Inventing Iraq: The Failure Of Nation Building And A History Denied
Inventing Iraq: The Failure of Nation Building and a History Denied
If we think there is a fast solution to changing the governance of Iraq, warned U.S. Marine General Anthony Zinni in the months before the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, "then we don't understand history." Never has the old line about those who fail to understand the past being condemned to repeat it seemed more urgently relevant than in Iraq today, with potentially catastrophic consequences for the Iraqi people, the Middle East region, and the world. Examining the construction of the modern state of Iraq under the auspices of the British empire―the first attempt by a Western power to remake Mesopotamia in its own image―renowned Iraq expert Toby Dodge uncovers a series of shocking parallels between the policies of a declining British empire and those of the current American administration.
Between 1920 and 1932, Britain endeavored unsuccessfully to create a modern democratic state from three former provinces of the Ottoman Empire, which it had conquered and occupied during the First World War. Caught between the conflicting imperatives of controlling a region of great strategic importance (Iraq straddled the land and air route between British India and the Mediterranean) and...