HC Deb 15 June 1927 vol 207 cc1011-2
75. Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make about the reports of disorders and fighting in North-Eastern Iraq and on the Persian frontier; whether the Iraq levies have been engaged; whether British officers have taken part in the fighting; and whether there have been any British casualties?


The hon. and gallant Member no doubt refers to the statements which have recently appeared in certain organs of the Press on the subject of the occupation of the Penjwin and Shah-bazar districts by the Iraq forces. The Iraq Government had not hitherto established effective administration in those areas, which, as a result, had become a rallying point for bandits and disaffected tribal elements, who constantly preyed upon the neighbouring villages. Consequently, it was decided in April last to take steps to bring the areas in question under the authority of the Iraq Government, and a force composed partly of Iraq army units and partly of Iraq levy units accordingly occupied Penjwin on the 22nd of April. The force was supported by a Royal Air Force Unit. No serious opposition was encountered. The British officers normally attached to the units concerned took part in the operations, but so far as I am aware there were no British casualties.

Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

Have any British officers been engaged in gathering taxes in this or other areas in Iraq?


No, Sir. These operations were not concerned with gathering taxes but with bringing these districts into effective administration and preventing ill-disposed persons from using them as centres for raiding.


Will there be any extra cost to the British taxpayer because of these operations?


No, Sir.