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Iraq after the Siege of Kut

Iraq after the Siege of Kut

Despite all its shortcomings and previous defeats, the Ottoman army was still successful on many occasions on the Iraq front, which was very important for the Ottoman Empire. On November 22, 1915, the British were heavily defeated at Kut Al Amara. This unexpected defeat shook them greatly. The Kut Al Amara victory by the Turkish army is a very significant achievement that should be remembered as well and as often as the Gallipoli victory.

The British forces couldn’t accept this unexpected defeat and made a particular effort after that point not to leave Iraq to the Ottoman Empire. To achieve their goals, they employed tactics to divide from within. After the Kut Al Amara rout, the British deep state increased the number of spies in the region, who were very knowledgeable about the fabric of Iraq, speaking better Arabic than Arabs and better Kurdish than Kurds. British also took advantage of people of Middle Eastern origins, who lived in Britain and who thought that they were indebted to Britain.349 The use of Britons of Middle Eastern origin against the Middle East is known to be a deep state policy that is still in use. Many nations, put under obligation to Britain throughout history, were seen to be potential agents willing to serve the deep British policies and were used thus.

Even in October 1918, when WWI came to a conclusion, the British soldiers continued to advance towards Mosul. The Iraq front became a place where the Ottoman 6th Army suffered great losses.

Post-War Iraq

At the time of the signing of the Armistice of Mudros on October 30, 1918, marking the end of WWI for the Ottoman Empire, the positions of Ottoman and British forces in Iraq were as follows:

The British had advanced up to Al-Hazar, Al-Qayyarah oil wells, Altun Kupri, As-Salahiyah and Kirkuk line. Ottoman forces were dominant over Raqqa, Deir Ez-Zor, Al-Mayadin, Sinjar, Tal Afar, Hamam al-Alil, Sulaymaniyah and Halabja line (SOURCE)

The Turks optimistically hoped that the places under Turkish control at the date of the signing of the armistice would be considered the ‘Armistice Line‘. Even though according to the armistice conditions the forces in the region should stay put in their current positions, the British forces didn’t oblige. Continuing to advance, the British entered Hamam al-Alil on November 1 and after declaring that they would invade Mosul, asked Turkish forces to retreat to 5 km north of the city of Mosul.

Ali İhsan Pasha reported this demand of the British to the grand vizier and, as a result of a series of telegram exchanges, the grand vizier ordered Ali İhsan Pasha to evacuate the city on November 15. Complying, the Pasha left Mosul to the British on November 10 and retreated to Nusaybin, where he established his headquarters.(SOURCE) As a result, British occupied Mosul after WWI, in violation of armistice and international war rules.

This occupation, though, didn’t help the British initially, because they couldn’t achieve domination in the region. The tribes and people in the region didn’t want the British. People of Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah refused to pay tax to them, and frequent street fights became a familiar sight. The majority of the indigenous people sided with the Turks. People of Mosul supported the Turkish independence movement that got even stronger with the opening of the new Parliament in Ankara. Even the Arabs in the region considered cooperating with Mustafa Kemal Pasha against the British. Based on British documents, Mim Kemal Öke explains that the Arabs and Kurds in Mosul preferred to trust Anatolia, rather than Faisal supported by the British.(SOURCE) There were multiple reasons behind this choice and İsmet Pasha explained these as follows:

  1. The residents of Mosul vilayet insistently demanded to be annexed by Turkey; because they knew that only that way they could be part of an independent country, and not a colonized people. Furthermore, those people have considered themselves Turks since 1055 and Ottomans since 1514.
  2. Geographically and politically, this vilayet was a part of Anatolia. The British deep state felt it had to get to Anatolia to benefit from the Mediterranean trade and saw Mosul as a key that would unlock the doors.
  3. In legal terms, since Mosul is still a part of the Ottoman Empire, any agreements or treaty Britain signs for Mosul are invalid.
  4. In terms of Turkey’s trade relations and the safety of the region, it is imperative that Turkey controls Mosul, which sits at the crossroads of the paths that join the south of Anatolia.
  5. Most importantly, Mosul is a Turkish vilayet. For centuries, it had existed as a part of a Turkish state, and the Kurds, Arabs and Turks living on those lands are still a part of the Turkish state. Accepting the rule of another country is impossible for the indigenous people, who call themselves Turks.
  6. After the end of the war, the Mosul vilayet, like other occupied regions of the Ottoman Empire, was taken from Turks in violation of the rules of the armistice. For this reason, it is necessary that Mosul, like other occupied regions, are returned to Turkey. (SOURCE)

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