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Churchill's Folly

As Britain's colonial secretary in the 1920s, Winston Churchill made a mistake with calamitous consequences and unseen repercussions extending into the twenty-first century. Christopher Catherwood, scholar and adviser to Tony Blair's government, examines Churchill's creation of the artificial monarchy of Iraq after World War One, forcing together unfriendly peoplesSunni Muslim Kurds and Arabs, and Shiite Muslimsunder a single ruler. Defying a global wave of nationalistic sentiment and the desire of subjugated peoples to rule themselves, Churchill put together the broken pieces of the Ottoman Empire and unwittingly created a Middle Eastern powder keg. Inducing Arabs under the thumb of the Ottoman Turks to rebel against rule from Constantinople, the British during WWI convinced the Hashemite clan that they would rule over Syria. However, Britain had already promised the territory to the French. To make amends after the Great War, Churchill created the nation called Iraq and made the Hashemite leader, Feisel, king of a land to which he had no connections. Catherwood examines Churchill's decision, which resulted in a 1958 military coup against the Iraqi Hashemite government and a series of increasingly bloody regimes until the ultimate nightmare of Ba'athist party rule under Saddam Hussein. Photographs and maps are included.
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About the Author

Christopher Catherwood, as constultant to the Blair cabinet's Strategy Unit, worked in the Admiralty building where Churchill was based (1939-40) as First Lord of the Admiralty. He teaches history at the universities of Cambridge and Richmond (Virginia), where he is annual Writer in Residence. His books include Why the Nations Rage: Killing in the Name of God, Britain's Balkan Dilemma in World War II and Christians, Muslims and Islamic Rage.

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