In the ensuing sinister Sykes-Picot plot, the French, took the
initiative in 1923 and detached Lebanon from the liberated
territories of the Middle East towards its independence for the
protection of the Maronite (Catholic) Christian community (Rafic
Boustani’s footnote. The Atlas of the Arab World; Geopolitics and
Society; *p31). The British inspired by the French, also proclaimed
an Assyrian-Chaldean state in line with the French emerging policy
for the Maronite Latin-Catholics in Lebanon. The Arabs, considering
Mesopotamia and the whole of the Middle East region as part of the
Islamic States of the Abode of Peace, strongly objected to the
detachment of Lebanon by the French and creation of an Assyrian
state, in Ninweh, North of Iraq by the British.
The Arabs sought the support of their old and influential friend T.E.
Lawrence (of Arabia) to foil the French/British attempts. T.E.
Lawrence, a staunch supporter of the Arabs, vehemently opposed
detachment of Lebanon by the French and restoration of the Assyrian
state by the British. The French proceeded determinedly despite all
the obstacles and succeeded with their plan. The British, too,
resisted Arab pressure for several years. However, Arab/Islamic
pressure on the British to drop their support for an Assyrian state
continued to mount. The fate of the Assyrian state became uncertain.
Following annexation of the former Ottoman Province of Mosul to
Iraq, in March 1925, through the League of Nations, with the consent
of the British, support for the Assyrians waned.
Still not satisfied, Arab nationalist leaders incited Arab tribal
uprisings, especially the Shammar and Eneza tribes, against the
British for giving the Assyrians assurances of protection and
security in the Mosul Province of northern Iraq. Under constant Arab
pressure, the British, in 1932, buckled and abandoned the Assyrians
and let the hope of an Assyrian State slyly disappear. Later, in
August 1933, the Iraqi army turned on the Assyrians, attacked and
massacred in cold blood over three thousand Assyrians at Simele
village and other nearby villages in northern Iraq. The brutal
action of the Iraqi central government was to remind the Assyrian
people that the “millet" provision of the Islamic rule was still in
force. That their political and social status would remain
derogated, and unchanged. And that it would continue, as it had
been, under the Ottoman rule, and earlier when under the Arab rule,
in past centuries. The Islamic concept in regards to Israel is no
different from that of the ill-fated Assyria.
The political influence of T.E. Lawrence, Advisor on Arab Affairs,
on the British government earlier, and later in 1921, particularly
on Sir Winston Churchill, had played a leading role in nipping the
Assyrian-Chaldean state in the bud. For settlement of the Middle
East Affairs, Churchill, then Colonial Secretary relied heavily on
the advice of the eccentric Lawrence ‘of Arabia'. Treating the
Assyrians as Indian outcast natives of a lower caste,
‘…It was indeed imperial rule on the cheap. By September 1922, Sir
Winston Churchill, during his short term in the colonial office, had
reduced the expenditure in the Middle East, from £45 million to £11’
(Rose; 1994: pp 154-155, 165).
Lawrence was well known for his deep sympathy for the Arabs.
Although a strong and capable guerrilla leader, Lawrence was given a
free hand and meddled too much in the politics of foreign affairs
during the mandated period. According to the above policies, Sir
Winston Churchill did not view the Assyrian Nation as worth saving.