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Enemy on the Euphrates

Between July 1920 and February 1921, in the territory known as Mesopotamia - now the modern state of Iraq - an Arab uprising came perilously close to inflicting a shattering defeat upon the British Empire. A huge peasant army surrounded and besieged British garrisons with sand-bagged entrenchments; British columns and armoured trains were ambushed and destroyed; and well-armed British gunboats were sunk or captured.

The quest for oil was central to Britain's Middle East policy during the First World War and was one of the principal reasons for its continuing occupation of Iraq. However, with around 131,000 Arabs in arms at one stage of the conflict, the British were very nearly driven out. Only a massive infusion of Indian troops and the widespread use of aircraft prevented a total rout.

Enemy on the Euphrates is the definitive account of the first British occupation of Iraq and the revolt against it in 1920. Using a wealth of primary sources, Ian Rutledge brings central players such as Winston Churchill, Arnold Wilson, T.E. Lawrence, Gertrude Bell and Sir Mark Sykes vividly to life in this gripping account.

Ian Rutledge is an economist and historian. A graduate of the University of Cambridge where he received his PhD in Economic History, Rutledge is Research Director and Co-Founder of the Sheffield Energy Resources Information Services (SERIS). He has taught at the universities of London and Sheffield and for the Workers Educational Association (WEA). His other publications include Addicted to Oil: America s Relentless Drive for Energy Security. He lives in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

Reviews:

'Ian Rutledge's brilliant book reveals the folly and delusion of invading Iraq. Read it and shudder.' - Nicholas Rankin, author of Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945

'Material with acute relevance to the crisis now tearing Iraq to pieces' - Robert Fisk, Independent

'Readers will find plenty of food for thought in Ian Rutledge s well-crafted and lively account ... While offering abundant detail on military operations, lines of communications and warfare tactics, Enemy on the Euphrates also makes for a very lively and human-centred read of imperial history. Populated by a remarkable crowd of spies, diplomats, soldiers, clerics and tribal leaders, Rutledge s account displays almost a novelist s taste for intrigue, espionage, gunboat diplomacy, personal hardship and murder.' - BBC History Magazine

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