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7.-AGRICULTURE.

The Arab rising in the middle of 1920 disorganised for a time the work of the Department owing to the fact that the Experimental Testing stations had to be abandoned. By October, however, it was possible to resume work in three districts where considerable progress was made, considering that much initial work had to be begun afresh. Agricultural Officers were posted to Mosul, Kut and Ba' quba, and Testing Stations established in the latter areas.

In Mosul the Agricultural Officer devoted a great part of his time to the study of the local breeds of sheep. This officer had special training in the Australian wool industry and the administration were particularly fortunate in securing his services after demobilization. Owing to financial stringency, however, it was found in the spring of 1921, that a whole-time officer could no longer be spared for Mosul. This was particularly unfortunate as the area in question comprises the large dry farming tracts north of the Jabal Hamrin range of hills where most important problems demand the services of a whole-time officer.

The most pressing of these problems are:

(i). The organization of the cultivators to combat annual ravages of locusts (Dociotaurus Moraccanus).

export.

(ii). The demonstration of harvesting and threshing machinery.
(i). Investigation of the "Sun" pest of wheat.

(iv). Improvement in the preparation and marketting of wool for

The Baquba area is the important fruit-growing centre in Iraq. It also held out promise of considerable development with regard to cotton cultivation. Ba'quba was also selected as being the most convenient locality for attempting a revival of the silk industry. An Iraqi of known capability was delegated to Kashmir to undergo a course of instruction in sericulture, and on his return to 'Iraq in the spring of 1921, he embarked on district propaganda work and initiated a small training and demonstration centre in Ba'quba town. His efforts have been successful so far, and if he is allowed to continue the very useful work which he is now conducting, there is eventually a promising future for the silk industry, not only in Ba'quba but in the Mosul, Kirkuk, Sulaimani, Baghdad and Basrah areas. It will be some time however, before the present methods of rearing silk worms will be superseded by new and improved ones. The effort merits continued support and should receive every encouragement.

Owing to insistent demands for an Agricultural Officer at Kut, the headquarters of the Agricultural Officer at ‘Amarah were transferred from 'Amarah to Kut early in 1920.

A testing Station was established primarily with a view to duplicating experiments carried out on the Cotton Farm at Karradah. The only site available has since proved unsatisfactory, and the Testing Station will be closed down in the autumn of 1922.

No officer was appointed to the Baghdad area until May 1921. Prior to this date its needs were attended to by the Deputy Director of Agriculture. Of the multifarious duties imposed upon this charge, foremost was the initial work connected with the commencement of the Government Experimental, and Demonstration Farm at Rustam on the Diyala. Adverse conditions and the difficulties inseparable from the organization of such a large undertaking, especially with constant changes in staff, rendered preliminary spade work particularly trying. It will be a considerable time before the institution can fully perform its intended functions. One of the first essentials is the appointment of an experienced European Manager capable of dealing with and demonstrating modern implements and machinery. For this class of work the type of Indian subordinates employed at present is not satisfactory. This is no reflection on the said subordinates who have many estimable qualities; they simply lack experience.

District work in the Baghdad area was concentrated mostly on the Saqlawiyah and Yusufiyah canals where it was anticipated there would be a good chance of cotton propaganda succeeding. Owing to adverse circumstances the crop on both canals was a distinct failure. Not only on the two mentioned canals, but elsewhere, the yields of cotton were very disappointing. This was due in part to exceptionally hot winds and consequent shortage of water, but the main difficulty lies as yet in the ignorance of the cultivators.

Late in the season a revised estimate of 350 bales was anticipated, but the total yield only amounted to about 60 bales. Thus the whole country produced less than was grown on 80 acres the previous year. It is unpleasant to have to admit defeat in the cotton season of 1921, but it must be remembered that this was the first year in which active propaganda had been undertaken although much had been written about cotton previously. 'Iraq undoubtedly holds out immense possibilities for the cultivation of cotton, but it is essential to bear in mind that progress will of necessity be slow. No useful purpose would be served by undue optimism, a fact which is likely to be again illustrated in 1922. 1922. The Yusufiyah area will probably yield promising quantities of cotton, but elsewhere reports are less favourable. Propaganda should be continued on areas like the Yusufiyah where cultivators are at last responding to instructions, and it is interesting to observe how in this area particular attention is paid to ridging the land before sowing. Wherever cotton has been cultivated on ridges, the results have been good, whereas there have been nothing but failures reported wherever cotton has been grown on the flat.

Regarding importation and trial of implements and machinery, the work has not been systematised, and until this is done it is questionable if progress will be effected. This work demands the services of a trained Agricultural Engineer, but so far no one has been appointed. There is no demand for small implements. It is considered, however, that there is likely to be a demand for tractors in time, but not until conditions allow of development schemes being undertaken either by Government or by the granting of land concessions to private enterprise.

Flax growing is beginning to attract the attention of the more enterprising cultivators. They are looking for a crop to replace wheat and barley, now that the prices of these cereals have fallen. The Department of Agriculture introduced five varieties of flax and have grown them. The yield of straw was good, but the quality of the fibre poor. This was due to there being no one in the department having any experience of flax retting. This year, however, experiments are being carried out to discover the length of time required to rett flax in Tigris water at various times of the year. A machine has also been imported to do the scutching, and with its aid it is hoped to be able to turn out samples of fibre which will receive better valuations.

The Entomological Section of the Department of Agriculture has conducted investigations which should have a far-reaching effect on the date. industry of the country. The two worst enemies of the date in 'Iraq are the diseases known as Toz and Mann. Effective control measures have been worked out, and it is hoped that considerable progress will be made in combating these diseases in the near future.

The department has been without a Botanist for the last two years, consequently plant breeding has been confined mostly to making selections of cotton, noting and recording their habits of growth, flowering and bolling.

About seventy indigenous varieties of wheat were isolated by Dr. Graham when he was Director of Agriculture. These have since been grown in observation lines and their characteristics noted. Strength of straw, rust resistance and yielding capabilities are looked for, and in another year it is hoped that sufficient seed will be available to enable varietal tests to be conducted. The same has been done with many exotic varieties of known reputation in other countries.

8.-ARMS TRAFFIC.

The disturbances of 1920 and the subsequent exaction of rifle fines from the tribes produced a strong demand for rifles and ammunition with the result that the importation of arms into Iraq, though legally prohibited, became a lucrative business which continued to be carried on in secret in spite of all efforts to prevent it. This was especially true in the case of the Euphrates districts. Arms were imported from two sources riz., Syria and Central Arabia, the former being the more important of the two. Reports dating from May, 1920, indicated that hostile osganisations well supplied with funds existed in Italy for the purpose of collecting and forwarding arms and ammunition to Traq. A report dated 4th February, 1921, stated that the Arabs of 'Iraq had been provided through these organisations with as many rifles as they required and that more' would be despatched. How far the importation of arms into 'Iraq has been prompted by these outside influences, as distinct from the general law of supply and demand, it has not been. possible to determine with any certainty.

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i.-Arms traffic from Syria.

In October and November, 1920, the capture by the Shammar and by the'Anizah respectively of two caravans from Damascus carrying 300 rifles (Mauser) apiece brought the question of the importation of arms into 'Iraq from Syria into prominence, and it was requested that representations should be made to the French authorities with a view to checking at the fountain. head a trade which might subsequently become a source of embarrassment as much to Syria as to 'Iraq. In reply to notes addressed to the French Govern'ment on this subject in January and February 1921, it was suggested that our information was inaccurate and that in fact there was practically no trade in arms between Syria and Iraq; every facility would however be given to the British Liaison Officer and to the British Consul at Damascus by the French authorities to enquire into the matter. Since that date His Majesty's Consul at Damascus has energetically prosecuted his enquiries and obtained information regarding the arms traffic which he has frequently brought to the notice of the French authorities.

In September, 1921, he persuaded the French to search a caravan, in which 40 rifles were discovered in bales. The pass for the rifles had been signed by Muhammad al 'Asaimi, who had been entrusted by the French with the control of the export of rifles from Damascus, and who thus used his privileged position to organise for his own profit the traffic which he was paid to prevent. Although the French have not consented so far to punish 'Asaimi, this incident is likely to have a deterrent effect on traders in arms. As a further result of His Majesty's Consul's representations, the French authorities have drawn up more stringent regulations with regard to the carrying of arms by caravans; they have also formed a camel corps based on Tadmor which controls the Dair al Zor road, and more recently they have established posts on the direct route across the desert to Kubaisah, which is the route generally followed by arms carrying caravans. It is hoped that these measures will have the effect of reducing the arms traffic for the future, though the French authorities cannot be expected to display great enthusiasm in preventing the export of arms from Syria.

For many reasons the interception of arms-carrying caravans on their arrival on the confines of 'Iraq is a matter of considerable difficulty. The traffic is carried on with great secrecy and it appears that there is no definite distributing centre for rifles arriving from Syria, but that the caravans break up in the desert and distribute the rifles in small quantities and there is evidence that rifles are frequently buried until they can be distributed without fear of detection. Fahad Beg ibn Hadhdhal of the 'Anizah has been encouraged to intercept arms-carrying caravans where possible and to relieve them of their rifles. One such caravan was raided by Mahrut ibn Hadhdhal in November 1920 and another gun-running caravan from Damascus was similarly raided by Hamud al Suwait of the Dhafir in July 1921. These two instances however revealed a further difficulty. In both cases the merchants from whom the rifles were seized claimed that the rifles were being taken to Najd and appealed to Ibn Sa'ud, who strongly supported their claims. To obviate this difficulty it has been proposed to Ibn Sa'ud that caravans carrying rifles from Syria to Najd should avoid entering 'Iraq or, if this is not possible, that due warning should be given in advance of their coming.

In addition to the above captures, three cases of arms smuggling were detected by the Police in the neighbourhood of Kubaisah in September 1921, and the smugglers were arrested and punished.

In the meantime the Euphrates tribes have succeeded in rearming themselves to a considerable extent and the consequent fall in the rice of rifles has decreased the incentive to gun-running. It is hoped that the measures recently adopted by the French authorities in Syria at the instance of His Majesty's Consul, coupled with a judicious use of the desert police force and of the assistance of friendly tribal chiefs, will reduce the arms traffic from Syria to a minimum for the future.

ii.-Arms traffic from Central Arabia.

The present abundance of arms in the Muntafiq is explained firstly by the comparative immunity which this confederation enjoyed from penalties after the 1920 disturbances and, secondly by the importation of arms from Najd. While the arms traffic from this direction has been much less considerable than that from Syria, it has been even more difficult to control. Rifles are carried in small quantities and distributed over many caravans and lack of definite information makes their detection a matter of great difficulty. In June, 1920, however a brilliant capture of an arms-carrying caravan was effected by the police about nine miles south of Samawah. 263 rifles, including 109 Short Lee Enfield, and 25,000 rounds of ammunition, Mauser and British .303, were captured. This incident, no doubt, had the effect of considerably reducing the volume of arms traffic from this direction.

It has recently been rumoured that the fall of Hail has produced a recrudescence of this traffic and that rifles captured by the Ikhwan from the Shammar are being imported into the lower Euphrates districts both direct and via Kuwait. It appears, however, that these rumours are greatly exaggerated. The Shaikh of Kuwait is taking steps to prevent such traffic and at the beginning of February he seized 40 rifles which had been brought to Kuwait from Hail.

iii.-Arms traffic from Persia.

There has always been a certain infiltration of arms from Persia into the Tigris districts, though the volume of this traffic is inconsiderable. It was reported in July 1921 that a certain amount of gun-running was being carried on in the vicinity of Mandali, and that rifles were imported concealed in sacks of grain. There is evidence also of arms traffic between Persian and 'Iraqi Kurdistan and there has been a distinct increase in the number of rifles in Keui Sanjaq since the withdrawal of the British Assistant Political Officer. At present, however, it is probable that there is as great a demand for rifles on the Persian side of the border and in any case it is impossible to prevent the infiltration of rifles into the mountainous districts of IraqiKurdistan, the greater part of which is not under Government control.

iv.-Arms traffic in the Persian Gulf.

At the instance of the India Office a Conference composed of representatives of the High Commissioner, 'Iraq, Government of India, Commanderin-Chief, East Indies, and Governor-General, Baluchistan, was held at Karachi on August 1-5, 1921, to concert measures to prevent a threatened recrudescence of Arms Traffic in the Persian Gulf. The Conference considered that the most important route by which arms were conveyed was via Hail to Kuwait and thence to the Persian Coast from the Shatt al ‘Arab to Lingah. As large supplies of arms were known to exist in Central Arabia, and in view of reports that the Italians were interested in landing consignments of arms on the Red Sea Coast, the Conference recommended certain precautions, as follows:

1. The maintenance of the existing Naval force in the Persian Gulf supplemented by permission to establish immediately a motor boat patrol in the event of an increase of the traffic taking place.

2. A wireless installation at Kuwait for direct communication with His Majesty's ships working in the Gulf.

3. Pressure on Shaikhs and, in the case of Kuwait, an effort to persuade the Shaikh to establish registration of arms.

The Government of India, however, expressed a doubt as to whether the further expense which these measures would involve would be justifiable and the question as to how far action is to be taken on the recommendations of the Conference is still under consideration. It may be added that, as mentioned above, the Shaikh of Kuwait has shown himself ready to co-operate in the control of arms traffic so far as he is concerned.

III. FINANCE.

1.-OCTOBER 1920 TO APRIL 1921.

It is difficult to form a correct appreciation of the financial position General remarks. during the period under review. The situation was obscured by the arrangement whereby the Civil Administration had been responsible since 1917 for obtaining funds from India for the use of the Military authorities, which in the absence of prompt and accurate accounts of internal expenditure and receipts made it difficult to ascertain at any moment how far the balance in the Civil Treasuries represented local revenue collections or ways and means advances held at the disposal of the Military authorities.

In the light of later events it would no doubt have been an advantage (at all events from the point of view of elucidating the local financial position) if at any rate the major resource operations (i.e., the drawings on India) had been conducted by the Military authorities on their own account. The minor resource operations, by which civil balances in out-stations were utilized for Military expenditure when required (on the basis of recoveries in Baghdad) though no doubt adding somewhat to the responsibilities of the Civil Administration, would not have proved a substantial difficulty had it not been for the further troublesome complication that, owing to the failure. of the authorities to arrive at a clear decision on the incidence of expenditure between military and civil, it was necessary to keep a number of suspense accounts which added much to the confusion. A complete elucidation of the 1920-21 position cannot be expected until the precise terms of the settlement between His Majesty's Government and the 'Iraq Government, as at 1st April, 1921 (to which reference is made elsewhere in this note) have been decided. Until this is done, it is also impossible to give a satisfactory account of the position during the financial year 1921-22.

Effect of change

of methods and
of withdrawal of
troops.

of 1920.

From the administrative point of view, the great changes in the policy and method of Government introduced in October 1920 profoundly affected financial administration.

The previous administration had contemplated a more extensive employment of British and Indian officials (both superior and subordinate classes) than was compatible with the policy subsequently adopted. It had incurred a good deal of expenditure in providing equipment, such as stores and transport, and in constructing buildings, both offices and residential quarters, with the object of improving efficiency. Some of this expenditure, though not strictly debitable to capital, was calculated to meet the needs of the immediately succeeding years, and it appeared, therefore, not improper that it should be defrayed from the accumulated surplus of previous years, which at that stage was regarded as at the disposal of the Civil Administration.

The different requirements, however, of the new Government made much of this expenditure a fruitless burden upon the revenue of the year.

The earlier administration again, had assumed a more gradual withdrawal of the Army of Occupation than was subsequently decided upon, and its liability for the cost of defence and order had been limited to the maintenance of Police, Gendarmerie and Levies, the aggregate expenditure on which, in the year 1920-21, was 88.5 lakhs, while in the following year it was approximately 240 lakhs, of which about 100 lakhs, representing the cost of the Arab and Kurdish Levies, was borne by His Majesty's Govern

ment.

Deficit arising The disturbances of 1920, moreover, greatly modified the financial outfrom disturbances look. As shown in the table below, the estimates of expenditure in 1920-21 amounted to 1,092 lakhs, the receipts being estimated at 1,059 lakhs. The deficit of 33 lakhs, which represented initial outlay on equipment calculated to meet requirements for the next two or three years, was, as explained above, to be met from the previous accumulated surplus, which, as far as could be ascertained at the time, was estimated to be in the neighbourhood of 200 lakhs at the beginning of the financial year 1920-21.

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