Tense Situation Developing in Iraq

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Tense Situation Developing in Iraq

Post by Globalization41 » 19 Mar 2004 03:57

London, United Press, The New York Times,
Thursday, May 1, 1941: A second force of British
Imperial troops [have] landed at Basra to protect
rich Iraqi oil fields and meet Germany's threatened
drive upon the Suez Canal through French Syria
and Palestine.

London, Special Cable to The New York
by David Anderson, Thursday, May 1,
A tense situation is developing in Iraq.
Premier Rashid Ali Beg Gailani, who seized
power recently in a reputedly pro-German coup
d'etat, has asserted that the arrival of British
reinforcements at Basra violates the terms of
the Anglo-Iraqi treaty
and there are indications
that fighting may break out. ... Where the
gravest threat in the crisis arises is at
Habbania, on the Euphrates River, 65 miles
west of Baghdad. Iraqi mechanized troops
have concentrated around the airdrome there,
where the Royal Air Force maintains a garrison
and a training school under treaty terms. ...
The commander of the Iraqi troops has made a
curt request to the British air officer in charge
of the Habbania post to discontinue operations.
... The Iraqi government has been [asked] to
withdraw its men from Habbania to avoid
incidents. ... Men, women, children, and
other British non-combatants have been taken
into the Baghdad Embassy as a precautionary
measure. It can be seen that there is plenty of
fuel around for a fire if Rashid Beg wants to
start one, but it is not believed that he will go
too far, as the British are in no mood to trifle,
now that they have a sufficiently powerful
force in Iraq to oust him.
... Another factor in
the situation since he turned out the former
government is the shadow that Reichsfuehrer
has cast over the Near East. Should the
Axis attempt to keep Iraq in a state of turmoil

until [General Rommel's army] is ready to
strike from Egypt overland, it is likely that the
British will anticipate it and clean up the
source of trouble before it gets more serious.
... While Britain is worried over this latest
move, believed Axis-inspired, her main
concern is how far she will be obliged to go to
consolidate her position. Rashid Beg's
protestations that the treaty was disregarded
when fresh British troops were landed at Basra
is discounted as a pretext. ... Rashid Beg
freely concurred with the opening of his roads,
waterways, airports, and communications to the
British when the original troops landed in Iraq
without warning. A clause in the treaty
provides that under menace of war these
facilities should be placed at Britain's disposal.

... The Premier changed his mind when he was
informed that more troops were coming,
arguing that the first contingent should move
on out of Iraqi territory before the
reinforcements entered. ... Rashid Beg, who
has made his Axis sympathies clear, came into
control of Iraq somewhat more than a month
ago. At first the British were inclined to
minimize the possibilities of complications, but
no effort was made to satisfy Rashid Beg with
recognition of his regime. He occupies a
position of outstanding interest to Britain,
inasmuch as Iraq lies on the route to India and
possesses highly valued oil fields. German-
Italian influence has long been exerted to stir
up trouble in the Arab world.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41]

Last edited by Globalization41 on 01 Sep 2004 05:08, edited 2 times in total.

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R.A.F. Raid Preceeds British Preparations to Storm Damascus

Post by Globalization41 » 24 Mar 2004 07:02

Ankara, Turkey, Special Broadcast to The
New York Times,
By Ray Brock, Friday, June
20, 1941:
The Royal Air Force in Syria
bombed Damascus for the first time today, the
Beirut radio reported tonight, and British
military sources in Ankara warned that Allied
forces in Syria were preparing a total war by
blasting French artillery from the city and
taking Damascus by storm. ... British bombers
in their heavy raid, according to the Beirut
radio report, caused wide damage and
particularly in Arab quarters of the
city. ... British military quarters in Ankara
said General Henri Fernand Dentz, French
High Commissioner for the mandated
territories, forfeited Damascus's only right to
immunity from bombardment when he ignored
the warnings of General Sir Henry Maitland
Allied Commander in Chief in Syria,
and refused to declare Damascus an open city.
... Military intelligence reports said the British
had established in the last few days the location
of French artillery and troops located in
Damascus. This leaves the Allied forces no other
alternative than to assault the city by all means
to dislodge them. ... All information available
in neutral and foreign military circles in
Ankara indicated that the Allied campaign in
Syria, now developing rapidly into a full
Anglo-French war,
would become deadlier
daily as the Allies pressed every advantage to
end the struggle. These sources emphasize, as
British admit, that some new German initiative
is to be expected in the Middle East in view of
the grave Russo-German situation. ... Fuller
details of the Damascus bombing were
unavailable this evening, but it appeared certain
to military observers in Ankara that the British
attack had begun in earnest
and that the allied
attackers would desist only when the French
surrendered Damascus. The psychological
effect of the bombing on the Arab population
is incalculable,
it should be emphasized, and
British sources severely criticize General Dentz
for his refusal to withdraw the French troops
from the beleaguered city. ... Despite the
initially successful French counter-attack early
this week, British forces have commanded the
heights above Damascus
and reclaimed most
strategic positions around the city since the
first week of the 13-day war. ... British
military sources continually have emphasized
that the slowness of the British advance can be
ascribed in almost all instances to the
disinclination of the British to launch a
Blitzkrieg against their former allies,
resultant heavy toll in lives and French and
Arab property. ... Today, on the 126th
anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, a British
commentator again underscored this point,
urging the Vichy forces to withdraw from
untenable positions and avert further
bloodshed. British military sources forecast
the early fall of Damascus. ... R.A.F.
bombers also raided Beirut today,
according to
French radio reports tonight, which, like
reports of the Damascus raids, assert that some
British bombs fell in the Arab quarters,

destroying lives and property. ... Late French
reports this evening said British advances about
Damascus had been repulsed by vigorous
Vichy counter-attacks and that 400 prisoners
were taken near Damascus. British military
sources claim that French artillery shelled
British forces from within the environs of
adding that British naval guns, artillery,
and the air force have not yet replied, seeking
to avoid damage to property in that city.
British bombers raided Beirut harbor, however,
according to the British, lodging direct hits on
shipping in the port. ... Two British bombers
were shot down in these operations according
to the French, who admit the loss of two
fighters. The French reported a successful air
raid on a British armored column near Casale
Gezin, Merdjayoun, and Marce, south of
... British sources in Ankara said
a full-scale attack was beginning to form
against the fortress of Merdjayoun, which was
retaken by the French in a counter-attack
earlier this week. ... Naval activity continued
today, according to both French and British
reports, with British ships shelling the French
in coastal region to the south. ... British
reinforcements are continuing to arrive, British
military sources assert. The British admit that
French aerial reinforcements are more plentiful
and of better quality than had been expected.
The American built Glenn Martin bombers,
used by the French in the first days of the
defense, have been augmented by more
bombers and high-speed fighters, ferried by
way of Rhodes, according to this information.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41]

Last edited by Globalization41 on 13 Jul 2004 01:57, edited 1 time in total.

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Damascus Falls to Allies; P.I. Rapidly Upgrading Defenses

Post by Globalization41 » 01 Apr 2004 06:47

Ankara, Turkey, By Telephone to The New
York Times,
By C.L. Sulzberger, Saturday,
June 21, 1941:
French troops evacuated the
city of Damascus today after a persistent
bombardment by British artillery and withdrew
to new positions outside the Syrian capital,
according to official advices from Beirut.
Early in the afternoon it was learned that the
Allies vanguard was already beginning to enter
the city.
This evening the British reported
complete occupation. The Damascus airport at
Mezze has been taken by Indian detachments of
the Allied forces
and one of the key points east
of Damascus has been surrounded by Druz
tribesmen fighting on the side of the British.

... The Beirut radio announced tonight that a
British motorized column pushing westward
from Iraq
was now heading toward Tadmur.
The British column, it was said, has been
bombed constantly by the French Air Force,
which has just been reorganized and reinforced
by French squadrons coming from North
Africa. Some German planes also were said to
have arrived in Syria. ... It is clear that the
Allied advance is beginning to move into high
Unconfirmed reports that the British
forces have reached Beirut indicates that it may
fall soon.
Beirut's fate depends largely on
whether the British will call in their superior
naval forces to shell the city proper.
So far
this has been avoided in order to keep damage
and casualties at a minimum. ... The Allies,
convinced of the seriousness of the French
resistance, evidently have begun to fight this
undeclared war in ernest and intend to get it
over with fast at any cost. ... The main center
of the French resistance in the east has been
Damascus, and the capture of the city is of
great importance. ... The Allied counter-move
to the French attack in the south, which
developed earlier in the week, is now
proceeding with dispatch in the Merdjayoun
district. The fortress of Merdjayoun is in
Allied hands and it is obvious that the region is
being rapidly cleared, since the coastal advance
is dependent to a large degree on a corollary
advance in the center. ... Considerable
concentrations of French artillery had been
brought up around Damascus. The French dug
in and placed batteries in many of the villas
and gardens
in the outer sections of the city.
These batteries were slowly picked off by
British gunners with Royal Air Force support,
but the principle British effort was artillery
shelling. The British sought to avoid excess
by aerial bombardment, which is less
accurate than artillery fire. ... The French
admission that a British column is pushing
toward Tadmur would seem to indicate that
perhaps the town is endangered. Several days
ago reliable sources here reported the existence
of the column, but this was steadfastly denied
in Beirut. ... While there have been new
reports that the trouble for the British in Iraq is
far from over,
the fact that they are able to
spare considerable forces from there would
indicate that everything is under control. It is
known that British forces are working
westward along the North Syrian frontier
toward Aleppo,
but the exact strength of these
units is not known here. ... British military
circles admit that the Syrian adventure can no
longer be considered as a fundamentally
political manoeuver but rather as a first-class
campaign. The French forces of roughly
40,000 men are resisting stubbornly,
and their
air support is far stronger than had been
anticipated. The French have some armored
units and have established a good line of
defensive positions in depth from Damascus to
the Merdjayoun region.

Washington, Special to The New York Times,
By Henry N. Dorris, Saturday, June 21, 1941:
The Philippine Islands are rapidly being
transformed into our first line of defense in the
in conjunction with the British and the
Dutch for the protection of the Netherlands
Indies and Singapore,
it was learned from an
official who has just returned from those areas.
... In this connection, it has been reported that
President Roosevelt has been considering
sending Justice Frank Murphy, former High
Commissioner to the Philippines, to that region
to inspect the progress of defense work. ... It
was said that there had been a substantial
increasing in the air force in the Philippines,
the Netherlands Indies, and at Singapore, and
that the defense of the region was being
prepared on the theory that a strong air force
could prevent a Japanese invasion of the
Philippines or the Netherlands Indies, where oil
and other strategic materials abound.
... Key
cities in the Philippines are being fortified,
according to the report, and important harbors
are being prepared for attacks both from
surface and air. Preparations are being made,
it was said, to evacuate the civilian populations
of cities most exposed to attack, and there is a
general alert on the part of patrolling naval
in the area south of Japan. ... It is not
that there is an official understanding
between the United States, the Netherlands,
and Great Britain for defense of the South
Pacific, but informed officials in the
Philippines are said to believe that there is a
general understanding. Reports of what is
actually happening in the Philippines and in the
British and Dutch possessions tend to support
this belief. ... Close observers say that the
landing of a strong army contingent to
reinforce the present Philippine garrison would
occasion far less surprise in the Islands or the
Orient than it would in the United States. ...
The strengthening of air arms of the three
governments in the Pacific, it was said, was
one of the reasons for the rejection by
Netherlands Indies of Japan's economic
Those in charge of the defenses are
reported as believing that the lessons of the
battle of Crete
can be translated into
effectiveness should there be a naval attack in
the South Pacific. ... It also appears that there
is far less fear of Japanese naval attack now than
before the air arming of the South Pacific regions
was strengthened.
The Japanese are said to
possess about 5,000 military planes of all types,
of which at least 2,000 are believed to be
Against this strength of the Japanese
are about 2,300 planes based in Netherlands
Indies, Singapore, or the Philippines.
Japanese are believed to have an output of only
250 planes a month, a fraction of the present
American production. ... Competent sources
say that the Army has evacuated, or has made
preparations to evacuate, civilians on the island
of Corregidor,
which guards the entrance of
Manila Bay. Because of the low lands and
water filling, it was regarded as impracticable
to construct underground air-raid shelters.

Formidable protection is being installed to
protect harbors open to attack by a hostile
power. Coast defense mortars, machine guns,
and anti-aircraft guns have been emplaced and
are said to be well camouflaged.

Lisbon, Portugal, United Press, The New
York Times,
Saturday, June 21, 1941:
Eighteen survivors of the Swedish steamer
arrived at Oporto today aboard British
freighter Petrel
and reported that their vessel,
sailing in a convoy of 70 ships, had been
bombed and sunk by a German plane
Thursday. They reported that the Petrel had
towed the Unda for eight hours before it sank.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41]
Last edited by Globalization41 on 10 Sep 2004 05:05, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 1298
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Beirut Bombed by British Planes

Post by Globalization41 » 05 Apr 2004 00:33

Beirut, Lebanon, United Press, The New York
Sunday, June 22, 1941: The Harbor of
Beirut was bombed twice today by British
planes at 9:30 A.M. and 3:30 P.M. Some
damage was done. ... It was announced that
11 persons had been killed and 20 wounded in
a British raid on Beirut Saturday night. ... ...
Cairo, Egypt, United Press, The New York
Sunday, June 22, 1941: "Local gains
to our credit" on all fronts in Syria, following
Allied occupation of Damascus, was announced
today by British Middle East Headquarters. ...
... The New York Times, Sunday, June 22,
Authoritative quarters said heavy
fighting was in progress at Merdjayoun,
southwest of Damascus. ... ... Vichy, France,
Wireless to The New York Times,
June 22, 1941:
After the fall of Damascus,
announced officially today, interest in
operations has turned suddenly to the Eastern
Desert. ... The communique issued here
tonight reports that "important motorized
elements" coming from Iraq have crossed the
and made immediately for Tadmur,
following the caravan trail that runs beside the
French pipeline to Tripoli [Lebanon]. All
along the route these elements have been
harassed by French airmen flying low enough
to use machine guns to good effect. ...
Apparently these motorized detachments are
additional to the column that reached Abu
Kemal, a frontier outpost, at the outset of
operations. This seems to be confirmed by the
fact that the French report that they have
reoccupied Abu Kemal. ... As anticipated
yesterday, the French forces that evacuated
are now resisting in the hills to the
north. In other sectors, and along the coast,
action in the last 24 hours has been confined to
artillery exchanges. ... The French declare
they have taken more than 1,500 prisoners
since the struggle began two weeks ago.
French losses have been heavy. ... It is
insisted here that among the de Gaullists
fighting with the British in Syria, only one-
third are French, the remainder being natives
and men of the Foreign Legion. The total de
Gaullist strength is set at 5,000 in a total
British-de Gaullist force of 25,000 to 30,000.

Ankara, Turkey, Special Broadcast to The
New York Times,
Sunday, June 22, 1941: The
main bulk of the army of General Dentz, the
French High Commissioner for the mandated
territories in Syria and Lebanon,
is now facing
encirclement by the Allied forces as the British
column that fought its way west from Iraq
entered the important central town of Tadmur
this afternoon. It is not yet known whether
Tadmur has been occupied. The Beirut radio
reports merely that defending forces have
established contact with British motorized
units at Tadmur. ... Tadmur is one of the
most important French air bases in the Levant

and is the last real defense position on the
high road westward to Homs, the principal
railroad junction.
... If the Allies take Homs,
the undeclared war in Syria and Lebanon
would be virtually over, and North Syria and
Aleppo would be cut off from South Syria and
Lebanon. ... In the meantime, the Allied
forces in Damascus have pressed beyond the
and are fighting the Vichy French at new
positions to the north and to the east. Beirut
asserts they are reorganizing their defense lines
in that region. A French motorized counter-
attack on that sector was repelled. The Beirut
radio says the advancing British are being
heavily bombed by the French Air Force,

which had been recently reinforced. ... Latest
reports here stated that fighting was going on
at the innermost defense positions outside
Beirut, and responsible informants predicted
the fall of that city by Wednesday at the latest
and the end of the entire campaign in the not to
distant future.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41.]
Last edited by Globalization41 on 01 Aug 2004 17:40, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 1298
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French Report Anti-British Demonstrations Sweeping Syria

Post by Globalization41 » 11 Apr 2004 08:27

Vichy, United Press, The New York Times,
Sunday, July 20, 1941: Paris newspapers
today published dispatches of German origin
from Ankara claiming that a series of
demonstrations against the British and Free
French had swept across Syria and Lebanon,
resulting in the declaration of a state of siege,
accompanied by mass arrests of nationalist
... The Axis-controlled papers
reported that all the natives have been obliged
to surrender their firearms. A strict curfew
was said to keep the natives indoors from
dusk to dawn. ... The Petit Parisien said a
disturbance occurred at Beirut Friday during a
reception by General Sir Henry Maitland
British Commander, for French civil
functionaries. ... A dispatch in the Matin
claimed a reign of terror had spread through
the Levant and several Arab leaders had been
Another Ankara dispatch in the
same paper asserted that pan-Arab agitation
had extended to Egypt, where the Egyptian
Government was said to be cooperating with
Arab leaders in resisting incorporation of the
Egyptian army into the British Army of the

Beirut, Lebanon, Associated Press, The
New York Times,
Sunday, July 20, 1941:
British and Free French forces hastened
today to convert conquered Syria and
into a great Near East defensive
bulwark lest they become another Crete. ...
Although fighting is over, war materials still
are pouring in and fortifications are being
strengthened to meet any possibility of the
Germans following up their Russian drive with
a push southward into these historic lands. ...
The army which conquered this French
Mandate is remaining here to garrison the
country and is being increased by recruits
from Vichy French forces. ... Some of these
are Frenchmen who have decided to support
the Free French movement of Major Gen.
Charles de Gaulle;
others are professional
fighters like the Senegalese and Foreign
Legionnaires. ... "Syria will not become
another Crete," said a high staff officer. "No
step is being left undone to strengthen our
position here." ... The country is busy adjusting
itself to the new regime with the promise of
independence after the war.
... Authority at
present is divided three ways. First there is
the British Military Command, the country
being under martial law, with British military
established to deal with any offense
against the peace. ... Then there is the Free
French General Georges Catroux,
who, as
High Commissioner exercises the same sort
of civil authority as did the former French
Mandate officials. [Between the World Wars,
the League of Nations sometimes mandated
unstable areas to the control of stable powers
with a view toward eventual independence
and peaceful democracy.]
... Lastly there are
the Syrian and Lebanese governments, which
are carrying on with personnel unchanged,
although their powers have sharply curtailed
ever since the war began. ... German and
Italian nationals still are being rounded up,
those regarded as dangerous being sent to
the concentration camps which the Vichy
French had established for pro-British Syrians
and British prisoners during the short military
campaign. ... Supplies now arrive regularly
and in bulk from Palestine, and prices that
once were exorbitant have fallen greatly. For
example gasoline, which once sold for $3 a
gallon, now is down to 50 cents.

Berne, Switzerland, By Telephone to The
New York Times,
Sunday, July 20, 1941:
After four weeks of war in Russia the Germans
have won the battle of the frontiers and seem
to be on the point of winning the battle of the
Stalin Line. Their progress is certain and
cannot be minimized, but the fact remains that
the Blitzkrieg has been braked by the
Such is the appraisal of the
situation by competent observers here tonight.
... At the latest news the front appears to
follow a fairly straight line from north to south,
apart from a significant bulge in the Smolensk
sector -- and Smolensk opens the road to
Moscow. From Bialystok to Smolensk the
distance is some 400 miles, covered by the
Germans in one month -- no small
achievement. Now there are only 200 miles
from Smolensk to Moscow.
But when losses
and wear and tear are considered, the rate of
speed should slacken, which in fact induces
experts to discount announcements of
"sensational and imposing events tomorrow."
... In Northern Russia Winter follows hard on
Summer. Mid-September brings frosts to the
Moscow region.
The Russians have resisted
one month; how many weeks can they stand?
And of what reserves can they dispose? ...
Meantime observers here see the menace to
Leningrad accentuated from three directions,
while in a few days it is possible that Moscow
will be threatened just as seriously. Nor
should Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, be
overlooked. ... The Russian Armies, in fact,
are still handicapped by the initial error of the
High Command,
which prepared to withstand
in the south the main offensive, which in reality
developed many miles to the north. ...
Meanwhile losses on both sides continue to
prove very heavy and communications very
difficult. The question of supplies tends more
and more to dominate the situation.
from Bucharest, Rumania, for instance, stress
the necessity of bringing food into the
conquered areas, all laid waste, so that the
people may not starve.

[Stay tuned for late breaking war bulletins.
... Globalization41.]

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