HC Deb 02 April 1928 vol 215 cc1598-9W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the origin of the recent trouble in Arabia is traceable to the action of the Iraq Government in building a fort at the desert wells of Busaiyah; and why, in view of Article 3 of the Protocol of Uqair, the Iraq Government took this step?


I am aware that King Ibn Saud has protested against the building of a post at Busaiyah, which was merely an intelligence post armed by 13 police, and not a fort, but I am satisfied that the action of the Iraq Government in this matter has been perfectly correct and that the construction of this post in no way infringed the provisions of Article 3 of the Uqair Protocol. That Article prohibits the fortification of wells "in the vicinity of the border." The post in question is situated no less than 75 miles from the Iraq-Nejd frontier, and consequently does not fall within the provisions of this Article. The establishment of this post and of similar small police posts at other places equally remote from the frontier was, in fact, originally undertaken by the Iraq Government as a consequence of complaints by King Ibn Saud that a section of the Shammar tribe, recently settled in Syria, was being permitted to raid into Nejd territory through the narrow corridor connecting Iraq and Trans-Jordan. The Iraq Government hoped, by the establishment of these police posts, to place themselves in a position to control the tribesmen and to deal effectively with any attempted raids, and in fact there have been no Shammar raids into Nejd since the establishment of these posts. I may further remind the hon. Member that the present trouble originated with a wanton attack on Busaiyah by Akhwan tribesmen, who massacred its occupants.