Mandate for Mesopotamia

The Draft Mandate for Mesopotamia (Arabic: الانتداب البريطاني على العراق‎) was a proposed League of Nations Mandate intended to be entrusted to Britain that was subsequently replaced by the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of October 1922, an agreement between Britain and Iraq with some similarities to the proposed mandate.

The proposed mandate was awarded on April 25, 1920, at the San Remo conference in Italy in accordance with the 1916 Sykes–Picot Agreement, but was not yet documented or defined.[1] It was to be a Class A mandate under Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. A draft mandate document was prepared by the British Colonial Office in June 1920, and submitted in draft form to the League of Nations in December 1920.

The proposed mandate faced certain difficulties to be established, as a nationwide Iraqi revolt broke out in 1920, after which it was decided the territory would become the Kingdom of Iraq, via the Anglo-Iraq Treaty.[1] The Kingdom of Iraq became independent in 1931-1932,[1] in accordance with the League of Nations stance, which stated such states would be facilitated into progressive development as fully independent states.[1]

The civil government of Anglo-administered Iraq was headed originally by the High Commissioner, Sir Percy Cox, and his deputy, Colonel Arnold Wilson. British reprisals after the murder of a British officer in Najaf failed to restore order. British administration had yet to be established in the mountains of north Iraq. The most striking problem facing the British was the growing anger of the nationalists, who felt betrayed at being accorded mandate status.

Draft Mandate for Mesopotamia
Draft mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine
Draft mandates for Mesopotamia and Palestine as submitted for the approval of the League of Nations on December 7, 1920
Created1920 (draft only)
RatifiedNot ratified
Author(s)League of Nations
PurposeProposed creation of the territory of Mesopotamia. The Kingdom of Iraq was created instead


Lawrence of Arabia's map, presented to the Eastern Committee of the War Cabinet in November 1918

Map presented by TE Lawrence to the Eastern Committee of the War Cabinet in November 1918[2]

Middle East in 1921, UK Government map, Cab24-120-cp21-2607

British Map appended to 1921 CAB24/120 cabinet memorandum showing proposed mandates.

See also

Further reading

  • Dodge, Toby "Inventing Iraq" (2009)
  • Fieldhouse, David K. Western Imperialism in the Middle East, 1914–1958 (2006)
  • Fisk, Robert. The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, (2nd ed. 2006),
  • Simons, Geoff. Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam (2nd ed. 1994)
  • Sluglett, Peter. Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country, 1914–1932 (2nd ed. 2007)


  1. ^ a b c d The new Cambridge modern history. Volume xii. p.293.
  2. ^ Lawrence's Mid-East map on show

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1922

The Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of October 1922 was an agreement signed by the government of the United Kingdom and the government of Iraq. The treaty was designed to allow for local self-government while giving the British control of foreign and military affairs. It was intended to conclude an agreement made at the Cairo Conference of 1921 to establish a Hashemite Kingdom in Iraq.

In the aftermath of the First World War, most possessions of the Ottoman Empire were divided between France and Britain, with the remainder becoming the present-day country of Turkey. The former Ottoman provinces of Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra were proposed to become a League of Nations Class A mandate under direct British rule, known as the British Mandate for Mesopotamia. The idea of a “mandate” was seen with serious skepticism among many of the people of the region as a thinly veiled attempt at colonization, and in fact the mandate was not implemented, as a widespread revolt broke out in 1920, after which it was decided that the territories would become instead the Kingdom of Iraq. On 23 August 1921, Faisal ibn Hasayn was crowned as Faisal I, King of Iraq.

Concurrently, the area acquired by the new kingdom was going through a period of political turmoil. Nationalists who believed that the expulsion of the Ottomans would lead to greater independence were disappointed at the system of government decided for the British Mandate of Mesopotamia. Rather than the people of the region gaining a new sense of national identity through self-government, the British imported civil servants from India who had previous knowledge and experience of how to manage the administration of an overseas possession.

The Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1922 served to prevent uprisings in the intended new Kingdom of Iraq by giving Britain direct control of the kingdom's military, and significant influence over its economic and political affairs.

British Mandate

British Mandate may refer to:

British Mandate for Palestine (legal instrument), a 1920 League of Nations mandate for territory formerly held by the Ottoman Empire in Palestine and Transjordan

Mandatory Palestine, the geopolitical entity controlled by the United Kingdom from 1920 to 1948 under the League of Nations mandate

British Mandate for Mesopotamia (legal instrument), an unratified 1920 proposal to the League of Nations regarding the government of Iraq

Faysh Khabur

Faysh Khabur (Syriac: ܦܝܫܚܵܒܘ̣ܪ‎, Arabic: فيشخابور‎, Kurdish: Pêşabûr‎ ("pre Khabur" in Kurdish)) is an Assyrian town on the northwestern edge of Iraqi Kurdistan in the Zakho District of Dohuk Governorate. It is named after the Khabur River on which the town is built, and lies on the confluence of the Tigris and Khabur river. The town is in a very strategic location, as it lies just 4 km south from the Semalka Border Crossing with Syria as well as being close to the border with Turkey. Faysh Khabur is inhabited by Chaldean Catholic Assyrians, in addition to some Kurds. The town has a large monastery overlooking the Khabur river which was recently restored.

Iraqi revolt against the British

The Iraqi revolt against the British, also known as the 1920 Iraqi Revolt or Great Iraqi Revolution, started in Baghdad in the summer of 1920 with mass demonstrations by Iraqis, including protests by embittered officers from the old Ottoman army, against the British occupation of Iraq. The revolt gained momentum when it spread to the largely tribal Shia regions of the middle and lower Euphrates. Sheikh Mehdi Al-Khalissi was a prominent Shia leader of the revolt.

Sunni and Shia religious communities cooperated during the revolution as well as tribal communities, the urban masses, and many Iraqi officers in Syria. The objectives of the revolution were independence from British rule and creation of an Arab government. Though the revolt achieved some initial success, by the end of October 1920, the British had crushed the revolt. Although the revolt was largely over by the end of 1920, elements of it dragged on until 1922.

During the 1920 revolt, another anti-British rebellion took place in the north Iraq by the Kurds, who were trying to gain independence. One of the major Kurdish leaders of the Kurdish revolt was Sheikh Mahmoud Barzanji.

Partition of the Ottoman Empire

The partition of the Ottoman Empire (Armistice of Mudros, 30 October 1918 – Abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate, 1 November 1922) was a political event that occurred after World War I and the occupation of Constantinople by British, French and Italian troops in November 1918. The partitioning was planned in several agreements made by the Allied Powers early in the course of World War I, notably the Sykes-Picot Agreement. As world war loomed, the Ottoman Empire sought protection but was rejected by Britain, France, and Russia, and finally formed the Ottoman–German Alliance. The huge conglomeration of territories and peoples that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire was divided into several new states. The Ottoman Empire had been the leading Islamic state in geopolitical, cultural and ideological terms. The partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after the war led to the rise in the Middle East of Western powers such as Britain and France and brought the creation of the modern Arab world and the Republic of Turkey. Resistance to the influence of these powers came from the Turkish national movement but did not become widespread in the post-Ottoman states until after World War II.

The League of Nations mandate granted French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon and British Mandate for Mesopotamia (later Iraq) and British Mandate for Palestine, later divided into Mandatory Palestine and Emirate of Transjordan (1921–1946). The Ottoman Empire's possessions in the Arabian Peninsula became the Kingdom of Hejaz, which was annexed by the Sultanate of Nejd (today Saudi Arabia), and the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. The Empire's possessions on the western shores of the Persian Gulf were variously annexed by Saudi Arabia (Alahsa and Qatif), or remained British protectorates (Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar) and became the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.

After the Ottoman government collapsed completely it signed the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. However, the Turkish War of Independence forced the European powers to return to the negotiating table before the treaty could be ratified. The Europeans and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey signed and ratified the new Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, superseding the Treaty of Sèvres and solidifying most of the territorial issues. One unresolved issue, the dispute between the Kingdom of Iraq and the Republic of Turkey over the former province of Mosul was later negotiated under the League of Nations in 1926. The British and French partitioned the eastern part of the Middle East, also called Greater Syria, between them in the Sykes–Picot Agreement. Other secret agreements were concluded with Italy and Russia. The Balfour Declaration encouraged the international Zionist movement to push for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. While a part of the Triple Entente, Russia also had wartime agreements preventing it from participating in the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after the Russian Revolution. The Treaty of Sèvres formally acknowledged the new League of Nations mandates in the region, the independence of Yemen, and British sovereignty over Cyprus.

Mandates of the League of Nations (1919–46)
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