Ch3-HashemiteMonarchy2010 - 3 The Hashemite Monarchy...

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3 The Hashemite Monarchy, 1932-1941 Introduction In Iraq, the Mandate system lasted only ten years. Negotiations for Iraqi independence began in 1929, and the discussions between British and Iraqi politicians led to the signing of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty Alliance in June 1930. Through this treaty, Great Britain maintained a neo-colonial relationship with Iraq, meaning this foreign power maintained it influence but not the expense of maintaining the country. Article I of this treaty, for example, requires Iraq to consult Great Britain about its foreign policy. Article V assures British troops access to Iraqi soil, while also providing two air bases for the RAF. Iraq, in turn, was required to seek all military aid from its former colonial overlord. This treaty, which was scheduled to last twenty-five years, was the basis on which Iraq entered the League of Nations in October 1932. Great Britain ceded to Iraq a Constitutional Monarchy, albeit one riddled with contradictions and problems. Thus, Iraq had liberal institutions. There was a bicameral Parliament, for example, as well as regular elections. The executive, however, here signifying the King, was the dominant branch, for that allowed the British to continue dealing with only one man. King
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negotiate with the British. The smooth operation of this system, however, depended too much on the charisma of this one man. Faysal I died the next year, and neither his son Ghazi (1933-1939) nor Ghazi’s successor the regent Abdulillah (1939- 1958) had the late-king’s ability to balance the interests and networks that composed Iraq’s socio-political life. In retrospect, the first decade of Iraqi independence did not bode well for the future of this country. In 1933, Iraq experienced the Assyrian Affair, in which Christians living in near Mosul were systematically massacred--and with the acquiescence, if not active participation, of the Iraqi army. In August of that year, 300 Assyrians would be killed at the hands of their own government, leading the international community to question Iraq’s ability to govern itself. Hikmat Suleyman (1889-1964) gave the order that led to this massacre, while General Bakr Sidqi (1890-1937) carried it out. The Assyrians sought autonomy from the central government, so most Iraqis considered these two men heroes. Together, they would further destabilize the regime in 1936, when Sidqi organized a coup d’etat that resulted in the appointment of the Suleyman as Prime Minister. In retrospect, this is the moment when the army, which grew from 12,000 men to 43,000 between 1932 and 1941, began to play a key role in Iraq’s governance (Tripp, 76). 136
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2011 for the course HIST 246 taught by Professor Holden during the Spring '11 term at Purdue.

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Ch3-HashemiteMonarchy2010 - 3 The Hashemite Monarchy...

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