Off to the sidelines of the brutal western front of World War I was a nasty little campaign by British and India troops sent to secure Persian oil fields. Explaining what and how this happened in the early decades of the twentieth century goes beyond being just another history of a distant campaign in the 1914 to 1918 war. The highs and lows of what many British military planners in London considered to be a minor campaign in a distant theatre of operations proved to be a long, costly conflict the results of which still influence events today.
Oil and the Creation of Iraq describes how the policies of allied military leaders of the time resulted in pushing the Ottoman government into partnership with Germany and Austria during World War I, resulting in its disintegration and loss of its Middle Eastern territories. The book then describes how the political and economic aims of the nations involved in the Mesopotamian campaign influenced the fighting and subsequent creation of Iraq, a new nation with few defensible boundaries, but one sitting atop an almost inexhaustible supply of oil and gas.
Part 1: Prelude to War 1. The Eastern Question 2. The Ottoman Empire 3. Mesopotamia in 1914 Part 2: Forces Shaping Prewar Foreign Policy 4. Forces Shaping Ottoman Foreign Policy 5. Forces Shaping Germany’s Middle East Policy 6. Forces Shaping Britain’s Middle East Policy Part 3: The War in Mesopotamia 7. War Aims of the Ottomans and Germany 8. War Aims of Britain 9. The War in Mesopotamia Part 4: Creating Iraq 10. Creating the Iraq Nation 11. The Role of Oil in Forming Iraq 12. From a British Mandate to Independence