Enemy on the Euphrates : The Battle for Iraq 1914-1921
Between July 1920 and February 1921, in the territory known as Mesopotamia (now the modern state of Iraq), an Arab revolt came perilously close to inflicting a shattering defeat upon the British Empire. A huge peasant army besieged British garrisons with sand-bagged entrenchments and bombarded them with captured artillery; columns and armoured trains were ambushed and destroyed; and well-armed gunboats were sunk or captured. Britain's quest for oil was central to its Middle East policy during the Great War and one of the principal reasons for its continuing occupation of Iraq.
With around 131,000 Arabs in arms at one stage of the conflict, however, the British were very nearly driven out. Only a massive infusion of Indian troops and the widespread use of aircraft prevented a total rout. Enemy on the Euphrates is the definitive account of the most serious armed uprising against British rule in the twentieth century.
Bringing central players such as Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell vividly to life, Ian Rutledge's masterful account is a powerful reminder of how Britain's imperial objectives sowed the seeds of Iraq's tragic history.
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