Iraq: Then and Now

1917: British troops supported by Arabs and Indians invade Iraq. The invasion proved to be more costly than anticipated with 40,000 British deaths. TE Lawrence, who helped overthrow the Turks, wrote that the British public was tricked into invading Iraq.
2003: US coalition invades Iraq with lies about alleged weapons of mass destruction (never found). What was anticipated to be a short conflict is now in its fifth year.

1917: UK promised the Arabs freedom in return for helping fight the Turks, while secretly making an agreement with France to divide and rule the land.
2003: US promises freedom to Iraqis after overthrowing Saddam. Nothing yet after five years.

1921: UK installed the pro-British government of King Faisal.
2005: Pro-US government installed in Iraq.

1920: Rather than welcome them as liberators, Iraqis rebelled against British. UK used air force to bomb civilians, houses, crops and cattle with mustard gas bombs. Heavy reprisals in Najaf, Kufa and Fallujah. 10,000 Iraqis killed.
1990’s: 1,2 million Iraqi children killed under US/UN sanctions. 2004: Iraqi rebellion against US/UK. Heavy bombardment of civilians. Over 100,000 killed.

Divide and Rule
1917: UK created Iraq from 3 provinces pitting Sunni against Shia against Kurd.
2005: Separate autonomous areas created for Sunni, Shia and Kurds.

1917: UK had oil interests in Persia (Iran) and a friendly Iraq would help. In 1927, huge oil fields were discovered in Iraq and rights granted to a British company.
2003: US oil interests threatened by Saddam and Iran.

History is repeating itself in Iraq. After initially thinking that it would be a walk-over, the British in the 1920’s left Iraq with a puppet government and serious rifts among Iraqis. Iraq was in turmoil. Oil was completely in UK/US control, but at great cost both to Iraqis and the British. The same is happening now.