When British forces took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was not the first time the Army had deployed to the region.
During the First World War, the campaign in Mesopotamia was central to the conflict in the Middle East. British-led forces fought there again during the Second World War, and soldiers continued to play an important role in Anglo-Iraqi relations in the post-war period.
This in-depth online discussion will consider the historical precedents of 2003 and reflect on the way that this history shaped the course of the invasion.
Ali Ansari is a professor in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of ‘Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Roots of Mistrust’ and ‘These Islands: A Letter to Britain’.
Dr Louise Kettle is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Nottingham. Her research is focused on Britain’s foreign and security relationship with the Middle East across the 20th century and up to the present day.
Gill Bennett was Chief Historian of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1995 to 2005, and Senior Editor of the FCO’s official history of British foreign policy, 'Documents on British Policy Overseas'. As a historian in Whitehall for over 40 years, she provided historical advice to 12 foreign secretaries under six prime ministers, from Edward Heath to Tony Blair.