NEAR EAST: Holy Skirmish

With a terrible, pregnant symbolism, World War II jumped last week from the birthplace of democracy to the birthplace of mankind. Five days after Athens fell, fighting broke out in Iraq, traditional site of the Garden of Eden. In its beginning the new conflict was a minor embarrassment to Britain; in its potentialities it was a threat as serious as any the British Empire had yet suffered.

A few days before Germany's Balkan campaign, a pro-German Arab nationalist, Seyid Rashid Ali El-Gailani, overthrew five-year-old Monarch Feisal II's pro-British Regent. Because of the threat implicit in this coup, the British sent...

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