By John Townsend
Britain's second within the center East: was once it an imperial triumph or a decisive staging put up within the end-of-empire story? Sir Percy Cox (1864-1937) used to be a necessary determine within the historical past of the British Empire within the heart East, a part of the pantheon with such legends as T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell. As excessive Commissioner in Iraq from 1920 to 1923 he presided over the delivery of recent Iraq - the climax of his profession -- yet left an baby country fraught with political, ethnic and non secular difficulties that have bedevilled Iraq and the center East to the current day. John Townsend paints a powerful photograph of Britain's international empire and brings Cox to existence as an archetypal patrician proconsul. this can be the 1st significant biography of Cox, in line with broad study in unique assets and lengthy event within the area. It strikingly illustrates the modern historical past of Iraq and the trendy center East and may turn into the normal paintings on Cox.
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Extra resources for Proconsul to the Middle East: Sir Percy Cox and the End of Empire
His ideal was that the Persian text should prevail, being that of the weaker party. Cox’s opponent for much of his time and his duties in the Persian Gulf was Wilhelm Wassmuss, the German Vice-Consul in Bushire, who wrote of him:27 [Cox] feared every economic influence which Germany might obtain in the Gulf and he considered any means justified to prevent it. For he knew that in the countries round the Gulf, where there is nowhere a settled administration, economic interests cannot be maintained without political support, and he saw his ambition of making the Gulf an exclusively British sea endangered by every ship’s load of barley and every ton of oxide exported by Germans.
This also is not surprising, given that the history of the Arab world is taken up to no small degree by rivalry (and often lack of comprehension) between Baghdad and Cairo. The consideration is not so much one of pointing fingers at these differences between British officials, but of noting the positive action taken at various times, not least by Cox, to ensure effective coordination of policy formulation. One stumbling block in the way of the thinking of British officials was the possibility that either the war might end with a negotiated settlement or that it might be possible to detach Turkey from Germany by diplomacy.
The timing of this meeting was perhaps unfortunate, for it took place shortly before Ibn Saud drove the Turkish garrison out of Hasa and thus extended the territories under his control to include a strip of the Gulf coast. It is extremely unlikely that Shakespear would have been Proconsul to the Middle East:Layout 1 16 26/03/2010 15:12 Page 16 PROCONSUL TO THE MIDDLE EAST aware of the plans of his host. However, it was difficult to persuade the Turkish government that Britain had had no knowledge of Ibn Saud’s intentions and that there had been some collusion.