About 9 decades have passed since the end of the British Mandate over Iraq, that day, which was a turning point in the country’s modern history at the political and social level after a long journey of struggle and struggle that lasted 12 years, which ended with the declaration of the Council of the League of Nations on October 3, 1932, the acceptance of Iraq A member in it, thus gaining its independence and liberating itself from the British mandate imposed on it since 1920.
The dispute over how to end the mandate ignited the political conflict between the leaders of Iraq at the time, prompting King Faisal I to invite Rashid Ali al-Jilani – one of the leaders of the opposition at the time – to form a new government, but the king’s move did not succeed in easing the differences, and five governments were changed in two years.
Mandate for Iraq
Mandate is defined as a system of control and administration created after the First World War, with the administration of countries or territories that were dispossessed from the Ottoman Empire and Germany. This system was approved at the Sanremo conference, Italy, in April 1920, according to the professor of political science in Baghdad, Yassin al-Bakri.
Al-Bakri added to Al-Jazeera Net that the Iraqis did not accept the idea of the British mandate over their country, and considered it an occupation, stressing that there was an Iraqi rejection of the mandate formula that culminated in more than one revolution, including the Twentieth Revolution and the revolution of Mahmoud the grandson in Sulaymaniyah.
The Iraqi rejection of the mandate was embodied in the coronation speech of King Faysal I in August 1921. According to Al-Bakri, the speech clearly stated that it aimed at the independence of the Kingdom of Iraq from British control.
For his part, researcher and political analyst Basil Hussein believes that the British Mandate constituted an important stage in Iraq’s modern political history, and in its political and geographical formation.
He assured Al-Jazeera Net that the mandate prompted Iraqi elites to reject it in more than one form, whether by forming delegates from Iraqi personalities from various shades of the Iraqi people to meet the British civil ruler at the time, Arnold Wilson, or by forming anti-mandate societies such as the Secret Reception Guard Society, up to The Twentieth Revolution in June 1920.
The 1920s witnessed a sharp struggle between Britain and the Iraqis, particularly by the Constituent Assembly, over the British presence in Iraq and its political and economic role in the country and the amendment of the terms of the agreement.
Hussein added that there was an escalating national tendency to limit this influence, driven by the support of King Faisal I, until the situation reached the signing of the June 30 Treaty, then the end of the 12-year British mandate and the entry of Iraq into the League of Nations in 1932.
How did the mandate end?
Britain’s control of Iraq passed through several stages, beginning with the occupation phase (1914-1918), then the stage of the British civil government that ended with the mandate of 1920, and continued with the establishment of the Iraqi monarchy until the end of the British mandate in 1932, according to Iraqi historian Sayyar Al-Jamil.
Al-Jamil added that the Iraqi-British negotiations began to conclude a new treaty on March 31, 1930, and the Iraqi delegation was headed by King Faisal I, and the British delegation, the High Commissioner, Francis Humphreys, pointing out that the Iraqi government was publishing a daily statement about what was going on in the negotiations.
Al-Jamil explains to Al-Jazeera Net that on April 8, 1930, the most important statement of the Iraqi government regarding negotiations was issued, including points of agreement.
The agreements stipulated that the treaty in which the deliberations are taking place will enter into force when Iraq enters the League of Nations, and the status of Iraq will be the status of a free and independent state.
The Iraqi historian continues that it also included the termination of all existing treaties and agreements between Iraq and Britain upon entry into force of the new treaty, and the mandate will naturally end.
Thus, the British mandate over Iraq ended, and it became an independent, sovereign state and a member of the League of Nations, according to Gemayel.
The Iraqis found at the time that they were the first people in the region to obtain their national independence, and they also felt that they were in a sovereign and officially independent state that had a membership in the League of Nations. World until 1958.
Indicators of Iraqi Independence
After the end of the British mandate, questions may arise about the fact that Iraq gained its independence, and what are the indications for that.
Researcher and political analyst Basil Hussein believes that Iraq had achieved independence at that time, pointing out that this is due to one of the conditions for joining the League of Nations, which is that Iraq be an independent state.
He pointed out that the matter should be taken into account the historical context and the process of the Iraqi state, and that the independence of Iraq at that time should not be judged by modern concepts.
Yassin al-Bakri considers the independence of Iraq an important and central issue, as there was an Iraqi political struggle to reach this goal, as was the saying of King Faisal I, “Take and then demand.”
The professor of political science adds that King Faisal was able to achieve many gains, leading to independence, by which Iraq became the first Arab country to become independent from the occupation, a great achievement that could be counted for the political elites at that time.
But Al-Bakri believes that it cannot be said that it was complete independence, because Britain sought to achieve this goal in exchange for an agreement concluded by Nuri Al-Saeed (who held the position of prime minister in the Kingdom of Iraq from 1930 to 1958) at the time, and he was enthusiastic about it in order to reach the goal Independence, at least to join the League of Nations.
The Iraqi-British agreement shackled Iraq with many restrictions, including military issues, Britain’s use of airports or its acquisition of military bases in Habbaniyah in Anbar (the west of the country) or Shuaiba in Basra (the south of the country), and its use of roads and railways, considering Iraq a partner or ally in any war it enters. Britain, and these were indeed great restrictions, but according to Al-Bakri, independence – even if only formally – is an important achievement.
Transformations after independence
And on the political reality that followed the end of the British mandate and the independence of Iraq, Al-Bakri adds that the most prominent political transformations were the death of the founder of the Iraqi kingdom, King Faisal I, which was followed by repercussions and repercussions, such as the rush of youth and the rise of national currents.
As a result of these changes, the coup of Bakr Sidqi took place in 1936, and the movement of Rashid Ali al-Kilani in 1941, indicating that all of this represented a growth movement for the national trend, in addition to the growing role of the military in political life significantly.
Returning to the Iraqi historian Sayyar al-Jamil, he summarizes the most prominent political transformations that took place after independence in 5 stages: The first is the struggle of the political class for power with the participation of political forces and parties, and the second is the birth of an Iraqi political current that brings together radicals, in exchange for the birth of an Iraqi political current that unites nationalists.
As for the third stop – according to Gemayel – it is the penetration of politics into the military establishment, and the intervention of the military in politics, which led to the coup of Bakr Sidqi in 1936.
The Iraqi historian continues that the fourth stop was the growth of the regional and international status of Iraq, whose economic value increased by extracting oil. And the fifth stage was the emergence of an Iraqi generation with a new thinking.
Is Iraq still independent?
Analysts and researchers have mixed views on the stability of Iraq as a country that has faced political, security and economic fluctuations and devastating wars in recent decades.
Al-Bakri says that independence is a relative and variable concept, so the stronger the state, cohesion and stability, the more its capacity for independence, in addition to the effect of the stages of weakness, dispersion and division on that.
As for legal, Iraq is considered losing its independence from August 1990 – according to al-Bakri – after entering Kuwait, and imposing sanctions by the Security Council under Chapter Seven, and this legal situation continued until Iraq was removed from Chapter Seven in 2017.
Al-Bakri continues, that Iraq is realistically suffering from a great external influence – at least today – represented by Iranian and American influence, pointing out that this interference has become clear in the ability of the two countries to control Iraqi politics, at the very least in the file of government formation, which is only done by consensus. Iranian American, although not declared.
Al-Bakri believes that the Turkish bases in Bashiqa, northern Iraq, and the Turkish military interventions to hunt the PKK, are all matters that undermine the independence and sovereignty of the state.
Al-Bakri continues his speech by saying that it is difficult to describe Iraq today as independent, but there is a youth and public awareness that is moving towards completing Iraqi sovereignty, whether at the internal level, imposing the prestige of the state, confining weapons in the hands of the state and preventing armed groups and militias, or at the level of the relationship with other countries.
Regarding the disagreement over determining the Iraqi Independence Day and considering the end of the British mandate as a national day for Iraq, he believes that this is normal and is due to the political and security situation and the divisions in Iraq.
Al-Bakri adds that there are those who do not believe in this day, and there are those who do not believe in the royal covenant at all, and who consider that the Republic and Abdul-Karim Qasim (the first ruler of Iraq in the republican period) represent many segments of the poor, as well as sectarian and ideological differences, all of this contributes to being from Difficult to fully agree on a national day.
As for the researcher and political analyst Basil Hussein, he believes that – according to international law – Iraq is an independent and fully sovereign state. In actual terms, however, regional and international interference in the internal affairs of Iraq continues to challenge the sovereignty and independence of Iraq, in making its decisions according to free will.
The political analyst concludes by saying that choosing October 3 as a national holiday is a good choice, because it is the most neutral date.