Kingdom of Iraq
|Kingdom of Iraq
Es Salaam al-Malaky
The Royal Salute
|Historical era||Interwar period, World War II, Cold War|
|-||Coronation of Faisal I||1921|
|-||Independence||3 October 1932|
|-||Coup d'état||1 April 1941|
|-||Baghdad Pact||24 February 1955|
|-||14 July Revolution||14 July 1958|
|-||1958||438,317 km² (169,235 sq mi)|
|Density||14.8 /km² (38.3 /sq mi)|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Iraq|
|Republic of Iraq|
The Kingdom of Iraq (Arabic: المملكة العراقية Al-Mamlakah Al-'Irāqiyyah), founded on 23 August 1921, was officially declared an independent state in 1932, when the British protectorate (mandate) came to an end.
Although the League of Nations mandate was awarded to Britain in 1920, the 1920 Iraqi revolt resulted in the scrapping of the original mandate plan in favor of British administered semi-independent kingdom, under the Hashemite allies of Britain. The kingdom of Iraq was granted full independence in 1932, following the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty (1930).
Mandatory Mesopotamia was created under the League of Nations Class A mandate under Article 22 and entrusted to Britain, when the Ottoman Empire was divided in August 1920 by the Treaty of Sèvres, following World War I. This award was prepared on April 25, 1920, at the San Remo conference in Italy. France controlled the Mandates of Syria and Lebanon. Faisal ibn Husayn, who had been proclaimed King of Syria by a Syrian National Congress in Damascus in March 1920, was ejected by the French in July of the same year. Faisal was then granted the territory of Iraq, to rule it as a kingdom, with the British RAF retaining certain military control, though de facto, the territory remained under British Mandate until 1932.
The civil government of postwar Iraq was headed originally by the High Commissioner, Sir Percy Cox, and his deputy, Colonel Arnold Wilson. British reprisals after the murder of a British officer in Najaf failed to restore order. British administration had yet to be established in the mountains of north Iraq. The most striking problem facing the British was the growing anger of the nationalists, who felt betrayed at being accorded mandate status.
With the signing of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty and the settling of the Mosul question, Iraqi politics took on a new dynamic. The emerging class of Sunni and Shia landowning tribal sheikhs vied for positions of power with wealthy and prestigious urban-based Sunni families and with Ottoman-trained army officers and bureaucrats. Because Iraq's newly established political institutions were the creation of a foreign power, and because the concept of democratic government had no precedent in Iraqi history, the politicians in Baghdad lacked legitimacy and never developed deeply rooted constituencies. Thus, despite a constitution and an elected assembly, Iraqi politics was more a shifting alliance of important personalities and cliques than a democracy in the Western sense. The absence of broadly based political institutions inhibited the early nationalist movement's ability to make deep inroads into Iraq's diverse social structure.
The new Anglo-Iraqi Treaty was signed in June 1930. It provided for a "close alliance," for "full and frank consultations between the two countries in all matters of foreign policy," and for mutual assistance in case of war. Iraq granted the British the use of air bases near Basra and at Al Habbaniyah and the right to move troops across the country. The treaty, of twenty-five years' duration, was to come into force upon Iraq's admission to the League of Nations. This occurred on October 3, 1932.
In 1932, the Kingdom of Iraq was granted independence under King Faisal I. However the British retained military bases in the country. Iraq was granted official independence on October 3, 1932 in accordance with an agreement signed by the United Kingdom in 1930, whereby the United Kingdom would end its official mandate on the condition that the Iraqi government would allow British advisers to take part in government affairs, allow British military bases to remain, and a requirement that Iraq assist the United Kingdom in wartime.1 Strong political tensions existed between Iraq and the United Kingdom even upon gaining independence. After gaining independence in 1932, the Iraqi government immediately declared that Kuwait was rightfully a territory of Iraq, as loosely been under the authority of the Ottoman vilâyet of Basra for centuries until the British had formally severed Kuwait from the Ottoman influence after World War I and thus stated that Kuwait was a British imperialist invention.2
After Faisal died in 1933, King Ghazi reigned as a figurehead from 1933 to 1939, when he was killed in a motor accident. Pressure from Arab nationalists and Iraqi nationalists demanded that the British leave Iraq, but their demands were ignored by the United Kingdom.
Upon achieving independence in 1932, political tensions arose over the continued British presence in Iraq, with Iraq's government and politicians split between those considered pro-British politicians such as Nuri as-Said, who did not oppose a continued British presence and anti-British politicians, such as Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, who demanded that remaining British influence in the country be removed.3
Various ethnic and religious fractions tried to gain political accomplishments during this period, often resulting in violent revolts and a brutal suppression by Iraqi military, led by Bakr Sidqi. In 1933, hundreds of Assyrians were killed in Simele massacre, in 1935-1936 a series of Shi'a uprisings were brutally suppressed in mid-Euphrates region of Iraq,4 and in parallel an anti-conscription Kurdish uprising in the north and a Yazidi revolt in Jabal Sinjar were crushed in 1935. Throughout the period political instability led to exchange of numerous governments. Bakr Sidqi himself ascended to power in 1936, following a successful coup d'etat.
The 1941 Iraqi coup d'état overthrew Nuri as-Said and placed Rashid Ali al-Gaylani as prime minister of a pro-Nazi government. Ali did not overthrow the monarchy, but installed a more compliant Regent, and attempted to restrict the rights of the British under the treaty from 1930. Rashid Ali's attempted to secure control over Iraq asking assistance of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
On April 30 the Iraqi Army established itself on the high ground to the south of the Habbaniya air force base. An Iraqi envoy was sent to demand that no movements, either ground or air, were to take place from the base. The British refused the demand and then themselves demanded that the Iraqi army leave the area at once. After a further ultimatum given in the early hours of May 2 expired, at 0500 hours the British began bombing the Iraqi troops threatening the base, marking the beginning of the Anglo-Iraqi War.
Hostilities lasted from May 2 to May 31, 1941 between Iraqis and the British and their indigenous Assyrian Levies. The British would continue to occupy Iraq for many years afterwards.
In the aftermath of the Iraqi defeat, a bloody Farhud massacre broke out in Baghdad on June 2, initiated by the Futuwwa youth and Rashid Ali's supporters, resulting in deaths of some 180 Jews and heavy damage to the Jewish community.
After the Anglo-Iraqi War ended, Nuri as-Said returned as Prime Minister and dominated the politics of Iraq until the overthrow of the monarchy and his assassination in 1958. Nuri as-Said pursued a largely pro-western policy during this period.5
Hashemite monarchy lasted until 1958, when it was overthrown through a coup d'état by the Iraqi Army, known as the 14 July Revolution. King Faisal II along with members of the royal family were executed. The coup brought Abd al-Karim Qasim to power. He withdrew from the Baghdad Pact and established friendly relations with the Soviet Union.
- List of Kings of Iraq
- Republic of Iraq
- History of Iraq
- San Remo Conference, the conference among victorious Allied powers that partioned the Ottoman Empire led to the Kingdom of Iraq
- Ghareeb, Edmund A.; Dougherty, Beth K. Historical Dictionary of Iraq. Lanham, Maryland and Oxford: The Scarecrow Press, Ltd., 2004. Pp. lvii.
- Duiker, William J; Spielvogel, Jackson J. World History: From 1500. 5th edition. Belmont, California, USA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007. Pp. 839.
- Ghareeb; Dougherty. Pp lvii
- Gareth Stansfield; Anderson, Liam D. (2004). The Future of Iraq : Dictatorship, Democracy or Division?. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-6354-1.
- Ghareeb; Dougherty. Pp lviii