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It is often wrongly asserted that Britain created Iraq in the 1920s. In fact, Iraq had long existed as a loose federal unit within the Ottoman empire, consisting of the three provinces of Mosul (mainly Kurdish), Baghdad (Sunni) and Basra (Shia). Britain did, alas, try to create an inappropriately European-style unitary nation state out of this confederation and thereby laid the basis for the centralised tyranny that modern Iraq became. It would be fitting if Britain could now play a role in helping to restore the status quo ante of a looser, federal country based on those three provinces.


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