THE CONTRADICTORY MOTIVATIONS OF BRITAIN
IN THE MIDDLE EAST
When the British gained power over Iraq in 1917, General Maude stated that they did not come to occupy Iraq, but rather to liberate the inhabitants. This essay will analyze Britain's power position in the Middle East and later on in Iraq, trying to determine their motivations. In addition, several quotes will be considered to compare the intentions of European and American occupiers in the Middle East. Egypt was the first country in the Middle East which was subjected to the Franco-British rivalry, which started as an aftermath of the French Revolution in 1789 (Cleveland and Bunton 2009, 65). When the British demolished the French in the same year, it could be marked as the dawn of Britain as a superpower in the Middle East (Cleveland and Bunton 2009, 65). The British successfully occupied Egypt in 1882 and with that the economic sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire was lost (Cleveland and Bunton 2009, 81).
This way, Britain was able to establish their position in the Ottoman Empire, all whilst acting on behalf of their imperial and economic interests, which eventually resulted in British control in several territories such as Iran, Sudan, Kuwait and Bahrain (Cleveland and Bunton 2009, 103 & 105). Baghdad and southern Iraq was brought under British control in 1917 (Cleveland and Bunton 2009, 152). As a result of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Iraq was established as a state. When Britain gained control over Iraq, they simultaneously enhanced their position in the Persian Gulf, secured the approaches to India, and acquired access to petroleum resources (Cleveland and Bunton 2009, 164). After encountering resistance among the population of Iraq, the British created treaties. These treaties granted Iraq a limited form of "independence" through which Britain could secure its...