SearchReport exposes horrific conditions for soldiers, lack of military planning in Persian Gulf

Report exposes horrific conditions for soldiers, lack of military planning in Persian Gulf ...
wsws.org 26/06/1916 History

Keywords:Anglo-Persian, Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Baghdad, Baku, Basra, Britain, British, German, Germany, India, London, Mesopotamia, Nixon, Ottoman, Ottoman Empire, Persian, Persian Gulf, Turkish

The Mesopotamia Commission, established following the surrender of British-commanded Indian forces at Kut-al-Amara in Mesopotamia in March 1916, publishes its report on the initial failure of British military operations in the region. The report pins the blame for the disastrous decision to advance to Baghdad on General John Nixon.
An Indian Expeditionary Force was sent to the Persian Gulf in November 1914 after London declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The initial focus of the intervention was the protection of the refineries, pipelines and other facilities of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, but broader strategic considerations were at play.
Germany had increased its presence in the Ottoman Empire and expanded its trade relations with the region following the construction of the Baghdad railway. Britain feared that a failure to push back German-Ottoman control could result in the undermining of London’s colonial domination of India, the crown jewel of its global empire.
The Indian force initially made rapid gains, capturing Basra and Kut-al-Amara. But Nixon then ordered an advance on Baghdad, several hundred miles to the north, which was repulsed by Turkish reinforcements. Turkish troops subsequently besieged British and Indian forces at Kut, forcing the surrender of more than 13,000 soldiers in April 1916.
The Mesopotamia Commission report details how provisions for the troops were completely inadequate. In November 1915, 208 tons of supplies were required at the front, but only 150 tons could be supplied. By April 1916, requirements rose to 598 tons daily, with only 250 tons being supplied.
The attempt to scapegoat Nixon is aimed at avoiding calling into question broader British imperialist ambitions in the region, which conform entirely with the reckless advance on Baghdad. The city was captured by Britain in March 1917. By the end of the war, fighting will have spread as far north as Baku as London seeks desperately to retain its hegemonic position.
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