Between July 1920 and February 1921, in the territory known as Mesopotamia - now the modern state of Iraq - an Arab uprising came perilously close to inflicting a shattering defeat upon the British Empire. A huge peasant army led by Shi'i clerics, Baghdad notables, disaffected sheikhs and former Ottoman army officers surrounded and besieged British garrisons with sand-bagged entrenchments; British columns and armoured trains were ambushed and destroyed; and well-armed British gunboats were sunk or captured. The quest for oil was central to Britain's Middle East policy during the First World War and was one of the principal reasons for its continuing occupation of Iraq. However, with around 131,000 Arabs in arms at one stage of the conflict, the British were very nearly driven out. Only a massive infusion of Indian troops and the widespread use of aircraft prevented a total rout. Enemy on the Euphrates is the definitive history of the first British occupation of Iraq and the revolt against it in 1920 - the most serious armed uprising against British rule in the twentieth century.
Using a wealth of primary sources, Ian Rutledge brings central players such as Winston Churchill, Arnold Wilson, T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell and Sir Mark Sykes vividly to life in this gripping account.
Ian Rutledge is an economist and historian. A graduate of the University of Cambridge where he received his PhD in Economic History, Rutledge is Research Director and co-founder of the Sheffield Energy Resources Information Services (SERIS). He has taught at the Universities of London and Sheffield and for the Workers' Educational Association (WEA). His other publications include Addicted to Oil: America's Relentless Drive for Energy Security. He lives in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
Contents: List of Maps xi Glossary xiii Note on Arabic Transliteration xix Abbreviations xxi Preface xxiii The Principal Actors xxix PART ONE: INVASION, JIHAD AND OCCUPATION 1 Indications of Oil 5 2 Lieutenant Wilson's First Mission 11 3 'Protect the oil refineries' 23 4 Arab Mobilisation on the Euphrates 28 5 The Jihad Defeated 41 6 Pacifying Arabistan 49 7 Imperial Objectives in the East 56 8 The Menace of Jihad and How to Deal with It 71 9 The Lieutenant from Mosul 76 10 The Peculiar Origins of an Infamous Agreement 82 11 Two British Defeats but a New Ally 89 12 Colonel Leachman and Captain Lawrence 97 13 Mosul and Oil 107 14 'Complete liberation' 123 15 Najaf 1918: First Uprising on the Euphrates 137 16 Britain's New Colony 147 17 The Oil Agreements 155 18 The Independence Movement in Baghdad 165 19 General Haldane's Difficult Posting 195 20 Trouble on the Frontiers 211 PART TWO: REVOLUTION AND SUPPRESSION 21 The Drift to Violence 237 22 The Revolution Begins 249 23 Discord and Disputation 255 24 General Haldane's Indian Army 262 25 'The situation has come to a head' 276 26 The Destruction of the Manchester Column 293 27 'Further unfavourable developments' 312 28 The Structures of Insurgent Power 335 29 Trouble on the Home Front 345 30 The Siege of Samawa 356 31 Defeat 373 32 A Death on the Baghdad Road 378 33 The Punishment 380 34 A 'Friendly Native State' 392 Afterword 392 Appendix: Some Biographical Notes 405 Acknowledgements 411 Notes 415 Bibliography 447 Index