Occupying Iraq: A British History

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As U.S. forces advance toward Baghdad, some are headed for the eastern Iraqi city of Al Kut. If history is any judge, that could be a mistake. During World War I, when the British invaded Iraq — then called Mesopotamia — they were dealt a resounding defeat by Turkish fighters on the fields of Al Kut. The British eventually occupied the entire country, declared themselves "liberators" and stayed until 1932. Some analysts say there are lessons to be learned from the British experience. NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports. (Please note this story was corrected on air on March 27, 2003: "...from Steven Lavallee of Providence, Rhode Island — who writes, 'at the end of (your) interesting story about the historical British connection to Iraq, (you) stated that in 1958 the assassinated King (Faisal) was dismembered in the streets of Baghdad. Though that was indeed the fate of his uncle the Crown Prince and also of Iraq's Prime Minister, the body of this not-unpopular and blameless young man was given a quiet burial with his parents.'")



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