War and change in the Middle East 1914-49


P. 181 Source Analysis

Research the places discussed by both authors

Sharif Hussein:

Mersin: large city + port (largest seaport of Turkey)  part of interurban agglomeration (Adana-Mersin Metropolitan Area) – geographical + economical + cultural region. Important for Turkey’s ECONOMY

Adana: southern Turkey, agricultural + commercial center

Urfa: predominant Arabian + Kurdish + Turkmen population, climate: extremely hot dry summers + cool, moist winter

Mardin: agriculture + mining + manufacture of buildings materials + tourism + handicrafts

Midiat: has remained politically subjected by various rulers- from the Assyrian Empire -> modern turks

Sir Henry McMahon:

Alexandretta: city + urban district -> on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey

Damascus: capital of Syria. Cultural + religious center

Homs: industrial center

Aleppo: trading place

Discuss the reasons behind the controversy


  1. The Sharif wants districts to be Arab, which McMahon says can’t be purely Arab and must on that account be expected from proposed delimitation.
  2. McMahon says the time has not come to talk about the frontiers and boundaries and their impacts. While the Sharif explains the importance of the Arabs gaining freedom.

The letter exchange between the Sharif of Mecca, Sharif Hussein, and Sir Henry, the High Commissioner of Cairo is a conversation between two people, who have different opinions. In the following I want to pick up their letter exchange from the 14th of Juli 1915 and examine their controversy.

The  Sharif wants Great Britain to recognize the independence of the Arab countries which are bounded  (xxxx), but McMahon says that districts of Mersin and Alexandtretta, .. can not be purely Arab and must on that account be expected from proposed delimitation. This dissonance could lead back to another reason for their ‘fight’. McMahon says that the time has not come yet, to talk about the frontiers and boundaries, so maybe he does not permit all districts to be purely Arab, because he wants to interfere in the process  of Arab gaining freedom as much as he can. It’s really difficult to discuss about other peoples aims that is why I leave it with this speculation.




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