From Monarchy to Republic



Nationalist factions were agitating for Arab independence in the time of the Ottomans, particularly in the nineteenth century when the empire was running into irreversible decline. In the twentieth century the British found it useful to encourage Arab nationalists to revolt against Turkish rule, though seeking at all times to contain Arab aspirations for genuine independence. Feisal would be allowed his brief moment of glory in Damascus, before being crushed by French military forces while the British observers, under whose tutelage Feisal had acted, would be happy to wring their hands. The subsequent planting of Feisal in the newly-defined Iraq was never intended by the British as a gesture to Arab independence, rather as a means of securing British influence over the former Ottoman vilayets of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. Now, after the costly suppression of the Iraqi rebellion in the 1920s, British writ would run from the Kuwaiti coast on the Gulf to the Kurdish mountains and the Turkish border in the north.


Middle East Arab World Suez Canal Arab State Army Officer 
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© Geoff Simons 1994

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