British Covert Intelligence activities in Iraq
UK’s covert intelligence activities in Iraq
Tue, 14 May 2013 14:10:25 GMT
One of Britain’s complex strategies to establish political control over other countries from colonial era up to now is setting up centers for studying nations that are coveted by British officials concerning cultural, political and economic areas.
Britain has been always seeking to remove obstacles to colonize other countries from the beginning of its colonial history in recent centuries until the present time.
Thus the UK authorities have been attempting to get a proper understanding of the culture of their colonies in order to reduce fatal blows to their imperialistic objectives caused by national resistance of the occupied countries. The country’s officials have been also trying to previously identify barriers to influence colonies and the way through the preventative measures, which are particularly the cultural ones.
One of the UK’s leading organizations for studying other countries is the National Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences and its affiliated offices in other countries across the globe, which are responsible for scientific study of cultures and nations.
The British academy has senior bureaus in all Middle Eastern countries. The academy’s Iraq branch office was established in 1930 and is currently led by Eleanor Robson. She is the representative of the British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences and also the head of the Institute for the Study of Iraq.
Initially, setting up a British institute for studying culture and human sciences in Iraq seems a quite normal or even praiseworthy act. However, retrospection in the colonial past of the institute makes any observer to reconsider his view.
The British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences was established as a memorial to Gertrude Bell, the most skilled and efficient agent of Britain’s intelligence and security organization at her time and especially during the World War I.
Bell along with Lawrence of Arabia carried out the most landmark operation of formation and destruction of countries in the Middle East. Moreover, she played a major role in dismantling the Ottoman Empire, defining the borders of Saudi Arabia and creating nascent states such as Syria, Jordan, Kuwait and Iraq.
Now after more than eighteen years and following the downfall of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein, the institute has resumed its research activities, which were limited in the 1990s due to that time’s difficult political situation.
It is worth mentioning that the institute has cut its budget for archeological and ancient era studies in Iraq in recent years and instead devoted a lot of money to studies on human sciences and social research into contemporary and modern Iraq.
Some Iraqi elites believe that while Britain has failed to maintain its military and security influence over the Arab country, it is the turn of the British so-called cultural institutes to monitor the country’s political, security, economic or even scientific and cultural situation and to defuse grounds for national resistance to the UK’s clout on Iraq.
On 12 December 2007, the organization’s name was changed to the British Institute for the Study of Iraq. This title reflects the scope the institute’s activities. The organization is allegedly aiming to conduct advanced research and provide public education in Iraq and its neighboring countries in areas such as anthropology, archeology, geography, history, language and also in art-related disciplines including, humanities and social science.
Eleanor Robson, who is currently the Chair of Council the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, is the professor and researcher in history and philosophy at Cambridge University. Science, technology and medicine in the ancient and medieval Middle East are among her research interests.
With Professor Steve Tinney of the University of Pennsylvania, Robson run a research project called The Geography of Knowledge in Assyria and Babylonia, which was funded by Britain’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). In June 2012, she became the Chair of Council the British Institute for the Study of Iraq.
Being the head of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq might initially seem to be an honorable position. But it should not be forgotten that Gertrude Bell was also present as an archeologist, author and poet in the Ottoman territory early in the twentieth century, serving as a spy to Britain’s interests beyond her cultural title.