chapter  1
29 Pages

The Illusion

ByIsaiah Friedman

This chapter highlights an article, British Miscalculation and the Rise of Muslim Nationalism, that probes into the rationale of British Pan-Arab policy and examines whether the destruction of the Ottoman Empire enhanced British security in the Middle East. The greatest illusion among British officials in Cairo was that the Arabs would be willing to join the Allies in the war against Turkey. It was Muhammad al-Faruqi, a prominent leader of the Arab secret societies, who had created that false belief. It was also he who had destroyed the good work of the de Bunsen Committee. His arrival in Cairo on 10 September 1915 caused a reversal in British policy and wrought a dramatic change in Middle-Eastern history. At the time, however, British officials in Cairo were laboring under the illusion that the secret societies wielded sufficient power to foment a rebellion against Turkey and that the Arabs in general constituted an important military and political asset.