IRAQ'S UNEASY ROAD TO THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS (1927 - 1930)
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In Iraq political life during the mandate came to revolve around a tripartite balance of power. One part consisted of the king, a foreign monarch (from al-Eijaz) dependent on the British for his position but anxious to develop a more permanent power base among the local politicians. Another part comprised the British, always fearful of a rebellious parliament and anxious to see their supporters in office as prime ministers and ministers of the interior. To this end they continued to insist on substantial tribal representation in parliament. Between these two elements was a shifting group of Arab sunni politicians, some more anti-British than the others, but all willing to assume office. Some were strong and capable personalities. Indeed, one feature of the period was political pluralism and sometimes intense competition for power at the top. Unused to political parties, the politicians formed parliamentary blocs, based mainly on personal ties and shifting political alliances. Few had roots in any large constituencies outside the halls of parliament, except for their links with tribal leaders. The failure to build broadly based political institutions or to reach out the groups beyond their personal or familial circles was a critical weakness of the nationalist movement. It allowed for manipulation by the British and the monarchy and it prevented any one group from establishing sufficient power to move the country along in a particular direction. The politicians focused almost exclusively on the treaty, and failed to develop programmes on the social issues, although economic issues came to be more important in the early 1930s.
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