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The actual dispersal scheme began on May 31st, and by July 1st, 7,500 persons, including 1,000 who had joined the Levy camps, had left Mindan and had been settled in Government villages south of Zakho, in villages in Dohuk and Amadiyah districts, in Barwari Bala and Upper and Lower Tiari. The remaining mountaineers, 6,480 in number, consisted of six sections which had reed to fight under Agha Petros for the Assyro-Chaldaean independent State. They were all dispersed during July and after the last of the Urumiyans had also left, Mindan camp was finally closed down.

The six sections continued to give trouble. Their first intention was to concentrate near Mosul and await the appearance of Agha Petros, but recollection of their capabilities for highway robbery caused the political authorities to stand out against this scheme. Under pressure the six sections moved up to Dohuk; the three Tiyari sections, who came first, were allowed to proceed straight into the mountains and reached their homes in August. As long as they remained on good terms with Barwari Bala they could come to little harm. Perhaps at the instigation of Agha Petros, the six sections now decided to concentrate in the N.E. corner of Barwari Bala and await him and the arms he promised, living during the winter on the food and grass which the Moslems had collected for themselves. Nothing but confusion could have resulted if this plan had been allowed to materialize. The remaining three sections were, therefore, ordered to disperse and with some difficulty were settled in Dohuk and Amadiyah, a few remaining in the Mosul plains. The presence of Agha Petros in Baghdad had proved throughout an impediment to any practicable scheme, but matters were facilitated by his departure in August, at my request, for Europe.

In September, the greater part of the colony settled in 'Aqrah in 1920, became restless and moved into Dohuk, whence it is anticipated that they and most of the mountaineers will filter back into the hills during the spring of the present year. The Patriarchal family, which had been living in Mosul, have been given the use of the house of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Mission at Baibad near Amadiyah. They have lost all influence, both religious and secular, over the people.

Rifles have been distributed in numbers sufficient for self-defence against other than military attacks, but not so great as to encourage acts of aggression, to those settled in districts where Government protection was difficult, with special partiality to such sections as have weakened their manpower by generous enlistment in the Levies. As far north As far north as Amadiyah the country is protected by Gendarmes, and south of a line drawn from Zakho to Aqrah, by the Levy garrisons.

Appendix No. 14 gives a financial estimate of the cost of the disposal of the refugees at Mindan camp while the map, Appendix No. 13 gives the present distribution of the refugees.

In sum, I must record that in the dealings of the British Government with the Christian refugees it must be put to the credit of the former that 50,000 souls were maintained in comfort, not to say in idleness, by the British Exchequer for close on three years, that it was the intention of Government to re-establish the ancient Nestorian community as a united whole in a locality where they would have the best possible chance of maintaining themselves, and that if this scheme partially broke down, the failure was due firstly to the reckless imprudence of the mountaineers and secondly to the refusal of the Urumiyans to accept our advice and the help which we were in a position to offer. As a result the Urumiyans have practically ceased to exist as a community. On the other hand, those of the mountaineers who returned to their homes are in a fair way to the recovery of prosperity, and the others are settled in adjacent upland regions where we may still be able to watch over and protect them in the future. If guardianship from foreign attack can be secured to them, the British nation will have no reason to feel that they have failed in consideration or generosity towards the smallest of their Allies".

In justice to the Assyrians it must be added that during the first three months of this year, when a Turkish attack was always a possibility, they have proved their strategic value on the 'Iraq frontier. In March, over 2,000 enlisted in the Levies within three weeks. It is far from improbable that this instant response on the part of a people whose qualities as fighting men are renowned was the main reason which induced the Kamalists to abandon their projected attack. Led by British officers, they are a native force second to none. Their quickness in picking up discipline and their mettle in battle has surprised and delighted all who have been concerned with them. But their loyalty and prowess have yet further embittered the Kamalists against them and made it still more incumbent upon us to save them from the retribution which must inevitably follow the return of their country to Turkish rule.

Nahr 'Umar Camp

Attempt at


When the camp at Ba'quba was broken up, the position with regard to the Armenians was that they were unwilling to co-operate in any scheme for their settlement in Iraq because they still hoped for repatriation by sea to a Black Sea port, while the shipping position at that time was such as to preclude any immediate possibility of the realisation of this hope.

It was therefore decided to postpone the consideration of the final disposal of the Armenians until the outcome of the Assyrian scheme was known. In July 1920, however a telegram was received from the India Office saying that the return of the Armenians to Erivan might be possible before long, and, in the following month the Armenian refugees, who at that time numbered some 14,000, were transferred from Baʻquba to Nahr 'Umar where they would be conveniently placed for embarkation at Basrah in the event of their repatriation by sea becoming possible. Subsequent events in Armenia made it evident that the time was inopportune for any scheme of repatriation, while on the other hand it was felt that it would be unwise to incur the expenditure which would be involved in any scheme of local settlement until it was certain that repatriation to Armenia was definitely outside the sphere of practical politics. The matter was the subject of considerable interdepartmental correspondence and discussion in London, but up to the spring of 1921 the problem remained unsolved, and in the meanwhile the 14,000 Armenian refugees continued to be maintained at the expense of the British Government.

Up to this point, the cost of the camp had been borne by the War Office, but no provision for its upkeep had been made after 31st March, 1921. When the matter was discussed at the Cairo Conference, it appeared that the only alternatives were either to arrange for the immediate repatriation of the Armenians by sea, or else to turn them adrift in 'Iraq. Of these the first alternative was preferable.

Unfortunately in May 1921, the Foreign Office intimated that the political situation in Turkey and the Caucasus was still unpropitious for any such movement and as it was obviously impossible for the British Government to bear the heavy recurring expenditure on the maintenance of the refugees for an indefinite period while waiting for the political horizon to clear, the sum of £140,000 was allotted in a supplementary estimate as a final charge in respect of the Armenian and Russian refugees. A sum of £110,000 was allocated to the Armenians and a scheme was immediately drawn up which was intended to achieve the absorption of the refugees in 'Iraq with the least possible hardship to themselves and at the same time without exceeding the above financial limit. In accordance with this scheme the population of the camp was to be gradually reduced until 15th August 1921, on which date the last party was to leave. Such balance as was not required for the maintenance of the camp up to the 15th August was to be expended in supplying 15 days' rations and a cash grant to each family to enable them to support themselves after leaving the camp and until they should be able to find suitable employment. At the same time every possible effort was made to find employment for them in advance. The inhabitants of the damp were classified according to profession and capacity for work and copies of this classification were sent to General Headquarters, to all the Ministries of the Arab Government and the Chambers of Commerce at Baghdad and Basrah, who were asked to co-operate by guaranteeing employment to as many of the refugees as possible on their leaving the camp. As a result of this measure work could undoubtedly have been found for a very large proportion of the able-bodied men, but unfortunately every offer of employment was absolutely refused by the refugees themselves and the Deputy Director of Repatriation at Nahr 'Umar found it impossible to induce the people to leave the camp in accordance with the schedule. The single able-bodied men had, however, been dispersed and a certain number of Persian Armenians had also been returned to Persia, though not until some difficulties with the Persian authorities had been overcome, and at the end of July the numbers in the camp had been reduced to about 11,700.


At this juncture I felt it essential to have some senior and responsible officer in the vicinity of the camp to advise, and when necessary, represent in matters relating to the refugees. Although the dispersal of the Assyrian refugees was by this time complete, Colonel Cunliffe-Owen, C.M.G.. the Director of Repatriation, was prevented by private considerations from himself proceeding to Nahr 'Umar, and in these circumstances General Headquarters kindly placed the service of Colonel H. Lakin at my disposal to assist me in the matter.

After visiting the camp and discussing the problem with the Acting Director of Repatriation, Colonel Lakin gave it as his considered opinion that the bsorption in the labour market of 'Iraq of such large body of unskilled labour possessing such a low market value was impracticable. Contributory causes of this were the general slackness of the labour market.

at that time, and the fact that practically none of the Armenians could speak Arabic, but the main cause was unquestionably the attitude of the Armenians themselves, who believed that by a policy of passive resistance they would be able to coerce the British Government into providing them with free passages.

After the situation had been fully examined it seemed probable that the most economical course would be to arrange for the transport of the whole camp to Batum. This course had the great advantage that it would dispose not only of the able-bodied men and their dependents but also of the infirm and orphans, etc., who would still have presented a difficult problem after any practicable scheme for the dispersal of the remainder in Iraq had been carried out. The local authorities at Basrah were also much in favour of this course since they feared that a large influx of unemployed and perhaps unemployable refugees would prove a danger and probably a source of expense to the local community. Moreover, assuming that their reception at Batum could be arranged, the time seemed particularly opportune for repatriation, since the pilgrim season was just ending and shipping especially fitted for pilgrim traffic might be obtained on favourable terms before being refitted for ordinary commercial use. A telegram was accordingly sent to the Secretary of State strongly recommending this course.

The political situation in trans-Caucasia had by this time improved and, after the possibility of settling the whole of the refugees on the land in 'Iraq had again been considered and rejected, the proposal to ship the whole population of the camp to Batum was approved and a further grant of £100,000 was voted for the purpose.

The Armenian Government, when consulted, were prepared to accept. the refugees at Batum but wished to stipulate that they should arrive in groups of not more than 1,000 at a time, at intervals of at least a fortnight. This could not be arranged without greatly increasing the cost, and the Armenian authorities were therefore asked to agree to accept groups of 3,000 at somewhat longer intervals. The interval between the sailing of the first and second boat was 3 weeks, and that between the sailing of the second and third boats over six weeks.

At the time that the decision to charter shipping was finally reached there remained some 9,600 refugees in the camp so that if three boat loads of 3,000 each could be despatched it seemed that the camp would be practically cleared. The reduction to 9,600 had been effected in various ways. Further parties had left for Persia. Some 600 refugees had petitioned and been allowed to proceed to Mosul to be settled on the land on the same terms as the Assyrians, and some few (very few) had accepted offers of local employment. As soon, however, as it became known that the scheme for repatriation had materialised, refugees from various parts of 'Iraq left their work and returned to the camp in the hope of obtaining a free passage. Moreover, owing to representations made by the Armenian authorities, who professed themselves unable to arrange for the reception of the full number at Batum, the last boat, the Shuja, carried only 2.000 refugees. It thus came about that after the Shuja sailed on 27th January, 1922, there still remained some 2,600 refugees in camp at Nahr 'Umar to be dispersed locally.

During the whole period that the refugees had been under the protection of the British, an orphanage had been maintained as a separate branch. It contained in July, 1921, 830 boys and girls of all ages up to 18. Guarantees were obtained from Armenian individuals and societies for the maintenance of these orphans in Palestine and it had been intended to despatch them by the first boat. Owing to an epidemic of chicken pox it was impossible to carry out this intention and the orphans were eventually included among the 2,000 who left by the last boat. These orphans were disembarked at Kantara, and the Shuja, therefore, reached Batum with 1,200 refugees only. The total numbers sent to Batum on the three boats were thus 7,200. In addition to the orphanage from Nahr 'Umar a number of orphans had been collected by the Armenian authorities and maintained in Mosul without the assistance of the British Government. Funds being no longer forthcoming for their maintenance, the Armenian authorities reduced the numbers of this orphanage to 75, and it was requested that these also might be sent to Palestine. Owing to fact that the sailing of the Shuja was in doubt up to the last moment on account of the attitude of the authorities at Batum, these orphans were eventually despatched with very little notice being given to the High Commissioner for Palestine. The latter, however, very kindly obtained the necessary additional guarantees and was also good enough to arrange for the reception of the whole party of orphans at Kantara.

Owing to the urgent representations of the Armenian Government, who stated that unless some help was afforded them they would be unable to save the Armenians from starvation after their arrival at Erivan, authority was given for the purchase of food supplies from Disposals Board for distribution


Relations with

The Sanusi.

in Armenia. Food supplies to the value of one lakh of rupees were accordingly shipped on the Shuja, in addition to rations for the voyage. The principal items consisted of 25 tons of preserved meat, 30 tons of biscuits and 10 tons of condensed milk.

With regard to the dispersal of the 2,600 still remaining at Nahr Umar the same difficulties have arisen as arose in July when it was intended to disperse the whole camp locally, but the problem is of course now greatly simplified not only by the smaller numbers involved, but by the fact that care has been taken that only able-bodied men and their families have been left behind. The absorption of the bread winners of these families in the labour market of Baghdad would not at present have proved impossible and the Acting Director was accordingly authorised to send those who so wished to Baghdad at Government expense. None of the refugees have accepted this offer and they are at present persisting in their attitude of passive resistance and are even refusing to accept the 15 days' rations and subsistence allowance offered them. They are however steadily being struck off the ration stren~th which will have been reduced to nil by 31st March 1922, and orders have been given to strike the tents over their heads, by force if necessary, if they persist in their refusal to leave the camp. It is feared that this procedure will result in some suffering among the refugees, but it is no longer possible to protect these people from the natural consequences of their refusal to help themselves.


Until the signature of the treaty between Great Britain and the 'Iraq, together with the confirmation by the League of Nations of the relations between the two Governments, the international position of the 'Iraq is necessarily ambiguous. Pending a definition of Iraq nationality, laissez passers have been issued by the Iraq passport authorities and Divisional Advisers, while in the case of 'Iraqis abroad arrangements are being made for their issue by British Consular representatives.

Throughout the period under report the 'Iraq Government has been in the anomalous position of having, in Turkey, a neighbour theoretically in a state of armistice but in fact clearly hostile. Apart from the political effervescence which the efforts of the Kamalists have maintained on the Kurdish frontier, the economic effects have been serious. From its geographical position, Mosul is the natural entrepot for trade with Aleppo, Mardin and Sa'airt and the almost complete interruption of commerce along these routes has resulted in stagnation of business in the town and district.

Turkish propaganda has been associated in the main with the name of Shaikh Ahmad al Sanusi. In January 1921, he was first heard of as having arrived in Diyarbakr from North Africa; in April he was reported to be in Mardin, and in May he was spoken of as being either the Turkish candidate for the throne of the 'Iraq, or else the deputy of Burhan al Din Effendi, a son of the Sultan Abdul Hamid. The candidature of Amir Faisal was the signal for an intensive effort to advocate his cause. A large number of his manifestoes found their way to Mosul and other parts of the country. They were violently anti-foreign and pan-Islamic in tone and no less singularly ineffective. Arab Nationalist hopes and Islamic ideals were alike satisfied by the qualifications of the Amir Faisal and his arrival in Baghdad was immediately followed by the submission to himself of those chiefs of the Shammar Jarba' who had remanied in close touch with the Turks and had been in March the recipients of lavish decorations. It was a decisive rebuff to the pretensions of the Sanusi, or rather to the anticipations of his principals, for he is himself a typical darwish, devoid of initiation and used merely as mouthpiece. In December 1921, rumours were current that he was to be set up as the ruler of a semi-independent Trans-'Iraq State, embracing Jazirah, Rawanduz and Sulaimani, but a scheme of this nature would seem to combine every element of failure and the Sanusi himself is generally believed to be highly dissatisfied with his position and anxious to return to his own country.

The complete lack of success which has attended Turkish propaganda among the Arab tribes on the frontier was further exemplified by the return to the fold in June of Daham al Hadi who had been one of the recipients of Turkish honours. He is the favourite grandson of the old chief Al 'Asi, who is probably still the greatest name among the Shammar. Daham has been given rights of cultivation at 'Awainat, within the 'Iraq frontier, while Al 'Asi is cultivating extensively at Rumailan, the nearest point on the frontier to Nisibin. The Tai, who are nominally in the French zone, have been forced by their proximity to the Turks to enter into relations with the latter, and Bulaibil, the chief of the small Albu Hamad tribe, has maintained a robber band near Jazirah, but the successful bombing of his encampments in June 1921, in retribution for his attacks on barges on the Tigris

belonging to the inhabitants of Zakho, led to a pronounced diminution in his activities. Aeroplane action was also taken over the frontier in August, when Naif Beg of the Miran Kurds crossed the Tigris to raid the Hassanan in the neigbourhood of Faishkhabur. (At the end of March, 1922, Naif Beg was seeking permission to settle in Iraq territory).


These episodes point to the intrinsic disadvantages to the 'Iraq of the Disadvantages existing frontier line, disadvantages increased by the provisions of the of the existing Angora agreement which brought the Turkish boundary down to Jazirah and the line of the railway, leaving a long narrow strip of desert between Kamalist territory and the 'Iraq. Even though the French Government has undertaken that Turkish attacks should not be delivered across this neutral zone, the French are not in a position to counteract Turkish endeavours among the frontier tribes, while the 'Iraq Government is precluded from taking measures in self-defence. Moreover the neutral zone is, from a military point of view, as has been pointed out by the 'Iraq General Staff, a safeguard to the Kamalist rather than to the Arab Government, while a direct advance from Nisibin on Mosul through Arab tribes is not a movement likely to be undertaken by the Turks, the neutral zone forbids the 'Iraq Army from taking, under conditions entirely favourable, the most obvious step to prevent Turkish concentration by cutting the line of communications represented by the railway and the Nisibin-Jazirah road, which have now passed into Kamalist hands.

A further imperfection in the present frontier, which if not rectified is likely to lead to serious local friction, lies in that section which runs south from Tall Ramailan and cuts through the middle of the Jabal Sinjar. The Sinjar, which is entirely inhabited by Yazidis, forms an ethnographical and geographical unit of which any administrative division would be impossible. The Yazidis have always been a part of the Mosul Wilayat, with which they regard themselves as permanently connected; their military reduction would be extremely difficult and they form a valuable defence against any force advancing on Tall 'Afar or Mosul from the Khabur or Nisibin. The claim that the whole Sinjar ridge should be included in the 'Iraq is therefore from every point of view a reasonable one.

Turkish propaganda has also been directed against the loyalty of our Indian troops, in the form of circulars in Urdu emanating either from the Afghan delegation at Angora or from Pan-Islamic Associations in Anatolia. Muhammadan troops were urged to murder their officers and desert Mustafa Kamal who was preparing a great army for the extirpation of the infidel and the liberation of the holy places of Iraq. The effects produced by these appeals were imperceptible and since July the dissemination of pamphlets of this nature has ceased.

Turkish propaganda among Indian troops.

On the Kurdish side, the Kamalists have had troubles of their own. Kamalist In January they were forced to take measures, attended with no great suc- difficulties with cess, for the subjection of the Hawerki and in October they attacked Sher- the Kurds. nakh with a considerable force, partly composed of tribes at feud with 'Abdul Rahman Agha, Shaikh of Shernakh, who has been practically independent since the armistice. He has been at pains to cultivate friendly relations with the British authorities and on the arrival of the Amir Faisal, he with other Kurdish leaders, expressed to the latter their willingness to accept him as King and to form part of the Iraq State under conditions of local autonomy. When the Turkish attack developed, he was obliged, owing to lack of ammunition, to come to terms. During the winter he refused all invitations to present himself in Jazirat ibn 'Umar, but in February, when as a result of the Angora Agreement, the Kamalists had been able to increase their force on the 'Iraq frontier and to place outposts as far as the vicinity of Zakho, along the foot of the Shernakh hills, he found himself obliged to give way to Kamalist threats and visited Jazirah. Even then he did not agree to Turkish schemes for an offensive against the 'Iraq.

Within the 'Iraq borders such success as the Turks have met with has been obtained in the Rawanduz area and is due to the insurgence of the Surchi chiefs of 'Aqrah and malcontents of Rawanduz who had been out of control since August, 1920. In May, 1921, measures were taken against the Surchi, as a result of which Batas was re-occupied and the Surchi chiefs made submission, with the exception of 'Ubaidullah and his half brother Raqib. The political atmosphere showed every sign of clearing and overtures for the restoration of Government had been put forward by the Rawanduz leaders, when in June a new factor was introduced by the appearance in the town of a Kamalist official with a small Turkish reconnaissance. Active propaganda was instituted among the tribes and by the end of July a semblance of Turkish government had been formed at Rawanduz and the Turkish force had been increased to about 60 rifles, with a gun and two machine guns. The police post at Batas was attacked on July 31 and forced to surrender; ten days later the Pizhtgelli section of the Khushao under Ahmad Beg delivered an unsuccessful attack on Rania. The local tribes

Kamalist efforts at Rawanduz.

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