British policy towards the Iraqi Shiites during the First World War | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 2515-8538
  • E-ISSN: 2515-8546

Abstract

With the British attack on Ottoman Iraq during the First World War, London and New Delhi focused on the country’s Shiites, imagining that they could incorporate the Shiite centres of authority into British India. The Iraqi Shiites were an object of competition between the Sunni Ottomans and the Christian British. During the war, 1914–18, British generals and administrators deployed a series of images of Iraqi Shiite Muslims, from pragmatic and likely willing to cooperate with a powerful and triumphant empire, to hopelessly irredentist. During the war I argue that officials deployed a set of images of Iraqi Shiites for purposes of their own and the metropolitan public’s morale as well as for propaganda among the colonized. Sometimes British Orientalist beliefs that the Shiites could be wooed from the Sunni Ottomans led them into disaster.

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2021-09-01
2024-02-21
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): First World War; Iraq; Islam; Mesopotamian campaign; Shiites; war
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