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‘A sketch of the political history of Persia, Iraq and Arabia, with special reference to the present campaign.’ [‎33] (43/58)

The record is made up of 29 folios. It was created in 1917. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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In the prolonged conflicts of Central Arabia the Bntish
Government declined to take any part, on the ground that our
interests were strictly limited to the affairs of the Gulf. 1 he
suppression of piracy, of the slave trade and of the traffic in
arms were the main features of our policy and with these ends
in view we entered into treaty relations with the Sultan of
'Oman, or as he is now called the Sultan of Muscat, and in
1798 with the chiefs of the Trucial Coast The historic term used by the British to refer to the Gulf coast of Trucial Oman, now called United Arab Emirates. and the i_haikh ot
Bahrain in 1820. A series of agreements have secured the
peace of the sea and safeguarded the interests of Great Britain.
A claim made by the Porte to sovereignty over Bahrain was
summarily rejected by the British Government in 18ol.
But if it was comparatively easy to protect these remoter
regions of the Gulf from Ottoman interference, the geographical
position of the Shaikh of Kuwait made it more difficult to
uphold his semi-autonomy. Until the end of the 19th century
Great Britain took little interest in the affairs of Kuwait, and
the province was generally regarded as falling within the limits
of Ottoman control. But aft^r the accession, in 1896, of Shaikh
Mubarak, a man of rare political acumen, doubts arose as to
whether the connection of Kuwait with the Porte was as close
as had been supposed. In 1897 Mubarak asked for British
protection against Turkish aggression and after some hesita
tion an exclusive agreement was concluded between Great
Britain and Kuwait in 1898. The development of the Baghdad
railway scheme offered new perils. The possibility that Kuwait
would prove the best terminus on the Gulf redoubled the desire
of the Turks to turn suzerainty into sovereignty, and awakened
on our part a lively sense of the identity of the Shaikh's interests
with our own. In 1904 a British Agent was appointed and
the independence of Kuwait was upheld in a comprehensiv e
agreement with the Ottoman Governn ent which was on the
point of conclusion at the outbreak of the war. The British
occupation of Mesopotamia put an end to Mubarak's anxieties.
He died in the winter of 1915, but his policy of close friend
ship with Great Britain was continued by his son and successor,
Shaikh Jabar, and when Jabar died in 1917 his brother Salim,
who succeeded him, expressed his determination to follow
the same course.
Far more vital to Turkish interests than an acknowledged
suzerainty over the sands and scattered cases of Central Arabia,
or even over the shores of the Gulf, was the retention of an

About this item


The volume is an overview of the political history of Persia, Iraq and Arabia, authored by the Office of the Chief Political Officer, Indian Expeditionary Force “D”, and printed by the Superintendent Government Printing, Calcutta [Kolkata], India in 1917. The volume is divided into a number of chapters:

1. An introduction to the political history of Persia, Iraq and Arabia, chiefly concerning Britain’s history of naval intervention and military occupation in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. , and its efforts in eradicating the slave trade, arms traffic and piracy;

2. A chapter entitled ‘The Arab attitude in Iraq before the War’, including: political conditions in Turkish Iraq prior to the War; the arrival of the Indian Expeditionary Force “D” at the start of the War; Ottoman ‘jihad’ against the British; Arab attitudes to the British in Iraq, central Arabia and Persian Arabistan;

3. British relations with Arabistan, including an overview of the Anglo-Persian War (1856-57), and a brief outline of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company’s activities in the region;

4. The Bakhtiari tribes, their leaders and their standing with the Persian Government, and the importance of maintaining British relations with them, with reference to trade routes, the maintenance of order in the oil fields, and the maintenance of friendly relations with the Shaikh of Muhammareh [Khorramshahr] and the Russians at Ispahan [Isfahān, or Eṣfahān];

5. Pusht-i-Kuh – ‘the right flank of Indian Expeditionary Force “D”’: a description of the area, and its strategic and economic importance, including: topography; climate; the position and powers of its Wali [governor] (taken from Lorimer’s Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. ), the Wali’s relatives; and Kaka Siyah, who reside in the region and who are of African origin;

6. Arabia – the left flank of Indian Expeditionary Force “D”. The chapter is divided into two parts. The first part is a general description of the Arabian peninsula, including: topography and geographic features; political powers in Arabia: the Wahhabi, with a history of their development and territorial gains; Egypt; Ibn Rashid [Ibn Rashīd]; the British Government; and Turkish interests in Arabia. The second part is a detailed historical outline of British relations with Ibn Sa‘ūd;

7. Entitled The Trend of Turkish policy before the War and since (official) , and subdivided into parts on internal and external politics. The first part includes an assessment of the characteristics of ‘Ottoman people’ and their Government, the second concentrates on German influence and activity in Ottoman territories.

There are pencil annotations on the front flyleaf of the volume (folio 2), which make note of sections within the volume, with the corresponding page numbers.

Extent and format
29 folios

The volume is arranged into seven chapters (I-VII), with subject subheadings used to organise each. A contents page (f 4), referencing the volume’s pagination sequence, lists the chapter headings. A preface (f 5) precedes the chapters.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: There is a foliation sequence, which is circled in pencil, in the top-right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio. It begins on the front cover, on number 1, and ends on the inside of the back cover, on number 29.

Pagination: A printed pagination system runs through the volume (ff 7-27), the numbers of which are located top and centre of each recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. and verso The back of a paper sheet or leaf. .

Written in
English in Latin script
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‘A sketch of the political history of Persia, Iraq and Arabia, with special reference to the present campaign.’ [‎33] (43/58), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/20/C150, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 February 2020]

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