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mans had to be systematically on the defensive since then. Thus came to end the chances of Germany's ever questioning England's position in the Gulf.

The only Powers that could compete with England are England's allies and comrades in arms. But, as noted above France had renounced her claims in the Gulf in 1906 and 1914. She is not likely to reopen the question in future, for the French interests involved are too trivial. Russia also had indeed been friendly, but her desire to have a Port Arthur on the South Asian Seas would surely have needed England's watchful attention. With the revolution of March 1917, however, and especially the total collapse under Bolshevik régime since November of the same year Russia had ceased to be a controlling factor in world politics. Consequently at the beginning of 1918 England found herself the undisputed ruler of the Gulf. This towering predominance has finally been sealed by the unconditional surrender of Turkey in October 1918, and the ignominious failure of Germany on all fronts in Africa, Asia, and Europe.


Persia is one of those few countries which like the seven Latin American states, Mexico, Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile, remained technically neutral during the hemispheroidal armageddon. It is in fact the only country in Asia excepting its neighbour Afghanistan and the Dutch Indies that did not declare itself formally against Germany's challenge of the British world-empire by a counter Eur-Asian combination. But in spite of its official neutrality Persia was a theatre of military operations not less active than German Shantung and British Egypt. And of course it was constantly disturbed by such intrigues and secret manoeuvres of the belligerents as are inevitable among neutral peoples when practically whole mankind is in arms.

In the summer of 1914 when the war broke out in Europe Persian politics were in a very unsettled condition. The Third Majlis (National Council or Parliament) had just


been elected, and the young Shah Ahmad Mirza ceremonially crowned (July 21). But since the abolition of the Second Majlis which was perpetrated in December 1911 in order to placate Russia and Great Britain in their demands relating to the appointment of foreigners in Persian public service, the constitutional or nationalist party had been left without any controlling hand in the adminstration. It is notorious, further, that throughout the risorgimiento or revolutionary period since August 1906, the royalist, arbitrary and reactionary elements in Persia have had the systematic backing of the two interested Powers. This circumstance had the inevitable result of throwing the liberals, democrats and advocates of reform, like the Young Turk party in the western Moslem state, into the arms of Germany, and of compelling them to seek in her the only possible deliverer of the Middle East. The war, therefore, found Persia sharply divided in sentiment, the Shah and the Court party proally, and the people or Young Persia pro-German (-Turk).

It was certainly easy enough to bring about the severance of official Persia's relation with the Central Powers, as in the cases of Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, and Ecuador. In 1915 German, Austrian and Turkish ministers left Teheran. But during the first two years of the war anti-British risings of the people occurred frequently in Southern and Eastern Persia. Specially affected were the areas about Isfahan and Shiraz. Intensely serious was the situation in the port of Bushire which, therefore, had to be kept under British occupation from August to October. Seistan also on the Afghan frontier, the ever-debatable ground between England and Russia, came virtually into British hands. Finally in 1916 Kerman was occupied.

In the meantime Northern and Western Persia had the European war brought home to it through the Russian advance from Azarbaijan, the British advance towards Kut, and the Turkish resistance to both from the Bagdad Zone. By 1916 the failure of the British in Mesopotamia enabled Turkey to occupy Kirmanshah and Hamadan in Persia and thus cut off the Russian army from the contemplated coöperation with the British on the Tigris.

But in March, 1917, the fall of Bagdad and the disappearance of Turkey from the Mesopotamian region placed western Persia and Kurdistan within the sphere of British influence. The sway of the British power was further extended northwards through the dislocation in the Russian army because of the revolution (March 16), and especially through its total collapse under the Bolshevik régime (November 7). In 1918, therefore, England may be said to have automatically stepped into the vacuum, in the Urumiah basin and Azarbaijan, created by the retirement of Russia from the war. It is clear therefore that from the military standpoint Persia was thoroughly exploited; and yet the violation of Persia seems to be the least known event of the Great War.

How is it that such a thing could happen in Asia without any comment or even notice on the part of the students of international law or of the humanitarian democrats of the world, while it is precisely the violation of an European Persia that was ostensibly the casus belli of this war of all nations? The explanation is to be sought in the fact, not candidly and avowedly recognized, that Persia had ceased to be a Persian state long before the war broke out.

In a sense Persia's status de jure was indeed that of Belgium, as England and Russia had agreed in 1907 not to permit each other to intervene in the affairs of the land. But in actuality Young Persia's efforts at reconstruction on the lines of constitutional monarchy were thwarted by the Powers at every step. Shah Mohammed Ali (1907– 1909) used to be aided and abetted by them so that he might curb the parliamentary endeavours of the people. Early in 1908 the First Majlis had even to encounter RussoBritish demands to the effect that it must obey and submit to the Shah. In June it was totally overthrown and demolished by the Shah with the “Cossack Brigade” commanded by a Russian colonel. The Persian revolution could not, however, be thus nipped in the bud. The people mustered strength in the provincial cities, marched from Tabriz and Isfahan on Teheran the capital, deposed the Shah (July 16, 1909) and restored the parliament. The way before this Second Majlis also was beset with difficulties by the Powers. Taking advantage of the revolutionary unrest, Russia quartered troops at Tabriz and other cities in Northern Persia, and England issued an ultimatum demanding the surrender of the roads in Southern Persia to be policed by the British Indian army at the cost of the Persian Customs Department (October 16, 1910).

Nor was this all. The ex-Shah's intrigues with the royalists in Persia were winked over by England and Russia in spite of the terms of the protocol by which he had been pensioned off. In fact, the Powers violated international law by allowing him to organize the invasion of Persia from Russian territory in July 1911. To make the situation still more difficult for the people, Russia, assured of England's connivance in Persia because of the Morocco crisis in Europe for which England needed Russian help against Germany, sent a fresh ultimatum. Young Persia was stung to the quick thereby, declared a general boycott of Russian and British goods (December 11), and together with the Moslems of Turkey appealed to Germany for sympathy in distress. The Persian boycott, however, proved abortive like the Chinese boycott of America in 1905, because it was an instance of measuring one's strength with a giant. The constitutionalists were completely humiliated, for in a fortnight the Second Majlis fell before a coup d'état of the Cabinet (December 24) which considered it impossible and useless to oppose the joint overtures of Russia and England. The understanding was then formally forced from Young Persia that it must not engage the services of foreigners without first obtaining the consent of the two Powers. Azarbaijan became practically a province of Russian Trans-Caucasia, and in 1913 the British despatched an Indian regiment to police Shiraz against the raids of Bakhtiyari and other tribes. Since 1907 Persia had thus been drifting between the Scylla of complete foreign subjection and the Charybdis of the Imperial autocracy encouraged by the Powers.

The violation of Persian neutrality was therefore a normal fact of Middle Eastern politics in pre-war times. And this was a natural consequence of the fact that for purposes

of international politics there were three Persias to be reckoned with. The partition of Persia had been consummated by England and Russia through a mutual agreement on August 31, 1907, just a year after the constitutional triumph of Young Persia (August 5, 1906). The Majlis was not consulted by the Powers prior to the act, nor has that body ever recognized the tripartite division of the country in its adminstrative or financial measures. But so far as the larger world is concerned, the territorial reconstruction in Persia was a fait accompli contrary to the now universally acknowledged postulate of self-determination for peoples. The juristic aspect of the Persian situation has been paralleled in November 1917 by the American-Japanese Agreement (Ishii-Lansing pact) about China without consulting that country at all.

The three divisions are:

1. The Russian sphere, or Northern Persia covering as far interior as the outskirts of Isfahan (the ancient capital, e.g, under Shah Abbas the Great, the contemporary of Elizabeth) and Yezd, the last stand of Zoroastrianism in its homeland. It includes the richest Persian province of Azarbaijan, the once flourishing tract known as Khorasan, and Teheran, the modern capital.

2. The British sphere, or Southern Persia, with Bunder Abbas as its western terminus, which commands the straits of Ormuz leading to the Persian Gulf as the Gibraltar of the Middle East.

3. The "neutral” sphere, or Central Persia, having for its base the entire Persian Gulf littoral and the Karun River, with the apex at Zulfikar, the point where the Russian Empire, Afghanistan and Persia meet. Its boundaries skirt such cities as Khanikin on the Turkish frontier, Isfahan and Yezd on the north, and Kerman on the south. Shiraz, the home of Saadi and Hafiz, lies within this sphere. It includes the historic province of Fars from which the country derives its name of Persia.

What, now, is the meaning of these three spheres? It was clearly explained by the Agreement itself. Thus, for instance, in regard to Southern Persia, Russia undertook to

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