State of Iraaq
In 1920 several rebellions ocured in the Ottoman Empire. The Kurds, the Armenians and the Syrians fought for independence. While Syria was successful, proclaiming the Sultanate of Syria, the others were forced to move away. To make that possible troops from other areas of the empire were used. Among them there were those who were in Iraaq.
With less military turkish presence in Iraaq the iraaqi also rebelled, using weapons captured during the First Great War and others supplied by foreign arms dealers.
Instead of proclaiming a new independent state the Iraaqi, who were divided in a majority of Shiite and a minority of Sunni, started to fight each other to take control of the province. These fights were much violent and became a real genocide causing more than two hundred thousand dead.
The international reaction
At first foreign powers ignored what was going on in Iraaq but when the first thousands of refugees arrived to Kuwayt (at the time an english protectorate) this situation became known among the international circles of power.
At the League of Nations was started a debate about what could be done. After several weeks of debate finally the LoN decided to intervene. As the Federated Kingdoms were the nearest powerful military forces, thanks to its presence in Kuwayt (by english) and in the Trucial States (by Kemr), these were chosen to lead a League mandate with three main goals:
- Disarming the civilians.
- Pacifying Iraaq.
- Establishing the basis to make possible the independence of Iraaq in future.
Coming from Kuwayt the english arrived with 10 000 men, commanded by general Martin Wolseley. Few later arrived 5 000 kemrese soldiers, commanded by general Ffrencisc Rhoch. Later a smaller contingent of Scots (1 000 soldiers) arrived to Iraaq, under the command of general Alasdair MacDunn. Later reinforcements were sent.
The joint mandate troops progressed easily trough iraaqi territory as the rebellion there hadn’t a unified leadership and when they arrived in Baghdaad they proclaimed the State of Iraaq as a League mandate although the Turkish Ottoman protests. All the three generals leading each mandate armies became some kind of regents of the newly created state.
Together they commanded the operations and administrated the country but this became a terribly hard task as the Iraaqi saw these troops as foreign occupation forces. Fights between the rebelled iraaqi and the FK troops became as violent as the fights between Shiite and Sunni.
On the 24th December 1920 the Sunni inflicted a terrible defeat to kemrese troops near Tikrit in an episode which became known as the Christmas Eve Disaster or the Tikrit Massacre. On that day more than 1 000 kemrese soldiers were killed by the Sunni troops being leaded by Sayyad Ali el-Keilany (later general and prime minister of Iraaq during King Ghazi I rule and for a short time regent after the king’s death).
Since then the parliamentary opposition in every kingdom of the FK started to battle government defending the retreat from Iraaq as they considered Iraaq wasn’t the business neither from England nor from Kemr nor from Scotland. Press then described Iraaq as a “useless large portion of sand”. For them was an internal arab problem. As result the several FK governments started to highly pressure the military commands in Iraaq to show results and as consequence their troops became highly repressive.
Retreat was something quite problematic. None of the FK wanted to show the world as a military defeat and full scale failure after their victory at the First Great War. Governments from the FK decided to an honorable retreat leaving Iraaq to an arab leadership showing the world they were able to make of Iraaq a fully independent country and to wash their hands of what could happen next.
They started to look for a local leader who could replace the League mandate leadership but as the FK became highly unpopular in Iraaq no one among local leaders accepted to cooperate with them. Finally solution was found not with an iraaqi leader but with an ambitious great arab leader from outside Iraaq, King Faisal I of Hijaaz. Besides King Faisal was faithful to FK powers since the Arab Rebellion of 1916-18.
Finally in August 1921 King Faisal was crowned king of the Hashemite Kingdom of Iraaq, new political entity which replaced the State of Iraaq.
The shockwaves of the League mandate in Iraaq were quite felt in the FK, especially in Kemr. Opposition explored the military failure and the kemrese Labour Party started a voting recession. On the parliamentary elections of 1922 they lost 25 seats at the Lower House of the Kemrese Senate losing the absolute majority they had won in 1918.
Kemr lost 3 500 soldiers in Iraaq among a total of 15 000 sent. England sent 40 000 and lost 2 000 and Scotland sent 7 000 and lost 500. It’s unknown how many iraaqi died due to the FK intervention but some say they were more than 20 000.
King Faisal I gathered Iraaq and Hijaaz in a personal union. Pacification was only attained in 1927, after oil was found in Iraaq. The king bought the local leaders’ loyalty with oil concessions which made them much wealthy.
See main article: Postal history of Iraaq
During the period 1920 to 1921 the English Mandate Forces issued the first iraaqi stamps. In fact these first ones were simply ottoman issues locally overprinted with the following writings: "Iraaq English Mandate", "State of Iraaq" and "English Mandate in Iraaq".
None of the other mandate forces issued stamps.
These stamps are now rare and quite valuable and were all replaced by new ones after 1921, as Iraaq came over Hashemite dominance.