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f_0021871_18107 - ALTERNATIVES Turkish Journal of...

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A LTERNATIVES: Turkish Journal of International Relations Vol.9, No.4, 91-132, Winter 2010 British Legacy and Evolution of Kurdish Nationalism in Iraq (1918-1926): What Significance the ‘Mosul Question’? * Zeynep Arıkanlı ** Abstract This article aims to study the British modalities of managing Kurdish nationalism in the vilayet 1 of Mosul in the 1918-1926 period, when both Kurdish nationalism and Iraqi state-building were in their formative (if not infancy) period. There are two inter-dependent arguments: First, the new British policies of the post-WWI period were also in their formative period, since they were being formed through the issue of a geo-political and frontier re-structuring necessitated by the new international order. Second, Kurdish nationalism in the Mosul province evolved in the prism of the British policies, constituting both a trump card for and a challenge to the Kurdish population. This duality, I will argue, became the main characteristic of Kurdish nationalism in the future configurations in Iraq in particular, and in the Middle East, in general. This duality was the direct outcome of the British policies in the post-WWI period, which were stamped with a considerable polyarchy and tergiversations, due both to the uncertainties generated * This article is a part of a research project entitled as British Legacy in the Middle East: Continuities and Ruptures , led under the direction of Prof. Dr. Mrs. Beril DEDEOGLU. The author thanks to the Commission for Scientific Research Projects of the Galatasaray University which financed the above-mentioned project. ** Department of International Relations, the Galatasaray University, Istanbul, Turkey, [email protected] .
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92 Zeynep Arıkanlı Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 9, No. 4, Winter 2010 by the post-WWI period, the necessity of adapting to the new principles of the international order and inter-departmental competition. These polyarchy and tergiversations became manifest in the Iraqi state-building process, especially before the settlement of the Mosul question, the old Ottoman province with a substantial Kurdish population. In other words, it was in the vilayet of Mosul during this period (1918-1926) that the re-structuring of the British policies in the post-WWI era was crystallized -with all their ups-and-downs. Key words : British policies, Iraq [Mesopotamia], Kurds, Kurdish nationalism, Mandates System, mandate, Mosul [Mosul Question] Introduction Post-World War I (WWI) witnessed the breakup of Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires and saw an ensuing transition from massive multinational political entities to nation-states. In the context of the Middle East, this transition implied, among many other changes, that the region’s map was now redrawn on the presumed principle of nationality, with almost rigid frontiers, a concept alien to the largely Islamic territories. In this context, Kurdish nationalism constituted a serious challenge both against mandatory powers (i.e. France and Great Britain) which had to adapt their policies to
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