The First Tanker War
If tensions between the US and Iran in the Persian Gulf lead to war, it will not be the first time.
The Battle for Oil in the First World War
At the beginning of the 20th century the Great Powers competed for the right to extract the vast oil reserves around the Iraqi city of Mosul. The motivation – and prize – was energy security.
Sheep Safely Graze: Iraq 1960
Roger Hudson details the defining role played by oil in the predominantly Kurdish-populated city of Kirkuk in Iraq.
Stranger than the Nights
Justin Marozzi admires Hugh Kennedy’s article from 2004, which offers a nuanced portrait of the great Abbasid caliph, Harun al Rashid, much-mythologised hero of The Arabian Nights.
The Epic of Gilgamesh: A Mesopotamian Philosophy
Possibly some innate realism prevented the Mesopotamians from seeing death other than objectively. But the Epic of Gilgamesh remains an eloquent witness to the poignancy of their interrogation of the meaning of human life and destiny. S.G.F. Brandon.
Fiction and Britain's Middle East Mandate
Britain’s involvement in the Middle East between the wars proved a rich seam for authors of adventure stories which, in turn, helped to reinforce the imperial mission.
Iraq's Revolution: Bastille Day in Baghdad
The chain of events that led to the rule of Saddam Hussein began with the murder on July 14th, 1958 of the 23-year-old King Faisal. Antony Hornyold was a junior diplomat at the British embassy in Baghdad at the time.
Baghdad Sacked by the Mongols
The Siege of Baghdad ended on February 10th 1258.
Islam’s First Terrorists
Clive Foss introduces the Kharijites, a radical sect from the first century of Islam based in southern Iraq and Iran, who adopted an extreme interpretation of the Koran, ruthless tactics and opposed hereditary political leadership. After causing centuries of problems to the caliphate, they survive in a quietist form in East Africa and Oman.
Christians in Iraq
Penny Young investigates the situation of one of the country’s less-commonly mentioned communities.
Coming as Liberators
Kristian Ulrichsen believes that the politicians and planners behind the 2003 invasion ignored the lessons of the first British occupation of Iraq, which began with the capture of Baghdad from the Ottomans in 1917.
Iraq: Lessons from Northern Ireland
Peter R. Neumann shows the relevance of ‘The Troubles’ to allied policy in Iraq.
Queen of the Sands
Kerry Ellis recalls the remarkable career of the Englishwoman who saw it as her destiny to establish a pro-British monarchy in Iraq.
The Shrine of Islam’s Tragic Divisions
Corinne Atkins examines the events in Iraq in the 7th century AD, which precipitated the first and only great division of Islam, the ramifications of which are seen today in Iraq and more widely.
Chemical Warfare in the 1920s & 30s
Sebastian Balfour recalls the use and effects of chemical warfare during, and after, the early decades of the twentieth century.
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