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Britain's policy towards the Kurdish question, 1915-1923.

Eskander, Saad Basheer (1999) Britain's policy towards the Kurdish question, 1915-1923. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The end of the First World War in 1918 signalled the downfall of the old order in the Middle East by the virtual death of the Ottoman Empire, with its ancient social, economic and political system. The consolidation of Britain's strategic, economic and political position in that region was bound to affect Kurdistan's political future, given its determination to re-construct a new regional order. Indeed, by virtue of its control over most of the former Ottoman territories, Britain was able to play a leading part in the formation process of the modern Middle East, which witnessed the emergence of the so-called national states in Mesopotamia and Palestine. The main objective of this thesis is to understand Britain's role in the re-partitioning of Kurdistan between Mesopotamia, Syria and Turkey by examining the evolution of its Kurdish policy and the various factors that re-shaped it. Three major conclusions can be derived from the evolution of Britain's position on the Kurdish question. The first conclusion is the supremacy of strategic considerations over economic ones as the principal driving force behind Britain's policy towards Kurdistan's future. The second conclusion is that certain British officials on the ground played an important part in influencing the future of Kurdistan after the war. Between 1918 and 1920, Colonel Wilson, in his capacity as the Civil Commissioner, and Major Noel, in his capacity as the most important British expert on Kurdish affairs, played a crucial part not only in colouring London's views on the Kurdish question, but also in influencing the direction of political developments in Southern Kurdistan. In the following period, 1921-1923, Percy Cox, the new High Commissioner, played a crucial part in Southern Kurdistan's incorporation into Iraq. Lastly, examination of British policy reveals that in none of its historical phases were Britain's strategic interests compatible with the nationalist aspirations of the Kurds, unlike those of the Zionist and Sharifian nationalist movements. There was always a clear contradiction between the requirements of a successful British policy towards Turkey and Persia, and the political objectives of the Kurdish nationalist movement.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, History, European, History, Middle Eastern
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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