Updated June 2012
T. E. Lawrence, report, 13 May, 1917
NOTES ON HEJAZ AFFAIRS
[Arab Bulletin, 13 May 1917]
Under date April 26, Captain Lawrence sends the following notes on miscellaneous topics. They were collected by him during his sojourn with Abdullah in Wadi Ais.
Antecedents of the Hejaz Revolt
Talaat, in 1913, showed great anxiety about the situation in the Hejaz. Its subjugation and the imposition of military service there had been a favourite project. Mahmud Shevket and the Turkish Ministry generally looked upon the situation as disquieting, on account of the great hold Husein Pasha was getting on the people. This was the real reason of Wahib's appointment, and his withdrawal was a personal triumph for Feisal, who secured from Talaat a promise that Wahib would be tried by court-martial for infringing the privileges of the Hejaz.
Sherif Abdullah was regarded as the probable cause of trouble in the Hejaz, and to keep him out of it he was offered first the Wakf Ministry and then the Vilayet of Yemen. He saw the idea, and refused the appointments. Abdullah has a low opinion of Talaat's judgment, and regards him as brutal and ignorant.
The previous plan of Sherif Abdullah to secure the independence of Hejaz (as a preliminary to the formation of an Arab State) was to lay sudden hands on the pilgrims at Mecca during the great feast. He calculated that the foreign governments concerned (England, France, Italy, and Holland) would bring pressure on the Porte to secure their release. When the Porte's efforts had failed, these Governments would have had to approach the Sherif direct, and would have found him anxious to do all in his power to meet their wishes, in exchange for a promise of immunity from Turkey in the future. This action had been fixed (provisionally) for 1915, but was quashed by the war.
Abdullah gave the eastern Ateibah (he has little control over them, and they would probably not have come to Hejaz to fight for him, had he asked them) orders to help Ibn Saud against Ibn Rashid. It was partly on account of this that Ibn Rashid declared war on the Sherif. Abdullah doesn't really care at all if they help Ibn Saud or not; but the order was an assumption of control over all the Ateibah (which Abdullah pretends to) in a form to which Ibn Saud could hardly object with grace.
The Turks gave decorations to Aida, Towala, and Fagir (Fuqara) Sheikhs. The recipients decided to show their new orders to Sidi Abdullah, but, as they were crossing the line near Toweira, they ran into a Turkish patrol, and the camel carrying their personal baggage was killed and had to be abandoned. The Turks have thus received back their insignia.
The Ateibah believe that Christians wear hats so that the projecting brims may intervene between their eyes and the uncongenial sight of God.
Dakhilallah el-Gadhi, who has had good means of judging, regards the Billi as less than half the strength of the Juheinah, and a little less than the tribes under Ferhan el-Aida. Ferhan (who is with Abdullah) is the son of Motlog Allayda, Doughty's old host. Dakhilallah says that Billi and Huweitat are much fiercer fighters than Wuld Ali or Ateibah. Indeed, I notice a contempt for the Ateibah among the Juheinah, and think that there is a good deal of justification for the feeling.
|Last revised:||26 June, 2006|
T. E. Lawrence chronology
1888 16 August: born at Tremadoc, Wales
1896-1907: City of Oxford High School for Boys
1907-9: Jesus College, Oxford, B.A., 1st Class Hons, 1909
1910-14: Magdalen College, Oxford (Senior Demy), while working at the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish
1915-16: Military Intelligence Dept, Cairo
1916-18: Liaison Officer with the Arab Revolt
1919: Attended the Paris Peace Conference
1919-22: wrote Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1921-2: Adviser on Arab Affairs to Winston Churchill at the Colonial Office
1922 August: Enlisted in the Ranks of the RAF
1923 January: discharged from the RAF
1923 March: enlisted in the Tank Corps
1923: translated a French novel, The Forest Giant
1924-6: prepared the subscribers' abridgement of Seven Pillars of Wisdom
1927-8: stationed at Karachi, then Miranshah
1927 March: Revolt in the Desert, an abridgement of Seven Pillars, published
1928: completed The Mint, began translating Homer's Odyssey
1929-33: stationed at Plymouth
1931: started working on RAF boats
1932: his translation of the Odyssey published
1933-5: attached to MAEE, Felixstowe
1935 February: retired from the RAF
1935 19 May: died from injuries received in a motor-cycle crash on 13 May
1935 21 May: buried at Moreton, Dorset