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am 19. September 2012
Lawrence of Arabia has become a household name in history. How it came to that is brilliantly set out in `Setting the Desert on Fire` by James Barr:

The British needed a counterweight to the caliphate in Istanbul and sided with Sharif Husein, emir of Mecca, who - with British financial and military support - instigated the revolt which ultimately led to the wresting Damascus from the hands of the Turks. T. E. Lawrence, a British Intelligence officer, early realized that guerilla warfare was the only way to deal small but ultimately mortal blows to the otherwise too powerful Turkish forces in Syria and the Hijaz. Thus he started winning various Arab tribes for his cause and attacked the Turkish supply lines on the Hijaz Railways. Supported by General Edmund Allenby's attack on the coast in 1918 T. E. Lawrence finally managed to push up to Damascus with Feisal, one of Sharif Husein's sons.

The rewards, territorial gains and independence promised were of a limited nature though since the Sykes-Picot-Agreement already decided on the future spheres of influence between the British and the France (Feisal became king in British controlled Iraq, Abdullah, his brother, king in Transjordan) early during the war.

Gripping, hard to put the book away!
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