Gertrude Bell 1868–1926

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Smileshire
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Gertrude Bell 1868–1926

Post by Smileshire » 09 Dec 2005 11:35

An English woman, and much travelled, who had a major hand in creating the modern state of Iraq. She was the Granddaughter of industrialist Isaac Lowthian Bell. During her life she was an unrecognised force behind the Arab revolt in World War I - for which Lawrence of Arabia received most of the credit - and at the conclusion of the war she drew up the borders of the former Mesopotamia to include the three vilayets which became Iraq.

At the outbreak of World War I, Bell requested to be posted in the Middle East but her request was denied. She proceeded to go to France to volunteer with the Red Cross. In November 1915, she was summoned to Cairo to the Arab Bureau under General Gilbert Clayton. She also met Lawrence again. At first she did not receive an official position but set out to write down his knowledge about the location and disposition of Arabic forces that could be encouraged to join the British against the Turks. Lawrence and the British used the information in their dealings with the Arabs.

In March 3, 1916 Bell arrived in Basra, which British forces had captured in November 1914, to advise Chief Political Officer Percy Cox. She drew maps to help the British army to reach Baghdad safely. She became the only female political officer in the British forces and received the title Liaison Officer, Correspondent to Cairo. She was Jack Philby's field controller at this time and taught him the finer arts of espionage. When British troops took Baghdad on March 10, 1917, Cox summoned Bell to Baghdad and presented her with the title of Oriental Secretary.

When the war ended and the Ottoman Empire collapsed, in late January 1919, Bell was assigned to write a report on who should lead Iraq. She spent the next ten months writing it. Because she was favourable to Arabic leadership, her superior, A. T. Wilson, turned against her. On October 11, 1920, Percy Cox returned to Baghdad and asked her to continue as Oriental Secretary, liaison with the new forthcoming Arab government.

Bell persuaded Winston Churchill to endorse Faisal, the recently deposed King of Syria, as the first King of Iraq. When Faisal arrived in Iraq in June 1921, Bell began to advise him in local matters, including such matters as tribal geography and local business. Faisal was crowned king of Iraq on August 23, 1921. Bell supervised the appointments of the other posts in the new government. Due to her influence with the new king, she earned a nickname "The Uncrowned Queen of Iraq".

The rest of this amazing woman's life can be found in the link
http://www.gaple.com/articles/Gertrude_Bell
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Smileshire
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Post by Smileshire » 19 Dec 2005 13:01

If you didn't read the link; Gertrude was also a mountaineer and archaeologist and spoke several languages.

She also became honorary secretary of the Women's Anti-Suffrage League:
. Her reason for being against giving women the vote was her view that while women felt that the kitchen and the bedroom were their domain and that they were not worthy of being included in political debate, they were unfit to take part in deciding how the nation should be ruled.
Tragically she died in her prime aged 58:
Bell died on July 12, 1926 in Baghdad due to an overdose of sleeping pills, probably a suicide. She had no husband or children.

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 24 Dec 2005 21:48

British was determined to take Iraq from Turkish rule. Then or sometime they were ready for a war againts Turkey. They planned to take Iraq over because of the Oil. Oil was very strategic. Germans new that too. But my poor Turks had no idea. If they knew the importance of the oil. I am sure they would fight in Iraq for the last men. Poor Iraq is suffering since that time. They will suffer in the next 100 years.Poor children of Iraq will not be able to go to school for many many years. Sunniten, Siiten, Fireworshippers, Kurden, Turkmenen, Arabs were living without any emnity during Turkish rule. The artifical Democracy in Iraq will bring more bloodshed to Iraq. I feel sorry for the US and British soldiers killed in Iraq. May Allah the almighty rest them in Heaven.

Smileshire
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Post by Smileshire » 24 Dec 2005 22:05

I don't care how brave, good or bad you were. You are modest and as a fellow European i see that here from Germans too.

I don't want controversy...i just want matters straight.

If you want to soothe your soul, then understand that hardly anyone knows or even cares about what happened between England and Turkey.

I could could go outside right now and ask 10 English folk what they know about wars with Turkey and no-one would know. That's the truth of it.

Peace out. :wink:
Last edited by Smileshire on 27 Dec 2005 13:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Aufklarung
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To "Smileshire"

Post by Aufklarung » 25 Dec 2005 03:37

I thought you left? :?

After what you unfairly called Good Marcus, perhaps you should. Or at the very least publicly apologize.

I'd really like to see you slap an American. Do it in front of me and you'd have us both to deal with.

regards
A :|

Jon G.
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Post by Jon G. » 26 Dec 2005 00:09

An insulting post by Smileshire was removed, as was a reply to it. Improve your posting habits Smileshire, or don't post at all. Thanks.

Tosun Saral
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Post by Tosun Saral » 30 Dec 2005 20:55

Bell's duty and presence in Iraq was not a coincidence, in my opinion. It is an obvious evidence of British foreign policy of that time to divide the Turkish integrity. As a matter, this question is known as the "Eastern Question". I would like you to remind of the British provacation and support in Egypt at that time. As a result, they governed Egypt for a long time. Such an act could be considered as an instrument to divide Turkey and the instrument was totally based on sending spies as archeologists or travellers. Bell was one of them. Thus, it was not only the British desire but also the rest of the major powers to divide Ottoman Turkish integrity. However, the British goal was to invade Iraq in order to dominate oil and secure dominions in South-East Asia and India rather than terminating the Turks. Indeed, today, we have been watching the same scenario in the current Iraqi "theater". What U.S policy-makers have been doing was performed formerly but the Britishmen after the Ottoman period. Thus, Bell is one of those figures on this scene. By her activities, she helped usher the British authorities in establishing a government loyal to British desires!

On the other hand, I observe that you have assessed my comments just as a "British-Turkish confrontation". But I defend that this was an entire "major powers" question. Actually, "puppetizing" the native people were all applied by the entire major powers by the help of missioners, archeologists or travellers and via the policy I mentioned above, Britain took further steps than others and succeeded in dominating the Middle East.


Another quesiton with your argument is about your words on the public opinion on the wars between Turkey and Britain. I also agree with your statement: "The man on the street has never been aware of what is going on" even in the question of European integration, an actual debate. Statistics and recent news has shown us the rate of the voters for EU parliament. 8) But my words has not emphasized anything on public enmity against British foreign policy instruments. As a matter our man on the street also knows nothing about the past confrontations between those two states. Even the public does not care the events and incidents, the state policies had not changed. Whether, the territories are under Turkish sovereignty or not.

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Matt Gibbs
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Post by Matt Gibbs » 17 Sep 2006 04:30

Gertrude Bells appearance in Iraq was not a coincidence at all, I thought I had read that she was appointed to a job there as Oriental Secretary, and commisioned to report into the collapse of the ottoman Empire, its effects in the region and the current situation in the Mesopotamian sphere, no mystery about that. She also was not the only person to draw up a map of possible borders of Iraq/Irak. Lawrence also made a survey and a map, and it was a damn sight better thought out too. [She did advocate giving control to Arabian rulers, and for that her superior turned against her.]

It is acknowleged as such because of his knowlege of the history of the region and the politics and tribal and religious history. Lawrence was ignored. His map still exists. It provides an alternative to present-day borders in the region, taking into account local Arab sensibilities rather than the European colonial considerations that were dominant at the time.

Lawrence's map is an exercise of possibilities for the future. He included a separate state for the Kurdish peoples, similar to that demanded by Iraq's Kurds today. Lawrence groups together the people in present-day Syria, Jordan and parts of Saudi Arabia into another state based on tribal patterns and commercial routes.

The map also envisions a separate state called Palestine -- Lawrence knew the British were considering the creation of a homeland for the Jews.

And he saw no reason to separate Iraq's Sunnis and the Shiites -- an issue that continues to divide that country today.

Just thought you might be interested.

Regards
Matt Gibbs

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