The Other Gulf War, British Intervention in Iraq, 1941
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Iraqi Freedom offers not only a reprise of unfinished business from the Persian Gulf War, it is the third invasion of Iraq by Great Britain since independence in 1932. During World War II, Winston Churchill ordered his commander in chief, Middle East, General Sir Archibald Wavell, to march on Baghdad. The reason for intervention was strikingly similar to that advanced more than fifty years later: to preempt Axis support for Rashid Ali el Gailani, a violently anti-British Arab nationalist, who threatened British interests. The occupation would also strike a blow at terrorism orchestrated by a charismatic Islamic cleric. Finally, intervention would protect oil reserves vital to the war effort.