Cracks in the Empire
When the British occupied Iraq after World War I, they were not greeted with celebrations. A revolt began almost immediately. It was brutally suppressed. Shaken by the uprising, Lord Curzon, the Foreign Secretary came up with a plan to run Iraq. He said we must create an “Arab facade ruled and administrated under British guidance and controlled by a native Mohammedan, and as far as possible an Arab staff.” This should all, he continued, “be veiled by constitutional fictions.” Today, the Iraqi Governing Council is a facsimile of Curzon’s Arab facade. Paul Bremer is the unofficial viceroy. The names will no doubt be changed but that is the structure of power. However, sooner or later, facades crumble. There are cracks appearing in the empire. Interview by David Barsamian.
Tariq Ali, an internationally renowned writer and activist, was born in Lahore, Pakistan. For many years he has been based in London where he is an editor of New Left Review. A charismatic speaker, he is in great demand all over the world. In his spare time, he is a filmmaker, playwright, and novelist. He is the author of many books including The Clash of Fundamentalisms, Pirates of the Caribbean, Speaking of Empire & Resistance with David Barsamian, The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power, The Obama Syndrome, The Extreme Centre and The Forty-Year War in Afghanistan: A Chronicle Foretold.