Parvathi Menon ~ Negotiating Subjection: The Political Economy of Protection in the Iraqi Mandate (1914-1932)

(2021) 2 TWAIL Review 180-199
ISSN 2563-6693
Published under a Creative Commons licence

The Mandate System provided a viable means for protecting European interests (without annexation), embedding the principle of foreign property protection as the basis for future relations between capital exporting and importing states. At the same time, the Mandates also protected the non-European Mandate inhabitants in preparation for their emancipation by introducing welfare measures, development, and ‘order’ that could support the protection of (foreign) property. The Iraqi example best explicates how the Mandate System uniquely combined vestiges of older imperial protection models and a future model for newly emancipated states, demonstrating the fluidity between the imperial and the international. I argue that such a fluidity helped facilitate a reciprocal causality between protecting people and protecting property, where protecting Iraqis facilitated British propertied interests. Equally, by separating the protection of people and property, I show how political self-determination of Mandate inhabitants remained distinct from their economic emancipation. Through these arguments, I demonstrate how protection of people and property was divergent and mutually constitutive.