Arab Revolt had an indirect affect on many different fronts of WWI in the Middle East
  • The Arab Revolt was able to occupy Ottoman resources indirectly, affecting their success on several fronts of the war.
  • Although the Ottomans were successful at the Dardanelles and Gallipoli their lack of resources and soldiers at other fronts affected the outcome of the war
  • The Arab revolt was able to use guerrilla warfare and was successful in occupying nearly 30,000 Ottoman troops around the Hijaz Railroad.
  • On the eastern front against Russia, poor strategy on the part of the Ottomans and a lack of resources resulted in the loss of nearly 50,000 men.
  • Defeating the Russians would have been much more likely if so many troops weren't deployed to repair/guard the Hijaz Railroad.
  • Although the Arab revolt had no effect on the poor leadership and the loss of the Suez Canal in the southern front, the Arab revolt directly occupied ottoman troops and resources that would be used to stop Robert Allenby’s occupation of Palestine and Jerusalem.
  • On the southeastern front the Ottomans were winning the battle until the British were successful in conquering Baghdad as they used a vast amount of troops and resources.
  • They sent nearly 166,000 troops into the front and the Arab Revolt held nearly 30,000 Ottoman troops that could have helped slow the progress of these troops.
  • The Ottomans were constantly trying to repair the railroad as it was a symbol inside the empire and provided a supply line throughout the empire.
  • Arab revolt then resulted in widespread Arab nationalism and the beginnings of the Palestinian liberation movement.

Arab Revolt's Role in the Battle of Aqaba
  • The capture of Aqaba was, at that point, the most important victory of the Arab Revolt.
  • It helped to protect the British Force’s eastern flank as they were advancing into Palestine.
  • As Arab Forces moved towards Aqaba, 4,000 Arabs in Jordan joined their cause and helped to capture Aqaba. Showed the popularity and legitimacy of the movement.
  • On their way to capture Aqaba, the Arabs destroyed many miles of the Hijaz Railway and fought and defeated Turkish forces at Fuweila and Aba-el-Lisson.
  • Other bands of Turkish forces surrendered to the Arab forces on their way to Aqaba, and with each surrender, more and more Arabs joined the force marching towards Aqaba.
  • On July 6th, Arab forces under the command of T.E. Lawrence swiftly captured Aqaba, with little resistance from the German advisors and some 300 Turkish soldiers.
  • Following the success at Aqaba, the Royal Navy Commander in Egypt sent arms and supplies to Aqaba for the Arabs to keep hold of the city.
  • As a result of the Arab success in Aqaba, King Faisal moved his headquarter their, along with a regular army of Arabs, and Aqaba became the chief base of the Arab Revolt for the rest of the war.

Arab Revolt's Role in the Broader War
-Constant attacks on the Hijaz provided a distraction that allowed the British to successfully advance up the coast and eventually capture Jerusalem. These attacks forced the Turks to spare valuable troops, supplies and materials to protect the railway which left Jerusalem with fewer defenders to resist the British. The Hijaz railway occupied 30,000 Turkish troops for protection and repair. The Arab forces provided a feign as their presence near the Hijaz lead the turks to believe that the main allied force would be coming up the Hijaz while in fact the British advances far to the West, capturing Beershaba and Gaza.The Arabs were also used on intelligence missions, long distance raids, transportation, and as a means of recruiting more local soldiers to serve the allied cause.


ARAB REVOLT:
June 1916–October 1918
  • Arab Nationalist force gaining momentum led by Sharif Hussein of Mecca
  • London agrees with Hussein and decide to help "support" the fight for Arab independence in Hussein-McMahon Correspondence
  • Soldier quoted in claiming that "half or more" of Arab/Ottoman troops were on the side of the Arab revolt, and were only waiting for the proper support for their cause before letting it be known that they supported it.
    • These claims were proven false, as few Ottoman troops left to support the Arab cause once it had been established
  • Lawrence "of Arabia" is a genius for guerrilla warfare, using a series of hit and run attacks against the Turkish troops.
  • Lawrence takes Aqaba with support of Arab Revolt and Arab troops
  • Arabs blow up the Hijaz railway 25 times
  • 30,000 Ottoman troops were charged with protecting the railroad from the revolt, preventing these troops from fighting the advancement of Allenby and the British Army
  • Revolt began June 1916

-Blood and Oil: The Middle East in World War I. DVD.

Myth in the Desert:
Myths according to Efraim Karsh on the Arab Revolt.
  • The Arab Revolt itself was a myth.
    • Hussein's personal bid for an empire.
    • He only wanted to get rid of Ottoman Empire, so he could rule.
    • Arabs were not united under the sharif--they had no common identity or loyalty.
    • He tried to butter up the British to get resources and support.
  • Sharif Hussein and son Abudallah attempted to woo the British
    • "Britain should use its devices in Istanbul to prevent the dismissal of his father."
    • Can the Arabs please have half a dozen machine guns to defend against the Turks?
    • Could Britain give his father the agreement like "between the Emir of Afghanistan and the government of India in order to maintain the status quo in the Arabian peninsula and do away with the danger of Turkish aggression"?
  • Hussein-McMahon Correspondence
    • Britain encouraged the Arabs to invade the Ottoman territory, a steadfast ally of Germany, and would strengthen both the Arabs and the British.
    • McMahon said: The districts of Mersin and Alexandretta, and portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo, cannot be said to be purely Arab, and must on that account be excepted from the proposed delimitation. 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 interests of her ally France, I am authorized 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 recognize and uphold the independence of the Arabs in all the regions lying within the frontiers proposed by the Sharif of Mecca.
    • This was seen by the Arabs as a formal agreement between the Arabs and the British
  • The British viewed the Arab as a united force, which was false, because the Arabs were not all identified with the nationalist cause.
- Efraim Karsh is an old historian, giving the Arabs no credit for their motives.




Sources:
“Battle of Aqaba.” Encyclopedia of World War I. Ed. Spencer E Tucker. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2005. 115-116. Google. Web. 22 Oct. 2009. <http://books.google.com/books?id=B1cMtKQP3P8C&pg=PA115&lpg=PA115&dq=arab+role+in+battle+of+aqaba&source=bl&ots=zoKfK_UGNC&sig=MdXMC4nzddf7fd2uzczLfff_6eE&hl=en&ei=GI_gSpn4HYaY8AbQh5lg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=arab%20role%20in%20battle%20of%20aqaba&f=false>.