Wednesday, August 15, 2007

# Posted 10:33 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

THE BRITISH OCCUPATION OF IRAQ: In the closing months of World War I, British forces defeated the Ottoman 6th Army, thus completing the occupation of Iraq. Approximately two years later, opposition to the British presence broke out into violence.
Beginning in May 1920, a series of mass meetings took place in Baghdad to denounce the [British] Mandate. Gathering by turn at Sunni and Shi'i mosques, increasing numbers of Baghdadis attended, providing vivid symbolic proof of co-operation between members of the two sects in the cause of Iraqi independence. (From Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, p. 41)
If only the American occupation had generated such ecumenical opposition!
At the end of June 1920 armed revolt broke out...The revolt gained momentum, deriving its strength from the weakness of the British garrisons in the area, as well as from the strong links between the spiritual centers of Shi'ism in Najaf and Karbala and the powerful armed tribes deployed against the British...Seizing their opportunity, Kurdish chiefs in southern Kurdistan rose up and captured a number of towns near the Persian border...

Within a month the revolt generally was beginning to flag, to the evident relief not only of the British authorities, but also of many of the Sunni notables in Baghdad, apprehensive at the apparent manifestation of tribal and Shi'ite power. (Tripp, pp.43-44)
Based on Tripp's account, it would seem that the British took the exact opposite approach to our own, which has been (until recently) to side with the Kurds and the Shi'ite majority against the Sunni elite.


(12) opinions -- Add your opinion

Based on Tripp's account, it would seem that the British took the exact opposite approach to our own,

What you think david? Is UK Rights in thier chose?
I'm not endorsing the idea, but one of the key logics of imperial divide-and-rule is to side with those who are most dependent upon you, usually the minority.
But David, judging by what we're doing with the Anbar Awakening folks under Sheikh al-Sitar, we're following the British path once again. The sheikhs might have formed the alliance in reaction to Al Qaeda but it speaks volumes when something goes wrong and they come running to the Americans and not the IG, whom they're officially working with.

The fact that we're arming them directly instead of through IG channels makes it fairly clear that we don't have any faith in the Shia government. It's just another form of divide-and-conquerism all over again.
Can You Tell a Sunni From a Shiite? David

Let me take a brief stab at the question posed by Anon 4:14. In terms of results, the British were obviously a step ahead of we are now. The revolt failed and Iraq required only limited attention from the British military thereafter.

Whether the British approach could work now is a different matter. I would say that a critical element of the British approach was the establishment of an Iraqi monarchy under a Hashemite ruler. Strange as it seems to us today, the idea of a new monarchy had considerable legitimacy in 1918.

In contrast, our only conception of legitimacy is democratic. Thus, it would've been very hard to side with anyone other than the Shi'ite majority, although we can make tactical compromises with the Sunnis, as Will points out.
In contrast, our only conception of legitimacy is democratic.

David, with due respect to your view, Iraq now far from democratic state! the fact is the government is prisoner in her Green Zone, Iraqis prisoner in their homes and the chaos any where their.

Talking about democracy in Iraq is just hot air.

May be what’s came from Mahmoud Othman, a veteran Iraqi politician, put it, "The Americans are defeated. They haven't achieved any of their aims." so US lost what directions can take to settle things back in any way or state.

If you thing the majority of Iraqi in support of what US done till now I doubted as this one of may be millions of Iraqi has to say:

The Shiite man, who took Nivat around for her two weeks in Baghdad, in one of the more devastating quotes to come out of the capital in recent times, told her: "My uncles and cousins were murdered by Saddam's regime. I wanted desperately to get rid of him. But today, if Saddam's feet appeared in front of me, I would fall to my knees and kiss them!"
Anonymous 3:40 - I think you've misunderstood David's point. He was talking about the options open to an occupying force, based not simply on what was achievable but on what was thinkable given the political assumptions of the occupiers. The British in 1918 saw monarchy as a legitimate form of government, and could side with a minority in order to create it. The US in 2003 were committed to democracy, and that means you're pretty much obliged to work with the majority. In that respect, the US in 2003 had fewer options available to it than the British in 1918. Whether democratisation has been successful is a wholly different question, and I share some of your criticisms. But David's observation seems to me to be entirely correct.
Thank you, Gladstone. My point was certainly not that democratization has been successful, only that the United States' theoretical conception of legitimacy is limited to democratic options.

A different concept of legitimacy that is valid for many others is Islamic rule. Such conceptions of legitimacy range from hybrids of democracy and Islam to full-bore theocracy. To a limited extent, the new regime in Iraq incorporates certain Islamic concepts of validity.

What is entirely absent at that moment is a concept of legitimacy that is both secular and non-democratic. At times, nationalism, communism, socialism and military rule have all provided secular rationales for authoritarianism. The question remains, if democratization was futile in Iraq, what other options were available to the occupation government?
A different concept of legitimacy that is valid for many others is Islamic rule. Such conceptions of legitimacy range from hybrids of democracy and Islam to full-bore theocracy

First thanks to Gladstone and David for your informative posts and reply.

But David, please I find it really fascinating when US officials or others from US talking about this mix of theirs as you put it in your replay above.

I use to be working with university and I met few American academics before 2003 and we talked about the war, I felt and I really believe more and more that most who rights about Iraq they judging Iraq as if they had in their mind Saudi and Gulf images, this is really sadden me.

Iraq society it's much different from the other Arab states in ME Iraq society was far open and developed in many aspects of life especially as a society contains different religious and ethnics groups which gave Iraq that richness fabric.

As you try to bring Islam and democracy here I think we need to understand we in ME and in Islamic world we have Religion "Islam" but heavily mixed with local culture which in my view that make the sickness with democracy not our Islamic law.

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