In 1920 an Arab revolt came perilously close to inflicting a shattering defeat upon the British Empire's forces occupying Iraq after the Great War. A huge peasant army besieged British garrisons and bombarded them with captured artillery. British columns and armoured trains were ambushed and destroyed, and gunboats were captured or sunk. Britain's quest for oil was one of the principal reasons for its continuing occupation of Iraq. However, with around 131,000 Arabs in arms at the height of the conflict, the British were very nearly driven out. Only a massive infusion of Indian troops prevented a humiliating rout.
Enemy on the Euphrates is the definitive account of the most serious armed uprising against British rule in the twentieth century. Bringing central players such as Winston Churchill, T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell vividly to life, Ian Rutledge's masterful account is a powerful reminder of how Britain's imperial objectives sowed the seeds of Iraq's tragic history.