Army Day in Iraq
Observed in Iraq every year as a public holiday on January 6th, Iraqi Army Day commemorates the activation of the Iraqi Army on this date in 1921. The Iraqi Army was created in the image of the British Army, which controlled the country at that time.
Over the years since its creation, the Iraqi Army has been involved in six coups d’état between 1936 and 1941 alone, and it has played a crucial role in the development of the state of Iraq. This day celebrates not only the Iraqi Army but also encourages people to sign up and join it.
The History of Army Day in Iraq
When the Ottoman Empire collapsed following the end of World War I, Mesopotamia (now known as Iraq in modern times) was administered by the British government. The British had quite a job on their hands, however, as they had to deal with different ethnic and religious groups—many of whom were unhappy about being under the control of Great Britain.
In 1920, an uprising began in Iraq, and Great Britain was forced to commit troops to contain it. The British deployed over 100,000 British and Indian troops to the country between 1920 and 1922. They were able to suppress the uprising, but it cost them many British lives and over £40 million.
Since Great Britain was already in a financial bind following WWI, they felt that they could not afford any more extensive campaigns in Iraq, so they decided to create the Iraqi military and base it on the model of Great Britain’s army. This occurred in January of 1921.
Observing Army Day in Iraq
This holiday is mainly observed within the ranks of the Iraqi Army, but it is also used as a recruiting tool to show the public the importance of maintaining the army’s budget. It is also a day off for the general public, and many schools, businesses, and government agencies are closed.