5. A Case Study in Centralization: The Hijaz under Young Turk Rule, 1908–1914
The preceding chapters situated Arab political trends against the broader Ottoman imperial background. The province of the Hijaz is taken up here to illustrate the dynamics between the center and an Arab region during the second constitutional period. The Hijaz does not stand out as the obvious choice for a case study of the policies of the Ottoman government in its Arab regions. It was peripheral geographically and relatively stagnant from the point of view of its social, political, economic, and intellectual processes. Most studies of Arab lands during the Ottoman period focus on the province of Syria, mainly Damascus, Beirut, and Mount Lebanon. While the rest of Greater Syria and Mesopotamia have also received some attention, the study of the Peninsula in general and the Hijaz in particular, in the context of Ottoman political, social, or economic trends, constitutes a relatively recent departure.
Yet several considerations make the study of the Hijaz in the second constitutional period particularly compelling. The career as grand sharif (or emir) of Husayn ibn ‘Ali, the leader of the Arab Revolt of 1916, started with the 1908 Revolution and continued unbroken until 1916. As emir of Mecca, Husayn was the most prominent local notable in the Arab provinces, and İstanbul’s relations with him illustrate the manner in which the governments of the second constitutional period obliged local notables in the direction of their centralizing policies while cooperating and compromising with them.
Furthermore, because the Hijaz did not constitute the framework or contain the nucleus of a future nation-state, prospective questions that throw light on Ottoman policy are relatively less encumbered by concerns pertinent to the states that were subsequently formed. The Hijaz is a poor laboratory for an examination of the growth of nationalist thought, because the social conditions that enhanced the appeal of Arabism elsewhere did not mature in its remote and economically backward towns during this time. Nevertheless, it was a movement in this province and under the leadership of Sharif Husayn that gave the impetus to an Arab nationalist program incorporating the beginnings of popular appeal and a secessionist thrust. Thus, the choice of the Hijaz, on the one hand, extricates us from the tendency to study a certain Ottoman province as the prenational history of a later nation-state. On the other hand, it allows us to appraise the backdrop to an event, the Arab Revolt, that has come to be appropriated as the single most important milestone in the coming of age of Arab nationalism.
Finally, the study of the Hijaz, which contains the holiest places of Islam and became a center of Islamist-Ottoman propaganda after 1913, is also interesting from the point of view of the increasing emphasis placed on religion in Ottomanist ideology.
The Young Turk Revolution and the Hijaz
Ottoman authority was established in the Hijaz when the emir of Mecca, the head of the sharifs representing the Prophet’s family of Hashim, declared his allegiance to Sultan Selim I upon the latter’s conquest of Syria and Egypt in 1516–17. In the early centuries of Ottoman rule the holy cities of Mecca and Medina were under the jurisdiction of the governors of Egypt, but the effective rulers were the Hashemite grand sharifs. The emirülhac (amir al-haj), a Syrian grandee and later the governor of the province of Damascus, also exercised authority over the region as the chief official in charge of the pilgrimage caravan. In the aftermath of the Tanzimat provincial reorganization, the Hijaz was designated as a distinct province governed by a governor sent from İstanbul. Tension was endemic between the governor and the emir in the administration of the province, and central authority remained precarious. Rival claims of two Hashemite families, the ‘Awn and the Zayd, further complicated the political conflict in the Hijaz. The city dwellers of the Hijaz were privileged by virtue of inhabiting the holy places; they did not pay taxes or send their sons to the army. Its large tribal population enjoyed the customary independence of nomads while extracting large sums of money both from the pilgrims and from the government for protecting, aiding, and often for merely not harassing the pilgrim caravans.
For a province that was traditionally oblivious to even the profoundest of events in the capital, the revolution triggered exceptional reverberations. More changes came about in the Hijaz in the first few months following July 1908 than in any other Arab province. While these were felt most strongly by the small political elite in the cities, they also affected directly or indirectly the lives of the Beduin who had long been living in isolation from the mainstream of events in the capital.
The news of the revolution was kept from the inhabitants of the Hijaz for several days by Governor Ratib Pasha and the Grand Sharif ‘Ali Pasha. However, when the new government in İstanbul dismissed the governor and had him brought from his summer quarters in Taif to Jidda, crowds stormed his residence on 21 August. He was arrested and his property confiscated, and was then imprisoned by a group of military officers. Meanwhile, the top government functionary in Medina, Muhafız Osman Pasha, was dismissed and temporarily replaced by Müşir Abdullah Pasha for opposing the reestablishment of the constitution and casting some officers into prison. These changes in the highest civil administrative posts were soon followed by the deposition of the Grand Sharif ‘Ali, rumors that his uncle, Sharif ‘Abd al-Ilah, would succeed him, and finally Husayn’s appointment.
The overhaul in the top offices in the province upset the equilibrium of interests that had been maintained between the officeholders and the tribal leaders, merchants, and other local notables. The breakdown of local authority and renewed competition for political power compounded the volatile political situation. Since İstanbul had asserted its authority in the province in the mid–nineteenth century, the duality of power between the grand sharif and the governor had been a constant irritant in the administration there. It was occasionally mitigated by a personal understanding between the two leaders that often rested on a reconciliation of their personal material interests, as had been the case in the latter half of Abdülhamid’s rule. Starting in the fall of 1908, new actors struggled for a new balance of power under the increasingly vigilant eye of a central government that desired to carry out structural changes aimed at incorporating the provinces into the emerging centralized constitutional system.
During these critical months the completion and official opening on 1 September 1908 of the Hijaz Railway’s Damascus-Medina line contributed to the disarray in the Hijaz. The railway posed two dangers to the Hijazi notables. It allowed the government to maintain a closer watch on the local exercise of power through enhanced communications. It also threatened commercial interests that rested on the caravan trade and pilgrim traffic. Moreover, the extension of the railway to Medina signified the more ominous prospect of the line’s continuation further to Mecca and Jidda through regions of even greater commercial significance. The tribes rose in armed opposition.
Some Hijazi towns witnessed instances of flagrant renunciation of the established order consistent with the revolutionary mood of the day. In Mecca prisoners both in the government jail and held by the grand sharif were released. In a symbolic act of defiance, Grand Sharif ‘Ali was forced to publicly proclaim, while he was still in office, his legal equality to a slave, a Beduin, and an enlisted man. Chanting crowds abused the governor. According to the acting British consul, members of the Committee of Union and Progress led the demonstration. In Taif members of such a self-proclaimed Committee publicly declared the constitution and led large crowds to the tomb of Midhat Pasha, the architect of the Ottoman constitution who had been executed in 1883 while in exile in Taif. In Jidda the crowd arrested the secretary of the governor and a close associate, who was a prominent merchant in the town.
In the Hijaz, as in other Arab provinces, officers and officials who were sympathetic to the principles of the constitution formed the committees and rallied dissatisfied local elements to augment their strength. There is no evidence of any overt or secret organizational activity in the Hijaz in favor of a constitution immediately prior to the revolution. The spontaneously constituted committees took it upon themselves to give direction to government affairs in the province. Their insistence on the implementation of reforms was an uphill battle in the deeply conservative Hijaz and was to be resisted by the new grand sharif, who strove to restore the traditional prerogatives of the office.
The Grand Sharifate of Husayn Ibn ‘Ali
Circumstances of Husayn’s Appointment
In light of Husayn Ibn ‘Ali’s role in the Arab Revolt, there has been a great deal of retrospective speculation about the conditions of his fateful appointment to the emirate of Mecca. While some (including Shakib Arslan) have argued that his appointment was a decision of the Unionists, others have maintained that Abdülhamid appointed Sharif Husayn in the face of opposition from the CUP. It has also been argued that Husayn was the candidate favored by the British, who exerted influence through the Anglophile grand vizier, Kamil Pasha, as well as the British ambassador.
One candidate for the post of grand sharif was Sharif ‘Ali Haydar, who represented the Zayd family, rivals to the ‘Awn, of which Husayn was a scion. Between 1908 and 1916 Haydar stayed in İstanbul and maintained friendly relations with the Unionist leaders as a member of the Chamber of Notables (Senate). It was in the interest of the Unionist-dominated governments to cultivate good relations with Husayn’s rival in order to intimidate the latter into cooperation. Yet even though ‘Ali Haydar was upheld in this alternate role and was in fact appointed grand sharif after the revolt, it is doubtful that he was a strong candidate, or the main rival to Sharif Husayn at the time of the latter’s appointment.
When Sharif ‘Ali (also of the ‘Awn family) was deposed in October 1908 his uncle ‘Abd al-Ilah emerged as his legitimate successor. ‘Abd al-Ilah had been bypassed in 1905 in favor of ‘Ali, a younger sharif of the ‘Awn family. He now seemed to be the obvious choice to replace his nephew, who had not been accorded formal investiture as grand sharif until three months before the revolution, had now fallen in disfavor for his equivocal endorsement of the constitutional order, and defied the new governor Kazım Pasha’s request to come from Taif to Mecca. On 26 October Tanin reported the designation of ‘Abd al-Ilah in İstanbul as grand sharif. However, he died before he set out for Mecca.
The death of the emir-designate vexed the government, because it feared the escalation of lawlessness among the Beduin tribes, who were all too ready to take advantage of the political turmoil and to oppose the recent completion of the Damascus-Medina stretch of the Hijaz Railway. The Grand Vizierate informed Governor Kazım Pasha that the İstanbul papers had incorrectly announced the appointment of ‘Abd al-Ilah Pasha as grand sharif and urged him to deny the rumor, should it spread in the Hijaz, because the Pasha had died unexpectedly.
The circumstances made it imperative to appoint a grand sharif in the shortest time possible. Even though the official decree of Husayn’s appointment bears the date of 24 November 1908, an earlier decree dated 12 November refers to him as emir of Mecca. The decree of appointment lacks the usual enclosures that accompany this kind of document. Thus it falls in the category of re’sen (direct) irades, which were decrees issued by the sultan without the benefit of recommendations and counsel of the cabinet. It can be deduced, therefore, that the appointment of Sharif Husayn did not come as a result of competition among various parties (the CUP, the sultan, the grand vizier, the British Embassy, Sharif Haydar) but rather represented the reasonable and not especially controversial choice by Sultan Abdülhamid. Indeed, it is questionable whether the CUP was a real factor at this early stage in determining the decisions pertaining to prominent provincial posts. Furthermore, because of the political ferment in the Hijaz, the sultan had to act under pressure, which did not allow for drawn-out negotiations. Husayn, having received an Ottoman training and served in the Council of State, possessed the necessary qualifications for the grand sharifate, for which he had made a first bid in 1905. In 1908 he was, after the death of ‘Abd al-Ilah, the rightful heir of the ‘Awns. Finally, given the precarious political conditions, the government was not inclined to undertake as drastic an action as the transfer of the grand sharifate to the Zayd family, the competitor for the honor.
Husayn in Mecca: Quest for Authority
Upon the finalization of the appointment to the grand sharifate in mid-November, İstanbul advised Husayn to proceed to Mecca swiftly and designated his brother Nasir ibn ‘Ali, who already resided in Mecca, as acting grand sharif until his arrival. The new emir arrived in Jidda on 3 December 1908 in pilgrim garb to find a less than enthusiastic popular reception. In an address to tribal shaykhs he announced that he could secure with one telegraph enough troops to turn the entire Hijaz upside down. Indeed, İstanbul expected him to quell tribal unrest and to pacify the caravan routes in order to ensure the orderly progress of the starting pilgrimage season.
Husayn’s first few months in Mecca set the tone of his term as grand sharif. Relatively discredited and weakened as the grand sharif’s office was in the fall of 1908, Husayn did his utmost to reestablish his authority. He could enhance his power with respect to the tribes and rival emirs in other parts of the Peninsula only to the extent that he could demonstrate İstanbul’s support for him. Conversely, he could maintain a certain amount of freedom of action only to the extent that he could convince İstanbul of his unchallenged local power. Therefore, his aim was not so much to discredit central authority but to prove to the state authorities that he was a capable and reliable ally. On the one hand he tried to elevate his political position and the status of the office of the grand sharif, and on the other, he fulfilled the assignments given to him by the central government.
At the time of Husayn’s arrival, the Beduins were in revolt near Medina because pilgrims were being transported for the first time from Syria on the recently extended railway, threatening the Beduin livelihood based on the camel business. The new muhafız of Medina, Basri Pasha, who was appointed to his post only days before Sharif Husayn, wrote to İstanbul asking for the grand sharif’s intercession and his counsel to the Beduins in arms. Husayn sent an emissary to Medina “equipped with the necessary advice,” which the sharif thought would elicit the desired end, but he also urged serious negotiations between the Beduins and the government for a comprehensive settlement. To complement his services, the sharif also asked İstanbul to send uninscribed medals to be awarded to various shaykhs, as he saw fit. The grand vizierate complied with the request, merely asking that the names of the conferees be submitted subsequently. As this specific case of the appeasement of a tribal group shows, both the sharif and the government found it necessary to allow the other’s local prestige to grow in order to achieve their respective objectives.
Husayn’s first opportunity to demonstrate his influence over the tribes of the Hijaz came at the end of the pilgrimage season in January 1909, when the officially appointed leader of the pilgrimage caravan, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Yusuf, resigned his post to protest the inadequacy of military protection supplied for safe passage through regions of Beduin unrest on the return journey. Husayn nominated his brother Nasir, who had served as acting sharif during Husayn’s journey from İstanbul, to lead the caravan from Mecca to Damascus, accompanied by his son ‘Abdullah. Nasir and ‘Abdullah executed the mission, dutifully keeping the Ministry of the Interior informed of their precise movements. The safe return of the caravan to Medina, and from there by railway to Damascus, enhanced Sharif Husayn’s standing both in the eyes of the government and the tribes.
In his later memoirs, ‘Abdullah interpreted the safe passage of the caravan under the auspices of the grand sharif—when the official entrusted with the duty refrained from making the journey—as a political victory that gained Husayn the upper hand in the Hijaz vis-à-vis the government early in his term. This interpretation has prevailed without critical examination, and the historical significance of the post of emirülhac has lent credibility to it. Indeed, when the direct authority of İstanbul did not extend beyond Damascus, the command of the caravan by a prominent representative of the central government had signified the assertion of central authority in the tribal areas of the Hijaz. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the governors of Damascus themselves had fulfilled this important task. With the Hijaz Railway making Medina an Ottoman outpost further south, however, the symbolic importance of the emirülhac diminished. The grand vizier considered eliminating the office altogether confronted with ‘Abd al-Rahman’s noncompliance.
In fact, the government deliberately sought to enhance the prestige of its newly arrived agent in Mecca and hence gave approval to the transfer of the command of the pilgrimage to members of Sharif Husayn’s family. The sharif did not so much seek a tour de force to embarrass the government as to establish himself locally as its trusted agent. From Husayn’s viewpoint, the completion of the task by Nasir would establish the emirate’s authority in northern Hijaz, and would coincidentally remove a potential rival from Mecca, while he tried to assert his power there as a newcomer. Thus, Sharif Husayn asked İstanbul in February 1909 for a precise definition of his prerogatives as emir. In the same letter he asked the grand vizier that his brother be invited to İstanbul and appointed to the newly constituted Chamber of Notables. Husayn had an interest in having members of his family in high office in İstanbul so that they could maintain contacts with Ottoman statesmen, follow up political developments, and report to him. (For this purpose he later chose his sons.) But he also wanted to remove Nasir from the Hijaz. Nasir’s senate membership did not take effect immediately. He did not go to İstanbul until July 1909 and was subsequently admitted to Parliament as senator. Similarly, Husayn insisted on the removal of the former grand sharif, ‘Ali, who was ailing and repeatedly postponing his departure.
Sharif Husayn arrived in the Hijaz too late to influence the elections to Parliament. The 1908 elections were highly irregular in the Hijaz, and there was the semblance of official electoral process only in the towns of Mecca, Medina, and Jidda, each of which elected one deputy. On 4 November, almost one month before Husayn arrived in the Hijaz, Governor Kazım Pasha reported to the Ministry of the Interior that ‘Abdullah Saraj (Mecca), Qasim Zaynal (Jidda), and Sayyid ‘Abd al-Qadir (Medina) had been elected as deputies for the province. Both ‘Abd al-Qadir and Saraj, who was the Hanafi müftü of Mecca, represented the Hijazi religious notability, but no member of the sharifian families was elected. In Jidda the town notables elected Zaynal, the well-educated son of a wealthy Persian (naturalized Ottoman) shipping agent, “for reasons connected with their own local trade.” Zaynal’s business was in decline, and he ventured into a public career, which had started with a prior experiment with journalism in Egypt.
British Consul Monahan described the conduct of the Jidda election as follows:
The consul also added that the eight electors who voted in Zaynal’s favor were either his relatives or in close business contact with him.
About two months ago the local government invited the inhabitants of Jidda to register themselves as voters but there was no response as the inhabitants thought it might mean enrolment for military service. Then the three headmen (sheikhs) of the three wards of the town were charged to choose 600 notables, 200 from each ward. These notables chose a body of 25 and the 25 finally voted about four weeks ago, the largest number of votes, eight, being obtained by one Kasim Zeinal. Little or no public interest was taken in the election.
While ‘Abd al-Qadir and Zaynal took their seats in Parliament, neither Saraj nor any other representative from Mecca went to İstanbul. Therefore, the Mecca election had to be repeated one year later, in February 1910. By this time Sharif Husayn had managed to assert his authority in Mecca. Taking advantage of the general lack of interest in Parliament among the Meccan notables, he managed to have his son ‘Abdullah elected as deputy in an election where a few hundred notables chose among twenty-four candidates.
The local Committees of Union and Progress that had been organized in August 1908 carried on their activities in the Hijaz, often all too ready to frustrate the sharif’s schemes to dominate the politics of the three major towns. Two newspapers were established in Mecca after the Revolution, Hijaz and Shams al-haqiqa (Sun of Truth). The first was the official Turkish/Arabic weekly, which promoted İstanbul’s policies and featured “articles in praise of Islam and freedom, and, in one of its earlier numbers, a seemingly rather fanciful lucubration about the Prophet and the Arab race being the originators of parliaments.” The second paper, Shams al-haqiqa, was the local Unionist paper and had separate Turkish and Arabic issues differing in content. The Turkish numbers contained criticism of the sharif’s conduct of policy. Shams al-haqiqa’s readers were the relatively better-educated and more cosmopolitan elite of Mecca, and its objective was to counteract the sharif’s domination of urban politics.
Shams al-haqiqa emerged in the spring of 1909 as the organ of the sharif’s political opponents, apparently Unionists. Husayn was incensed by an article that reported his mission against the Mutayr tribe as a failure. He protested to the grand vizier, specifically accusing three reporters (two of whom worked in the financial administration of the province) of disturbing with inflammatory articles the peace and order that he was struggling to establish. In these letters Husayn did not fail to make references to the honorable life he had led despite the injustice and oppression of Sultan Abdülhamid (just deposed by the Unionists), thus ingratiating himself to the new leadership, but also suggesting that he would insist on demands that he perceived were necessary to secure his honor and prestige. He blamed Governor Fuad Pasha, who had replaced Kazım a few months before, for allowing the paper to be printed in the government printing house and for procrastinating in taking action against the two officials Hasan Makki and ‘Abdullah Qasim and their accomplice Nuri Daghistani, a merchant. Sharif Husayn urged the government earnestly to expel these three men in the interests of the “nation and the state.”
In the summer of 1909 the CUP had started to assert itself in imperial administration, with Talat and Cavid now in key cabinet posts. The sharif’s complaint about the financial officials involved with the Shams al-haqiqa and the governor’s alleged permissive attitude to their wrongdoing was directed to Talat and Cavid’s ministries, the Interior and the Finance, both of which declined to take action on the sharif’s request for the removal of these officials. The grand vizier independently informed the sharif that the third person, Nuri Daghistani, was not a government official and that no action could be taken against him unless he were found guilty of some crime by a court. Talat enjoined the governor to find out from the sharif the circumstances that would justify a dismissal or transfer of the two officials—an initiative interpreted by the sharif as a sign of distrust. In a similar manner, Cavid maintained that there were no sound grounds upon which his ministry could take action for a transfer, and that such a transfer would in any case be contrary to the principle of tevsi’-i mezuniyet, which stipulated that the appointment and dismissal of such officials be carried out by the provincial government.
During the course of this correspondence in October 1909, the government replaced Governor Fuad Pasha with Şevket Pasha, governor of Baghdad and commander of the Sixth Army, in view of the differences of opinion between Fuad and the sharif. However, the change in the top administrative position of the province did not satisfy Sharif Husayn, who continued to push for the transfer of Makki and Qasim. Makki was still in Mecca during the February 1910 by-election and was nominated as a candidate. He received the fourth-largest number of votes in a race that took place among two dozen candidates for two positions. The Ministry of Finance finally transferred Makki and Qasim from Mecca in March 1910—with promotions.
Even though the local branches of the CUP continued to be a factor in local politics, the influence of the Unionists steadily diminished in the Hijaz, reflecting the CUP’s declining fortunes in İstanbul. On the eve of the 1912 elections the new Liberty and Entente branch in Mecca had entirely overshadowed the local CUP. Sharif Husayn’s attitude toward the Entente remained as equivocal as his attitude toward the CUP. In the elections he promoted his sons, while the two Hijazi incumbents who had sided with the Entente lost their seats. In general, Husayn’s endeavors to preserve the emirate’s power and prestige required that he continue to cooperate with the central government.
Extension of Ottoman Influence in the Hijaz
Efforts to introduce reform had only limited success in the Hijaz. There were few demands for change from the inhabitants, who were rarely receptive to reforms conceived in İstanbul. Sharif Husayn resisted innovations that might limit his local authority. Even before he arrived in the Hijaz, when the CUP enjoyed much popularity, an attempt by the Committee to impose a tax to be used for sanitary improvement had led to an uprising and a confrontation between the troops and the townspeople, who opposed paying taxes in any form. Newly instituted municipalities were severely handicapped in their ability to improve public works or general hygiene for financial reasons. There were nonetheless some advances, particularly in sanitation. In Mecca postpilgrimage cleaning efforts improved. In Jidda Mutasarrıf Sadık undertook urban reforms, including the regulation of the water supply. Finally, consistent with the high priority that the government placed on education, new government schools were opened in the towns of the Hijaz in which “much time [was] given to the literary and official Turkish language and the literary Arabic.” Monahan did not find the available education satisfactory. “But very few parents or pupils wish to seek a better elsewhere,” he added, “and, indeed, I am not sure that there is any much better to be had in Muslim boys’ schools anywhere else in the Turkish Empire.”
Legal reform proved to be more difficult to implement in the Hijaz. In February 1910 the Ministry of Justice proposed a reorganization of the courts in the Hijazi cities and appealed to the Ministry of Finance for the allocation of the necessary funds. In contrast, Talat, as the new minister of the interior, recommended that in order to bring the nomadic tribes into the government fold it would be appropriate to apply only the şeriat law in the region and to select the judges from local ulema. The Hijazi deputies ‘Abdullah, ‘Abd al-Qadir, and Hasan al-Shaybi stressed to the grand vizier that the presence of any courts other than the şeriat courts would be unacceptable in the holy cities inhabited solely by Muslims. Thus, it was decided to place the courts of Mecca and Medina under the auspices of the office of the şeyhülislam by removing them from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice. The actual reorganization took place only in 1912.
Perhaps no other issue illustrates the difficulty of executing reforms in the Hijaz and the necessity for compromise better than slavery. There the question of slaves posed an embarrassing problem to the government. Slavery, of course, was anathema to the principles of equality and freedom that the new regime espoused. Although it had been legally abolished during the Tanzimat, the trade in and use of slaves had not stopped in the Hijaz. Yet the government feared that forced manumission would provoke the tribal chiefs to rebellion. Slaves often fled to take refuge in foreign consulates in Jidda, which insisted on their being freed. The grand vizierate advised that official manumission papers should be granted to any slave who managed to seek asylum in the consulates. It also recommended, however, that the authorities should act according to the particular circumstances of each case, while urging slaveholders to treat their African slaves humanely so as not to force them to seek the intercession of foreign consuls.
The manumission of slaves taking asylum in consulates meant that their owners, for the most part Beduin chiefs, would have to be compensated by the grand sharif to keep them at peace. The sharif complained that given the frequency of such cases these payments went beyond his means. He conveniently argued that, since in five or ten years there would no longer be any slaves due to the prohibitions against importing them, ownership of the current slaves be tolerated until that time. The Ministry of Finance, consulted by the grand vizierate in an attempt to find an alternate source of funding for manumission payments, held that effective control of the long Red Sea coast was impossible, and payment of manumission fees would in fact encourage trading in slaves and constitute a major strain on the budget. The final recommendation of İstanbul to the grand sharif was the meaningless suggestion that those slave owners with a grievance should take their case to court.
As the issue of slavery also demonstrates, the grand sharif, due to his traditional status in the eyes of the tribes and his recognized prerogatives in Beduin and pilgrimage affairs, was an indispensable intermediary in the conduct of policy in this remote province of great religio-political importance. İstanbul’s aim was to channel the sharif’s local standing and energy to its own ends while assuring him that his ambitions could best be served by being responsive to the requirements of the central government. Such a relationship with the sharif did not entail a compromise of İstanbul’s centralizing policies.
The Railway Projects
The Hijaz Railway was conceived by Abdülhamid as one of the pillars of the Ottoman policy of centralization, and certainly perceived as such by the Young Turks. The completion of the line to Medina coincided with the Young Turk Revolution and facilitated the efforts to extend central authority into the Arabian Peninsula. An extension of the railway, from Medina to Mecca and eventually to Yemen, remained an issue about which there was much deliberation, but no concrete results were achieved. This failure has generally been regarded as a frustration of Young Turk efforts to bring the Hijaz under central control.
Even though the strategic value of the extension to Mecca was appreciated in İstanbul, the government actually subordinated the continuation of the railway to other centralizing measures in the Hijaz. The difficulties of ensuring the security of the railway in tribal areas, where friendly tribal shaykhs could turn against the government overnight in order to further their particular aims, was apparent to the policy makers. They were all too familiar with the tribal unrest that the Damascus-Medina line triggered in southern Syria and northern Hijaz. Thus İstanbul opted for making full use of the advantages that the Hijaz Railway provided for its centralizing policy by strengthening its position in Medina, whence it could exert close control over the rest of the province and the neighboring regions. Instead of extending the railway, the Ottoman government chose to rely on the grand sharif in Mecca as a proxy to preserve its interests and to further its aims in Arabia. The government also had an interest in improving communications in the Peninsula for purposes of trade and the pilgrimage. İstanbul gravitated toward promoting the Red Sea routes and building shorter railway lines from the coast to the interior, specifically between Jidda and Mecca, Yanbu and Medina, and Hodeida and Sana, instead of constructing the costly Medina-Mecca line.
The scheme of building several shorter lines gave primacy to economic considerations over strategic ones. Tanin wrote in favor of a branch to Aqaba (which would circumvent the British-controlled Suez Canal for commercial transport) from the Damascus-Medina main line with additional short lines between the Red Sea ports and the towns of the interior, rather than extension of the line from Medina to Mecca. Christian deputies in Parliament urged that the railway in the Hijaz not be seen as serving religious objectives only but that economic considerations should also be taken into account. On the local level, too, a railway connecting the busiest commercial port of the Hijaz with Mecca was favorably received by the Hijazi merchants. The deputy for Jidda, Qasim Zaynal, declared his support for the Jidda-Mecca line.
The project of building coastal lines implied a shift of the major commercial and pilgrimage routes to the Red Sea. It offered practical advantages (in terms of speed and elimination of camel transport) and economic ones, once Ottoman ships started regular traffic along the coast. This shift would, however, constitute a strategic liability as well, as the Italian blockade of Ottoman ports along the Red Sea brought home during the Italian War. Nevertheless, the most significant of the links between the Red Sea and the interior, the Jidda-Mecca line, received more official attention than the Medina-Mecca extension. Because of its anticipated profitability for carrying seaborne pilgrimage groups to and from Jidda (most arriving from the Indian Ocean), this line could have generated funds needed for the longer and costly Medina-Mecca stretch. In Parliament, the minister for the Hijaz Railway, Zihni Pasha, declared that he gave priority to the Jidda-Mecca line.
Governor Kamil Bey arrived in the Hijaz in June 1910 and announced that construction on the Jidda-Mecca railway, along with the related improvements of the landing facilities in the Jidda harbor, would soon begin. The director of the Railway Department of the Ministry of Public Works confirmed that the construction of the line had been decided upon and that experts were being dispatched. Indeed, by March 1911 ten engineers had arrived to join the three already in Jidda there to proceed with the survey work. Sharif Husayn reported in mid-March that one-third of the survey work had been completed. He was advised by the grand vizierate to arrange for the protection of the construction.
The sharif’s ambivalence toward the construction of the Jidda-Mecca line continued. Even though he had joined the governor in 1909 in urging the construction of a railway between these two cities, he resorted to obstructionism as more definite steps were taken. In 1911 he requested the postponement of the construction until his return from the Asir campaign and also suggested a formal investigation of how the livelihood of the tribes that were engaged in camel transport between the two cities would be secured. The French consul in Jidda interpreted the sharif’s preparations in January 1912 for an expedition against Ibn Sa‘ud as a strategy to further delay construction.
If the Jidda-Mecca line was never built, factors other than the sha rif’s obstructions were instrumental. Military strategists placed their weight on the extension of the Hijaz Railway from Medina to Mecca instead. As the minister of war, Mahmud Shawkat Pasha argued for maximizing the military benefits derived from the Hijaz Railway by extending it further south into Yemen. He pointed to the problems posed by the Italian War in the defense of the Red Sea coast and maintained that the degree of naval preparedness that would enable effective defense of the coast would be too costly. In contrast, he maintained, the railway could be extended from Medina to Yemen for the price of one dreadnought. Mahmud Shawkat Pasha also dwelled on the difficulties involved in the supply of construction materials near Jidda as a result of the Italian hostilities. He urged the grand vizier to shelve the plans for the Jidda-Mecca line until the conclusion of the war. Among the shorter lines envisaged, only one, the Hodeida-Sana line, progressed. A French company started construction in 1911, despite Yemeni objections to the foreign concession, but the work was halted with the outbreak of the world war.
Medina: An Ottoman Outpost in the Hijaz
The most significant measure that the Young Turk governments took to enhance central authority in the province was the modification of the administrative status of the sancak of Medina, Islam’s second holy city. Much more so than Mecca, Medina remained outside the reach of Western diplomats and intelligence, and hence scholars. The new importance it acquired during the Young Turk period has therefore been overlooked.
The Young Turk governments viewed Medina as a base from which they hoped to implement policy not only in the Hijaz itself but also in the entire Arabian periphery. Even though Medina lay in a gray zone between Damascus in the north and Jidda and Mecca in the south, and had political and economic links to both regions, Ottoman governments had long recognized the strategic importance of the city and its crucial role in the organization and safe conduct of the pilgrimage. As its administrative designation, muhafızlık (wardship), suggests, Medina had been a strategic outpost under the governorship of a military commander.
Medina, situated at a central position in the Arabian Peninsula where the distance between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf is shortest, has been described as the “gateway to Central Arabia.” It was built on terrain relatively easy to defend, supports some agriculture, and has abundant water compared with the rest of the Hijaz. It was located at major crossroads for trade and especially for the transportation of pilgrims to and from Mecca. The town was historically a literary and cultural center commensurate with its religious importance as the Prophet’s burial place. The added significance that the city acquired during the Young Turk period was primarily a result of the construction of the Damascus-Medina line of the Hijaz Railway, which made the town easily accessible from Damascus.
The Ottoman government saw in Medina’s improved communications the opportunity to project its power further south in Arabia without necessarily extending the railway to Mecca or Yemen. The physical features, strategic location, and refurbished communications of Medina made it an excellent military outpost. Medina also offered the geopolitical advantages of keeping a check on Ibn Sa‘ud of the Najd and the growing influence of Britain along the Eastern coast of Arabia.
At a time when the rivalries of the European powers in the broader region intensified and Ottoman suspicions of European intentions grew, Medina’s isolated location beyond the reach of European intelligence was an added advantage to the Young Turk governments. This isolation is evident in the reports of the Jidda and Damascus consulates, from which news of Medina was conspicuously absent. British consular reports, the best informed in the region, often expressed frustration stemming from a dearth of information from Medina. The Foreign Office encouraged its consulate in Damascus to collect any information on matters pertaining to Medina, while the Jidda consulate’s extensive reports, primarily on Jidda but also on Mecca typically ended with a postscript stating, “As to Medina I have no information.”
In the summer of 1910 the Ottoman government changed the administrative status of Medina from sancak of the Hijaz vilayet to “independent sancak.” The designation muhafızlık was retained. That the separation was implemented with an eye toward extending direct central control over the Hijaz did not escape Sharif Husayn, who immediately cabled the grand vizierate to inquire about the implications of the latest decision on the traditional prerogatives of the grand sharif. The Ottoman government took the opportunity to remind the sharif that his sphere of influence comprised the pilgrimage and Beduin affairs, as had been previously established, and that in these two domains his prerogatives would extend to the newly constituted muhafızlık. Despite this reassurance, however, the grand sharif had no legally defined prerogatives, and the strengthening of central control in Medina threatened his regional power and standing.
The administrative separation of Medina from the rest of the Hijaz signified its integration into the mainstream of Ottoman policies. The CUP sent inspectors to Medina, and Tanin maintained a correspondent in the city. The CUP club in Medina had many members from the local townspeople as well as from the shaykhs of Beduin tribes in the area. During the pilgrimage, the CUP organized public lectures on topics such as the unity of Muslims. The Ottoman government took a much greater interest in implementing reforms in Medina than in any other part of the Hijaz. The Medina CUP built schools in the city. In 1909 İstanbul acted on the aforementioned reform plan of an ‘alim of Medina, ‘Abd al-Rahman Ilyas, which was drafted to improve conditions in Arabia. Two years later Muhafız ‘Ali Rida Pasha (al-Rikabi) submitted a program specifically concerned with Medina, proposing reforms ranging from encouraging the sedentarization of the Beduins to the surveillance of the Red Sea coast in order to prevent the smuggling of arms and slaves. The Muhafız was invited to İstanbul to discuss his reform scheme. The reform proposal called for soliciting the cooperation of the population (by declaring a general amnesty and implementing the conversion of the Medina court of appeal into a şeriat court), encouraging the settlement of tribes by promoting agriculture and servicing of the railway, bringing about improvements in municipal facilities, and encouraging education. Even though some of the measures proposed by the Muhafız were found unnecessary (e.g., the founding of an agricultural bank) or their implementation financially unfeasible (e.g., the establishment of an industrial school), the improvement of conditions in Medina received high priority in İstanbul. Many of ‘Ali Rida’s proposals were carefully studied by the ministries, which made provisions in the budget for the following year.
The extension of the railway to Medina and the modification of the town’s administrative status became the centerpieces of the Young Turk policy of centralization in Arabia. İstanbul thus exerted its influence in the Hijaz by tempering and directing Sharif Husayn’s ambitions. With the imposition of the coercive elements of the “Ottoman order” on Medina, the government was able to exert more influence than ever in the Peninsula dominated by tribal and religious leaders. The government’s penetration did not signify incorporation, though the economic integration of the region was contemplated, as evidenced by the coastal railway schemes.
Sharif Husayn’s Campaigns
Once the Ottoman government strengthened its position in northern Hijaz, it collaborated with the sharif in campaigns aimed at bringing under control centers of unrest further south. Rather than overextending itself in the Peninsula, İstanbul chose to avail itself of the resources that the sharif could summon up and to assist him militarily, if and when needed. Husayn sought to extend his sphere of influence through these campaigns. His interests were best served by cooperation with the government.
The major local tribal potentates and several lesser ones in the Peninsula were all interested in expanding their spheres of influence. Ibn Rashid of Hail (in northern Najd) had been in alliance with the government since the turn of the century against Ibn Sa‘ud, his powerful rival in the Najd. The enhancement of the government presence in nearby Medina put an effective check on any expansionist ambitions of Ibn Rashid and assured his loyalty. Another local power holder, Imam Yahya of Yemen, was far removed from the reach of the others. İstanbul found it necessary to make a separate peace with the imam in 1911, which granted him autonomy and also removed him from the power struggles to the north. The newest competitor near the Hijaz was Muhammad al-Idrisi. Like Ibn Sa‘ud and Yahya before him, Idrisi gathered a following by propagating his own particular religious message. Thus, Ibn Sa‘ud and Idrisi came to be the principal rivals of Sharif Husayn in his efforts to maintain his authority among the tribes of the Hijaz and to extend it to neighboring areas.
The sharif first set out to consolidate his position vis-à-vis Ibn Sa‘ud. In March 1909 a confrontation between the forces of Ibn Rashid and Ibn Sa‘ud near Medina ended in the latter’s defeat. During the conflict one of the largest tribes of eastern Hijaz, ‘Utayba, submitted to Ibn Sa‘ud. At the end of the hostilities the ‘Utayba chiefs wanted to re establish a connection with the Hijaz. In view of the weakness of the Sa‘udis, whose leader Shams al-haqiqa claimed to have been killed during the fighting with Ibn Rashid, Sharif Husayn convinced the government to accept the pleas of the ‘Utayba chiefs, who argued that the ‘Utayba could constitute a buffer at the Najd border against any attacks on the railway. The grand sharif also sent an expedition against another important tribe, Mutayr, under the leadership of his two sons ‘Abdullah and ‘Ali.
In the spring of 1910 Sharif Husayn prepared for another display of force, this time against Ibn Sa‘ud. The sharif was prompted to some extent by the fear of a joint action by Ibn Sa‘ud and the newly ascendant Idrisi against the grand sharifate. In April Sharif Husayn informed İstanbul of his decision to send deputies to Najd to collect the religious zekat tax that had not been paid for more than thirty years. He demanded from Ibn Sa‘ud the taxes for the Qasim region and invited the people of Qasim to pay allegiance to the grand sharifate. At the end of July Husayn designated his son ‘Abdullah as his deputy and left his summer residence in Taif with his three other sons, Faysal, Zayd, and ‘Ali, and a Beduin force of 4,000 for an “investigative” expedition. He contacted both the governor and the commander of the Hijaz forces for military assistance, but İstanbul was reluctant to see a major showdown in Najd and did not comply with the request.
One of the objectives of Sharif Husayn’s hastily prepared expedition against Ibn Sa‘ud was to show his rivals that, despite the recent separation of Medina from the Hijaz, he retained his following among the tribes as the strongest local chief in the region. He also hoped to receive military assistance from the government and thus lead his enemies to believe that he could count on the capital’s full support. It seems that İstanbul chose to curb his ambition. Husayn’s renewed request for aid after he engaged in hostilities with Ibn Sa‘ud’s forces, taking prisoner in the process Sa‘d ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman, the brother of Emir ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Sa‘ud, was also denied.
The sharif signed a pact with Ibn Sa‘ud. According to the terms relayed to İstanbul by ‘Abdullah, it stipulated that Ibn Sa‘ud would refrain from collecting the zekat among the ‘Utayba, that the shaykh of Qasim would be elected by its inhabitants, and that the latter would pay an annual tax to the province of the Hijaz. While Sharif Husayn attempted to present his expedition as a victory for himself and the government, the muhafız of Medina, ‘Ali Rida Pasha, reported that the grand sharif had to withdraw from Qasim because he was running out of supplies and Ibn Sa‘ud was preparing to attack him from his rear. According to the muhafız, the sharif had to return shorn of glory, pretending that the gifts he had received along the way were really booty. The absence of any change in the relations of Ibn Sa‘ud and the sharif, as well as Sa‘ud’s subsequent noncompliance with the terms of the pact, support the view that the sharif’s “victory” in 1910 was a hollow one. In 1911 Ibn Sa‘ud restored the taxes on the ‘Utayba. “It has been rumored,” Ambassador Lowther wrote to Sir Edward Grey in his report for the last quarter of 1911, “that the Grand Shereef contemplated another expedition against Bin Sa‘ud, the success of his former expedition in 1910 being considered very doubtful.” Husayn was mostly on the defensive vis-à-vis his rival in Najd during the rest of his term.
Only a few months after Husayn arrived in Mecca as emir, Idrisi of Asir declared himself mehdi (messiah) in Sabya and invited all Muslims to join in a jihad (holy war) against the Ottoman government. As the governor of Yemen sent a copy of the declarations that Idrisi distributed among the tribes and urged the government to take effective measures to secure his arrest, Sharif Husayn dispatched an emissary to Asir to investigate the situation. Husayn maintained that it was the shortage of civil and military functionaries in this region that allowed the uprising and urged that central authority be strengthened in the region by sending additional officials. This would be an unusual request for a local notable who did not have a symbiotic power relationship with the central authority.
İstanbul sought to establish a relationship with Idrisi similar to the one it had with Sharif Husayn. Indeed, in March 1910 the sharif alleged that a secret agreement concluded between the government and Idrisi was prompting Idrisi to renewed attacks. Grand Vizier İbrahim Hakkı Pasha assured the sharif that Idrisi had no official capacity or prerogatives and that the government was merely trying to deal with him in friendly ways. In November 1910 Husayn expressed his indignation regarding the İstanbul paper Al-‘arab, which published articles of a nature, he claimed, that would dissipate all measures previously taken against Idrisi. He described the articles as depreciative of Arabs and nothing less than open and official encouragement to the tribes to join forces with Idrisi.
Idrisi’s insurrection was not perceived in the capital to be as serious a threat as Sharif Husayn’s alarm suggested. Despite İstanbul’s concil iatory stance toward the rebel chief, however, later reports from not only the grand sharif but also from other civil and military authorities in the region (the command of the Seventh Army, the mutasarrıfs of Asir and Jidda, and the Hijaz governor) led the government to reappraise the situation. These reports mentioned that Idrisi was bringing many tribes under his influence and was planning an attack on Mecca during the pilgrimage season. This would threaten more than the sha rif’s regional influence and could also invite foreign intervention, since colonial subjects of European powers like Britain and France would be in Mecca in the pilgrimage season.
Idrisi blockaded Abha at the end of 1910, cutting the communications of the Ottoman garrison in the town. As İstanbul authorized Husayn to undertake a campaign against Idrisi, the sharif asked for his son ‘Abdullah to be granted a leave from Parliament to come to Mecca. Meanwhile, İzzet Pasha was sent to the Hijaz with reinforcements to join the sharif and his sons in the military campaign against Asir. On his way to battle, the sharif met with tribal chiefs in the Qunfidha region, who rendered their submission to him. However, on the battleground Idrisi managed to repulse the forces loyal to the government. Further setbacks followed; any victories the sharif’s forces had were modest. In spite of the lack of any apparent success in his expedition against Idrisi, the government sent Sharif Husayn decorations in August 1911.
In the spring of 1912 Idrisi renewed his attacks in cooperation with Italian forces. Italy, at war with the Ottoman government in Tripolitania, was applying naval pressure in the Red Sea. The skirmishes continued into the summer with no decisive confrontations between the rebels and the sharifian and Ottoman forces led by Sharif Faysal and Hadi Pasha. Despite Husayn’s objections, resistance to Idrisi was relaxed as the conclusion of peace with Italy seemed near. In October, on the eve of the agreement with Italy, Husayn urged the grand vizier vehemently that Idrisi should not be a beneficiary of the peace agreement. İstanbul, however, replied that a pardon had been extended to Idrisi and that he was expected to submit to the government.
Both Idrisi and Ibn Sa‘ud remained irritants to the sharif in his quest for predominance in Arabia. The government discouraged Husayn from decisive showdowns with these two leaders. İstanbul’s aim was not to establish direct control over the Peninsula once and for all, but rather to maintain a position of strength vis-à-vis the different local power holders. This policy denied the sharif the greater eminence that he hoped to attain in the Peninsula by virtue of his loyalty to the government. However, no alternative was left to Sharif Husayn other than to continue to play the role designated for him in the capital.
Sharif Husayn’s Struggle to Maintain His Authority
The separation of Medina from the province of the Hijaz and the imminent danger of railway construction to Mecca forced Sharif Husayn to engage in acts that would show the central government that he was an indispensable representative of the government in the region. He systematically challenged, and at times harassed, other high officials, particularly the governor of the Hijaz and the muhafız of Medina.
Conflict between governor and grand sharif was endemic in the administration of the Hijaz. Provincial notables challenged the governors’ authority elsewhere in the empire (as did, for example, Sayyid Talib in Basra), but in the Hijaz the grand sharif’s authority, based on his pedigree and services in the holy places, had acquired historical legitimacy. Although the Young Turk governments recognized the sharif’s authority in any explicit way in affairs pertaining to the Beduin and the pilgrimage only (after searching for royal decrees that may have defined the grand sharif’s prerogatives more precisely), there was little else to be regulated in the Hijaz.
Much has been said about the inimical relationship between the sharif and the governors in the Hijaz. Against the immediate background of the second half of the Hamidian period, when there was a durable and corrupt alliance between Governor Ahmed Ratib Pasha and grand sharifs Muttalib and ‘Ali, the tensions between Husayn and the governors and the high turnover of governors during the Young Turk period appear striking. Whether these feuds were in fact politically significant enough to frustrate the government’s policies in the Hijaz is doubtful.
Some of the difficulties of making appointments in remote provinces (such as the shortage of qualified candidates, the vicissitudes of the new political order, the reluctance of appointees to serve in harsh geographical and climatic conditions in remote regions) were pointed out in chapter 2. These factors resulted in frequent replacements of governors and other high officials. It is true that in the Hijaz the governor felt overshadowed by the grand sharif, which made the governorship of the province an even less desirable and more difficult post. Sharif Husayn repeatedly sent reports to İstanbul about the lack of experience of the governors. He sometimes complained that, even though a governor’s good intentions and integrity were incontestable, the incumbent was ignorant of local conditions and customs. He went so far as to hold the governors’ inexperience responsible for the delay of measures he in fact had an interest in obstructing. Whenever the sharif heard that İstanbul was contemplating a change of governors he applied pressure to have his personal candidates appointed. It would not be correct, however, to ascribe the constant resignations of the governors chiefly to Sharif Husayn’s efforts to oust them or to view the turnover simply as an indication of his inimical relationship with İstanbul or of the independent power he attained in the Hijaz.
The most noted confrontation between a governor and the grand sharif occurred in the fall of 1911. Earlier that year İstanbul sent Hazım Bey, a Unionist and an able administrator, as governor to the Hijaz. A strong governor was needed during the troubles in Asir and the sha rif’s absence on his campaign against Idrisi. Upon his return from Asir, Husayn claimed to have been insulted to see Hazım in the reception party together with sharifs from the rival Zayd clan. Prominent among the latter was Sharif Muhammad Nasir, a descendant of the brother of Grand Sharif ‘Abd al-Muttalib of the Zayd, who had maintained good relations with the CUP. Husayn’s insistence that Nasir should be dismissed from the party angered the governor, who refused afterwards to pay a courtesy visit to Sharif Husayn. Husayn turned to the grand vizier, who applied pressure on Hazım to pay the requested visit. Hazım complied, and soon after left Taif for his new post as governor in Beirut. Sharif Husayn’s ability to prevail upon the government to have a governor of Hazım Bey’s stature removed suggests that he was able to establish a degree of independence in the Hijaz. However, a more intricate combination of factors was generally responsible for the transfer of a governor. Hazım’s transfer, for instance, may have had more to do with the need for his services to deal with the growing agitation in Beirut than with the appeasement of Sharif Husayn.
The sharif had little positive influence on the appointment of governors. His attempts to secure permanent appointments for military commander and acting governor ‘Abdullah Pasha in 1910 and Münir Pasha in 1913 were not successful. Nor was the sharif able to influence the decisions for minor provincial posts. His appeals in this regard were frequently declined. In December 1912, in a telegram to Grand Vizier Kamil Pasha, he protested the retention of an official in Jidda by the Ministry of Finance contrary to his advice. He claimed that four officials, including the controversial one, who were all Unionists, added to the Jiddans’ existing resentment of the Committee, which derived from the unfavorable results of the Balkan War. Even though the Unionists were neither in power nor influential at this time, the effect of Husayn’s pleas was the replacement of a single official only.
An especially acrimonious antagonism existed between the muhafız of Medina, ‘Ali Rida Pasha, and Sharif Husayn as a result of the new status of the muhafızlık and the implications for the grand sharifate. If Sharif Husayn had some degree of success in maintaining his political preponderance in Mecca, he was generally frustrated in his dealings with the muhafızs of Medina. Traditionally, the grand sharifs maintained deputies in the towns of the Hijaz to perform duties related to the pilgrimage and matters of the Beduin. In the spring of 1910 a crisis broke out between Muhafız ‘Ali Rida Pasha and the grand sharif’s deputy in Medina, Sharif Shahat. The muhafız claimed that Shahat had helped a convict—exiled to Medina for his involvement in the counterrevolutionary uprising of April 1909—escape to Egypt and that subsequently Shahat himself had fled to Mecca. ‘Ali Rida asked the minister of the interior to have Sharif Husayn dismiss Shahat and to entrust the Medina government with the conduct of the affairs traditionally pertaining to the sharifate’s representative in Medina.
Prior to the July 1910 decision of the government to separate Medina from the Hijaz, Muhafız ‘Ali Rida Pasha complained that both the emirate and the directorate of the Hijaz Railway were acting in Medina like governments within a government and indicated that their arbitrary acts caused excitement and confusion among the tribes. For example, the grand sharif deducted from the government subsidy earmarked for a tribe an amount that the pilgrimage caravan officials had traditionally given its shaykhs as a gift. He also asked for the arrest of some tribal chiefs. The shaykhs, in turn, wrote to the muhafız threatening to blow up the railway. The muhafız concluded that the government in Medina could not tolerate the implementation of heedless policies, much less take responsibility for them. In response, Husayn allied himself with Governor Kamil and asked for the replacement of ‘Ali Rida Pasha, but without success.
The grand sharif took liberties in his recognized domain of relations with the tribes to promote his local agendas. As the complaints of the muhafız reveal, one of Husayn’s tactics to maintain broad local authority and to prevent İstanbul from taking measures to increase direct central control in the Hijaz to the detriment of his own authority was to encourage dissension among the tribes in the Medina area. The campaign against Ibn Sa‘ud, which the sharif undertook without any military assistance from the government, was another maneuver designed to serve as a display of his power both to the tribes in the region and to İstanbul. Nevertheless, Husayn’s correspondence with the grand vizier during the Najd campaign included elaborate references to the resolute and long-standing obedience of the sharifs of his family to the Ottoman caliph since the days of Sultan Selim. He presented his latest campaign as an attempt to protect the rights and interests of the state and the caliphate not only in the Hijaz (which, Husayn added, boasted orderly and stable government compared with the other provinces) but also in the entire Arabian Peninsula.
Whatever his success in asserting his will vis-à-vis the governors in the Hijaz, the grand sharif failed to abort İstanbul’s decision regarding Medina. Tension between the muhafızlık and the emirate became chronic. Toward the end of 1911 Sharif Husayn displayed an independent attitude in Mecca. He was frustrated by his apparent loss of control over northern Hijaz but emboldened by the removal of Governor Hazım in the fall of 1911. At this juncture his dismissal in favor of Sharif Haydar seems to have been considered in İstanbul, but was opposed by Mahmud Shawkat Pasha, then minister of war. The British consul, also irritated by the recent attitude of the sharif, pointed to the influential support of the minister of war that the sharif enjoyed. In reality, Mahmud Shawkat Pasha had friendly relations with Sharif Haydar and disagreed with Husayn on the extension of the Hijaz Railway. His opposition to any plans for Husayn’s removal can be explained by his fear of altering the status quo in the Hijaz during hostilities with Italy in the Red Sea.
During the period of the CUP’s political troubles, from the spring of 1912 to the summer of 1913, the sharif enjoyed relative freedom of action. The 1912 elections were held in the Hijaz with little regard for established procedures, and the sharif was allowed to secure the election of his second son, Faysal, as deputy from Jidda, in addition to ‘Abdullah, who was reelected for Mecca. The successful completion of the sharif’s second Asir campaign, due not so much to military victories but to the cessation of Italian support to Idrisi, added to his prestige in the Hijaz. Yet the sharif’s attempts to increase his civil and military authority in this opportune period did not bring substantial results. Following Governor Hazım’s departure, Husayn reacted to the reports that İsmail Fazıl Pasha, former governor of Syria, was under consideration for the position. Citing the ineptitude of İsmail Fazıl, he proposed two local functionaries, over whom he probably enjoyed some influence, Münir Pasha (commander of forces in the Hijaz) and Ziver Bey (the şeyhülharam, or keeper of the Prophet’s tomb), as his candidates. The Ministry of the Interior appointed Halil Pasha, Governor of Kosova, instead. Then, advancing Halil’s unfamiliarity with the local language and customs, the ministry rescinded the appointment in favor of Mustafa Zihni Pasha (Babanzade), a Baghdadi Kurd and governor of Janina. Not surprisingly the relationship between the sharif and Mustafa Zihni Pasha was adversarial from the beginning. When Zihni Pasha was transferred later in 1912, Sharif Husayn not only renewed his request for the appointment of Münir but also asked that the positions of military commander and governor be united in his candidate. The Gazi Ahmed Muhtar government, which by this time had displaced the Unionists, reminded Husayn that it was established practice to appoint governors from the civil list (even though arrangements along the lines of the sharif’s request were not uncommon in certain provinces). He was also informed that the new appointee, Reşid Pasha, was due to arrive in Mecca shortly. It seems that Reşid Pasha never went to the Hijaz and that Münir served as acting governor for the next few months.
The year 1912 was exceptional in terms of the sharif’s relations with the British. As early as January 1912 the French consul in Jidda reported a trip ‘Abdullah took to Cairo with the purpose of seeking the khedive’s support. The first contact between ‘Abdullah and the British authorities, the precursor of negotiations that opened the door to a British-sharifian alliance in 1916, may have occurred on this occasion.
But it is also at this juncture that the sharif’s endeavor to assert his authority resulted in a clash with the British authorities. The sharif reorganized the appointment procedure of pilgrim guides to maximize his profits and undermine the British Consulate’s control over Indian pilgrims. He also proceeded to take over the supervision of the water condenser that insured Jidda’s water supply from the official Hijaz Commission of Health. A transfer of control to the sharif, the consul claimed, would risk the lives of pilgrims, among them 30,000 British subjects. In the summer of 1912 Jidda’s telegraphic communication with the outside world was interrupted for an extended period and could not be restored because of the Italian presence in the Red Sea. During this period, the Beduin attacked military barracks in Jidda and shot at the British Consulate to protest the emancipation of certain slaves. The consul maintained that the sharif gave his implicit consent to these acts of aggression “to impress the local authorities with his power, [and to show them] how entirely at his mercy they are.” The consul recommended that British subjects be discouraged from performing the pilgrimage in order to deal the sharif a financial blow and to show him that “he is not entirely beyond the reach of the Powers.” He wrote, “[T]he fear of a repetition of the lesson would mitigate more than half of the evils and eliminate more than half the difficulties with which we have to contend, and this, moreover, without wounding the pride and damaging the financial interests of the central government which derives no profit from the Haj.” That the British authorities were contemplating in the summer of 1912 action intended to damage the grand sharif’s finances and religious prestige suggests that any contacts with the British in Egypt earlier in the year were inconsequential.
The return of the CUP to power in January 1913 heralded a tightening of central control. The sharif’s reaction was predictable. In two letters sent to İstanbul in April 1913, following the promulgation of the Provincial Law, he revisited some of the difficulties that arose because of the separation of Medina from Mecca, particularly the ambiguity that ensued in the responsibilities of the grand sharifate with respect to the pilgrims and Beduins. He accused the muhafız of injustice, ineptitude, and unlawful acts. In a detailed memorandum the muhafız denied all the accusations. A few weeks later Husayn requested once again the appointment of Münir Pasha as titular governor. The previous government had already designated Nedim Pasha, the Governor of Bitlis, for the post and the sharif was informed of the new appointment. However, the CUP government reversed that decision, apparently before Nedim Pasha went to the Hijaz, and commissioned Vehib Bey for the post.
Starting in 1914 the reorientation of İstanbul’s imperial policy toward an Ottomanism with greater emphasis on Islam and the crystallization of international factors that ultimately precipitated the world war were conducive to a more fundamental change in the established relationship of the grand sharifate to the capital. In the months preceding the war the sharif was irked by officially sponsored aggressive Islamic propaganda, which had the potential of robbing him of his moral force in Arabia, where he had posed as the protector of Islamic traditions and practices. Although his political fortunes were tied to that of the government, he opposed further centralization and deemed reform as contrary to religion. İstanbul’s espousal of an Islamic ideology not only threatened to overshadow his religious standing but also directed the government’s attention to the holy places as bases for propaganda.
In the meantime, the growing international tensions prompted Britain to renew contacts with the sharif regarding a prospective alliance against the Ottoman government. Sharif ‘Abdullah, apprehensive about the subjugation of the Hijaz to stricter central controls and the removal of his father over disagreements with the new governor Vehib, responded positively to British overtures in Cairo and sounded out British willingness to aid his father in the event of deteriorating relations with İstanbul. These contacts were resumed after the outbreak of the war. The story of British-Hashemite relations is too well-known to be related here. The next chapter will examine the Ottoman flank of the balancing act that the sharif was forced to play after the outbreak of war.
Centralization as conceived and implemented by the Young Turks had two objectives: to establish control over the economic and human resources of the empire and to keep in check fissiparous trends in the periphery. The introduction of standard administrative, fiscal, and educational procedures was considered necessary to implement centralization. The destruction of local loci of power was a desirable but not necessary condition for exerting central authority. The Young Turks found it more convenient to come to terms with local power holders in such a way as to allow them to implement İstanbul’s political objectives and to reward them for doing so.
The economic potential of the Hijaz was too insignificant and its privileged status too entrenched for religious reasons for the Young Turks to extend direct centralized rule over the province. But for strategic and religious reasons, factors which acquired growing importance for İstanbul, the Hijaz had to be kept under central control. The Young Turk governments fulfilled this objective by using Sharif Husayn, the most influential notable of the Hijaz, if not of the whole Peninsula, as a proxy. They ensured his cooperation by increasing their military capability within easy reach of the sharif’s sphere of influence.
The sharif played the role assigned to him willingly, because he in turn could use it to promote his position vis-à-vis perennial rivals in the region and maneuver for enhanced local power and prerogatives. He made bids for greater support from İstanbul and also launched his own local initiatives independently of the government. In so doing, he often came into conflict with government officials at different levels. Ultimately, İstanbul’s appraisal of the degree to which its objectives were being served determined to whose satisfaction such conflicts were resolved.
In 1914 imperial and international political circumstances led Sharif Husayn to pursue opportunities other than those emanating from a close identification with İstanbul that would enhance his personal power and prestige. Aided by the Ottoman government’s fateful entanglement in the hostilities of the World War, this pursuit culminated in a revolt in the Hijaz in June 1916 that weakened Ottoman resistance to Allied incursions and raised hopes for independence and nationhood among the Arabs of the empire. Insofar as the collapse of Ottoman power was the strongest factor in the growth of political Arab nationalism, Sharif Husayn was one of its heroes for having led the revolt that facilitated the British invasion of Syria and Palestine.
The history of the Hijaz under the Young Turks has been written with the kind of patent biased romanticization exemplified in the words of one author: “[In] 1908 there succeeded to the office of Grand Sharif of Mecca a Hashemite of spiky temperament, by no means obsequious to Turkish dignities, and crotchetily conscious of Arab rights.” More recent scholarship, especially the pioneering revisionist work of Ernest Dawn, has shown that the contribution of Sharif Husayn and of the Hijaz to Arab nationalism has to be evaluated more critically. However, Husayn’s success in maintaining his traditional rights and promoting his personal power and prestige at the expense of İstanbul’s authority in the Hijaz has been generally acknowledged. A closer examination reveals that during the greater portion of Sharif Husayn’s emirate in the Hijaz not only were the prerogatives of the grand sharif considerably proscribed—particularly in northern Hijaz—by an extension of direct central control, but also that the Young Turk governments successfully steered Sharif Husayn to conduct those policies that advanced the interests of the imperial center.
1. Ernest Dawn’s articles on Arab nationalism compiled in his From Ottomanism to Arabism, Mary C. Wilson’s biography of Sharif ‘Abdullah, King Ab dullah, Britain, and the Making of Jordan, her essay “The Hashemites, the Arab Revolt, and Arab Nationalism” and William Ochsenwald’s “Ironic Origins: Arab Nationalism in the Hijaz,” both in The Origins of Arab Nationalism, ed. Khalidi et al., provide insights on the Hijaz province during the Young Turk period. The following works focus on the pre-1908 period, but also throw light on the next decade: William Ochsenwald, Religion, Society, and the State in Arabia: The Hijaz under Ottoman Control, 1840–1908 (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1984) and The Hijaz Railroad (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1980); Saleh Muhammad al-Amr, The Hijaz under Ottoman Rule, 1869–1914: Ottoman Vali, the Sharif of Mecca, and the Growth of British Influence ([Riyadh]: Riyad University Publications, 1978); and Ufuk Gülsoy, Hicaz Demiryolu (İstanbul: Eren, 1994). [BACK]
2. Suraiya Faroqhi argues this point even for the seventeenth century: “Mecca and Medina[’s] enduring religious significance far outweighs their role in the formation of the modern state of which they form a part. In discussing relations of the Ottoman central government with a remote province, we are thus induced to study problems which have little relation to future nation-building, but touch a number of issues crucial for the functioning of the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.” Pilgrims and Sultans: The Hajj under the Ottomans, 1517–1683 (London: I. B. Tauris, 1994), 3. The original German version of Faroqhi’s book is rich with information on the Hijaz and the pilgrimage after 1908: Herrscher über Mekka: Die Geschichte der Pilgerfahrt (München: Artemis Verlag, 1990). [BACK]
3. On the history of the emirate of Mecca under Ottoman rule, see İsmail Hakkı Uzunçarşılı, Mekke-i Mükerreme Emirleri (Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu, 1972). [BACK]
4. Ten percent of the May salary of the deputies in Parliament was allocated toward the subsidies of the people of the holy cities. Takvim-i Vekai (13 December 1908). [BACK]
5. PRO. FO 195/2286. Acting Consul Husain to Lowther (Jidda, 25 August 1908). See also chapter 2. [BACK]
6. PRO. FO 195/2286. [Acting Consul ?] Mohammad Husain to [Embassy] (Jidda [?], 23 August 1908). [BACK]
7. PRO. FO 618/3. Devey to Lowther (Damascus, 25 August and 2 September 1908). [BACK]
8. Takvim-i Vekai, 17 October 1908. The first train arrived in Medina on 19 August 1908 (Cevat, 166), but the official ceremony took place on the anniversary of the sultan’s accession to the throne on 1 September. See Charles-Eudes Bonin, “Le Chemin de fer du Hedjaz,” Annales de géographie 18 (1909): 427. According to Bonin, the day of arrival of the first train in Medina was 22 August. [BACK]
9. PRO. FO 618/3. Devey to Lowther (25 August 1908). [BACK]
10. Antonius, 103; Andrew Ryan, The Last of the Dragomans (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1951), 75–76; James Morris, The Hashemite Kings (London: Faber and Faber, 1959), 25; Fargo, 241. Dawn points to Shakib Arslan’s viewpoint, but expresses reservations in Ottomanism, 5. [BACK]
11. This view is primarily based on King Abdullah ibn Husayn’s Memoirs (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950), 43–44; Dawn, Ottomanism, 5; al-Amr, 134. [BACK]
12. Al-Amr, 134. [BACK]
13. Morris, 25. [BACK]
14. George Stitt, A Prince of Arabia: The Emir Shereef Ali Haider (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1948), 103–4. [BACK]
15. PRO. FO 685/3. “Haj Report” of the British consulate in Jidda (July 1906). [BACK]
16. PRO. FO 195/2286. Monahan to Embassy (Jidda, 9 April 1908). [BACK]
17. The governor of Hijaz, Ratib Pasha, was dismissed at the beginning of August. Sharif ‘Ali served as acting governor until Kazım Pasha, who was the inspector of the Hijaz Railway, arrived at the end of September as the newly appointed governor (Tanin, 22 September 1908); PRO. FO 195/2286. Acting Consul Husain to Lowther (Jidda, 1 October 1908). [BACK]
18. PRO. FO/195/2286. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 18 November 1908). [BACK]
19. BBA. BEO 256641 (2 November 1908). I have not found an irade in the Başbakanlık Arşivi concerning the appointment of ‘Abd al-Ilah. It is likely that the candidate died prior to investiture. [BACK]
20. BBA. İrade: Dahiliye 1326, no. 45 (29 Şevval 1326/24 November 1908) and no. 50 (17 Şevval 1326/12 November 1908). The earlier irade called for an audience with Kamil Paşa “on the day when Husayn Pasha, Emir of Mecca, will be received” in the Palace. The audience with the sultan mentioned in Abdullah’s memoirs (p. 44) must have been on this occasion. [BACK]
21. BBA. BEO Vilayet Defterleri, 304: Hicaz (gelen), no. 77 (15 November 1908). [BACK]
22. PRO. FO 195/2286. Monahan to Lowther. (Jidda, 5 December 1908). “A crowd of not more than 1000 were present.…The whole spectacle of the landing and reception was not very enthusiastic.” [BACK]
23. Bayur, 1 (pt. 2): 144. [BACK]
24. BBA. İrade: Dahiliye 1326, no. 37 (12 Şevval 1326/7 November 1908). [BACK]
25. BBA. BEO 258850. The Ministry of War to the Emirate and the Province of the Hijaz (9 December 1908). [BACK]
26. BBA. BEO 258766. Sharif Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (10 December 1908). [BACK]
27. BBA. BEO 259627. Sharif Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (9 December 1908). [BACK]
28. PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 20 January 1909). [BACK]
29. Takvim-i Vekai, 11, 17, and 19 February 1909. [BACK]
30. Abdullah, 67; Dawn, Ottomanism, 7; Randall Baker, King Husain and the Kingdom of the Hejaz (Cambridge: The Oleander Press, 1979), 24. [BACK]
31. Faroqhi, Pilgrims, 53. [BACK]
32. BBA. BEO 262239 (261661, 262240, 239487). Grand Vizier to the Province of Syria (12 February 1909). Several months after he was relieved of his duty, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Yusuf won a by-election in Damascus to enter Parliament at the end of 1909. Prätor, 249; Khoury, 57, 87. [BACK]
33. Dawn argues that the Unionists tried to weaken the sharif by commissioning Yusuf, but that the latter’s failure to carry out the task embarrassed the government and enhanced Husayn’s prestige. See Dawn, Ottomanism, 7. [BACK]
34. BBA. BEO 262239. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (12 February 1909). [BACK]
35. In this first refusal of an appointment desired by the sharif, the grand vizierate replied that the sultan (who selected the members of the Chamber of Notables, or senators) had already made all the appointments and no increase in the number of senators was contemplated. In fact, the size of the Chamber of Notables at the time was short of the constitutionally stipulated one-third of the Chamber of Deputies, and the cabinet could most probably have secured the particular appointment. (One of the newly appointed senators was Sharif ‘Ali Haydar.) For İstanbul’s reply, see BBA. BEO 262239. The Grand Vizierate to the Emirate (23 February 1909). [BACK]
36. PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther (3 July 1909). [BACK]
37. Prätor, 219. [BACK]
38. BBA. BEO 265549. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (20 April 1909). İstanbul urged ‘Ali to leave the Hijaz as soon as he was dismissed in the fall of 1908, lest he encounter assaults to his person similar to those received by Governor Ratib. BBA. BEO 257222 (11 November 1908). [BACK]
39. Takvim-i Vekai, 8 November 1908. See also MAE. Turquie, N.S. 6. Serie D. Carton: 37. Dossier: 1. “Tableau par vilayets des résultats des elections au parlement ottoman” (13 November 1908). [BACK]
40. “He is Mufti at Mecca of the Hanefi sect, as his father was before him. His family is of Indian…origin, but has been residing in Mecca for more than 200 years. His father died in exile in Egypt about 12 years ago, having incurred the displeasure of Grand Sharif Aun ar-Rafik, which would be a fact in his favor, and he himself (he is now about 35) was living in Constantinople in fear of the Grand Sharif for more than ten years, until he returned two years ago to Mecca. He appears to have a good reputation, intellectually, and morally, and knows Turkish well…” (PRO. FO 195/2286. Monahan to Lowther. Jidda, 15 December 1908). [BACK]
41. PRO. FO 424/231. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 7 March 1912), referring to the 1908 elections on the occasion of the second parliamentary election in 1912. Enclosure in Lowther to Grey (Constantinople, 27 March 1912). [BACK]
42. PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 5 November 1908). [BACK]
43. Ibid. [BACK]
44. His deputyship was endorsed on 3 February 1909. See Takvim-i Vekai, 10 February 1909 (MMZC, I/1/22). [BACK]
45. Zaynal was seen off by a large crowd in Jidda. See PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther (10 November 1908). [BACK]
46. In his various reports at different times, Consul Monahan reported that Meccans elected two deputies in November 1908. That this should be the case stands to reason. The size of Mecca’s population may have warranted the election of two deputies. See al-Amr on some estimates of the population of Hijazi towns. Such estimates vary between 70,000 and 150,000 for Mecca; 30,000 to 60,000 for Medina; and 25,000 to 50,000 for Jidda (pp. 17–18). Indeed, in all later elections Mecca did send two representatives.
According to Monahan, one of the deputies-elect “declined to sit” immediately upon election (PRO. FO 195/2286. 5 November 1908) and “refused to leave Mecca” (PRO. FO 195/2350. 23 March 1910). The other one did leave, but “became homesick in Egypt, and would not go on to Constantinople.” Monahan does not provide the names of the two deputies. However, from another of his dispatches (PRO. FO 195/2286. 15 December 1908) we know that ‘Abdullah Saraj left Jidda on 13 December 1908. Therefore, it can be presumed that it was Saraj who went to Egypt, only to return.
On 29 December 1908 the letter of resignation of “the deputy from Mecca, the Hanafi müftü ‘Abd al-Rahman” was brought to the floor in Parliament (I/1/9). The discussion suggests that ‘Abd al-Rahman never left Mecca and sent his letter of resignation from there, advancing reasons of health. Thus, it is likely that the name of the other deputy-elect was ‘Abd al-Rahman and that he was referred to as the müftü incorrectly, since we know not only from Monahan’s reports but also from Ottoman sources (Takvim-i Vekai, 8 November 1908) that the müftü was ‘Abdullah Saraj. [BACK]
47. PRO. FO 195/2350. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 23 March 1910). Also al-Amr, 138. The second deputy-elect was Hasan al-Shaybi. [BACK]
48. PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther, no. 25 (Jidda, 16 March 1909). [BACK]
49. MAE. Turquie, N.S. 6. “Levant Expédié” (?), no. 6 (Paris, 3 June 1909). [BACK]
50. Ochsenwald, “Ironic Origins,” in Origins of Arab Nationalism, ed. Kha lidi et al., 197; Muhammad A. al-Shamikh, Al-sihafa fi al-hijaz, 1908–1941 (Beirut, 1972), 37–40. [BACK]
51. BBA. BEO 274969. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (17 May 1909); BBA. BEO 267884. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (10 June 1909). [BACK]
52. BBA. BEO 274969. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (20 October 1909). [BACK]
53. BBA. BEO 273539. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (30 August 1909). [BACK]
54. BBA. BEO 268543. The Grand Vizierate to the Ministries of the Interior and Finance (20 June 1909). [BACK]
55. BBA. BEO 276845. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (15 January 1910). [BACK]
56. BBA. BEO 277412. The Ministry of Finance to the Grand Vizierate (3 February 1910). [BACK]
57. BBA. BEO 273579. The Grand Vizierate to the Ministry of the Interior (13 October 1909). [BACK]
58. PRO. FO 195/2350. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 23 March 1910). Monahan refers to Makki as a Turkish CUP candidate. It is possible that the consul identified him as a Turk because of his CUP membership. Even if Makki was of Turkish background, his family probably had long been settled in Mecca. His brother, too, presented himself as a candidate in the same election. [BACK]
59. BBA. BEO 267884 (277412, 278974). From the Ministry of Finance to the Grand Vizierate (15 March 1910). [BACK]
60. Prätor, 45. [BACK]
61. PRO. FO 195/2286. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 18 November 1908). [BACK]
62. PRO. FO 195/2350. Monahan to Lowther, no. 67 (Jidda, 7 June 1910). Also BBA. BEO 288114. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (6 January 1911). [BACK]
63. PRO. FO 195/2320 (see note 48). [BACK]
64. PRO. FO 195/2320. Acting Consul Abdurrahman to Lowther, no. 101 (Jidda, 9 August 1910). [BACK]
65. PRO. FO 195/2350 (see note 62). [BACK]
66. BBA. BEO 278608 (281797) (3 and 10 March 1910 and 19 May 1912). [BACK]
67. Ibid. The Ministry of the Interior to the Grand Vizierate (3 March 1910). [BACK]
68. BBA. BEO 281400 (278608, 281398) (7 May 1910). [BACK]
69. PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther, no. 25 (Jidda, 16 March 1909). See also Ehud R. Toledano, The Ottoman Slave Trade and Its Suppression, 1840–1890 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1982). According to Toledano, the rumors of an impending prohibition of slave trade triggered a revolt in Mecca in 1855–56. When the prohibition was actually issued the Hijaz was exempted (p. 135). [BACK]
70. BBA. BEO 266444 (263658). The Grand Vizierate to Acting Governor [Sharif Husayn] (17 May 1909); BBA. BEO. 267483. From Acting Governor Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (19 May 1909) and the Grand Vizierate to Acting Governor (24 May 1909). [BACK]
71. BBA. BEO 277770. Sharif Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (1 February 1910). [BACK]
72. BBA. BEO 277770 (279932). The Grand Vizierate to the Ministries of the Interior and Finance (14 February 1910). Also, the Ministry of Finance to the Grand Vizierate (26 March 1910). [BACK]
73. Tanin, 7 September 1908. [BACK]
74. MMZC, I/1/16, 21 January 1909. The Greek deputies Yorgi Boşo and Kozmidi indicated that a railway is a vital economic institution and should belong to all Ottomans. [BACK]
75. PRO. FO 195/2286. Monahan to Lowther, no. 97 (Jidda, 5 November 1908). [BACK]
76. PRO. FO 195/2435. Shipley to Lowther, fol. 231–59 (Jidda, 19 July 1912). [BACK]
77. Takvim-i Vekai, 25 January 1909. MMZC, I/1/16, 21 January 1909. [BACK]
78. PRO. FO 195/2350. Monahan to Lowther, no. 64 (4 June 1910). [BACK]
79. Memorandum attached to above report by Monahan. [BACK]
80. PRO. FO 195/2376. Monahan to Lowther, no. 59 (Jidda, 20 March 1911). [BACK]
81. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 3. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (16 March 1911). [BACK]
82. BBA. BEO Defter 705, no. 101 (12 March 1911). [BACK]
83. BBA. BEO 279144 (286439). Copy of this letter, dated “1325” (1909), occurs in the file. [BACK]
84. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 3 (see note 81). [BACK]
85. MAE. Turquie, N.S. 144. [Robert Armez ?] to Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, no. 1 (Jidda, 9 January 1912). [BACK]
86. BBA. BEO 279144 (286439). The Minister of War to the Grand Vizierate (16 March 1912). [BACK]
87. BBA. BEO 298959 (279144). The Minister of War to the Grand Vizierate (20 April 1912). [BACK]
88. Prätor, 184–86; Gülsoy, 223. [BACK]
89. Al-Amr, 16. [BACK]
90. M. S. Makki, Medina, Saudi Arabia: A Geographical Analysis of the City and the Region (Avebury, 1982), 3; John Sabini, Armies in the Sun: The Struggle for Mecca and Medina (London: Thames and Hudson, 1981), 15. [BACK]
91. As early as 1908 an American report said, “The subjugation of Najd will not be attempted from Baghdad, Basra, or Katif owing to British influence in those regions, but from Damascus and Medina.” US 867.00/792. Ravndal to the State Department (23 July 1908). [BACK]
92. PRO. FO 195/2350 (see note 62); PRO. FO 424/231. Monahan to [Lowther] (Jidda, 7 March 1912). Enclosed in Lowther to Grey (İstanbul, 27 March 1912). [BACK]
93. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9. Deputy Emir of Mecca ‘Abdullah to the Grand Vizierate, no. 132 (1 September 1910); BBA. BEO 283879. The Ministry of the Interior to the Grand Vizierate (12 March 1916). The decision was approved by the sultan on 15 July 1910. [BACK]
94. Dawn, Ottomanism, 10; Abdullah, 47–48. [BACK]
95. Uzunçarşılı, 26. [BACK]
96. Tanin, 4 April 1910. [BACK]
97. Tanin, 26 March 1910. [BACK]
98. See chapter 2. [BACK]
99. BBA. BEO 293822 (281797, 278608). The Ministry of the Interior to the Grand Vizierate (9 January 1911). [BACK]
100. BBA. BEO 298322. The Ministry of Forests, Minerals, and Agriculture to the Grand Vizierate (11 October 1911). [BACK]
101. BBA. BEO 293822. The Grand Vizierate to the Ministry of Public Works (15 September 1911). [BACK]
102. BBA. BEO 293822. The Ministry of the Interior to the Grand Vizierate (9 January 1911). Also included in the file are responses of the various ministries to the reform proposal of the muhafız. [BACK]
103. For a discussion of the “Ottoman order” vs. the “local order” with respect to the administrative and economic incorporation of Transjordan in the late Ottoman period, see Lawrence Eugene Rogan, “Incorporating the Periphery: The Ottoman Extension of Direct Rule over Southeastern Syria (Transjordan), 1867–1914” (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1991), 10–12. [BACK]
104. İkdam, 1 March 1909. [BACK]
105. PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 9 April 1909). [BACK]
106. BBA. BEO 266661 (263047). Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (29 March 1909). [BACK]
107. BBA. BEO 266661. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (18 May 1909); PRO. FO 195/2320. Monahan to Lowther (Jidda, 30 May 1909). [BACK]
108. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 11. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (7 April 1910); PRO. FO 195/2350. Monahan to Lowther, no. 69 (11 June 1910). [BACK]
109. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 98. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (30 July 1910); PRO. FO 195/2350. Acting Consul Abdurrahman to Lowther, no. 97 (Jidda, 5 August 1910). [BACK]
110. BBA. BEO 286962. Husayn to Müşir (?) (27 August 1910). [BACK]
111. BBA. BEO 286962 (285568). Deputy Emir Abdullah to the Ministry of War (12 September 1910). [BACK]
112. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 141. ‘Abdullah to the Grand Vizierate (25 September 1910). [BACK]
113. BBA. BEO 286312 (280413). Muhafız ‘Ali Rida to the Ministry of the Interior (28 October 1910). [BACK]
114. PRO. FO 195/2376. Acting Consul Abdurrahman to Lowther, no. 173 (Jidda, 11 October 1911). [BACK]
115. PRO. FO 424/230. Lowther to Grey, no. 9 ([İstanbul], 3 January 1912). [BACK]
116. BBA. BEO 265661 (266109, 265930, 257308). Governor of Yemen to the Grand Vizierate (24 February 1909). [BACK]
117. Ibid. (13 May 1909). [BACK]
118. BBA. BEO 265930 (265661, 257308). Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (12 May 1909). [BACK]
119. BBA. Defter 698/28/9, no. 3. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (23 March 1910). [BACK]
120. BBA. BEO. Defter 705, no. 6. The Grand Vizierate to the Emirate (25 April 1910). [BACK]
121. See chapter 3 for the remonstration of Arab deputies against the paper’s editor Ubeydullah. [BACK]
122. BBA. BEO. 269031 (288705). Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (24 November 1910). Also Defter 698/28/9, no. 163. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (6 November 1910). [BACK]
123. BBA. BEO. 279266. Deputy Commander of the Seventh Army to the Ministry of War (21 March 1910). [BACK]
124. BBA. BEO. 269031 (288705). Mutasarrıf Sulayman Shafiq to the Province of the Hijaz (28 October 1910). [BACK]
125. BBA. BEO. 269031 (288705). The Province of the Hijaz to the Emirate (24 November 1910). [BACK]
126. BBA. BEO. 269031 (288705). The Province of the Hijaz to the Ministry of the Interior (7 November 1910). [BACK]
127. PRO. FO 195/2350. Monathan to Lowther, no. 135 (Jidda, 13 December 1910). [BACK]
128. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 201. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (21 February 1911). Abdullah’s request for a two-and-a-half-month leave on grounds of “important personal matters that necessitate his presence in the Hijaz” was granted on 23 February 1911 (MMZC, I/3/46). [BACK]
129. HHS. PA 38/350. Dr. Toncic to Aehrenthal (Jidda, 20 March 1911). [BACK]
130. PRO. FO 195/2376. Monahan to Lowther, no. 100 (Jidda, 25 May 1911). [BACK]
131. Ibid. Monahan to Lowther, no. 101 (Jidda, 30 May 1911). [BACK]
132. PRO. FO 195/2376. Richardson to Lowther, no. 134 (Hodeida, 23 June 1911). [BACK]
133. PRO. FO 195/2376. Monahan to Lowther, no. 105 (Jidda, 10 June 1911). [BACK]
134. BBA. BEO 294354. The Grand Vizierate to Sharif Husayn (9 August 1911). [BACK]
135. PRO. FO 195/2414. Acting Consul Dr. Abdurrahman to Lowther, fol. 304–5 (Jidda, 7 April 1912). Also, Shipley to Lowther, fol. 312 (Jidda, 20 July 1912). [BACK]
136. PRO. FO 195/2440. Shipley to Lowther, no. 53 (Jidda, 29 July 1912). The consul quotes the commandant of the gendarmerie in Jidda, Haşim Bey, as saying that the government “woke up to the fact that much of the trouble in [Asir] is due to the Sharif’s attempt to bring it under his control.” [BACK]
137. BBA. BEO 307945. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (28 October 1912); and the Grand Vizierate to Husayn (1 November 1912). [BACK]
138. See, for example, BBA. BEO 272713. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (13 September 1910); BBA. BEO 285974. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (14 October 1910). [BACK]
139. Monahan describes Hazım Bey as a “weak and insignificant person.” See PRO. FO 195/2376. Monahan to Lowther (18 September 1911). Sharif Husayn probably had a better idea about his abilities, and hence wanted to see him removed. See chapter 4 on Hazım in his capacity as governor in Beirut during the reform movement. [BACK]
140. PRO. FO 195/2376. Monahan to Lowther, no. 160 (Jidda, 18 September 1911); Abdurrahman to Lowther, no. 182 (Jidda, 4 November 1911). [BACK]
141. In ‘Abdullah’s memoirs the reference is to Nasir ibn Muhsin of the Ghalib “tribe” (pp. 84–85). The name occurs as “Muhammad Nasir, the grandson of the brother of late Sharif ‘Abd al-Muttalib” in a letter that Nasir sent to the grand vizier to air his grievance against Sharif Husayn, who publicly affronted him. BBA. BEO 299282 (18 October 1911). For a congratulatory telegram sent by Nasir to the Central Committee of the CUP in Salonika on the occasion of the first anniversary of the revolution and the text of the reply from the Central Committee, see Shams al-haqiqa, 30 August 1909. [BACK]
142. BBA. BEO 285974. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (14 October 1910); the Grand Vizierate to Husayn (20 October 1910). ‘Abdullah Pasha had served as governor and commander in chief in Yemen in 1903 and as governor of Baghdad in 1909. [BACK]
143. BBA. BEO 313934. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (21 June 1913). The Grand Vizierate to the Emirate (25 June 1913). [BACK]
144. For example, his suggestion for the provincial chief secretary (BBA. BEO 300439. The Grand Vizierate to Emirate [22 February 1912]); his plea against the dismissal of the Hanafi müftü of Medina (BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 407 [30 March 1911], no. 539 [5 April 1911], no. 408 [31 March 1911]). [BACK]
145. BBA. BEO 306372 (308160; 309416). Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (16 December 1912); Şeyhülislam to the Grand Vizierate, no. 148 (28 January 1913). [BACK]
146. BBA. BEO 286312 (280413). Muhafız of Medina to the Ministry of the Interior (6 April 1910). Sharif Husayn denied the charges but dismissed Shahat. Yet, when in the summer of 1910 the government took the decision to separate the administration of Medina from that of the province of the Hijaz, the sharif insisted on reinstituting Shahat as his deputy in Medina and sent him back. However, his reappointment was not endorsed by the grand vizierate. See also the Ministry of the Interior to the Grand Vizierate (24 April 1910); the Grand Vizierate to the Emirate (25 April 1910; 2, 8, 15 November 1910); Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (27 April, 9 October 1910); Muhafız to the Ministry of the Interior (27 October 1910). [BACK]
147. BBA. BEO 281551. Muhafız ‘Ali Rida Pasha to the Ministry of the Interior (20 May 1910). [BACK]
148. BBA. DH-MTV 3/9 (24 December 1910). [BACK]
149. Wilson, King Abdullah, 21. [BACK]
150. BBA. BEO Defter 698/28/9, no. 164. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate, no. 4868 (12 November 1910). [BACK]
151. Stitt, 137–41; Dawn, Ottomanism, 13. [BACK]
152. PRO. FO 195/2429. Shipley to Lowther, no. 43 (10 July 1912). [BACK]
153. Monahan to Lowther (7 March 1912). Enclosure in PRO. FO 424/231. Lowther to Grey (İstanbul, 27 March 1912). [BACK]
154. Consul Shipley reported in November 1912 that the sharif’s influence “now extends from Alwejh in the north to Abha in the south.” PRO. FO 195/2446, fol. 391–92 (7 November 1912). [BACK]
155. BBA. BEO 296673. The Grand Vizierate to the Ministry of the Interior (31 October 1911). [BACK]
156. BBA. İrade: Dahiliye 1330, no. 19. The Minister of Interior to the Grand Vizierate (27 January 1912). [BACK]
157. BBA. BEO 307518. The Emirate to the Grand Vizierate (9 October 1912); the Grand Vizierate to the Emirate (17 October 1912). [BACK]
158. MAE. Turquie, N.S. 144. Robert Armez to Poincaré, no. 4 (Jidda, 29 January 1912). [BACK]
159. PRO. FO 195/2429. Shipley to Lowther, no. 43 (10 July 1912). [BACK]
160. PRO. FO 195/2440. Shipley [to Lowther], no. 27 (6 December 1912). [BACK]
161. PRO. FO 195/2435. Shipley to Lowther, no. 46 (Jidda, 19 July 1912). Also PRO. FO 195/2410, fol. 386 (23 June 1912); PRO. FO 195/2433, fol. 146–48 (29 June 1912). [BACK]
162. BBA. BEO 281551. The Emirate to the Grand Vizierate (23 and 26 April, 1913). [BACK]
163. BBA. BEO 313973. Muhafız to the Ministry of the Interior (29 May 1913). [BACK]
164. BBA. BEO 313934. Husayn to the Grand Vizierate (21 June 1913); the Grand Vizierate to the Emirate (25 June 1913). [BACK]
165. See, for example, Antonius; Kedourie, England and the Middle East (London: Bowes and Bowes, 1956); Isaiah Friedman, The Question of Palestine, 1914–1918: British-Jewish-Arab Relations (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973). [BACK]
166. Morris, 8–9. [BACK]