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Arab Revolt

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Flag of the Arab Revolt

The Arab Revolt (19161918) was initiated by Sherif Hussein ibn Ali with the aim of securing independence from the ruling Ottoman Turks and creating a single unified Arab state spanning from Aleppo in Syria to Aden in Yemen.

After the Turkish nationalist reform party Young Turks coup in 1908, Ottoman politics changed and the Ottoman Empire increased discriminating against its non-Turkish inhabitants. The Ottomans joined the Central Powers in World War I in 1914. Many Arab nationalist figures in Damascus and Beirut were arrested by the Ottomans. The Arabs were also threatened by the construction of the Hejaz railway, which helped move Turkish troops deep into Arab areas.

Because of this, Sherif Hussein, as the head of the Arab nationalists, entered into an alliance with Britain and France against the Ottomans in June 1916. The Arab forces were led by his sons Abdullah and Faisal. Faisal seized Damascus from the Ottomans in 1918. At the end of the war, their forces had seized what is today Jordan, large parts of the Arabian peninsula and parts of southern Syria.

Britain promised, in the Hussein-McMahon Correspondence, that it would support Arab independence if they revolted against the Ottomans. Both sides had different interpretations of this agreement. Britain, France and Russia divided the area in ways unfavourable to the Arabs under the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement. Further confusing the issue was the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised support for a Jewish "national home" in Palestine.

T. E. Lawrence is famous for his role as a British liaison officer during the revolt. His record of events can be read in his memoirs, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, or a slightly less faithful version can be seen in the motion picture Lawrence of Arabia.

See also

References


For the Arab Revolt of 1936-1939, see Great Uprising

nl:Arabische opstand

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