‌‌‌‌‌At the end of World War I Gertrude Bell was one of the key people in the debates that led to the creation of the state of Iraq.  She wrote a white paper entitled Review of the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia which was the major document that informed decisions about the future governance of the region.  She also attended the Cairo Conference in 1921 where major figures, including T.E. Lawrence and the Colonial Secretary, Winston Churchill, discussed the future of Mesopotamia.  Many of Bell’s recommendations, including the choice of Faisal to be the king of Iraq, were followed.  

Her role in the creation of the state of Iraq is the area where her impact is the most controversial and the extent to which she can be seen as a positive force is debatable.  Certainly a lot of the problems faced by modern Iraq can be traced back to the decisions made at the Cairo Conference and British policy in the region.

In the picture: Middle Eastern Conference (Cairo, March 1921).

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