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Have you read the entire Seven Pillars? I took me the better part of a winter, but well worth it for the uncanny quality of prose and observation.

Interestingly, the project in which Lawrence was involved was somewhat reminiscent of the neo-con pipe dream. The kooks at the Cairo Office thought that Husein, the Sherif of Mecca, could be set up as a sort of counter-Khalif to rally the Arab masses against the Ottoman Sultan's declaration of jihad. No such luck really, and the hyped "Arab revolt" had rather minor significance. Even the savage raids on the Medina-Damascus railroad were mostly a nuisance to the Turks. Most of the demolition, not to mention the fighting, was done by British troops. Damascus was actually "liberated" by Australians after first being seized by Arabs hostile to the Brits. This last is a fact that Lawrence does his utmost to obscure in the book, in order to bolster the Arab cause, itself a propaganda ploy against the French, who in the end got hold of Syria and were faced with a more effective insurgency.

Also, contrary to the book, Feisal appears to have known about the Sykes-Picot treaty all along. However, to his credit, Lawrence did realize and warn about the lasting resentment this treaty caused among the Arabs, which is still being felt today.

The world's northernmost desert wind.

by Sirocco (sirocco2005ATgmail.com) on Wed Apr 5th, 2006 at 07:43:13 AM EST
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