Qual foi o papel de Asir na revolta árabe?

Qual foi o papel de Asir na revolta árabe?

A Revolta Árabe contra os Otomanos é retratada como sendo principalmente um fenômeno Hejazi, mas eu li (brevemente) que Asir (agora parte da Arábia Saudita), um território entre Hejaz e Iêmen, se revoltou primeiro e o Xerife de Meca realmente lutou contra eles em nome deles dos otomanos. Asir realmente sobreviveu até ~ 1932 antes de ser conquistado por Ibn Saud.

Qualquer especialista sabe por que Asir se revoltou, o que fez durante a revolta e quais foram suas relações com o Hejaz durante a parte mais famosa da revolta?


Resposta curta

As revoltas de Asir contra o domínio otomano começaram em 1904 e continuaram durante a Revolta Árabe de 1916-18. As revoltas eram (inicialmente, pelo menos) principalmente para ganhar autogoverno, livrar-se da tributação otomana e da corrupção, bem como da reforma religiosa e da expansão territorial às custas do Iêmen (que se rebelou contra os otomanos desde o final da década de 1890 - sim, é complicado).

A revolta mencionada na questão envolvendo o Sharif de Meca é provavelmente a maior que ocorreu em 1910-11 (com apoio italiano), mas houve outros. Sayyid Muhammad al-Idrisi de Asir também assinou tratados com a Grã-Bretanha em 1915 e 1917, com o primeiro levando à apreensão dos Otttomans das Ilhas Farasan.

As suas relações com Hejaz e o Sharif de Meca durante a Revolta Árabe (1916-18) foram tensas (na melhor das hipóteses), com o último protestando contra o apoio britânico ao Idrisi de Asir.


Detalhes

Uma figura-chave na oposição ao domínio otomano foi Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali al-Idrisi. John Baldry, em Rivalidade Anglo-Italiana no Iêmen e ʿAsīr 1900-1934 observa que:

A partir de 1904, Sayyid Muhammad al-Idrisi estava em um estado de guerra contínua contra os turcos e, quando estourou a Primeira Guerra Mundial, ele controlava a maior parte da costa oriental do Mar Vermelho de um ponto ao sul de al-Qunfidah até as proximidades de Jizan além de grandes extensões das terras altas de 'Asir.

Clique para ampliar. Fonte da imagem: Joaquín de Salas Vara de Rey em GeoCurrents.

As principais rebeliões no Iêmen ajudaram a desencadear a agitação em Asir e em outros lugares (por exemplo, Ibn Saud, mais tarde o primeiro rei da Arábia Saudita, em Najd contra o vassalo turco Ibn Rashid de Shammar). De acordo com um relatório da inteligência britânica em 1905

Os reforços turcos chegaram lentamente [ao Iêmen], o que, por sua vez, aumentou o moral dos rebeldes. Suas demandas por um mínimo de autogoverno e imunidade de impostos excessivos haviam ganhado impulso e estavam começando a se espalhar para o norte através de Asir e para o Hedjaz, ...

John Baldry, em A Guerra da Turquia - Itália no Iêmen 1911-12 (em Arabian Studies III, 1976), observa que:

Parece que o movimento de Idrisi começou como um movimento de reforma religiosa ... enquanto a corrupção turca continuava inabalável, o Idrisi decidiu pegar em armas ... Sua influência se espalhou para 'Asir quando os árabes ao norte de Qunfidah juntaram-se à bandeira de Idrisi.

Como um prelúdio para a grande revolta em Asir em 1910-11, a atividade de Idrisi em 1909 mais ao sul levou os otomanos a enviarem 11.000 soldados. Então, em 1910, Sayyid Muhammad al-Idrisi

atacou a guarnição turca em Abha, Asir. A pedido de Porte [sede do governo otomano], Sharif Hussein [de Meca] lutou contra Idrisi em 1911 e novamente em 1913 sem resultados conclusivos.

Esta revolta envolveu até 40.000 homens de tribo. Os italianos, eles próprios em guerra com os otomanos e em busca de maior influência na região, encorajaram os Idrisi em Asir fornecendo armas em 1911-1912. Não é de surpreender que a ação de Hejaz Sharif de Meca em nome de seus senhores otomanos não tenha ido bem com outros árabes na região, mas ele tinha aspirações próprias (ou seja, domínio regional) e via o apoio aos otomanos como a melhor maneira de defender seus próprios interesses na época:

Enquanto este império [otomano] o colocasse em uma posição de autoridade e lhe desse a força legal, política e militar para subjugar seus rivais locais, como havia feito em Asir e Najd em 1910-11, ele estava mais do que feliz em reconhecer sua suserania; uma vez que tentou invadir suas prerrogativas de uma forma significativa, o sharif estava preparado para transferir sua lealdade para outro mestre imperial - e um infiel!

Além disso, o Sharif há muito se preocupava com a ameaça potencial do Idrisi de espalhar sua influência para o norte, de Asir ao Hejaz, através das tribos que ocupavam as regiões fronteiriças.

Em suma, o Sharif estava interessado na ajuda britânica e abandonaria os otomanos assim que pudesse garanti-la. Enquanto isso, os reveses otomanos nos Bálcãs em 1912-13 encorajaram ainda mais os rebeldes árabes. Assim que a guerra estourou em 1914, a Grã-Bretanha - que sempre respeitou a integridade territorial otomana - tornou-se mais interessada em fomentar a revolta.

Assim, em abril de 1915, a Grã-Bretanha assinou um tratado com os Idrisi de Asir, que agora também controlavam parte do Iêmen. No tratado, Sayyid Muhammad al-Idrisi

comprometeu-se a declarar guerra contra os turcos no Iémen e a não "ceder, hipotecar ou ceder" a sua costa ou as ilhas offshore "a qualquer potência estrangeira" e a "apelar ao Governo de Sua Majestade por ajuda se estes locais forem assaltados". Em troca, a Grã-Bretanha garantiu sua independência e forneceu-lhe armas, munições e apoio financeiro.

A Grã-Bretanha e seu novo aliado perderam pouco tempo em uma ação conjunta; em junho de 1915, a Grã-Bretanha assumiu as ilhas do Mar Vermelho de Kamaran, Zukur e Great Hanisha (todas agora parte do Iêmen) enquanto al-Idrisi assumiu o controle das Ilhas Farasan (agora parte da Arábia Saudita) dos otomanos.

Enquanto isso, o Sharif de Meca estava em negociação com os britânicos e, embora nenhum acordo formal tenha sido alcançado, tornou-se o líder da Revolta Árabe que ele lançou em junho de 1916. O exército do Sharif, comandado por seus filhos, tinha um núcleo de soldados de Hejaz que várias vezes se juntaram a combatentes de diferentes tribos enquanto o exército se dirigia para o norte.

Embora a Grã-Bretanha tenha assinado outro tratado com al-Idrisi em 1917, o Sharif e o Ibn Saud de Najd eram as principais potências regionais, as que tinham mais influência - e armas e financiamento britânicos e franceses. Mesmo assim, o Sharif protestou contra o apoio que a Grã-Bretanha estava dando ao Idrisi. Os britânicos, porém, rejeitaram esses protestos, pois viam os Idrisi como aliados valiosos na luta contra os otomanos no Iêmen. Em suma, é provável que tenha sido apenas por causa de um inimigo comum (os otomanos) e influências externas (principalmente a Grã-Bretanha) durante a principal revolta árabe de 1916-18 que o Idrisi / Asir e o Sharif / Hejaz não entraram em conflito .


Fonte adicional:

Fadhl Al-Maghafi, 'More than Just a Boundary Dispute: the regional Geopolitics of Saudi-Yemeni Relations' (tese de doutorado, SOAS, 2012)


Primavera Árabe

Nossos editores irão revisar o que você enviou e determinar se o artigo deve ser revisado.

Primavera Árabe, onda de protestos e levantes pró-democracia que ocorreram no Oriente Médio e no Norte da África a partir de 2010 e 2011, desafiando alguns dos regimes autoritários arraigados da região. A onda começou quando protestos na Tunísia e no Egito derrubaram seus regimes em rápida sucessão, inspirando tentativas semelhantes em outros países árabes. Nem todos os países viram sucesso no movimento de protesto, no entanto, e os manifestantes expressando suas queixas políticas e econômicas foram frequentemente recebidos com repressões violentas pelas forças de segurança de seus países. Para uma cobertura detalhada da Primavera Árabe em países individuais, Vejo Revolução de Jasmim (Tunísia), Levante do Egito de 2011, Levante do Iêmen de 2011–12, Revolta da Líbia de 2011 e Guerra Civil Síria.


A revolução de 1989 do mundo árabe?

À medida que os protestos varrem as nações árabes e atingem o ápice febril no Egito, estamos vendo uma revolução de proporções do bloco soviético?

A queda do Muro de Berlim simbolizou o fim dos regimes comunistas opressores em toda a Europa Oriental [GALLO / GETTY]

Os dias de protestos em massa no Egito aumentaram dramaticamente, com estimativas de um milhão de pessoas descendo na praça Tahrir, no centro do Cairo, em uma tentativa de destituir o presidente de longa data do país.

Grupos de oposição esperam que os números nas ruas persuadam Hosni Mubarak a perceber que ele não tem mais apoio popular no Egito.

Mas a ação no Egito está sendo vista como parte de um movimento mais amplo, a chamada “revolução árabe”, após uma onda de protestos na Tunísia, Líbano e Iêmen.

Na Jordânia, na terça-feira, o rei Abdullah demitiu seu governo após as manifestações ali.

O efeito cascata, descrito por um comentarista como a “onda de democracia finalmente quebrando na costa do Norte da África”, levou a comparações com o movimento de protesto em toda a Europa Oriental em 1989, que significou o fim do comunismo e, eventualmente, da União Soviética.

Demanda por reforma

Quando o povo polonês votou em suas primeiras eleições livres, há mais de duas décadas, e formou o primeiro governo não comunista do bloco soviético, isso ajudou a desencadear uma série de eventos em toda a região.

A Hungria também desempenhou um papel inicial, abolindo a república popular e cortando sua fronteira fortificada com a Áustria, permitindo a passagem de centenas de alemães orientais.

Duas revoluções se seguiram rapidamente na Tchecoslováquia e na Romênia. A “Revolução de Veludo” em novembro de 1989 viu centenas de milhares de manifestantes pacíficos tomarem as ruas em Praga até que o Partido Comunista foi dissolvido para dar lugar à democracia.

Os movimentos de oposição na Romênia tiveram um fim mais sangrento, com o presidente Nicolae Ceausescu e sua esposa Elena baleados por um pelotão de fuzilamento após 10 dias de violento protesto.

Os eventos do ano foram resumidos pelo colapso do Muro de Berlim, um símbolo de opressão para muitos, e nos dois anos seguintes, regimes comunistas caíram nos Bálcãs e na União Soviética.

Embora a situação no Egito e em outras nações árabes esteja longe de terminar, especialistas e comentaristas traçaram alguns paralelos entre as duas eras.

“A maneira como eles começaram - a demanda por reforma, democracia e os protestos em massa em termos de movimentos de varredura - são características semelhantes”, disse Tony Saunois, secretário do Comitê para Trabalhadores Internacionais com sede em Londres, à Al Jazeera.

Vários outros fatores, incluindo o fracasso do governo em manter o ânimo em meio às dificuldades econômicas, também podem ser comparados com o que aconteceu na Europa Oriental quando as pessoas perceberam que o novo sistema não estava funcionando, Edward Lucas, autor de A Nova Guerra Fria e editor internacional de o Economista, disse.

“Os regimes perderam seu poder brando - não é mais divertido ou próspero sob seu governo”, disse ele à Al Jazeera.

Outro paralelo é que “o clima de medo diminuiu e as pessoas não acreditam mais que o regime está disposto a matar”.

Falta de superpoder

Mas embora alguns apontem para o efeito dominó que se espalhou pela Europa Oriental como sendo semelhante à forma como os protestos e revoltas estão se movendo pelo mundo árabe, também existem algumas diferenças distintas.

“Em 1989 houve a implosão de um sistema social que se baseava em um sistema centralizado. O mundo árabe não tem isso ”, diz Saunois.

“Eles têm controle estatal em termos de opressão política, mas ... a base social sobre a qual repousam, o capitalismo, é diferente.

“As consequências internacionais de 1989 também foram diferentes. Um deles foi o retrocesso do socialismo - que não será replicado pelo movimento no mundo árabe quando houver uma recessão econômica mundial. ”

Com a situação ainda aberta no Egito, também há dúvidas sobre qual movimento político emergirá como o mais forte uma vez, se e quando, Mubarak renunciar à liderança.

George Joffe, professor do Centro de Estudos Internacionais da Universidade de Cambridge, diz que ninguém ainda sabe o que o futuro reserva para os países árabes.

“No mundo árabe, há uma base de semelhança sobre o que está acontecendo, mas é mais sociológica do que política”, disse ele à Al Jazeera.

“A real demanda do povo é simples - estar livre da opressão. Mas o que não está claro é se eles podem concordar sobre o que o futuro pode ser ”

George Joffe
Universidade de Cambridge

“Não estamos vendo nenhuma ideologia ser destruída e no mundo árabe não há uma ideologia, há muitas.”

Ele disse que muitos ex-estados soviéticos foram rápidos em instalar administrações democráticas, em parte porque alguns já as haviam mantido, como a Tchecoslováquia, mas também porque faziam parte de uma “experiência europeia” mais ampla.

“Mas é interessante notar que quando você se mudou mais para o leste, para a Bielo-Rússia, para a Rússia, não havia tanto entusiasmo pelo modelo democrático.”

Joffe acrescenta uma palavra de cautela ao comparar a situação de 1989 com a atual revolta árabe, porque “cada país é separado”, com relações diferentes entre militares, governo e grupos de oposição.

“A real demanda do povo é simples - estar livre da opressão. Mas o que não está claro é se eles podem concordar sobre o que o futuro pode ser.

“Estamos em um momento muito incerto. Vai haver mudança. Nenhum regime será capaz de se envolver no tipo de opressão que vimos antes. Mas isso não significa que não veremos mais regimes autocráticos no futuro. ”

Alguns meios de comunicação destacaram a preocupação de que o levante no Egito possa abrir caminho para que um movimento islâmico de estilo iraniano tome o poder, mas é uma sugestão rapidamente reprimida pelos acadêmicos.

Omar Ashour, professor de política árabe na Universidade de Exeter, na Grã-Bretanha, disse à Al Jazeera que “o principal grupo de pessoas no Egito são jovens desencantados, que lutam por uma sociedade democrática”.

“A maioria dos líderes dos grupos islâmicos são menos organizados, mas não querem enfrentar o governo e não apoiaram esta revolução no início.

“Portanto, mesmo que eles tomassem o poder, poderíamos mais ou menos ver algo semelhante à Turquia, e não ao Irã.”

‘Fim da tirania’

Apesar das diferenças, há algumas lições de história que o povo egípcio pode estar disposto a levar para casa com eles.

Lucas diz que os manifestantes que lutam pela democracia em todo o mundo árabe devem tomar cuidado com a “mudança de forma de pessoas inteligentes no regime”.

"Muitos comunistas antigos voltaram com suas roupagens antigas - se você olhar ao redor da Europa Oriental, agora muitas pessoas no poder tiveram carreiras que floresceram na era comunista", disse ele, acrescentando que a antiga KGB usou suas conexões e influência para reconquistar o poder sob o novo regime.

Outra lição a ser aprendida com a história, disse ele, é que “revolução nem sempre significa democracia”, como ilustrado pelos levantes na Ásia Central e no Azerbaijão.

Mas Ashour está mais otimista.

“Já estamos vendo que a Al Jazeera foi cortada do mundo árabe, o que mostra como a situação é frágil.

“Acho que este será o início da primavera árabe e o fim de uma era horrível de brutalidade e tirania”, disse ele.


Lawrence da Arábia captura Damasco

Uma força combinada árabe e britânica captura Damasco dos turcos durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial, completando a libertação da Arábia. Um comandante instrumental na campanha dos Aliados foi T.E. Lawrence, um lendário soldado britânico conhecido como Lawrence da Arábia.

Lawrence, um arabista educado em Oxford nascido em Tremadoc, País de Gales, começou a trabalhar para o exército britânico como oficial de inteligência no Egito em 1914. Ele passou mais de um ano no Cairo, processando informações de inteligência. Em 1916, ele acompanhou um diplomata britânico à Arábia, onde Hussein ibn Ali, o emir de Meca, havia proclamado uma revolta contra o domínio turco. Lawrence convenceu seus superiores a ajudar a rebelião de Hussein e foi enviado para se juntar ao exército árabe do filho de Hussein, Faisal, como oficial de ligação.

Sob a orientação de Lawrence & # x2019, os árabes lançaram uma guerra de guerrilha eficaz contra as linhas turcas. Ele provou ser um estrategista militar talentoso e era muito admirado pelo povo beduíno da Arábia. Em julho de 1917, as forças árabes capturaram Aqaba perto do Sinai e se juntaram à marcha britânica em Jerusalém. Lawrence foi promovido ao posto de tenente-coronel. Em novembro, ele foi capturado pelos turcos enquanto fazia reconhecimento atrás das linhas inimigas em trajes árabes e foi torturado e abusado sexualmente antes de escapar. Ele voltou ao exército, que lentamente abriu caminho para o norte, até Damasco. A capital síria caiu em 1º de outubro de 1918.

A Arábia foi libertada, mas a esperança de Lawrence de que a península se unisse como uma única nação foi destruída quando o faccionalismo árabe veio à tona depois de Damasco. Lawrence, exausto e desiludido, partiu para a Inglaterra. Sentindo que a Grã-Bretanha havia exacerbado as rivalidades entre os grupos árabes, ele compareceu ao rei Jorge V e polidamente recusou as medalhas que lhe foram oferecidas.

Após a guerra, ele fez um forte lobby pela independência dos países árabes e apareceu na conferência de paz de Paris em trajes árabes. Mais tarde, ele escreveu um livro de memórias de guerra monumental, Os Sete Pilares da Sabedoria, e se alistou na Royal Air Force (RAF) sob um nome falso para escapar de sua fama e adquirir material para um novo livro. Dispensado da RAF em 1935, ele foi fatalmente ferido em um acidente de motocicleta alguns meses depois.


Grande Revolta Árabe, 1936-1939

Em 1936, a insatisfação palestina generalizada com a governança da Grã-Bretanha explodiu em rebelião aberta. Diversas dinâmicas e eventos importantes podem ser vistos como o cenário para esse levante. Na Palestina, como em outros lugares, a década de 1930 foi uma época de intensa crise econômica. Os palestinos rurais foram duramente atingidos por dívidas e expropriação, e tais pressões foram apenas exacerbadas pelas políticas britânicas e pelos imperativos sionistas de compra de terras e “trabalho hebraico”. A migração rural para a urbana engrossou Haifa e Jaffa com palestinos pobres em busca de trabalho, e novas formas de organização política emergiram que enfatizaram a juventude, religião, classe e ideologia em vez de estruturas baseadas na elite mais antigas. Enquanto isso, o aumento do anti-semitismo - especialmente sua variante apoiada pelo Estado - na Europa levou a um aumento da imigração judaica, legal e ilegal, na Palestina.

Como era de se esperar, a combinação dessas várias tendências produziu convulsões periódicas, desde a Revolta de al-Buraq de 1929 a demonstrações de multicidades em 1933 contra o Mandato Britânico. Em outubro de 1935, a descoberta de um carregamento de armas no porto de Jaffa com destino ao Haganah alimentou a preocupação palestina de que o movimento sionista estava introduzindo os recursos humanos e militares necessários para seu projeto de construção de Estado sob o nariz dos britânicos. Enquanto isso, o popular e populista Shaykh Izzeddin al-Qassam, que pregou para os transplantes rurais das favelas perto dos pátios ferroviários de Haifa e que passou o início dos anos 1930 construindo uma rede paramilitar baseada em células, foi morto em um tiroteio com as forças britânicas em Novembro de 1935. O funeral de Qassam em Haifa provocou uma manifestação em massa de indignação pública. Esses eventos são frequentemente vistos como predecessores diretos do levante palestino em massa que ocorreu em 1936.

A Grande Rebelião Palestina, ou Grande Revolta Árabe, como essa revolta veio a ser conhecida, durou três anos e geralmente pode ser dividida em três fases. A primeira fase durou da primavera de 1936 a julho de 1937. Com as tensões em toda a Palestina aumentando desde o outono de 1935, a revolta começou em meados de abril de 1936, quando seguidores de Qassam atacaram um comboio de caminhões entre Nablus e Tulkarm, matando dois Motoristas judeus. No dia seguinte, o Irgun matou dois trabalhadores palestinos perto de Petah Tikva e, nos dias seguintes, distúrbios mortais ocorreram em Tel Aviv e Jaffa. Em Nablus, um Comitê Nacional Árabe foi formado e uma greve foi convocada para 19 de abril. Os Comitês Nacionais em outras cidades ecoaram o apelo à greve e, em 25 de abril, o Comitê Superior Árabe (Lajna) (AHC) foi formado, presidido por Haj Amin al-Husseini, para coordenar e apoiar uma greve geral nacional, lançada em 8 Poderia.

A greve foi amplamente observada e paralisou a atividade comercial e econômica do setor palestino. Enquanto isso, palestinos em todo o interior se reuniram em grupos armados para atacar - a princípio esporadicamente, mas com organização crescente - alvos britânicos e sionistas. Alguns voluntários árabes se juntaram aos rebeldes de fora da Palestina, embora seu número permanecesse pequeno neste período. Os britânicos empregaram várias táticas na tentativa de quebrar a greve e reprimir a insurreição rural. As fileiras de policiais britânicos e judeus aumentaram e os palestinos foram submetidos a buscas domiciliares, invasões noturnas, espancamentos, prisão, tortura e deportação. Grandes áreas da Cidade Velha de Jaffa foram demolidas e os britânicos convocaram reforços militares.

Simultaneamente às operações militares e medidas repressivas, o governo britânico enviou uma comissão de inquérito chefiada por Lord Peel para investigar as causas da revolta. Em outubro de 1936, sob a pressão combinada das políticas britânicas, outros chefes de estado árabes e os efeitos de uma greve geral de seis meses sobre a população palestina, o AHC cancelou a greve e concordou em comparecer perante a Comissão Peel. Um período de conflito de menor intensidade prevaleceu quando a Comissão Peel visitou o país, mas as tensões continuaram a crescer em antecipação ao relatório da comissão. Em julho de 1937, a Comissão Peel publicou seu relatório, recomendando a divisão da Palestina em estados judeus e árabes. Consternada com esta negação de seus desejos e demandas, a população palestina relançou sua insurgência armada com intensidade renovada, iniciando a segunda fase da revolta.

Esta segunda fase, que durou de julho de 1937 até o outono de 1938, testemunhou ganhos significativos por parte dos rebeldes palestinos. Grandes áreas do interior palestino montanhoso, incluindo por um tempo a Cidade Velha de Jerusalém, ficaram totalmente sob o controle rebelde. Os rebeldes estabeleceram instituições, principalmente tribunais e um serviço postal, para substituir as estruturas do Mandato Britânico que eles procuravam desmantelar. Os britânicos, entretanto, impuseram medidas ainda mais duras para tentar reprimir a revolta. O AHC e todos os partidos políticos palestinos foram proscritos, líderes políticos e comunitários foram presos e várias figuras públicas de alto perfil exiladas. Os aspectos militares da contra-insurgência se intensificaram, e tanques, aviões e artilharia pesada britânicos foram posicionados em toda a Palestina. Os britânicos também aplicaram punição coletiva: milhares de palestinos foram relegados a “campos de detenção”, bairros residenciais foram destruídos, escolas, vilas fechadas foram multadas coletivamente e forçadas a alojar soldados e policiais britânicos. As instituições militares sionistas aproveitaram a situação para construir suas capacidades com o apoio britânico. No início de 1939, membros da Polícia de Assentamento Judaico (cerca de 14.000) foram subsidiados, uniformizados e armados pelo governo britânico como uma frente velada para o Haganah, e os chamados Esquadrões Noturnos Especiais compostos por membros judeus e britânicos lançaram “operações especiais ”Contra as aldeias palestinas.

A terceira fase da rebelião durou aproximadamente do outono de 1938 ao verão de 1939. Os britânicos enviaram outra comissão de inquérito, esta chefiada por Sir John Woodhead, para examinar os aspectos técnicos da implementação da partição. Em novembro de 1938, o relatório da Comissão Woodhead concluiu que a partição não era praticável, marcando um certo recuo britânico da recomendação Peel. Ao mesmo tempo, porém, os britânicos lançaram uma ofensiva total: em 1939, mais palestinos foram mortos, mais foram executados (por enforcamento) e quase o dobro foram detidos do que em 1938. Essa brutalidade exerceu imensa pressão sobre os rebeldes , exacerbando as divergências entre a liderança política do AHC exilado em Damasco e a liderança local no terreno, entre bandos rebeldes e populações de vilarejos que deveriam apoiá-los e fornecê-los e, em última análise, entre os palestinos que permaneceram comprometidos com a revolta e aqueles dispostos a alcançá-los um compromisso com os britânicos. “Bandas da Paz” palestinas apoiadas pelos britânicos foram despachadas para lutar contra seus compatriotas.

Em maio de 1939, o governo britânico publicou um novo Livro Branco que propunha o seguinte: as obrigações da Grã-Bretanha para com o lar nacional judaico haviam sido substancialmente cumpridas. A imigração judaica em massa indefinida e a aquisição de terras na Palestina contradiria as obrigações da Grã-Bretanha para com os palestinos nos próximos cinco anos , não mais do que 75.000 judeus teriam permissão para entrar no país, após o que a imigração judaica estaria sujeita à "aquiescência árabe", as transferências de terras seriam permitidas em certas áreas, mas restritas e proibidas em outras, para proteger os palestinos da falta de terra e de uma unidade independente independente estado seria estabelecido depois de dez anos, condicionado a relações favoráveis ​​entre judeus e palestinos.

O impacto combinado dos esforços militares e diplomáticos da Grã-Bretanha trouxe o fim da rebelião no final do verão de 1939. Durante os três anos da revolta, cerca de 5.000 palestinos foram mortos e quase 15.000 feridos. A liderança palestina foi exilada, assassinada, presa e obrigada a se voltar uma contra a outra. Ao mesmo tempo, o Livro Branco - apesar de suas limitações - ofereceu certas concessões às demandas dos rebeldes. Quaisquer ganhos que os palestinos possam ter obtido com a revolta, entretanto, foram rapidamente superados pelos processos geopolíticos mais amplos da Segunda Guerra Mundial, e o ataque combinado britânico-sionista à vida política e social palestina durante a revolta teve um impacto duradouro.

Bibliografia Selecionada

Anderson, Charles W. "Estado de formação visto de baixo e a grande revolta na Palestina." Journal of Palestine Studies 47, no. 1 (outono de 2017): 39-55.

Kanafani, Ghassan. A Revolta de 1936–39 na Palestina.

Swedenburg, Ted. Memories of Revolt: The 1936-1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2003.


Bibliografia

Antonius, George. O Despertar Árabe: A História do Árabe Movimento Nacional. Londres: H. Hamilton, 1938.

Gershoni, Israel. "Os Irmãos Muçulmanos e a Revolta Árabe na Palestina, 1936 & # x2013 39." Estudos do Oriente Médio 22, 3 (julho de 1986): 367 & # x2013 397.

Haim, Y. "Políticas e atitudes sionistas em relação aos árabes na véspera da revolta árabe de 1936 & # x2013 39." Estudos do Oriente Médio 14 (1978): 211 & # x2013 231.

Hurewitz, J. C. A luta pela Palestina. Nova York: Norton, 1950.

Kedourie, Elie. No labirinto árabe Anglo & # x2013: O McMahon & # x2013 Husayn Correspondence and Its Interpretations, 1914 & # x2013 1939. Londres e Portland, OR: Frank Cass, 2000.

Lawrence, T. E. Sete Pilares da Sabedoria: Um Triunfo. Londres: J. Cape, 1935.

Marlowe, John. A sede de Pilatos. Londres: Cresset, 1961.

Sheffer, G. "British Colonial Policy Making no sentido de

Palestina 1929 e # x2013 1939. " Estudos do Oriente Médio 14 (1978).

Silberstein, Laurence J., ed. Novas perspectivas na história israelense: Os primeiros anos do estado. Nova York: New York University Press, 1991.

Smith, Charles D. Palestina e o conflito árabe & # x2013 israelense, Edição 3D. Londres: Macmillan, 1996.

Swedenburg, Ted. Memories of Revolt: The 1936 & # x2013 1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.

Swedenburg, Ted. "O papel do campesinato palestino na grande revolta de 1936 & # x2013 1939." No Islã, política e movimentos sociais, editado por Edmund Burke III e Ira Lapidus. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

Sykes, Christopher. Encruzilhada para Israel. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973.

Wasserstein, Bernard. Os britânicos na Palestina: o obrigatório Government and Arab & # x2013 Jewish Conflict, 1917 & # x2013 1929. Oxford, Reino Unido e Cambridge, MA: B. Blackwell, 1991.

Zeine, Zeine N. O surgimento do nacionalismo árabe, com um estudo de fundo das relações árabes e turcas no Oriente Médio, Edição 3D. Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1973.


O conflito árabe-israelense: uma visão geral

O conflito árabe-israelense hoje não é sobre fronteiras e nunca foi. É sobre uma luta pela existência. As origens do conflito estão, de fato, nos acontecimentos pós-Primeira Guerra Mundial na região, mas, além disso, a história comumente compreendida desse conflito está repleta de mitos e equívocos. Abaixo está uma visão sobre o conflito israelense-palestino do pesquisador Martin Sieff. Muitos gostam de dizer que o conflito começou com a extraordinária Guerra dos Seis Dias de 1967 e a conquista da Faixa de Gaza, Cisjordânia, Jerusalém oriental e Colinas de Golã por Israel. Essa guerra (que foi uma guerra preventiva, mas defensiva por parte de Israel), era parte de uma guerra maior que havia começado meio século antes.

A criação de Israel: uma conspiração anti-muçulmana dos EUA?

De acordo com a retórica dos críticos mais severos de Israel, Israel é a cria profana dos Estados Unidos. Na verdade, o primeiro presidente a abordar o assunto foi Woodrow Wilson, que era hostil à ideia de um "lar nacional judeu na Palestina".

A ideia de Israel teve seus verdadeiros defensores entre os britânicos, que em 1917 publicaram a famosa Declaração Balfour, clamando pela criação de um Estado judeu. Isso não foi por amor britânico aos judeus e sionistas entre eles. (Sionista é uma palavra carregada, com certeza, mas significa literalmente alguém que acredita em um estado judeu.) A Declaração de Balfour foi na verdade baseada na crença ridícula de que os líderes sionistas da época controlavam a Revolução Bolchevique na Rússia e a política destino dos Estados Unidos. Os sionistas, que conheciam sua própria impotência, nunca sonharam que detinham tal influência ou aspiravam a algo do tipo.

No outono de 1917, o Gabinete de Guerra britânico enfrentou uma terrível perspectiva. A Rússia estava se debatendo e à beira de ser arrancada da guerra, e levaria muitos meses, talvez mais de um ano, antes que novos exércitos americanos pudessem ser treinados, transportados e organizados para tapar os buracos na enfraquecida Frente Ocidental. Como a Grã-Bretanha poderia manter a Rússia de pé e os Estados Unidos comprometidos enquanto isso?

Sir Mark Sykes, o principal negociador diplomático da Grã-Bretanha para assuntos do Oriente Médio, teve uma resposta. Em uma linguagem florescente e extática que mais parece um romance vitoriano do que sóbrios documentos de Estado, ele proclamou que o movimento sionista tinha vasto poder sobre os bolcheviques na Rússia e o governo do presidente Woodrow Wilson nos Estados Unidos. Comprometa a causa britânica com o estabelecimento de uma pátria judaica na Palestina, e o "Grande Judaísmo" garantiria que a Rússia continuasse na guerra enquanto acelerava o compromisso dos Estados Unidos de enviar seus exércitos para a Frente Ocidental. O governo desesperado do primeiro-ministro David Lloyd George, pronto para se agarrar a qualquer coisa, comprou essa fantasia febril. Nenhum desses cálculos era conhecido por Chaim Weizmann, o chefe do movimento sionista na Grã-Bretanha. He genuinely thought that the growing British interest in his cause was based on a passion for the Bible and justice for the Jews, as well as on gratitude for his own useful role in building modern munitions factories the length of Britain to provide more shells for the war.

If Weizmann had known what was truly motivating the British embrace of Zionism, he would have laughed. It was true that there were a disproportionate number of Jews among the Bolshevik leadership, most notably Leon Trotsky. But they were a tiny minority among their own people and—as good Communists—they hated every form of Jewish nationalism. Throughout the seventy-four years of Soviet history, any form of Jewish nationalist or Zionist organization was mercilessly suppressed by successive Soviet regimes.

The idea that Woodrow Wilson was in Weizmann’s pocket was even more ludicrous. Wilson, for all his talk of national self-determination, was highly selective and arbitrary about which nationalities he empowered and which he ignored or repressed. He never showed any sympathy for the Jewish national home policy and later sent envoys to Palestine who opposed it ferociously. The first U.S. president to publicly and explicitly state his support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine was Wilson’s successor, Warren G. Harding. Mark Sykes died of the Spanish flu in 1919, having made his mark on history. Successive generations of Jewish Zionists and Israelis revered him as a great friend and benefactor. Almost none of them knew that it was his cavalier acceptance of some of the worst anti-Semitic myths that put him at their side.

The Arabi-Israeli Conflict: How It All Began

The roots of the Arab-Israeli conflict lie in the 1917–1920 period. Such conflict was unavoidable. The Jewish people had a hereditary presence in Palestine going back more than three thousand years. There had always been significant numbers of Jews there, especially in Jerusalem. But after the British government committed itself to the Jewish national home policy, Palestinian Arab opposition to the returning Jewish community was unrelenting.

This might not have mattered if the British ran their empire the way the Romans or the Ottomans had: boldly declaring their policies and pushing them through, regardless of resistance. But the British conquerors did not behave as conquerors. Anti-Semitic prejudice was rampant in the British Army’s Occupied Enemy Territories Administration, which ruled Palestine from 1917 to 1920. During those fateful years, officers and administrators at the highest level of the British bureaucracy gave encouragement, protection, and promotion to the most murderous and extreme anti-Jewish Palestinian leaders. Not surprisingly, their favorites turned out to be equally vicious enemies of the British as well.

One favorite anti-Israel claim is that the creation of Israel meant driving Arabs from the Holy Land. In truth, there was room for both populations to live side by side. Historian David Fromkin estimates the Palestinian Arab population in 1917–1918 at 600,000, which may be far too high. The territory of Palestine had been ravaged by more than four years of war and by a fierce famine that killed thousands of Arabs and Jews alike. (The great Jewish scholar Gershom Scholem recalled in his memoirs more than half a century later that when he first came to Jerusalem he was able to buy huge numbers of rare, ancient books on Jewish mysticism in Jerusalem because the holy men and their families who had owned them had died of hunger and disease during the war. Palestinian Arab peasants had died in even greater numbers.) Palestine had not been a totally empty, deserted land under the Turks, but it was certainly a very lightly populated one. In 1881, before any modern significant Jewish immigration from the czarist Russian Empire began, in very small numbers for the next thirty-three years, the total population was certainly less than half a million.

Ironically, illegal Arab immigration into Palestine during the post–World War I period of British rule (known as the Mandate), largely overland from Syria and Iraq, may have exceeded the number of Jews immigrating into the country in absolute numbers at the same time. The British limited the number of Jewish immigrants based on presumed economic absorptive capacity if the land. This basically meant the government’s Jewish Agency and the Jewish organizations running and encouraging the settlement had to provide the economic infrastructure for immigrants before they arrived. But the growing prosperity of the urban economy also attracted large numbers of Arab peasants from neighboring countries. The British never bothered cracking down on them they didn’t have enough troops to close the land borders even if they wanted to. As a result, Jewish investment also ended up significantly strengthening the Palestinian Arab urban population.

The rise of Haj Amin al-Husseini

For the entire troubled length of the British military occupation and Mandate in Palestine from 1917 to 1947, the figure of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti (Muslim religious leader) of Jerusalem, blocked the paths of the British and Zionist Jewish settlers. If you’re seeking a source of the strife and hatred in the Arab-Israeli conflict, this British-picked mufti is a good place to look.

Husseini, a cousin of Yasser Arafat, was even more murderous toward his own people than he was toward the British and the Palestinian Jews. Once he was in office, it never occurred to the British occupiers—as it would certainly have occurred to their Ottoman Turkish predecessors— to simply remove him from office or kill him. This misplaced constitutionality queasiness was quickly grasped by Husseini and his followers, encouraging the mufti to defy with impunity the British rulers who had appointed him in the first place. Husseini was no serious Islamic cleric. He was simply a handsome young junior notable from one of the two or three most prominent Palestinian families in the highlands of Palestine.

He was able to rise to the top despite his youth and inexperience because he curried favor with the British, especially with Sir Ernest Richmond, the chief architect of the British administration in Jerusalem, who also happened to be fiercely anti-Semitic and ultra-reactionary. Richmond prevailed upon his long-term lover, Sir Ronald Storrs (the same intriguing official who had drafted the infamous correspondence with Sherif Hussein in Mecca in 1915–1916 and then garbled their plain meaning because of his linguistic incompetence). Storrs had been promoted to governor of Jerusalem, where he got Richmond an influential job as assistant secretary to the British ruler of Palestine, High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel.

Samuel was Jewish, but more importantly, he was a high-minded, do-gooding fool who later opposed Churchill’s warnings about the rise of Nazi Germany. Samuel naïvely followed Richmond’s recommendation and passed over better qualified candidates to appoint the dignified, handsome, impeccably mannered—but also psychopathically genocidal and murderous—young Husseini to the job. Tens of thousands of innocent Arabs and Jews were to die so that Samuel could feel high-minded and morally superior. Thereafter, for more than a quarter of a century, successive British administrators deferred to Husseini as if he were the archbishop of Canterbury.

He was nothing of the kind. First, he orchestrated a campaign of assassination and terror to cow the Nashashibi clan, the moderate extended family of notables who were the Husseinis’ ancient rivals. Then, pioneering a form of diplomacy his cousin Arafat would adopt on a grand scale, he internationalized and Islamicized the native Palestinian Arab opposition to the Jewish settlement in Palestine. He took advantage of the 1929 riots in Jerusalem to claim that the Jews were plotting to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque. The governments of surrounding Arab nations Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, eager to distract their own populations from domestic issues and establish their own credentials, followed Husseini’s lead. By 1936, when the main Palestinian Arab revolt began against the British rulers and the Jewish Zionist settlers, Husseini was the undoubted dominant figure among Palestinian Arabs.

He was a disaster for his people, but he was also popular among them. Like any native population faced with the sudden appearance of European colonists, Palestinians rose up in defiance, fiercely opposing the Jewish settlement and the British policy of supporting it. A century of war might well have been inevitable in any case. But the fact remains that

Husseini was far more extreme, murderous, and unrelenting than the Nashashibis, who were the most likely alternative. He also flatly refused to enter even the most cautious and exploratory of negotiations with any Jewish leaders at every step. By 1929, using the issues of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, Husseini had stirred up opposition to Jewish settlement throughout the Muslim world. Violent Arab riots broke out in 1929 when scores of Jews were killed around Palestine.

Finally, in 1936, a popular Arab revolt broke out against the Jewish settlement. Husseini took advantage of this revolt, which he had worked hard to foment, to use terror gangs he controlled to assassinate all his potential rivals. For the next eleven years he was the unrivalled leader of the Palestinian Arab community and the worst they ever had. Finally, in 1939, the British sent a then unknown general, Bernard Montgomery, who defeated the revolt.

In World War II, Husseini took the logical ultimate step to becoming an eager accessory—and a very effective one—to the most monstrous crime in history: he spent the war years in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

He was very active in urging the SS bureaucrats running the Final Solution, the methodically planned genocide of the entire Jewish people in Europe, to make sure that children, especially from the Sephardic Jewish communities of the Balkans, were not spared from the gas chambers in Auschwitz. He recruited SS regiments for the Nazis from the Bosnian Muslim community in Yugoslavia. They guarded the security of the railway lines carrying cattle trucks filled with hundreds of thousands of Balkan Jews for the extermination chambers and cremation ovens of Auschwitz. One of those forces took a leading role in the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Serbs and Gypsies, as well as Jews, in Yugoslavia. Husseini was also a close personal friend of Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler. He even visited Auschwitz on at least one occasion to make sure the job was being done right. When the great showdown between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine that he had lusted for finally came in 1947, Haj Amin al-Husseini’s unrelenting policy of seeking to drive every Jew into the sea led instead to the shattering and scattering of his own people. Posing as their greatest champion, he repeatedly proved himself to be their greatest calamity.

Churchill in Cairo: 1921

He came. He was photographed alongside his friends sitting on a camel. He painted the Pyramids. He summoned his heroes T. E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell to meet with him. When Winston Churchill visited Cairo in 1921 as His Majesty’s secretary of state for the colonies, he had the kind of holiday little boys dream of. He also drew the map of the modern Middle East. Three modern Middle East nations were created by the decisions Churchill made and the lines he drew at the epochal Cairo Conference.

First, he upheld the already highly controversial policy to establish a Jewish national home in Palestine and to build it up with massive immigration from the impoverished and persecuted Jewish communities of Europe. That policy ultimately ensured the creation of the State of Israel. Second, Churchill unilaterally recognized as-Sayyid Abdullah as the real presence on the ground east of the Jordan River. Abdullah, the eldest son of that old British favorite Sherif Hussein of Mecca, was the emir (prince) of Transjordan/

Of all the Hashemites at that time, Abdullah was the one British rulers and policymakers liked least—perhaps because he was the smartest and wasn’t prepared to dance at their every word. But the British didn’t need the embarrassment of kicking him out of Transjordan, and they needed to set up some kind of government to keep the peace on the cheap. So Abdullah stayed. Third, Churchill created the modern nation-state of Iraq under King Faisal I. It had never existed in history unless you count the famous but brief Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar 2,400 years earlier. But the British were determined to hold on to the fabulously oil-rich territories they had finally conquered with such difficulty in the closing period of World War I.

And the great 1920 Shiite revolt in southern Iraq had underlined the urgent need to establish some kind of native Arab government supposedly acceptable to the people of Mesopotamia. A friendly native government was needed because the British lacked the financial resources or the will to occupy the land militarily. Being able to produce Faisal, another son of Sherif Hussein, as the “king of the Arabs” was thus a political masterstroke for Churchill. In the short term, the huge redrawing of the Middle East map that Churchill decreed at Cairo proved, especially from the British point of view, an outstanding success. For the next eighty years, ultra-right Jewish and Zionist nationalists attacked the “treachery” of cutting off Jordan—more than half the territory Britain controlled after World War I.

But almost no Jews lived in the Transjordan territories when Churchill gave them to Abdullah, and the British lacked the military manpower to enforce Jewish settlement there anyway. There weren’t even enough Jewish settlers coming from Central and Eastern Europe to develop Palestine at the time. In the early 1920s the British Colonial Office was furious at the Zionist Organization for bringing in too few Jewish settlers.

In the event, Palestine enjoyed one of its brief interludes of peace for eight years after the Cairo Conference, and the British Parliament somewhat reluctantly accepted the Lloyd George-Churchill-Balfour policy of encouraging Jewish immigration and building up the Jewish national home. Even in Iraq, the news seemed to get better the Shiite revolt was finally crushed and the British slowly prepared Iraq for a form of titular independence under Faisal while keeping the reins of power firmly in their own hands.

But twenty years after Churchill’s hour of triumph in Cairo, the Arab houses of cards he had so flamboyantly created came crashing down on his head. In the spring of 1941, with General Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps charging across the Western Desert toward Egypt, Britain stood alone and isolated against the Nazi conquerors of Europe. At this moment, the officers of the Iraqi army that had been painstakingly crafted for twenty years to do Britain’s will in the Middle East rose in revolt, kicked the British out, and declared that Iraq was joining the Axis. Pro-Nazi forces also took over in French-controlled Syria next door.

At this darkest hour for Britain’s imperial fortunes in the Middle East, even most of the famous Arab Legion of Transjordan, led by a British officer, John Glubb, passively mutinied and refused to march against their pro-Nazi Arab brothers in Iraq. Churchill in 1921 as colonial secretary had created Iraq and Jordan to secure the British Empire in the Middle East. Twenty years later, as Britain’s embattled war premier, he found the armies of both nations stabbing Britain in the back when it needed them most. Only the Jews of Palestine, who had no reason by then to love the British, but who had nowhere else to go, provided the last stronghold from which the British could decisively strike back and briefly regain their mastery of the Middle East.

But in the twenty-first century, the lines that Churchill drew so confidently on a map in Cairo in 1921 continue to shape the history of the world. The militarily powerful little state of Israel that grew out of his Jewish national home policy continues to struggle for survival against enemies close at hand and, in the case of Iran, at the far end of the region. And the artificiality of the unity he imposed on Iraq now bedevils U.S. policymakers even more than it did British ones. Churchill’s Cairo legacy therefore remains a mixed one, to put it mildly.

Emir Abdullah of Transjordan

The British experience with Middle Eastern nation-building and rulerpicking could have taught the West this much: a good man is hard to find—and sometimes hard to recognize when you’ve got him.

During their brief imperial heyday in the Middle East, the British displayed an uncanny talent for choosing and empowering the biggest losers (like King Faisal of Iraq and Sherif Hussein of Mecca) and the most poisonous, unrelenting enemies (like Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem) while despising or opposing successful rulers of real ability like Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Turkey or King Abdulaziz ibn Saud in Saudi Arabia. The only time they hit on a real winner, they did so in spite of themselves. Even when Winston Churchill gave Emir Abdullah, the eldest son of Sherif Hussein, rule over Transjordan to shut him up and keep the territory quiet in 1921, nothing much was expected from him. In the eyes of Churchill, Abdullah was the least of the Hashemites.

They still clung to the ridiculous fantasy that the whole Arab Muslim world regarded, or would come to regard, Sherif Hussein in Mecca as the successor of the Ottoman caliphs in Constantinople. And their hearts beat faster thinking of Faisal as the dashing new pro- British, enlightened ruler who would usher in a new Golden Age—under British tutelage, naturally—in Baghdad. (Eighty years later, Bush administration policymakers would go weak in the knees over Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi the same way). Abdullah—small, shrewd, not very handsome, and always soft spoken— was in their eyes the least of the three. But he would outlast them all.

There was no oil in Jordan. And for more than half a century after the emirate was created, even the tourist traffic to see its wonderful antiquities was negligible. But Abdullah was sober, intelligent, industrious, and street-smart. He worked quietly with the British to keep order and with only a fraction of the state budget of neighboring Iraq handled it with conspicuously greater success. Commerce boomed, and the lazy village of Amman, where Abdullah and his Bedouin had encamped in 1920, grew to become a major regional city.

As this book goes to press, Abdullah’s great-grandson, King Abdullah II, continues to rule over a kingdom of Jordan that against all odds has survived hostile neighbors on every side to become and remain— without benefit of any oil revenues—a relatively prosperous nation and one of the safest and most stable in the entire Middle East over the past century.

Emir Abdullah’s heirs outlasted the British, the French, and the Soviet Union. They also outlasted old Sherif Hussein, humiliatingly kicked out of Mecca only a few years after the Cairo Conference by Abdulaziz ibn Saud, the real warrior hero and statesman whom Churchill, Bell, and T. E. Lawrence “of Arabia” had no time for. Abudullah’s heirs have already by almost half a century outlasted the kingdom of Iraq—Churchill’s pride and joy—and Faisal’s heirs, whom the Iraqi army shot in cold blood in the horrific military coup of 1958. The success and longevity of Abdullah and his heirs—contrasted with the failures of Churchill’s handpicked rulers elsewhere in the region— ought to be a lesson to the West: in the Middle East, our ideas of what a leader should be are often wrong.

Herbert Dowbiggin: Unlikely Prophet

Herbert Dowbiggin was a career colonial police administrator of the British Empire who ran the police force of Ceylon—today the nation of Sri Lanka—with an iron fist from 1913 to 1937. He had hardly any interest in the Middle East and was sent out to report on why the Palestine police failed to deter the bloody riots of 1929 that resulted in the massacre of hundreds of Jews, especially in the town of Hebron. But amid all the visionary lunatics and ambitious, bungling, two-faced administrators and politicians who got everything wrong for half a century and then obsessively tried to cover up their tracks, Dowbiggin stands out as a breath of common sense and sound advice.

Dowbiggin’s 1930 report was one of the most important and valuable studies on maintaining law and order in occupied or colonial nations ever written. He insisted that every minority community at possible risk from an attack, riot, or pogrom by the alienated majority had to have its own armed police detachment. He emphasized the importance of maintaining excellent roads and telephone communications between outlying police stations and the capital, and of having fast-reacting reserves of police who could quickly be sent to trouble spots. Most of all, he emphasized the importance of having a very large, well-trained police force whose highly visible presence on the ground deterred violence from breaking out in the first place.

There is a remarkably modern ring to Dowbiggin’s insistence that colonial disorders—in Palestine as well as in Ceylon—needed to be handled as policing operations, not military ones. Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld has said the reasons the British security forces were so effective against the Irish Republican Army in the Northern Ireland conflict was that they dealt with it as a policing operation, not a military one. Using armies as armies automatically causes a lot of collateral damage, including lots of civilian casualties. And the more innocent civilians are killed and injured, the broader the popular support for the guerrilla movement becomes.

But as is so often the case with true prophets, as opposed to the more common false ones, Dowbiggin’s warnings fell on deaf ears. Sir Charles Tegart, who took over the Palestine police in the 1930s, ignored Dowbiggin’s report and militarized the police, moving them into breathtaking mountaintop barracks that were twentieth-century versions of Crusader castles. They had the same fate. After a little more than a decade in the Tegart Forts, as they were called, the British were forced to evacuate Palestine. By 1947 they had lost all effective political support among Palestinian Arabs and Jews alike. But to this day, Dowbiggin’s report remains the most important document for any Western policymaker grappling with the tactical problems of maintaining law and order in an occupied society.

How British imperialist weakness sparked the Arab-Israeli conflict

The British did a lot for both the Arabs and the Jews during the thirty years they ruled Palestine. The population of the country tripled. Prosperity unknown since Roman times arrived. Swamps were drained and modern sanitation, hospitals, and schools were built for both communities. The only thing lacking was law and order. On April 4, 1920, less than a year and half after World War I had ended, an anti- Jewish pogrom swept through the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem. A number of Jews were killed and hundreds wounded. In four hundred years of Ottoman Turkish rule, such a thing had not happened once.

Under the hand of a kinder, gentler empire, the Jewish people were more threatened than they ever had been under the tough Muslim empire that preceded it. The British were unable to keep the peace, and such anti-Jewish violence happened again and again, with growing ferocity and exponentially larger casualties on each occasion.

The first civilian governor the British set up to rule Palestine after they ended their brief, disastrous period of military occupation there was idealistic liberal party leader Sir Herbert Samuel, who was Jewish. In classic liberal fashion, Samuel tried to turn his country’s enemies into friends by showing them mercy and kindness. What he reaped instead was an entire generation of civil strife and bloodshed as a result. Thousands of innocents on both sides would pay with their lives for Sir Samuel’s progressive high-mindedness.

The Hebrew Bible: A book of war

“Wingate: there was a man of genius who could have been a man of destiny.” Winston Churchill paid that tribute to British brigadier general Orde Wingate after he was killed in a plane crash in Burma in 1944. Churchill was right about the genius (it takes one to know one), but he didn’t realize that in his short, extraordinary life, Wingate had already decisively reshaped the future of the world—especially the Middle East. Wingate was a brilliant young British army officer and biblical fundamentalist Christian zealot who was posted to Palestine as a young captain in 1936 at the start of the Arab Revolt. He had shown no especial interest in either Jews or Zionism before going there, but quickly became obsessed with the potential of the young pioneer Jewish community and became convinced it was God’s will that a Jewish state be restored in Palestine after thousands of years. He also believed that he was personally destined to raise its army and lead it in battle. These views were understandably received with some surprise, not to mention suspicion, by both British military commanders and Jewish community leaders in the Mandate.

However, as a few thousand Arab guerrillas continued to run rings around what at one point constituted 25 percent of the active combat force of the British army, both groups became increasingly desperate. Wingate got the approval to raise from Jewish volunteers what became known as his Special Night Squads (SNS) to defend the British oil pipeline from Iraq to the Palestine port of Haifa. He imprinted on them his own highly unorthodox and idiosyncratic combat doctrines, primarily inspired not by Carl von Clausewitz and the German or French general staffs, but by a close reading of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.

Wingate drew tactical lessons and doctrines from the campaigns and victories of such biblical heroes as Joshua, Gideon, and David. He emphasized the importance of small, fast-moving commando forces who were tough, motivated, and trained to know intimately the areas in which they operated. He emphasized night marches through difficult and mountainous terrain to take the enemy by surprise. He loved night attacks. According to some testimonies much later, Wingate also advocated extreme ruthlessness in the shooting of suspects or random victims taken from villages from which terrorists had launched their attacks. His SNS played a crucial role in damaging the morale of the Palestinian Arab guerrilla bands operating in the Galilee region of Israel during the last year of the Arab Revolt—a role far out of proportion to their numbers.

But they were too few to crush the revolt. That was carried out by much larger and more widespread British forces and operations commanded by a tough new senior commander, Major General Bernard Law Montgomery. In 1939, British senior commanders, recognizing Wingate’s passionate identification with the Jewish community, transferred him out of Palestine. There were standing orders that he never be allowed to serve there again. But, thankfully for Israel, it was too late. Wingate had already provided invaluable military education to a crucial number of the first, defining generation of senior officers in what would become the Israel Defense Forces. His young soldiers and students included men who would become the greatest generals in Israel’s wars of survival in the first twenty years of its existence: Moshe Dayan, Yigael Allon, and Yitzhak Rabin.

Wingate’s Bible-based tactical doctrine appealed to the imagination of a young generation of Jews raised as farmers and shaped by their secular, visionary, pioneering parents to view the Bible as a practical guide to the land around them and to reject the old Jewish tradition of sedentary intellectual religious scholarship. Over the next forty years, leading Israeli generals like Dayan, Yigael Yadin, and Chaim Herzog would emphasize the importance of taking practical military lessons from the Bible.

The story of Israel’s creation

After World War II ended in 1945, the British bottled up thousands of Holocaust survivors behind barbed wire in new camps, mostly in Cyprus, to prevent them emigrating to Palestine, where they feared their presence would set off a revolution by the Arab majority.

From 1945 to 1947 a fierce guerrilla revolt by two Palestinian Jewish groups—the Irgun Zvai Leumi, or National Military Organization, led by Menachem Begin and the Lehi, or Fighters for the Freedom of Israel, led by Yitzhak Shamir—forced the British to give up their Mandate. The new United Nations voted to approve the creation of two new states in the Palestine Mandate area: one Jewish, one Arab. The Jewish community leaders accepted the UN plan the Palestinian Arab leaders, following the lead of Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, did not. Through the 1930s, Husseini had succeeded in making the fight against the Jewish settlement in Palestine an Arab priority. After the British withdrawal from Israel in spring 1948, the armies of all the neighboring Arab states invaded, determined to extinguish the infant Jewish state. The Israelis never realized that by driving out the British occupiers they would leave themselves alone to fight a desperate war of survival.

Enter Ben-Gurion

The Israelis had no tanks or air force worth the name, they were massively outnumbered, and their Palestinian Arab countrymen were positioned to control key international roads and lines of communication. But the Israelis did have one secret weapon none of their enemies could match: David Ben-Gurion. Ben-Gurion had been the dominant figure in Palestinian politics for a quarter century, but British policymakers and even prominent British Jews completely underestimated him. They far preferred the sleek, gracious, always impeccably dressed Chaim Weizmann and wrote off Ben- Gurion as a sloppily dressed, labor movement professional politician.

But Weizmann had no sense of government or strategy. As a war leader, he would have been useless. Ben-Gurion, unlike Weizmann, had come up in politics the hard way. First he had been an organizer of the Palestinian Jewish labor movement. Then he organized the main labor left-ofcenter political party in Jewish Palestine. By 1933, he was already the prime minister in all but name of Jewish Palestine—a position he would hold for most of the next thirty years. In 1940, he was in London through the worst of the Luftwaffe blitz, and studying Churchill’s charismatic war leadership served him well.

In 1947, Ben-Gurion alone recognized that the Jews needed to create and equip a full-scale modern army to fight off invasions from the neighboring Arab states. His careful planning proved crucial in providing his people the weapons they needed to escape annihilation. But while he was a great wartime political leader, he was a military amateur of the worst sort.

Like his hero Winston Churchill in Britain during World War II, Ben- Gurion meddled in operational details all the time, got lots of them wrong, and ordered unrealistic and unsuccessful military operations against the advice of his best military commanders. Worst of all, he listened to the supposed “expertise” of American military adventurer Colonel Mickey Marcus, who, though a professional, was no more gifted a strategist or tactician than Ben-Gurion. Marcus’s follies led to the worst defeat in Israel’s history: the third frontal assault of the Arab Legion’s fortress of Latrun.


The Arab Revolt

The Arab Revolt occurred between 1916–1918 and was started by the Sherif Hussein bin Ali with the main aim of obtaining independence from the command of Ottoman Turks and creating a single united Arab state ranging from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.

On 3 July 1908 the Young Turk Revolution began and spread throughout the empire this resulted in the sultan’s declaration of the restoration of the 1876 constitution and the reconvening of parliament. This was known as the Second Constitutional Era. The Arabs’ request were of a reformist nature, limited in general to autonomy, increase use of Arabic in education, and changes in enrolment into the Ottoman Empire in peacetime for Arab conscripts that allowed for local service in the Ottoman army.

The Countercoup was supported by Arab members of the parliament in (1909), which aimed to breakdown the constitution and improve the monarchy of Abdul Hamid II. The dethroned Sultan attempted to attain the Caliphate by putting an end to the non religious policies of the Young Turks, but was driven away to banishment in Selanik by the 31 March Incident and was finally replaced by his brother Mehmed V Reşad.

The Arab forces involved in the revolt amounted to about 5,000 soldiers. However probably only applies to the Arab Regulars who fought with Allenby’s main army, and not the forces under the command of Lawrence and Feisal. On several occasions, especially during the final campaign into Syria, the number of troops would grow considerably.

Many Arabs joined the Revolt, as campaign’s were in progress or only when the fighting was in their home region. During the Aqaba raid, the initial Arab force amounted to only a few hundred, over a thousand more from local tribes joined them for the final attack on Aqaba. Estimates of Hussein’s effective forces range, but through most of 1918, they could have numbered as high as 30,000 men.

The Ottoman Empire participated in the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I, under the conditions of the Ottoman-German Alliance. A number of Arab nationalist figures in Damascus and Beirut were arrested, then badly tortured. The flag of the resistance was designed by Sir Mark Sykes, to create an appearance of “Arab-ness” in order to fuel the revolt.

The backlash of the Ottoman Empire and their Central Powers allies, Grand Sharif Hussein, who was the head of the Arab nationalists, entered into an agreement with France and the United Kingdom against the Ottomans around 8 June 1916. This alliance was assisted by the services of a curious young Arab officer in the Ottoman army named Muhammed Sharif al-Faruqi.

The after effect of the Arab Revolt resulted in the United Kingdom in agreement with the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence that it would encourage Arab independence if they went against the Ottomans. The United Kingdom and France gave up on the original deal and divided up the area in ways unaccustomed to the Arabs under the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement.

This continued to confuse the issue that the Balfour Declaration of 1917, who promised assistance and support for a Jewish “national home” in Palestine. The Hedjaz land of western Arabia became an independent state under Hussein’s rule until 1927. Then abandoned and isolated by the British policy, which had shifted support to the al Saud family. It was then overcome by Saudi Arabia, which put an end to an era of over 600 years of Hashemite maintenance of the holy land of Islam.


T.E. Lawrence, known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” has provoked controversy for a hundred years. His legend was promoted in the 1920s by the American Lowell Thomas’s travelogue renewed in 1935 through his book Sete Pilares da Sabedoria and revived in 1962 by the epic film Lawrence da Arábia. The hype should not blind us to the fact that Lawrence’s contribution to the Arab Revolt of 1916-18 against the Turks was indispensable. His skills in organizing and coordinating, his daring and courage, his intuitive grasp of guerrilla warfare and how to harness it, his influence over Emir Feisal (the leader of Arab forces in the field), and his talent for manipulating his own leaders if necessary, were all crucial to the hollow success of the revolt.

Yet Lawrence was a team player. In particular, there was a nexus of influence over the revolt that has stayed below the radar. While Lawrence and other British, Arab, and French officers were blowing up the Hejaz Railway, a forgotten band of British officers at Jeddah, far from the desert campaign, carried out vitally important diplomatic and intelligence work that prevented the revolt from collapse. This untold story centres on Colonel Cyril Edward Wilson, the British representative at the Jeddah Consulate. Wilson was a dependable officer of the old school—the antithesis of the brilliant and mercurial Lawrence. But his strong relationship with Sherif Hussein of Mecca, the leader of the revolt, drew this suspicious and controlling man back from the brink of despair, suicide, and the abandonment of the revolt. Wilson’s undervalued influence over Hussein during critical phases of the revolt was at least as important as the well-known influence of Lawrence over Emir Feisal, Hussein’s son.

Wilson’s core team included Captain Norman Bray, a highly-strung Indian Army intelligence officer who rooted out anti-British and anti-Hussein jihadists. These men were incensed that Hussein dared to rebel against the Turkish sultan, who was also the caliph (leader) of all Sunni Muslims. The stakes were high because the jihadists based at Jeddah and Mecca wanted to discredit both Hussein and the British by disrupting the Hajj—the Muslim pilgrimage—and encourage Indian pilgrims (passing through Jeddah on their way to Mecca) to rebel against British rule in their homeland. Bray helped keep the revolt on course by neutralising the jihadists, with the aid of a resourceful Persian spy named Hussein Ruhi, and had their leader deported to prison in Malta.

Ruhi is one of the most intriguing and influential players in the Arab Revolt. His cover was as Wilson’s Arabic interpreter, and he did invaluable intelligence work for the colonel in other respects too— even at times putting his life in danger.

Emir Abdullah (seated), Hussein Ruhi (far left), and Colonel Cyril Wilson (third from left) at Jeddah. Used with permission of Anthea Gray.

Wilson’s two deputies, both with intelligence backgrounds, helped him with vital diplomatic work. In the colonel’s absence, the eccentric, half-deaf Major Hugh Pearson helped steady Hussein when he lost his nerve. Later, the genial and imperturbable Colonel John Bassett stood in for Wilson, while he spent five months recovering in Cairo from life-threatening dysentery. Bassett encouraged and cajoled Hussein when Hussein fell out with his son Feisal, resigned as King of the Hejaz, spoke of suicide, and threatened to withdraw all of Feisal’s Bedouin tribesmen from the planned advance into Syria. If those fighters had returned to the Hejaz (Hussein’s territory) the revolt would have dissolved.

Sherif Hussein (seated centre) on board HMS Hardinge. Bassett is third from right and Hussein Ruhi second from right, both seated. Used with permission of Anthea Gray.

Another member of Wilson’s small team at Jeddah was a junior intelligence officer, who at first sight had less influence than his comrades at Jeddah. Yet the amiable Lieutenant Lionel Gray, who knew almost all the key British players in Arabia, helped Wilson by gaining the trust of Sherif Hussein himself and was even invited by Hussein to photograph him in his palace. Gray is also important for another reason: his hundreds of remarkable photographs, intelligence documents, and letters home, including those to his fiancée from whom he was to be parted for nearly five years. This collection offers unparalleled insights into the twists and turns of the revolt.

The compelling story of Wilson and his close-knit band points to an inescapable conclusion: the Jeddah Consulate was a vitally important hub of the revolt whose influence has been considerably undervalued. The military campaign in the desert was important, but Jeddah—with its artery to Mecca and Sherif Hussein—was the beating heart of the revolt, whose irregular rhythm needed the vital interventions of Wilson and his team. Without their quiet diplomacy and intelligence work, the revolt would have collapsed and the world would never have heard of “Lawrence of Arabia”.

Cyril Wilson was the outstanding forgotten shaper and sustainer of the revolt. Near the end of Wilson’s life, General Reginald Wingate wrote to him praising his indispensable role and his “great work” in the Arab Revolt, without which, he said, it could never have succeeded. Wilson and his circle deserve to be commemorated, a century after their vital work fell through the cracks of history. It is not unreasonable to believe that Lawrence—complex and unfathomable as he was—would have acknowledged that this was so.

Featured image credit: Used with permission of Anthea Gray.

Philip Walker is the author of Behind the Lawrence Legend: the Forgotten Few who Shaped the Arab Revolt (OUP, 2018). He is a historian and retired archaeologist who spent many years working for English Heritage. He has travelled in Libya, Palestine, Morocco, Xinjiang (the Muslim far west of China), and other parts of Central Asia.

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