25 APRIL 1941, Page 2

British Forces in Iraq

The Government acted promptly in sending strong Imperial forces to Basra to safeguard British treaty-rights in Iraq, and to anticipate any untoward action that might be projected by the new Iraqi Government. The seizure of power by Sayid Rashid with the help of Army officers and the deposition of the Regent were unconstitutional acts which were not made regulir by subsequent recognition from an intimidated National Assembly. The hand of the notorious ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, acting in co-operation with German agents, has been detected in the preparation of this coup d'otat. There is little doubt that Germany hoped to profit by this skilfully-timed piece of Fifth Columnism in the rear at the moment when German armies are attacking in Greece and Africa, and are preparing a war of nerves against Turkey. In intervening Great Britain is acting strictly within her rights, as well as in protection of • interests nterests in the Mosul oilfields, whence oil is sent by pipe-lines to Palestine and Syria, and at Baghdad and Basra, which are essential to our air-communications with India. By the treaty of 1930, which preceded the termination of the British mandate, the King of Iraq undertook in the event of war to furnish "all facilities and assistance in his power, including the use of railways, rivers, ports, aerodromes and means of communication," and to authorise the presence of British troops to protect them. Though the new Prime Minister on seizing power promised to observe the terms of the Treaty, nothing can be left to chance. The Imperial forces sent to Basra will doubtless be sent to guard the key-points.