Researcher: Mohammad Sabah Kareem
Supervisors: Gareth Stansfield; Richard Toye
Thesis Type: PhD
University: university of Exeter
link: Source Link
The period between 1914 and 1923 was one of the most important phases in Middle Eastern history; and it was one that shaped the political map and boundaries of the area to exclude any Kurdish political entity. The thesis argues that the British Empire played a most important role in shaping the future of the region. The central argument of the study is that British diverging views and strategies formed a decisive factor in thwarting the emergence of any Kurdish state in the post-Ottoman era and furthermore, the on- the- ground colonial officials were key in directing the British perceptions with regard to the future of Kurdistan. Mark Sykes, in the period between1915 and 1919, and Gertrude Bell, between 1919 and 1923, were the most important colonial officials that determined the future of Kurdistan. British policy concerning Kurdistan was heavily affected by Britain’s relations with other Great Powers including France, America and Russia. The conflicting interests of these powers in the region had a critical effect on the political future of Kurdistan. In relation to this Imperial Game, the study confirms that the oil issue has complicated the settlement of Kurdistan, and in particular it was an important factor behind the British policy decisions with regard to Southern Kurdistan and its integration into the Iraqi State. In addition, the regional Turkish, Armenian and Arab nationalist movements significantly complicated the settlement of the Kurdish Question, in Britain’s perspective. This study demonstrates how policy decisions regarding Kurdistan were closely linked to the way information was conveyed to the British policy-makers. It argues that biased reports created an unfavourable perception regarding the Kurdish Question. On the ground, the only sources of information available to the Government were British officials, agents, missionary groups, and the press, and their bias towards the interests of others, such as the Armenians and Arabs, created a negative image of the Kurds which affected the Kurdish cause as far as the foreign policies of the Great Powers were concerned.