Großbritanniens erste Irak-Invasion

Die erste Invasion der Briten in das Gebiet des heutigen Irak ereignete sich am Beginn des ersten Weltkrieges. Zunächst ging es den Briten nur um die Sicherung ihrer Ölversorgung. Bald jedoch wurde das Kriegsziel auf die Eroberung Bagdads und der umliegenden Landstriche ausgeweitet. Bagdad war damals die Hauptstadt der Provinz Mesopotamien, die zum osmanischen Reich gehörte.

Als die osmanische Türkei im Oktober 1914 in den Krieg eintrat, begann ein Expeditionskorps aus Britisch-Indien mit dem Vormarsch von seinem Stützpunkt an der Mündung des Schatt-el-Arab aus. Die Erdölförderanlagen von Abadan wurden am 7. November 1914 eingenommen. Nachdem man die entschlossenere Gegenwehr des Feindes bezwungen hatte, wurde am 22. November das 32 Kilometer landeinwärts am Euphrat gelegene Basra erobert.

Der türkische Widerstand war schwächer als erwartet und so begannen die Briten über eine Erweiterung ihres Einflussbereichs in Mesopotamien nachzudenken. Die ersten Offensiven im Jahr 1915 verliefen erfolgreich. Die Türken wurden von Ahwas nach Osten zurückgedrängt und persische Ölfelder damit unter britische Kontrolle gebracht. Im März 1915 rückten zwei britische Infanteriedivisionen und eine Kavalleriebrigade entlang des Euphrat und des Tigris nach Norden in Richtung Kut vor.

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