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Russian-British Interest in Persia, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

Before WW1 the British controlled the southern portion of Iran while the Russians controlled the north. When the war appeared imminent, the British had to reassess their ambitions in Persia.  The Russians however continued to advance towards Afghanistan and by 1865, had annexed formally part of the country, continuing to expand their presence in Afghanistan.  After the Russians sent an uninvited diplomatic mission to Kabul in 1878, the British insisted that the ruler of the country accept a diplomatic mission from them.  That mission was turned away and in retaliation, a force of 40,000 men was sent across the border, beginning the second Anglo-Afghan War.

When that war ended, Afghan’s ruler agreed to let the British maintain Afghanistan foreign policy. The problem of internal rebellion was contained very efficiently and essentially brought the country under control.

The Russians continued to seize other territories in Afghanistan, claiming all of the former rulers’ territory and fighting with Afghani troops.  At the point when war was about to begin between the two countries, the British decided to accept the Russian possession of territories as a done deal.

Without involving the Afghanis in the decisions, the Joint Anglo-Russian Boundary Commission agreed that the Russians would give up the farthest territory captured in their advance, but retain Panjdeh.The agreement delineated a permanent northern Afghan frontier at the Amu Darya, with the loss of a large amount of territory, especially around Panjdeh. Despite that, Britain continued to have much difficulty in the region at the end of the 1800s. They suspected that the Russians were overly involved in the affairs of the region.

Both the British and the Russians became alarmed by Germany’s increasing appearance in the Middle East prior to WWI, in particular, the German railroad project that would open up Iraq and Iran to German trade and technology.  The British and Afghanistan ministers decided to resolve their conflicts in order to take a strong stand against the German advance into the region.

The Russians accepted that the politics of Afghanistan were solely under British control as long as the British guaranteed not to change the regime.  In return, Russia agreed to negotiate all political relations with Afghanistan through the British. The British agreed that they would maintain the current borders and would discourage any attempt by Afghanistan to intrude on Russian territory.  Afghanistan was divided into three zones: a British zone, a Russian zone, and a narrow neutral zone serving as buffer in between.

This alliance appeared to primarily serve as a deterrent to the German expansion of strength and influence.  However, the agreement dissolved any chance for Iranian freedom.  This was not the agenda of Britain or Russia; their purpose was stability and control of Persia. In essence, this was a careful strategy for each country in which they decided to prioritize a strong alliance over potential sole control over different parts of Central Asia.

Works Cited

Abrahamiam, Ervand. A History of Modern Iran.  Cambridge University Press. 2008

Adelson, Roger. London and the Invention of the Middle East: money, power, and war, 1902–1922. St. Edmundsbury Press. 1995.

The Anglo-Russian Entente. Great Britain, Parliamentary Papers, London, 1908, Vol CXXV, Cmd. 3750.

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