This chapter describes the postwar consolidation of a new style of covert empire, in which real executive power in the Middle Eastern colonies was held by intelligence agents operating in hidden reaches of the bureaucracy. The scheme evolved informally after the failure of proposals for a more formal intelligence network, which were deemed impolitic. The covert style allowed colonial control in the increasingly anti-imperial postwar world, in places where more overt control would be strenuously resisted but where paranoia dictated some kind of control. The discreet air control scheme was the centerpiece of this system. The covert mode enabled the British to remain in Iraq well after the declaration of Iraqi independence in 1932, through the fifties. The chapter closes with a description of the growing paranoia of Iraqis and other powers in the region about the British presence and British incredulity in response.
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