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The Ottoman Empire and the Arab Revolt - Essay Example

Seizing upon the opportunity that the First World War provided and aided by key Western powers that were keen on reducing the influence that Turkey (a member of the Central Powers) could exert upon their empire, Arabs under the leadership of Sherif Hussein bin Ali sought to carve out a single and unified Arab state that would encompass all predominately Arab countries stretching from Syria in the North to Yemen in the far East. Yet, the primary motivator for the Arab Revolt was in fact brought about by ideas which were appreciated during the Young Turks and the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire which began around 1908. Seeing the representation that other groups were able to achieve and the power that a unified response could garner, the Arabs, under the leadership of Sherif Hussein bin Ali set about to create an pan-Arab state which would unite a plethora of different tribes within the Arab world under the umbrella of Islamic identity that they all shared. Regardless of the litany of differences which would otherwise drive these groups apart, Sherif and those who were responsible for formulating and instigating the Arab Revolt sought to raise Islam as the rallying cry and identifying mark of a pan-Islamic/pan-Arabic state. In this way, the movement itself differed somewhat from what the traditional political scientific definition of a nationalist revolt/revolution may necessarily entail. During the Arab Revolt, a British Army officer named T. E. Lawrence rose to prominence

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as he alongside prominent Arab commanders staved off Ottoman forces and sought to disrupt the activities of the Germans and the Ottomans within the theater of Palestine, Saudi Arabia etc (Reid 1985). Due to T. E. Lawrence’s extensive knowledge and expertise of the region, garnered from his graduate and post-graduate work in archeology and linguistic studies, he proved to be a vital asset in contributing to the revolt and rallying Arab forces against Ottoman assets within the region. Moreover, by tying up large portions of Turkish Army regulars that would otherwise be deployed to the theaters of war in Southeastern Europe, Lawrence was able to ensure that British and allied interests were served by engaging the Turkish troops in a constant diet of subversion, guerilla warfare, and partisan attacks on infrastructure etc. Lawrence’s main credit was the fact that he was able to convince Faisal and Abdullah, two prominent Arab leaders of the time, to coordinate their attacks in support of key British interests (Ali et al 2012). In such a manner, Lawrence was able to instigate what today may be referred to as a force multiplier. By ensuring that large numbers of Turkish troops were deployed to a litany of regions around the vast empire, the British and Arab forces were able to exact a heavy toll on the Ottoman Empire and its assets within the region. Moreover, as a direct result of the constant damage to men, material, and supplies, the Ottoman Empire became increasingly weak and eventually fell apart as a result the First World War, the actions surrounding the Arab Revolt and systemic issues within


The Ottoman Empire was a construct that existed from the year 1299 until 1922. As with many empires, this student has chosen to label it a construct due to the fact that it incorporated a great many nationalities, people groups, tribes, and languages that constituted it. …
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