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By Peter Mansfield

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In 1906 there was a development which was ultimately fatal to Abdul Hamid when revolutionary cells began to be formed by serving officers in the field. The first, which included the young Mustafa Kemal, was in Damascus, but the most important was among the officers of the Third Army Corps in Salonika. Events now moved rapidly. The cadets had by now become captains and majors, with men and arms under their command; the parlous state of the armed forces, and the in- 24 THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND ITS SUCCESSORS creasing dangers of secession and aggression, made a change of regime an urgent necessity obvious to any patriotic and aspiring young officer.

Subject to that modification, and without prejudice to the treaties concluded between us and certain Arab Chiefs, we accept that delimitation. As for the regions lying within the proposed frontiers, in which Great Britain is free to act without detriment to the 40 THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE AND ITS SUCCESSORS interests of her ally France, I am authorised to give you the following pledges on behalf of the Government of Great Britain, and to reply as follows to your note: That subject to the modifications stated above, Great Britain is prepared to recognise and uphold the independence of the Arabs in all the regions lying within the frontiers proposed by the Sharif of Mecca.

On 2 November 1916 the Sharif Hussein was proclaimed 'King of the Arab Countries' by his followers, but this was not acceptable to Britain and France. A compromise was reached, and in January 1917 they both recognised him as King of the Hejaz. The immediate effect of the Revolt in the Arabian peninsula was considerable. Ibn Rashid and the Imam of Yemen remained pro-Turkish but they were now isolated, and at a meeting in Kuwait in November Ibn Saud, the Ruler of Kuwait, and a number of minor chieftains, declared their open support for England and the Arabs.

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