Arab Nationalism During The War ( Fieldhouse, 69 ) Essay
1357 Words Oct 23rd, 2016 6 Pages
In the interwar years, as today, the territory known historically as Mesopotamia was an accretion of tribal societies. The British applied their colonial template from India, creating new districts and populating the subordinate bureaucratic ranks with indigenous “Iraqis.” The fragility of Britain’s project was manifest in the hundreds of fault lines in the new state’s structure, yet the mandate, paradoxically, would depend on an existing, stratified sociality in these territories, in which a very few held most of the power and resources. Britain created what we recognize as modern Iraq by forcing together three distinct Ottoman-era provinces, each of which had complex cultural and religious identities involving Shi’ites, Sunnis, Kurds, Jews, and Christians. The only promising shared characteristic was the Arabic language (Fieldhouse, 72-78). This is the Iraq, ruled by the Hashemite King Feisul and governed by a complicated, much-intermarried ministerial class, that confronts Baldridge and Singer in 1931.
Sketching with Feisul
In Baghdad for only ten days (“a sprawling city, seething with men of every ethnic and religious group”), Singer and Baldridge secure an appointment with King Feisul in his chambers: 13 We were conducted to the suburban residence of Feisul Al Husain, first King of Iraq...It was not the glittering palace I had drawn for Arabian illustrations…