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The GuardiansThe League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire$
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Susan Pedersen

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570485

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570485.001.0001

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An Independence Safe for Empire

An Independence Safe for Empire

(p.261) Nine An Independence Safe for Empire
The Guardians

Susan Pedersen

Oxford University Press

Only one mandated territory achieved independence during the system's effective life. This was Iraq, which was ‘emancipated’ and made a League member through Assembly vote in 1932. But with sovereignty unclear and economic rights shared by all, what did ‘independence’ mean? This chapter explores Britain's campaign to craft and then win international support for a new kind of independence in Iraq, one through which it retained control of Iraq's air bases and oil resources, while ceding formal sovereignty. It shows how the Mandates Commission was brought to agree to Iraqi independence, despite Germany's charge that Britain was creating a ‘protectorate in disguise’ and members' fears that the new state would — as it did — crack down on Assyrian and Kurdish minorities. This episode illustrates the beginnings of the postwar bargain over decolonization.

Keywords:   Iraq, independence, air bases, oil, minorities, Assyrians, Kurds, decolonization

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