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Gertrude Bell and IraqA life and legacy$
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Paul Collins and Charles Tripp

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266076

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266076.001.0001

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Gertrude Bell and the Formation of the Iraqi State: The Kurdish Dimension

Gertrude Bell and the Formation of the Iraqi State: The Kurdish Dimension

(p.215) 9 Gertrude Bell and the Formation of the Iraqi State: The Kurdish Dimension
Gertrude Bell and Iraq

Saad B. Eskander

, Paul Collins, Charles Tripp
British Academy

Almost all scholars agree that Gertrude Bell played a key role in the establishment of an Arab state in Mesopotamia, following the end of the First World War. But it is little known that her attitudes had a fateful effect on the political future of Southern Kurdistan (the present Iraqi Kurdistan). Some political analysts attribute the present ethnic and religious troubles in Iraq to Bell’s unrealistic plans. This chapter looks at Bell's position on the Kurdish situation within the context of the formation of the Arab state. It will examine how Bell’s insistence on subjecting Southern Kurds to Arab Hashemite rule was influenced not only by political and strategic considerations, but also by personal, cultural and social factors, her friendships with Arab notables and leaders, and her deep knowledge and appreciation of Arabic language, traditions and history.

Keywords:   Kurdistan, Arab state, Faisal, First World War, British imperial policy, Cairo Conference

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