British Policy towards the Government of the Mosul Vilayet 1916-1926
2018-07-03T15:18:24Z (GMT) by
A few days after signing the Armistice of Mudros on 30 October 1918, British forces occupied the Ottoman province of Mosul, after which its future was a central factor in the formulation of post-war British policy in the region. In general, the studies of this period suffer from discontinuity and lack of cohesion. Previous publications have given incomplete attention to the full range of factors that determined the decision to link the Mosul vilayet with Iraq. Through an exhaustive use of British official archives, this study attempts to examine the factors influencing the British decision-makers to support the inclusion of the Mosul vilayet within Iraq, rather than its restoration to the new Turkish republic or the establishment of a separate Kurdish state in the vilayet. This study confirms that the British wanted access to the potential oilfields of the Mosul vilayet. However, it argues that the Mosul oilfields were not a major element in British policy. It explores the contribution of all of the commercial, political, military and strategic arguments considered by British policy-makers. It concludes that the geo-strategic, economic and ethnic position of southern Kurdistan and the northern districts were the critical influences on both British policy and the League of Nations’ decision to include the Mosul vilayet in Iraq. The inclusion of Mosul guaranteed Arabian-British interests in the area, enabling Britain to reduce its costs and conduct its territorial policy in Iraq. British policy towards the Mosul question succeeded in achieving its primary objectives in establishing the northern frontier of Iraq.