29/2/1916 Sharif Hussein’s unwelcome visitors

In tradition and stereotype Arabs are noted for their hospitality. Yet Sharif Hussein, emir of Mecca and ruler of the surrounding Hejaz region, may be less than pleased to be entertaining the guests who have joined him today. They are none other than Ismail Enver and Ahmed Djemal, two of the three most powerful men in the Ottoman Empire of which Hussein is a subject. Enver and Djemal are preparing for a new attempt to attack the Suez Canal from the east. They are also concerned about the loyalty of their Arab subjects and are touring the region to assess the reliability of their various clients.

Sharif Hussein is engaging in secret negotiations with the British but he protests his loyalty to the Ottoman Empire. Djemal and Enver give no impression of doubting his assurances, though they are probably aware of his treacherous intrigues. Their visit serves to intimidate Hussein, an unsubtle warning against rebellion.

Enver & Djemal do not need to mention the ace card they can play against Hussein: his son Faisal is in Damascus, effectively under arrest by Djemal. He would face an uncertain fate should his father ever break with the Turks.

image sources:

Sharif Hussein (Wikipedia)

Enver Pasha & Djemal Pasha (Karanlığı Aydınlatan Işık)

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