Oil conference, Jeddah. A young archaeologist with academic expertise in crusader castles in Syria, TE Lawrence was despatched during the First World War to the staff of Faisal, the son of Hussein,
King of the Hejaz and the Sharif of Mecca, to help his disparate forces launch the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire. His brilliant use of guerrilla tactics secured the Red Sea port of Aqaba but Lawrence's promotion of Arab independence directly constradicted the secret Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916 which divided up the lands of the Fertile Crescent between the Entente powers at the end of the war. Shortly after the November revolution in Russia, the Bolsheviks found a copy of the Sykes-Picot agreement and published it in the newspaper Izvestia, causing an international scandal, showing up British promises of Arab independence to be worthless. A hundred years later, one Saudi newspaper commentator wrote that the anniversary "reminds Arabs that they were not liable to decide their fate". Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 2008/06.
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