With a new war in the Middle East brewing I thought this was rather poignant. During August northeastern tribes caused a major revolt against the British. They held Baquba and other towns to the north of the Diyala River for one month. The British withdrew to consolidate. “Faced with a nationwide insurgency the British had no choice but to reinforce their overstretched military in Iraq“1.
During September and October with one hundred thousand troops the British reconquered Iraq. At their disposal they had heavy artillery and used aerial bombardments to inflict heavy casualties. Regaining Faluja in September they continued on through the Diyala River and into Central Euphrates. “The British were relentless in pursuing the insurgents and refused all negotiations. The officers had no other interest than our extermination or putting us on trial”2.
When Najaf and Karbala fell in October it was all over. What about the cost? According to British sources 2,200 men on the British sided were killed or wounded and 8,450 Iraqis.
The year…1920. Bear in mind that Al-Qaeda didn’t exist back then, there was no terrorist threat to the west. A little known fact I felt the need to share.
1. Eugene Rogan. The Arabs.
2. Martin Hartmann. The Arabic Press of Egypt. (London Luzac 1899).