the same time the fact that Gellner's perspective of modernization is from above that is a perspective which only pays attention to the behavior and action of the political and cultural elite for a certain movement rather than the sentiments, wills and needs of the ordinary people, who constitute the object of the elite’s action and propaganda. Hobsbawm, (1990), pp.10-11. He points out that national identification of these people can shift in any time even within quite a short period of time.
11 Miroslav Hroch, Social Preconditions of National Revival in Europe (Cambridge, 1985), p.23.
12 Ibid. pp.22.24.
13 Ibid. p.23.
14 Hobsbawm, (1990), p. 12.
15 Miroslav Hroch, From National Movement to the Fully-Formed Nation: The Nation-building Process in Europe, New Left Review (1/198, 1993), P.2.
16 Miroslav Hroch, Real and Constructed: the Nature of the Nation, in J.A.Hall (ed.), The State of the Nation: Ernest Gellner and the Theory of Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 94.
17 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 2006), pp.42-54
18 Ibid., pp. 77.78.
19 Ibid., 75.
20 Smith, (1995), p. 38. Despite this fact, Smith, contends that the “modern nation” absorbs many features of pre-modern ethnie and “owes much to the general model of ethnicity which has survived in many areas until the dawn of the ‘modern area’.” See Idem, The Ethnic origins of Nations (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), p. 18. In his book Nations before Nationalism (Chapel Hill, 1982) John A. Armstrong, employs a similar approach to the development of national identity. However, he traces the emergence of group identification, or the ‘nation’ further back to the ancient civilizations such as the Egyptian and the Mesopotamian.
21 Smith, (1995) , pp.56-57.
22 Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (London, 1991), p.21.
23 Anthony D. Smith, Nation and Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History (Cambridge, 2001), p. 58.
24 Smith, (1995), p. 57. Hobsbawm also makes reference to earlier ethnic identities which he calls popular proto-nationalism. He maintains that ethnicity “in the Herodotean sense” was, is, and can draw together peoples from large territories, without a polity, into something which he labels proto-nationalism. For instance, he refers to the case of the Kurds, the Somalis, the Jews, and the Basques. However, he claims that such ethnicities lack historical relation to what is essential to the modern nation, i.e. the creation of nation-state. Hobsbawm (1990), p. 64. Hobsbawm suggests, according to Smith, that proto-nationalism cannot develop politically, and hence, cannot form the basis for the modern nation. Smith argues that Hobsbawm disregards the possibility that these “proto-national bonds” are the very ethnic links that he rejects as a basis for formation of modern nations. See Anthony, D. Smith, Nationalism and Modernism, A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism, (London: Routledge, 1998), pp.127-128. On the other hand, Hobsbawm argues that in some Eastern European countries there existed something like proto-nationalism, but “paradoxically” it evolved into conservatism rather than national rebellion. See idem, The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789-1848 (London, 1973), p. 176.
25 Smith, (1995), pp. 87-91.
26 Hobsbawm, (1990), p. 18.
27 Ibid., pp. 18-19.
28 Ibid., p. 23.
29 Ibid., pp. 31-34.
30 Ibid., p. 19.
31 Ibid., pp. 83-92.
The question what is responsible for the emergence of nationalism and nation-state formation has been answered by prominent scholars on the subject previously mentioned in this study. However, the rise of modern nation-states in Europe and its proliferation in the rest of world followed two different trajectories. While the nation-states in Western Europe came about after the decline of absolutism, in other regions in the world there were different causal mechanisms at work; West Europeans influenced the model of nation-states as standard.32
Iraq-created after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, through the unification of the three former Ottoman provinces of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, after World War 1- came under the auspices of the British as the mandatory authority. The British action of adding of Mosul province to the Iraqi state was to secure their hold on its oilfields and to change the preponderance of the Shiites in the country, given that the majority of the population of the province were Sunni Kurds, as well as to decrease Turkey’s influence in the region.
The creation of modern Iraq commenced once the British proclaimed the Hashemite Faisal of Hijaz, the leader of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire, as the king of Iraq. He, together with the ex-Sharifian officers who joined him in the Revolt, became the de facto power holder in the nascent Iraqi state, albeit, under the British administration, 1923-1932. Being the fervent advocates of pan-Arab nationalism, they dominated the Iraqi politics both during the mandate (1921 to 1932) and the monarchy (1932-1958). During this period, almost half of the premier positions were occupied by them, and the rest by the old Ottoman bureaucratic families (10 percent) or by the Sunni notables of Baghdad (30 percent). Out of the twenty-three individuals who held office of the premiers, four were of Shiites, the rest Sunni Arabs (10) or almost entirely Arabized Kurdo-Arabs (1), Turko-Arabs (1), Seljuq-Arabs (2), Circassians (1), or Kurds (3), all were completely Sunni.33
Iraq, which was ruled by Britain under the League of Nations, was expected to acquire the necessary attributes of statehood and be legitimize by its population. However, during the period the Sunni Arab elite were in power (1923-1932), there was nothing that signified political cohesion or the feeling of national identity. According to Longrigg and Stokes during this period:
There were the deep divisions within Iraqi society (urban-tribe, Kurd-Arab, Sunni-Shia) and the widely various stages of evolution reached by different elements in the population, from the cultured intelligentsia to the mass illiteracy of the tribesmen…there was an uncompromising national character, uncorrected by previous experience in public life, and by its extreme individualism ill-adapted for the workings for any real democracy, yet intolerant of other forms of government.34
During the 1920s the idea of an Arab nation, as was intended by the Sunni Arab rulers to constitute the foundation upon which the Iraqi nation-state would be established, lacked any serious base of support, even among the Arabs of the country. Yet, the new ruling elite endeavored to meld together people from different ethnic groups and different religions into a conscious Arab nation in order to stand up against European powers and to protect the Arab heritage. Thus, the army, a unified administration and schools were crucial tools with which the nation-building project would be realized. Accordingly, Saati al-Husry, the founder of modern Pan-Arab ideology, was appointed as head of the education system, the army introduced universal conscription, and a unified administration of the country by Baghdad-trained officials, eventually ended the indirect rule system that existed for centuries.35 Wimmer argues that:
Unlike the Young Turks, still adherents of an imperial ideology, the new regime envisioned the compulsory assimilation of the different minorities-in fact the large majority of the population-into the main stream of Arabism and, implicitly, Sunni Islam, which was regarded as the centerpiece of the nation’s cultural heritage and its foremost contribution to world history.36
The assimilation policy adopted by the Arab elite in Iraq as an instrument of nation-building proved to be a failure; it alienated the ethnic non-Arab groups, particularly the Kurds. However, on the other hand, as Fred H. Lawson maintains, the central administration in Baghdad was at the time strong enough to exercise considerable influence on the management of the domestic policy during the mandate years, and quotes Roger Owen in this respect as he observes that, “already by the early 1920s the most politically active groups within both the Shi’i and Kurdish populations had accepted the realities of the new order and focused their attention on trying to exert pressure on the power centre in Baghdad”.37
As for the Kurds, they undertook political activities to resist the Anglo-Iraqi policy of ignorance against them; to not accommodate their political and cultural demands, and to instead pursue a policy of Arabization and homogenization of the various ethnic groups in the country. The state of affairs thus prevalent in Iraq during the mandate period, demonstrate the fact that the process of creating a nation-state and its consolidation politicized the Kurdish national movement further. This was in the sense that nationalist feelings among the Kurds gained huge momentum, and took hold on Kurds from other social strata than only the tribal Shaikhs and their adherents, particularly during the few years preceded Iraq’s independence, as this study will show in another chapter.
The policy of ethnic exclusion that the dominant Sunni Arabs in power adopted to build a nation-state in Iraq serves as an example “to illustrate how introducing the nation-state model into a heterogeneous society politicizes notions of ethnic belonging in a pervasive and divisive way leading to a compartmentalization of the polity along ethnic lines.”38
It serves also as a demonstration that in the process of the “unsuccessful”39 nation-state formation during the mandate period, and for that matter, in the period up to the end of the Baath rule in 2003, homogeneity as a necessary component for nation building was never achieved. The Arab elite, strove to eradicate ethnic, cultural and linguistic differences primarily by means of Arabization, thereby the Kurds would be integrated in a single Iraqi national structure. Thus, they neglected Kurdish national demands; in addition, that they as well frequently deployed military violence to suppress their grievances and rebellions. The political structure within which the Anglo-Iraqi authorities operated allowed for a discriminatory treatment of the Kurds. As Wimmer argues under such circumstances:
state resources are then viewed as collective goods exclusively available to those belonging to the ‘right’ ethnic group. The unequal discrimination of infrastructure projects over different regions, … is then perceived as ethnic discrimination, because the state apparatus is dominated by an ethnic group that excludes one’s own from its nationalist discourse. People are thus brought to rally on the basis of their ethnic membership and to launch a struggle to be recommended as a Staatsvolk in their own right, and to be represented by ‘their own people’ in the bureaucracy.40
Indeed, it was the British who laid the foundation of ethnic discrimination in Iraq as they created state institutions through which allowing only the Arab Sunni to exercise power under their guidance. As mandatory power the British were to fulfill their commitments vis-a´-vis both the Iraqi people and the League of Nations and prove under the new international order that came into being after WW1, that they were “the closest friend of the Arab people”. Moreover, they set about trying to form an Arab government and give it all moral and material support to succeed. A note from the Middle East Department of the Colonia Office to the Cabinet confirmed this strategy as it stated that Britain’s:
Whole course of action has been deeply committed us to the creation and support of an independent Arab State in the whole area [of Iraq], and to the rendering of such advice and assistance as may be required to enable such a state to pass through the initial difficulties of its existence… We have committed ourselves to the support of a particular form of government, viz., that of a constitutional monarchy under King Faisal…We have undertaken, under the auspices of the League of Nations and in the eyes of the world, to do our best to make this regime a success.41
As this study will show, Britain remained faithful in their commitment to reinforce the new Arab elite headed by King Faisal. The choice to install Faisal as King of Iraq was made taking into account two main factors. The first was that he was regarded by the British to be a moderate figure who would be able to oppose the Iraqi nationalists who demanded the total withdrawal of the British from Iraq, and the second that he was an ardent advocate of Iraq’s unity, even that he at the same time was a promoter of pan-Arabism. As indicated in the above-mentioned note, for the British it was vital that a unified Arab state be established in Iraq that integrated all ethnic groups. The coercive policy the Anglo-Iraqi authorities pursued against the Kurds during the mandate period left the latter with no choice but to frequently recourse to armed struggle. The ultimate goal of the Kurdish national movement thus became to dissociate themselves from the Arab dominance and form their own government. A powerful driving force behind the Kurdish national movement was the principle of self-determination, according to which nationalities severed at the time from collapsed empires had the right to attain independent statehood.
32 Andreas Wimmer, Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict: Shadows of Modernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) p. 74.
33 Ibid., pp.173-174.
34 Stephen Hemsley Longrigg and Frank Stokes. Iraq. (London: E. Benn,1958), p.90.
35 Ibid., pp-174-175.
36 Ibid. p. 175.
37 Fred H. Lawson, Constructing International Relations in the Arab World (Stanford, California, Stanford University Press, 2006)p. 69-70.
38 Wimmer, (2002), p.173.
39 Wimmer contends that studying the case of a ”successful” nation-building, in Turkey indicates that melding different ethnic and tribal identities (the Kurdish being an exception) in the Turkish nation, resulted in a cultural compromise, providing “sufficient collective goods” to dissolve ethnic groups, thereby preventing their politicization.Ibid.p.67. Karl Deutsch has also worked out a model for a successful nation-building. According to this model national homogeneity and social mobilisation are two necessary components for integrative policies. The process of assimilation and mobilization leads to “complementarity of social communication”, an imperative criterion for nation formation. See Karl, W. Deutsch, Nationalism and Social Communication: An Inquiry into the Formation of the Nationality, (Cambridge:Mass:The M.I.T.Press,1966)
41 Quoted in Toby Dodge, Inventing Iraq: The Failure of National Building and a History Denied (London: C. Hurst &Co.2003), p. 17.
The concept of self-determination was among the key philosophical issues during the Age of Enlightenment. Some of the philosophers of this age, such as Rousseau and Kant, although they approached the relationship between the subjects and the rulers in different ways, they endorsed the values of democratic principle and advocated for government reforms in order to enhance the rights of the people against the authority of the government. They contended that people as rational human beings should have the right of choice even when it is limited. Rousseau, for instance, maintained that the legitimacy of the authority of the state over subjects should only derive from a social contract with them. The government imposes obligations on the subjects as well as granting them their rights. Exercising any kinds of power over the subjects, thus, should only occur with their consent. The focal point in this contract is that the authority of the ruler is conditioned and hence obliges him to carry out his duties. Society, according to Kant, was made for men, not men for society; a ruler should treat the subjects as an end, not as a means. For Kant, Rousseau and other prominent theorists of social contract and natural law, such as Grotius, concepts like freedom of choice, social contract and priority of men were the most persistent qualities of these theories.42
People’s desire for freedom and liberty, and their radical demands such as participation in political life and self-determination evolved from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’ social, philosophical and political thoughts.
During the French Revolution, the radical demands expressed in new principles such as “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” contributed to the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in France. The revolution marked a period of radical social and political upheaval that permeated not only French society, but also the whole of Europe for a long time.
Brownlie points out in his essay that the French Revolution, among other things, underscored principles of equality and government by the consent of the people. Humanity, as the decree of the constituent assembly in May 1790 declared, forms a single unity, and from then on “les droits des peoples” constituted a principle in the cultural and political life in Europe and elsewhere. 43
Furthermore, the French constitution maintains that the French people are entitled to “the Rights of man and principles of national sovereignty as defined by the Declaration of 1789” and recognizes the “free determination of peoples.”44
The concept of self-determination as a principle was a product of the Western condition of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Due to the extension of the European influence throughout the world, Western political idea inevitably spread among the nations outside Europe. The basic premise of the idea of self-determination was the right to the free determination of peoples. Oppressed peoples should have the right to be free and choose their own governments and reject all kinds of alien domination.
The right to self-determination was first proclaimed by Lenin during the First World War. Lenin’s approach to the theme of national self-determination was, of course, materialistic and believed that this struggle was a class struggle and as long as the capitalist system existed, the abolition of the national or other kinds of political oppression was impossible since this “requires the abolition of class, i.e. the introduction of socialism.” Lenin, thus, considered the struggle of the oppressed nations against the oppressors as a necessary step toward a classless society and finally the establishment of socialism.45
Despite the fact that Lenin was conscious that nationalism was connected with the rise of the middle class to power and that the nation-state was a political system typical to the capitalism era, he did not condemn all forms of national movements. He distinguished between nations in the advanced capitalist countries in the West and in colonial countries such as the whole of Asia “where bourgeois nationalism had yet hardly begun its appearance should be encouraged.”46
However, as Hans Kohn argues, by his declaration of the principle of national self-determination, Lenin hoped on the eve of the October Revolution to gain the cooperation first of the non-Russian nationalities in the Russian Empire, which he restored on a new basis, and then peoples outside the Empire. From the inception of his revolutionary movement, Lenin’s focus was on Asia, where he had observed the significance of the new nationalist movements even before 1914.47
At the same moment, political parties in England, France and Germany were divided into two belligerent political blocks. Their positions to the war aims can in sum be described as the advocates of the Old Diplomacy and the New Diplomacy. Each of these antagonist blocks followed a war aims policy which was irreconcilable to the other block. For instance, the exponents of the Old Diplomacy or the forces of order were keen on their decision to follow a traditional policy and method characterized by annexations, secret diplomacy, protectorates, and spheres of influence. In contrast, the exponents of the New Diplomacy or the forces of movement agreed on a common program of war aims, which supported the idea of non-annexation and open diplomacy.48
This polarization of the political parties and movements was accompanied with broad political unrest and disorder, especially among the left-wing and the radical movements of Central Europe. Following the publication of the secret treaties49 by the Bolsheviks, the Allies risked losing the fragile credibility they had with the left-wing movements in their countries. The danger that Lenin could be regarded as the leader of the forces of movement, especially in Central Europe, was the chief reason which urged President Wilson to explicitly adopt the principle of national self-determination. 50Wilson’s declaration of his fourteen points, a master plan for world peace, was embraced by the leftist parties and the radicals who saw their ideas reflected in Wilson fourteen points.51
One of the main causes for the enunciation and application of Wilson’s fourteen points was, hence, “deeply affected by consideration of wartime strategy and diplomacy.”52 However, in light of the evolution of the idea of self-determination in Europe, it is then consistent to hold, in conformity with Hroch, that the principle of self-determination was not “invented” by Lenin or Wilson, but should be seen as a historical phenomenon and as the final stage of European national development.53
The United States had not the slightest interest or any ambition to enter the war. It stuck to its tradition of neutrality and non-intervention. When the war broke out Wilson was persistent in his position that the United States had absolutely “no part in making” the war. Wilson’s attitudes were not only clear and explicitly expressed to the domestic public, but were even known to the European powers at war.54
In his reply to the Allied and the Central Powers addressed to the Senate on January 22, 1917, a little more than two months before the United States entered the war against Germany55,Wilson appealed for a settlement of the conflict; that the peace “must be a peace without victory...Victory would mean peace forced upon the loser, a victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished.” He spoke of rejection of the policy of balance of power, and supported “government by the consent of the governed” and freedom of the sea. 56This notable speech was described by Wilson as firm “America’s principles.” These were later leading principles both for the settlement of the conflict as well as for the Peace Conference of Paris.
The British government welcomed Wilson’s statement, which was considered to be similar to theirs with regards to war aims. However, Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, commented that Wilson’s speech affirmed that Germany must pay indemnity, that its colonies must be submitted later to the Peace Conference and that Mesopotamia should be separated from ”blasting tyranny of the Turk.” 57
Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points
In the meantime, and among other things, as a consequence of the Bolsheviks exposure of the secret Treaty of Sykes-Picot in November 1917, the British Prime Minister was under heavy domestic pressure, above all from the radicals and trade unionists, for a declaration of liberal and moderate war aims. The Bolsheviks, who had seized power in November added to this pressure when they feverishly launched a peace policy; they issued a peace decree on November 8 and invited the Allies to participate in a peace conference in order to end the war in all fronts.58 In a significant speech delivered on January 5, 1918, in London before the representatives of the trade unions, Lloyd George focused on crucial political and territorial issues such as settlement of territorial questions in the war based on self-determination for the peoples of Austria-Hungary. As to the Ottoman Empire, he spoke of the ”integrity of the national Turkey”, but with internationalized straits and that Arabia, Armenia, Mesopotamia, Palestine and Syria must be entitled to “recognition of their separate national conditions.” 59
Wilson delivered his memorable speech on January 8, 1918, in Congress, presenting his fourteen points. The most important were: Point 1 called for “open covenant, openly arrived at”; Point 2, “absolute freedom navigation upon the sea, outside territorial waters…” point 3, “removal of economic barriers and establishment of equalities of trade conditions; point 4, that national armament should be reduced “ to the lowest point consisted with domestic safety” point 5, for an “ imperial adjustment of all colonial claims,” implying that “the interests of the population concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the governments whose title is to be determined“, Point 10 was about “free opportunity of autonomous development “for the peoples of Austria-Hungary, and point 12 was for a “secure sovereignty for the Turkish portion of the Ottoman Empire and an “absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development” for the non- Turkish nationalities and internationalization of the straits. Another important point was, “A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenant for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.” 60 Wilson concluded his fourteen points address by stating, “An evident principle runs through the whole programme I have outlined... It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety with one another.”61
Despite the fact that there were some differences in the declarations of Wilson and Lloyd George, such as the creation of a League of Nations, whichwas central to Wilson’s peace programwhile Lloyd George had only mentioned it en passant, there were as well considerably many similar points which could serve as a political platform upon which they could construct a viable peace program. Among the salient points they generally agreed on were: the principle of self-determination and equal justice under the law; the integrity of Turkey; self-determination of the Arabs and Armenians; the German colonies and finally the establishment of an international organization for keeping peace.62
On February 11, 1918, Wilson decided to make the self-determination as an “imperative principle of action” to be applied with regards to the Germany’s war policy. He addressed the Congress that:
There shall be no annexations, no contributions, no punitive damages ... Self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action which statement will henceforth ignore at their peril ... Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival State.63
On November 4, the Allied powers’ proposed terms were formally approved by the Supreme War Council. They were accepted by Wilson on November 5 and presented by a note to Germany. On November 11, Germany signed the Armistice with the Allies and the United State. Germany had thus accepted the war terms, which were referred to as the pre-Armistice contract based on Wilson’s fourteen points. 64
Despite the tension and disagreement between the United States and Great Britain throughout the war which seemed to be irreconcilable, they were pragmatic enough to submit to the reality of the time and look for common solutions that guaranteed their interests. The Armistice was certainly an important achievement in Anglo-American relations before the Paris Peace Conference, where they put their best efforts together in forging a new diplomacy and reconstructing a new world order.
42 George H. Sabine, A History of Political Theory (London, 1966), pp.428-432.
43 Ian Brownlie, An Essay in the History of the Principle of Self-Determination, p. 92, in C.H. Alexandrowicz.(ed.), Grotian Society Papers, Studies in the History of the Law of Nations, (The Hague, 1970).
44Eyassu Gayim, The Principle of Self-Determination: A Philosophical, Historical and Legal Approach. (Uppsala University,1987), p. 24.
45 Alfred Cobban, National Self-Determination, (London: Oxford University Press, 1945), p. 103.
46 Ibid., p. 103. Smith points out that Hobsbawm also distinguishes between two kinds of European and non-European nationalism. However, he describes the first as a “democratic mass political nationalism of the “great nation” based on the idea of French Revolution and the second, from 1870 to 1914, as “a narrow ethnic or linguistic nationalism, a small-nationality reaction to the obsolete polities of the Ottoman.” See Smith, (1995), p. 11.
47Hans Kohn, (1958), The United Nations and National Self-Determination,The Review of Politics, vol. 20, No. 4.Twentieth Anniversary Issue pp.275-288. , p. 528.
48Arno J. Mayer, Political Origins of the New Diplomacy, 1917-1918 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), pp-3-7.
49 The most important of these secret treaties relevant to this study was the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 concluded by the French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot and the British Sir Mark Sykes. For more information about this agreement see p. 27 and p. 43of this study.
50 Klaus Schwabe, Woodrow Wilson and the Revolutionary Germany, and Peacemaking 1918-1919: Missionary Diplomacy and Realities of Power (Chapel Hill, 1985), p. 18.
51 Ibid., p. 9. In Germany, for instance, lefties-liberals saw similarities between their political war program and that of Wilson’s. Like Wilson they too advocated the “Open Door” doctrine and were against the threat of the Bolsheviks to the political and economic order in the world. P. 392.
52 Allen Lynch, Woodrow Wilson and the Principle of National Self-Determination: A Reconsideration, Review of International Studies, (April, 2002), p.419. However, Michla Pomerance points out that the Principle of self-determination as Wilson conceived it, was generated not only as a result of the wartime development, but it was “ an imprecise amalgam of several strands of thought, some long associated in his mind with the notion of “self-government” ... but all imbued with general sprit of democracy ("consent of the governed”) Michla Pomerance, Self-Determination in Law and Practice: The New Doctrine in the United Nations (The Hague, Nijhoff, 1982), p. 1.
53 Miroslav Hroch, p.298. National Self-Determination from a Historical Perspective, Canadian Slavinic Papers/ Revue Canadienne des Slavistes, vol. 37, (1995), pp.283-299.
54 Thomas A. Bailey, Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace (New York, 1944), pp.22-23
55 The United States entered the war following the German violation of international law by waging a submarine war against it and Britain, sinking Lusitania on May 7, 1915, killing 1, 198 persons, 128 of whom were American citizens.
56Quoted in Seth, P. Tillman, Anglo-American Relations at the Peace conference of 1919 (Princeton, New Jersey, 1961), p. 15.
58 Martin Laurence W., Peace without Victory: Woodrow Wilson and the British Liberals (New Haven, Yale University, 1958 p. 146.
59 Tillman, (1961), pp.24-27.
60 Ibid., pp. 28-29. Concerning the Ottoman Empire, Wilson was relying on a group called Inquiry, which was composed of students from foreign affairs and functioned as his personal staff. They supplied Wilson with data they collated especially about Turkey’s condition. See John A. DeNovo, American Interests and Policies in the Middle East 1900-1939 (Minnesota: Minnesota, University Press, 1963) p. 111.
61 Throntveit Trygvne, (2011), The Fable of the Fourteen Points: Woodrow Wilson and National Self-Determination. Diplomatic History 35 (3), pp. 445-481.
62 Ibid., p 31.
63 Quoted in John Maynard Keynes, C.B. The Economic Consequences of the Peace (London, 1919), p.57.
64 Tillman, (1961), p. 51.
Great Britain’s preparation for the peace settlement with regards to non-European territorial questions was focused on the fate of the Ottoman Empire and the distribution of Germany’s colonial possessions. One of the significant issues that the British were concerned with in their preparations was the role the principle of self-determination would play outside Europe. As for the Ottoman Empire, Lloyd George had stated that Great Britain’s intention was not to “deprive Turkey of its capital, or of the rich and renowned lands of Asia Minor, and Thrace, which are predominantly Turkish in race.” President Wilson had suggested in his speech of the fourteen points, that “The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty.”
It was generally believed that since a peace with no annexations was promised, the states created from the previous Ottoman territories and the German colonies should be placed under the control of a mandatory power on behalf of the Allies or the proposed League of Nations. Thus, Arnold Joseph Toynbee, who served as a British delegate at the Peace Conference, prepared his most important report, “The Peace Settlement for Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula”, which was submitted on November 21, 1918. Great Britain was obsessed with retaining control of the route to its Indian Empire and wanted to prevent France and Italy from becoming major factors in the Middle East. Great Britain’s preoccupation at the peace negotiation, hence, was to persuade France and Italy to renounce their claims under secret treaties, while it preserved the control of the Middle East without any overt annexations.65
The report Toynbee prepared embodied fourteen aims of British policy in the area once under the control of the Ottomans. They were inter alia: 1-European Turkey and Anatolia: Sovereign independence (the balance of advantage, as regards Constantinople, remaining in doubt), 5-
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