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Arabs under Ottoman rule

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    Posted: 09 Mar 2011 at 08:00
The Ottoman Empire was supposed to be an imperial power that distinguished its subjects solely on religion and not on race, ethnicity, or tribal afiliation. Under this criteria, Arabs should enjoy exactly the same rights as Turks and be regarded as complete equals.
In reality, was this really the case?
Obviously, by the 19th century, most Arab subjects of the Ottoman Empire were unhappy about imperial rule, and by the 1st World War most of them desired independence.
What were they unhappy about? How did Arabs view Turks in this period? As brothers of the same religion or as imperialist oppressors?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote xristar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2011 at 12:21
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:


Obviously, by the 19th century, most Arab subjects of the Ottoman Empire were unhappy about imperial rule, and by the 1st World War most of them desired independence.

Is that true? Did most Arab subjects resent the Ottoman rule? I believe hundereds of thousands of Arab soldiers fought under the Ottoman flag, a lot more than with the Arab Revolutionaries. I'm not sure Arab nationalism was a widespread movement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2011 at 14:48
I'm sure the Arab experience of Ottoman rule was manifold. It's not as if the Arab world was monolithic enough to utter a singular response to anything, nor I have any seen any institutionalized discrimination of Arabs as a group, so there would be no reason for such a response before pan-arabism. At worst, I know the Arabs were considered simple people by certain distinguished Ottomans, who dismissed them as a bunch of "fellahin".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2011 at 15:07
Originally posted by xristar xristar wrote:

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:


Obviously, by the 19th century, most Arab subjects of the Ottoman Empire were unhappy about imperial rule, and by the 1st World War most of them desired independence.

 a lot more than with the Arab Revolutionaries. I'm not sure Arab nationalism was a widespread movement.
 
That is actually quite true but for different reasons. They fought for the Ottomans because the average guy knew that colonialism was the substitute. Remember the majority of Arab MPs in the 2nd Ottoman parliament even those from christian districts and were christians themselves were not Arab nationalists. They loved the idea of independence and being their own masters seeing that the Ottoman empire only realised in the 1860s that there were Arab lands under its rule but this was the age of empire and the way europe approached Arab lands particularly Egypt was obviously with the intention of colonialising them.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eventhorizon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2011 at 18:16
The Ottoman empire and British Indian Subcontinent, the break up of these two large systems, that took shape after centuries (if not an entire millenium) of consolidation, are largely responsible for todays Islamic deviation from their mainstream and at the root of todays chaos and turmoil. The repurcussions will continue for the foreseeable future, my personal view according to the theory/hypothesis I presented in another thread.
 
Some details:
 
This is a question for Al-Jassas, if the average guy knew that Euro colonialism was the substitute for Ottoman imperial rule, why did they then want independence and be their own masters, because it was clear in your words that the average guy already knew that they would not become their own master but fall under Euro colonialism.
 
And also please elaborate: "seeing that the Ottoman empire only realised in the 1860s that there were Arab lands under its rule but this was the age of empire"
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Mar 2011 at 19:33
Originally posted by eventhorizon eventhorizon wrote:

The Ottoman empire and British Indian Subcontinent, the break up of these two large systems, that took shape after centuries (if not an entire millenium) of consolidation, are largely responsible for todays Islamic deviation from their mainstream and at the root of todays chaos and turmoil. The repurcussions will continue for the foreseeable future, my personal view according to the theory/hypothesis I presented in another thread.
 
Some details:
 
This is a question for Al-Jassas, if the average guy knew that Euro colonialism was the substitute for Ottoman imperial rule, why did they then want independence and be their own masters, because it was clear in your words that the average guy already knew that they would not become their own master but fall under Euro colonialism.
 
And also please elaborate: "seeing that the Ottoman empire only realised in the 1860s that there were Arab lands under its rule but this was the age of empire"
 
 
 
 
Before the 1860s the Ottoman empire focused its developement on its european holding and Istanbul. Hardly any developement whether it be paved roads, public buildings or public works projects existed outside those two regions. The rest of the country was subcontracted to imported local lords who helped themselves in destroying what left of the old regime. Tripoli for example which had some 100 independent schools each with its own trust and managing board when the Ottomans came had none by the early 19th. The loss of Greece and Romania but primarily the advent of colonialism was a wake up call and the Ottoman empire began to heavily invest in infrastructure in the Arab regions not for their sakes but to make control of those far away regions easier and more efficient.
 
As for your question about independence, remember that time is everything. The revolt came during WWI when the Ottoman empire was pitted against colonial powers which made no secret their intention to colonise the Arab world during peace time. All Arab insurrections before WWI were quite popular but all these had one thing in common, they were genuine grassroots revolts that came from genuine popular resentment.
 
The "great Arab Revolt" was British planned, financed and executed. It came during a time of war against historical enemies with overt colonial ambitions immediately after the Ottoman empire implemented many reforms and started spending alot of money on the deprived parts of the country.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote calvo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2011 at 10:18
The question is: did Ottoman rule directly affect the lives of common Arabs?
Were they ruled directly by gobernors appointed by the sultan, or were they still ruled by their kings and tribal leaders who in turn answered to the Ottomans?
Were there any significant political, economical, cultural, and infrastructual changes in Arab lands during Ottoman rule. How many Arabs learned to speak Turkish?

As far as comparing Ottoman rule and European colonial rule, as far as Arabs are concerned, would there be any difference? Would the Ottoman Empire itself be considered a colonial power?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hidden Face Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2011 at 10:41
Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

The question is: did Ottoman rule directly affect the lives of common Arabs?
Were they ruled directly by gobernors appointed by the sultan, or were they still ruled by their kings and tribal leaders who in turn answered to the Ottomans?
Were there any significant political, economical, cultural, and infrastructual changes in Arab lands during Ottoman rule. How many Arabs learned to speak Turkish?

As far as comparing Ottoman rule and European colonial rule, as far as Arabs are concerned, would there be any difference? Would the Ottoman Empire itself be considered a colonial power?

Arabs actually ruled themselves under the Ottoman Flag until the Ottomans tried to centralise in the late 19. century (When the Young Turks took the power). So there weren't really many Arabs who learned Turkish solely to seek a better life in the Empire.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2011 at 11:22
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by xristar xristar wrote:

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:


Obviously, by the 19th century, most Arab subjects of the Ottoman Empire were unhappy about imperial rule, and by the 1st World War most of them desired independence.

 a lot more than with the Arab Revolutionaries. I'm not sure Arab nationalism was a widespread movement.
 
That is actually quite true but for different reasons. They fought for the Ottomans because the average guy knew that colonialism was the substitute. Remember the majority of Arab MPs in the 2nd Ottoman parliament even those from christian districts and were christians themselves were not Arab nationalists. They loved the idea of independence and being their own masters seeing that the Ottoman empire only realised in the 1860s that there were Arab lands under its rule but this was the age of empire and the way Europe approached Arab lands particularly Egypt was obviously with the intention of colonialising them.
 
Al-Jassas
 
Look, let us be frank here and stop injecting contemporary notions onto the past. The political awareness of the--for lack of a better word--masses in the polynational empires of the 19th century was nil. Al references a political event of the 20th century and if one wishes to comprehend any type of political consciousness during the course of the 19th century then one has to recognize the distinction between interested elites and the political structure. To speak of any type of "Arabism" in ideological terms is rather ludicrous unless one wishes to restrict definition within the context of Wahhabism and simply subvert terminology as did Vladimir Borisovich Lutsky in his Modern History of the Arabian Peninsula (1969)--it's on-line here: http://www.marxists.org/subject/arab-world/lutsky/index.htm
 
Further, I suspect that "Arab" here in this thread is being employed as a modern usage and one would be hard put to explain events in 19th century Egypt as an example of the rise of an "Arab political consciousness".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2011 at 11:28
Calvo wrote:
 
As far as comparing Ottoman rule and European colonial rule, as far as Arabs are concerned, would there be any difference? Would the Ottoman Empire itself be considered a colonial power?
 
And since our dear colleague originated the thread I suspect that he is seeking input in support of his own veiled conclusions that require a Yes to the first and a No to the second.
 
So Calvo, the lob has been returned and the ball is now back in your court so as to begin the volleying.


Edited by drgonzaga - 10 Mar 2011 at 11:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2011 at 15:42
Originally posted by The Hidden Face The Hidden Face wrote:

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

The question is: did Ottoman rule directly affect the lives of common Arabs?
Were they ruled directly by gobernors appointed by the sultan, or were they still ruled by their kings and tribal leaders who in turn answered to the Ottomans?
Were there any significant political, economical, cultural, and infrastructual changes in Arab lands during Ottoman rule. How many Arabs learned to speak Turkish?

As far as comparing Ottoman rule and European colonial rule, as far as Arabs are concerned, would there be any difference? Would the Ottoman Empire itself be considered a colonial power?

Arabs actually ruled themselves under the Ottoman Flag until the Ottomans tried to centralise in the late 19. century (When the Young Turks took the power). So there weren't really many Arabs who learned Turkish solely to seek a better life in the Empire.
 
Not exactly.
 
Initially during the strong Ottoman sultans all Arab provinces except Egypt were ruled directly from Istanbul through centrally appointed governors. Remember that Arab provinces were usually frontier provinces and needed to be uder direct authority.
 
Later on the Ottoman establishment decided to subcontract the major provinces to Turkish strongmen from outside the province. This is how the Beys and the Deys came to rule in Libya, Tunisia and Algeria and many of who spoke little or no Arabic by the time colonialism came despite being born and bread in those countries. This was also done in the Anatolian and later Balkan holdings so it wasn't something usuall but all of those rulers were definitely not Arab.
 
Now things changed in the 19th century. It became obvious that the status quo favoured by those dynasties was destroying the Ottoman hegemony and was responsible for the popular support of the Wahhabi and Egyptian insurrections of the first half of that century. The Ottoman establishment began taking care of its Arab subjects and incorporate them into the government and several governors and administrators began to rise through the ranks.Remember by the time of WWI almost the entire government structure was manned by Arabs and all of them were proficient in Turkish, so much so that the instrument of surrender of Jerusalem written by its mayor Husein Al-Huseini was written in Turkish not Arabic.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hidden Face Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 13:57
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by The Hidden Face The Hidden Face wrote:

Originally posted by calvo calvo wrote:

The question is: did Ottoman rule directly affect the lives of common Arabs?
Were they ruled directly by gobernors appointed by the sultan, or were they still ruled by their kings and tribal leaders who in turn answered to the Ottomans?
Were there any significant political, economical, cultural, and infrastructual changes in Arab lands during Ottoman rule. How many Arabs learned to speak Turkish?

As far as comparing Ottoman rule and European colonial rule, as far as Arabs are concerned, would there be any difference? Would the Ottoman Empire itself be considered a colonial power?

Arabs actually ruled themselves under the Ottoman Flag until the Ottomans tried to centralise in the late 19. century (When the Young Turks took the power). So there weren't really many Arabs who learned Turkish solely to seek a better life in the Empire.
 
Not exactly.
 
Initially during the strong Ottoman sultans all Arab provinces except Egypt were ruled directly from Istanbul through centrally appointed governors. Remember that Arab provinces were usually frontier provinces and needed to be uder direct authority.
 
Later on the Ottoman establishment decided to subcontract the major provinces to Turkish strongmen from outside the province. This is how the Beys and the Deys came to rule in Libya, Tunisia and Algeria and many of who spoke little or no Arabic by the time colonialism came despite being born and bread in those countries. This was also done in the Anatolian and later Balkan holdings so it wasn't something usuall but all of those rulers were definitely not Arab.
 
Now things changed in the 19th century. It became obvious that the status quo favoured by those dynasties was destroying the Ottoman hegemony and was responsible for the popular support of the Wahhabi and Egyptian insurrections of the first half of that century. The Ottoman establishment began taking care of its Arab subjects and incorporate them into the government and several governors and administrators began to rise through the ranks.Remember by the time of WWI almost the entire government structure was manned by Arabs and all of them were proficient in Turkish, so much so that the instrument of surrender of Jerusalem written by its mayor Husein Al-Huseini was written in Turkish not Arabic.
 
Al-Jassas

Hi, Al Jassas, sorry for the late reply.

As far as I know, what you stated is right in the Young Turks era, as I stated earlier. But in the classical period, Arab Amirs ruled their people and payed taxes to Istanbul. Not just Arabs, Kurds ruled themselves, too. And that was logical, too. De facto rulers were tribal leaders, name it sheikh, Amir etc.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 14:20
Arabs are called "Turks" in Latin America because most of them arrived with Ottoman passport. In any case, they have shown historically a resentment against real Turks, and they don't want to be called as such at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hidden Face Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 14:43
Yeah I know the story Pinguin. And I will tell you an interesting note. A couple of years ago, a colombian goal keeper named Mondragon played in the Turkish football club Galatasaray. The thing is, his first name is Faryd, and it sounds totally alien to the Turkish people, but later the Turkish fans figured out that it's the same as the Turkish "Ferit" (Common name in the ME) and Mondragon has lebenase ancestry. So Mondragon, thought to be from a far country with an alien culture, is actually so closer to the country and the people. That was interesting. 

And the second note: The Westerners called all Muslims "Turk" in the middle ages. Fomenko also examines this and has an idea about it. I had noticed that, too.


Edited by The Hidden Face - 11 Jun 2011 at 14:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 15:23
Face wrote:
 
And the second note: The Westerners called all Muslims "Turk" in the middle ages. Fomenko also examines this and has an idea about it. I had noticed that, too.
 
Incorrect, at least as far as what is properly understood as the Middle Ages is concerned. In the West, the first instance of Turk has no attestation prior to the 14th century ( Fr. Turc) and there it derived directly from Byzantine Greek where tourkos was applied specifically to their troublesome new neighbors in Anatolia. Shall we try for Saracen?

 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 15:28
If you know any Arab "Amir" (other than the Hashimites) then please tell me. All the dynasties I know are either Turk or Kurd.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hidden Face Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 16:32
Dr. after second read I think I seem to put it as If it was a fact. I would like to correct that it was only a claim by some (in Turkey, too) and Fomenko examines it. I find it interesting though. When I have time, I will open a fresh thread and give some interesting details. 

Thanks for the correction again.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hidden Face Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 19:15
Jassas, If you say so, then okay. I don't have as much knowledge as you have on the Arabs in the Ottoman Empire, so I trust your knowledge. Though, the classical era, the Ottomans had ridiculously weak central control. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Yanko bin Madyan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 22:43
Arabs under Ottoman rule:

1300-1500: There weren't any Arabs in the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman Classical Era starts from 1475 more or less. [Off topic note: Also there were no Persians in the Ottoman Empire, pretty much ever. I added this note because I had the misfortune to see a thread here which claimed that the OE had 'Turko-Persian' identity. That is absolute unmitigated nonsense.]

1500-1600: Ottomans absorb Mamluks and Magreb. Although state power in the 16th century was limited everywhere in its penetration into the lives of the people, the Ottomans were more centralised than other European empires. In the core lands (i.e. Balkans and Anatolia) 80% the land belonged to the state and was ruled by state officials under the timar system. However, Arab (and Kurdish) lands were not core lands. They were not divided into timars (on land-use basis) they were not governed by state officials. They had governors sent from Constantinople, though. These states sent their budget surplus to the treasury in Constantinople. Egypt and Syria were very rich provinces, so this surplus was important for Ottoman finances. So,
1. On the local level the Arabs rules themselves, but the provinces had governor-generals (beylerbeyi) mostly of devshirme origin.
2. It is not true that the OE was not centralised during the classical era. It had a more powerful central government than Western states. Keeping up the 1000 year old Eastern Roman tradition. Read Machiavelli.
3. It is true that in this period the Empire took from the Arabs and invested in Istanbul and other nearby cities. But it also invested in trade routes in the Arab lands like anywhere else. It also never neglected places like Mecca.

1600-1800: The classical system collapsed and OE decentralized. These 200 years were like Western feudalism with strong landowners (ayan). Population everywhere (not just the Arabs) were pretty much at the mercy of the ayan. The Sublime Porte did not give a toss about schools closing in Tripoli or whatever. It was busy surviving the collapse of the classical system in face of rising Austria and Russia and idiocy of other traditional powers such as Spain and Poland.

1800-1913: Last century of the OE is characterized by opening of the economy to the world. As others have written centralized government became stronger in this period as the country modernized. As in the rest of the world infrastructure and communications were improved in order to integrate the economy into the world markets and to increase government penetration. These trends started much earlier than the Young Turks. OE officially distanced itself from Turkish nationalism until after the Balkan Wars. After that, though, the Young Turks (the triumvirate) have adopted Turkish nationalism. This caused  resentment in some Arab lands. However, I agree with the Dr. that it is rather premature to speak of Arab nationalism as a mass movement at this time. Turkish nationalism became a mass movement after the World War under Allied occupation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AksumVanguard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2011 at 05:46
Originally posted by Yanko bin Madyan Yanko bin Madyan wrote:

ce of rising Austria and Russia and idiocy of other traditional powers such as Spain and Poland.

1800-1913: Last century of the OE is characterized by opening of the economy to the world. As others have written centralized government became stronger in this period as the country modernized. As in the rest of the world infrastructure and communications were improved in order to integrate the economy into the world markets and to increase government penetration. These trends started much earlier than the Young Turks. OE officially distanced itself from Turkish nationalism until after the Balkan Wars. After that, though, the Young Turks (the triumvirate) have adopted Turkish nationalism. This caused  resentment in some Arab lands. However, I agree with the Dr. that it is rather premature to speak of Arab nationalism as a mass movement at this time. Turkish nationalism became a mass movement after the World War under Allied occupation.

What was the reason for this Turkish nationalism?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2011 at 09:39
Originally posted by The Hidden Face The Hidden Face wrote:

Yeah I know the story Pinguin. And I will tell you an interesting note. A couple of years ago, a colombian goal keeper named Mondragon played in the Turkish football club Galatasaray. The thing is, his first name is Faryd, and it sounds totally alien to the Turkish people, but later the Turkish fans figured out that it's the same as the Turkish "Ferit" (Common name in the ME) and Mondragon has lebenase ancestry. So Mondragon, thought to be from a far country with an alien culture, is actually so closer to the country and the people. That was interesting. 

And the second note: The Westerners called all Muslims "Turk" in the middle ages. Fomenko also examines this and has an idea about it. I had noticed that, too.


I thought they called all Muslims Saracens?  Like how easterners call westerners Farangi (Franks) to this day.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tashfin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2011 at 16:28
We can't really talk about Arab (or Turksih) nationalism as a phenomena until the 19th century. The Islamic world had for centuries before the Ottomans came to prominence been dominated by non-Arabs, starting from the latter half of the Abbasid period, through to the Seljuk, Ghaznavid, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods. Most of these dynasties maintained a Turkish, Kurdish or Persian speaking elite but co-opted Arabs at the local level, and in the fields of Islamic scholarship/education etc. It can be argued the bonds of religion were still stronger in this period than ethnic affiliation.
 
The Ottomans followed in similar vein though obviously on a more centralised and larger scale. During the period of decline centralised control became loose leading to increased powers of the regional governors.
 
Nationalism of both Turkish and Arab variety arose in the 19th century, as the Ottomans embarked on the Tanzimat and in light of the rise of the ethnic struggles in Greece and the Balkans,through  interaction with western ideas combined with greater ethnic awareness and rising disconent.
 
Sultan Abdul Hamid tried to combat this, at least in the predominantly Muslim/Arab regions of the Ottoman state, by promoting pan-Islamic concepts and through initiatives like the Hijaz Railway and the Kurdish Hamidiye, and re-organising the administration of the empire  which had been started in the early Tanzimat period, but this came to an end through the rise of the Young Turks in 1908.
 
That being said in WW1 there was no universal rebellion against the Ottomans  in the core Arab regions (nothing like the Greek War of Independence, or the Balkan Wars for example), indeed many Arabs fought under the Ottoman flag in the Palestinian and Mesopotamian theatres, an example is the 1914-16 campaign in Iraq where significant numbers of Arab auxilliaries fought alongside the regular Ottoman forces. The Arab revolt  itself was more of a British instigated operation via the Hashemites in Hijaz, and  al-Saud had already been co-opted through the mission of Captain Shakespear in 1911, in the Najd against the Ottoman supporting Rashid dynasty.


Edited by Tashfin - 28 Jun 2011 at 17:02
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