UPDATE: The communique issued in Vienna includes this line:
8. This political process will be Syrian led and Syrian owned, and the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.Oh, good. I guess it's fixed then.
8. This political process will be Syrian led and Syrian owned, and the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria.Oh, good. I guess it's fixed then.
Preliminary results of the polling have showed that parties have gained over half of the 226 seats contested by individual candidates in the vote.
The Free Egyptians Party, founded by billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris following the popular 2011 revolt, has clinched the biggest quota, announcing it has won 36 seats.
The Future of a Homeland (Mostakbal Watan), a newly founded pro-regime party, came second with 30 seats. The almost 100-year-old liberal Wafd Party won 17 seats, according to its media advisor Yasser Hassan.
"It is a very healthy phenomenon to have a big number of parties winning in the face of independents," assistant secretary-general of the Free Egyptians Party Ayman Abu Al-Ella told Ahram Online.
"It mirrors a political maturity among the people and underlines some parties' ability to strengthen their footing in the political spectrum," said Abu Al-Ella, who appears to have won a seat in Cairo's western suburb of 6th of October City.
But with most of the contesting party members said to be businessmen, some fear a comeback of the kind of patronage politics and cronyism that prevailed under former autocrat Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule before he was overthrown in 2011.
The first round of the much-postponed elections took place last week in 14 of Egypt's 27 governorates and was marred by a low turnout of 26.6 percent of eligible voters.
Only the individual seats were contested in the run-offs, as party list seats in the first round were swept up by For the Love of Egypt, a coalition loyal to President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
The Nour Party, the only Islamist party standing in the vote, won 10 seats, mainly in the governorates of Beheira and Alexandria where they court massive popularity.Nour, which supported the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, lost all party-based seats in the first round to the pro-El-Sisi alliance, despite coming second, due to the highly-criticised winner-takes-all list system.
So the new Parliament part of it elected so far, will be dominated by For the Love of Egypt (pro-Sisi), the Free Egyptians, founded by a billionaire businessman and also pro-Sisi, and the Future of the Homeland (also pro-Sisi). And some Wafdists (who don't like the Muslim Brotherhood and likely will be pro-Sisi) and some Nour deputies.The liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party, which won 23 of the 2011 parliament's 508 seats, only secured 3 places in the poll.
|Gen, Sir Ian Hamilton|
|Gen. Sir Charles Monro|
As to Palestine, it is galling to think how easily McMahon could have devised some form of words intimating to the Sharif how several faiths held that land in reverence, and that there must be multilateral agreement about it.But he didn't. The odd ""portions of Syria lying to the West of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama, and Aleppo" exclusion is unclear about areas to the west of areas south of Damascus, given the ambiguity of the terms districts/wilayat, as we have discussed.
|McMahon (Seven Pillars)|
Much play has been made by Arab and other critics with ambiguities, mutually incompatible undertakings, and "betrayals"; without entire justification but not without cause. Our Arabic correspondence with Mecca was prepared by Ruhi [elsewhere referred to as "my little Persian agent"], a fair though not a profound Arabist (and a better agent than scholar); and checked, often under high pressure, by myself. I had no Deputy, Staff or office, so that during my absence on mission the work was carried on (better perhaps) by others, but the continuity was lost. Husain's letters on the other hand were written in an obscure and tortuous prose in which the purity of the Hejaz Arabic was overlaid and tainted with Turkish idioms and syntax. Until Mark Sykes appeared in Cairo in 1916 we had but the slightest and vaguest information about the Sykes-Picot negotiations for the tripartite division of non-Turkish Turkey between France, Russia and England, later nullified (and divulged) by the fall of Russia; and there was far too little realization of Indian operations in Iraq and of Indian encouragement of Ibn Sa'ud. So far as we were concerned it seemed to be nobody's business to harmonize the various views and policies of the Foreign Office, the India Office, the Admiralty, the War Office, the Government of India and the Residency in Egypt. The Revolt, when it began, entailed the co-operation of at least three Military Commanders: the G.O.C.'s of Egypt, Iraq and Aden. After the withdrawal from Gallipoli the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, merged with the Egyptian, became the Egyptian Expeditionary Force under which, gathering up these threads with those of the Naval G.O.C. and the Sudan Government, was constituted the Arab Bureau, directed by D. G. Hogarth, of which T. E. Lawrence was a member.While he neither asserts sole authorship nor specifically speaks of the October 24, 1915, letter Storrs clearly makes clear he was deeply involved. The mention of the Syrian towns has been ascribed to many hands, even Mark Sykes, who was not in Cairo (and note Storrs says Ciro was unaware of the Sykes-Picot talks).
Our Arabic correspondence with Mecca was prepared by Ruhi [elsewhere referred to as "my little Persian agent"], a fair though not a profound Arabist (and a better agent than scholar); and checked, often under high pressure, by myself. I had no Deputy, Staff or office, so that during my absence on mission the work was carried on (better perhaps) by others, but the continuity was lost.Storrs does not apply these remarks specifically to the letter in question, but it is his explanation for the subsequent confusion. Are we to believe that based in Cairo, then as now the largest Arabic-speaking city, in a critical negotiation with an Arab leader, translations were done by a "little Persian agent" who was "a fair though not a profound Arabist," and "checked, often under high pressure, by myself." Are we really to assume no native speaker of Arabic was consulted, merely a Persian and an English Arabist?
Much play has been made by Arab and other critics with ambiguities, mutually incompatible undertakings, and "betrayals"; without entire justification but not without cause."Ambiguities, mutually incompatible undertakings, and 'betrayals'" certainly seems to suggest he's talking about the October 24 letter and its controversy. "Ruhi," the "Persian agent" was (presumably) not a native Arabic speaker. This seems to be the only statement I can find on how the translation came about, and it sounds like an after-the-fact excuse. If I'm missing something, please post it in the comments and I'll note it here.
|Ottoman administrative districts (Wikipedia)|
With reference to the Constitution which it is now intended to establish in Palestine, the draft of which has already been published, it is desirable to make certain points clear. In the first place, it is not the case, as has been represented by the Arab Delegation, that during the war His Majesty's Government gave an undertaking that an independent national government should be at once established in Palestine. This representation mainly rests upon a letter dated the 24th October, 1915, from Sir Henry McMahon, then His Majesty's High Commissioner in Egypt, to the Sharif of Mecca, now King Hussein of the Kingdom of the Hejaz. That letter is quoted as conveying the promise to the Sherif of Mecca to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs within the territories proposed by him. But this promise was given subject to a reservation made in the same letter, which excluded from its scope, among other territories, the portions of Syria lying to the west of the District of Damascus. This reservation has always been regarded by His Majesty's Government as covering the vilayet of Beirut and the independent Sanjak of Jerusalem. The whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was thus excluded from Sir. Henry McMahon's pledge.But the letter mentions neither the Vilayet of Beirut or the Sanjaq of Jerusalem. By the time of the 1922 White Paper, it was already clear that Britain's various commitments during the War were not always reconcilable, as tensions between Zionist settlers in Palestine, buoyed by the Balfour Declaration, and the local Arab population, feeling McMahon had pledged Arab control of Palestine, were already rising.
|The London Conference (1939)|
10. A good deal has been made of the possible constructions to be put upon the exact meaning of the word vilayet. The use of that word throughout the Correspondence calls for explanation. The word vilayet is the Turkish form of the Arab word wilaya. In Arabic, the word is used to denote a province, or region or district without any specific administration connotation. In Turkish, the word was borrowed from the Arabic to denote certain specified administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire with precise limits and boundaries. In a correspondence such as this which was conducted in Arabic, the word used was the Arabic term wilaya, and this use did not always necessarily correspond to a Turkish vilayet. For instance, the Arabic-text speaks of the wilaya of Mersin, the wilaya of Alexandretta, the wilaya of Damascus, the wilaya of Homs, the wilaya of Hama; and yet there were no administrative divisions in existence at any time in the history of these regions, which bore any of those designations. These phrases can only make sense if the word wilaya is read in its proper Arab significance of region or district without any reference whatever to administrative boundaries.
11. The English translation circulated by the United Kingdom Delegation shows the Arabic word ivilaya in its Turkish form of vilayet throughout. This is not only a misleading rendering, but it is also unjustified for another reason. The McMahon notes were issued from the Residency in Cairo in Arabic, and that Arabic text was itself a translation from an English original. In that English original the word used in several contexts was the word district, as is shown by the quotations in the White Paper of 1922 and in the Report of the Palestine Royal Commission (Chapter II, paragraph 5). It would avoid unnecessary confusion if the United Kingdom Delegation could see their way to restoring the term district wherever it occurred in the original English text.
12. The British Government's contention is that Palestine was excluded by implication, when Sir Henry McMahon notified the Sharif that "portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo" were to be excluded from the area of Arab independence. This contention was publicly sponsored by Mr. Winston Churchill in 1922, when, speaking as the Secretary of State for the Colonies, he tried to argue that the word districts in that phrase was to be read as equivalent to vilayets; and that, since the "Vilayet of Damascus" included that part of Syria—now known as Transjordan—which lay to the east of the River Jordan, it followed that that part of Syria—now known as Palestine—which lay to the west of the Jordan was one of the portions of territory reserved in Sir Henry McMahon's phrase.
13. An examination of the text shows that the British Government's argument is untenable. In the first place, the word districts in Sir Henry McMahon's phrase could not have been intended as the equivalent of vilayets, because there were no such things as the "Vilayet of Damascus", the "Vilayet of Homs" and the "Vilayet of Hama". There was one single Vilayet of Syria of which Damascus was the capital and two smaller administrative divisions of which Homs and Hama were the principal towns. Sir Henry McMahon's phrase can only make sense if we take his districts as meaning "districts" in the current use of the word, that is to say, the regions adjacent to the four cities, and his reservation as applying to that part of Syria—roughly from Sidon to Alexandretta—which lies to the west of the continuous line formed by those four cities and the districts immediately adjoining them.
14. Again, in his third note dated the 14th December, Sir Henry McMahon refers to the regions which he wished to exclude as being in "the two Vilayets of Aleppo and Bairut". Had he had Palestine in mind, he would certainly have added "and the Sanjaq of Jerusalem". The fact that he did not goes to confirm the conclusion that the only portions of Syria which it was proposed at the time to reserve in favour of France were the coastal regions of northern Syria.
15. Lastly, in giving the pledge contained in his second note, Sir Henry McMahon stated that Great Britain recognised as the area of Arab independence all the regions lying within the frontiers proposed by the Sharif of Mecca in which she was "free to act without detriment to the interests of her ally, France". Both in that note and in his subsequent note of the 14th December, he justified his exclusion of certain parts of Syria on the grounds of Great Britain's regard for French interests. If, then, Great Britain were to find herself at the end of the War free to act in respect of any portion of Syria which she had felt bound to reserve in favour of France, the reservation loses its justification and indeed whatever force it may have had when it was originally made; and that portion of Syria which was no longer destined to be included in the sphere of French interests—as was eventually the case with Palestine—must, in default of any specific agreement to the contrary, necessarily remain within the area of Arab independence proposed by the Sharif and accepted by Great Britain.
16. In a letter which appeared over his signature in The Times of July 23, 1937, Sir Henry McMahon declared that, in giving the pledge to King Husain, it was not intended by him to include Palestine in the area of Arab independence; and that he had every reason to believe at the time that the fact that Palestine was not included in the pledge was well understood by King Husain.
These declarations of Sir Henry McMahon's will not bear investigation. In the first place, Sir Henry's function was that of an intermediary charged with the task, not of framing policy, but of carrying out the policy laid down by his official chiefs and conveying it to the Sharif Husain in accordance with the instructions issued to him by the Foreign Office. Even if the intention behind the words used could be invoked as an argument to invalidate or distort the proper and ordinary meaning of the words he used, it is not Sir Henry's intention that might count but the intention of the responsible Minister— in this case, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—on whose instructions Sir Henry McMahon was acting. If intentions are to be taken into account despite the obvious and unmistakable meaning of the words used, then it would be necessary to search for such evidence as is available in the files of the Foreign Office to throw light on the Secretary of State's intentions. Some evidence on that point is already public in the speech which Viscount Grey of Fallodon delivered in the House of Lords on the 27th March, 1923. The relevant extracts from that speech are appended to this Memorandum, together with the remarks made by Lord Buckmaster on the same occasion. Viscount Grey makes it clear that, for his part, he entertained serious doubts as to the validity of the British Government's interpretation of the scope of the pledges which he, as Foreign Secretary, had given to the Arabs in 1915.
17. In the second place, leaving aside for a moment the question of the underlying intention and turning to the text itself, it will be found that the words used throughout the Correspondence can only be interpreted as meaning that Palestine was not, directly or indirectly, excluded from the area of Arab independence. The phrase "districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo", as stated in paragraph 13 above, could only have meant the districts adjacent to those four cities. It is also obvious that the Sharif Husain understood that the portions of Syria to be reserved were those lying immediately to the west of those four cities and no more. In his note of the 5th of November, 1915, he speaks of the Vilayets of Aleppo and Bairut and "their maritime coasts"; while in his note of the 1st of January, 1916, he describes the regions proposed for exclusion as "the northern parts and their coastal regions", and, lower down in the same note, as: "Beirut and its coastal regions which we will overlook for the moment on account of France." Moreover, Sir Henry McMahon himself, in his note of the 30th of January, 1916, speaks of those portions of Syria which were to be excluded as "the northern regions", thereby showing that, at the time at any rate, he did not differ from the Sharif in regarding tic reservations as applying only to the northern coastal regions of Syria.
18. Lastly, there is the evidence provided by the Sharif's subsequent actions in regard to Palestine, which shows that he had always understood that part of Syria to have remained within the area of Arab independence. No sooner was the Balfour Declaration issued than he sent in an immediate protest to the British Government to ask for an explanation. This action and other actions taken by the Sharif in subsequent years may be held to fall outside the scope of the present Committee's investigation, which is understood to cover only the examination of the text of the McMahon Correspondence. But they are historic; I facts nevertheless; and in the light of those facts, Sir Henry McMahon's declaration that he had every reason to believe the contrary loses its force and indeed appears meaningless.
19. The contention that the British Government did intend Palestine to be removed from the sphere of French influence and to be included within the area of Arab independence (that is to say, within the area of future British influence) is also borne out by the measures they took in Palestine during the War. They dropped proclamations by the thousand in all parts of Palestine, which bore a message from the Sharif Husain on one side and a message from the British Command on the other, to the effect that an Anglo-Arab agreement had been arrived at securing the independence of the Arabs, and to ask the Arab population of Palestine to look upon the advancing British Army as allies and liberators and give them every assistance. Under the aegis of the British military authorities, recruiting offices were opened in Palestine to recruit volunteers for the forces of the Arab Revolt. Throughout 1916 and the greater part of 1917, the attitude of the military and political officers of the British Army was clearly based on the understanding that Palestine was destined to form part of the Arab territory which was to be constituted after the War on the basis of independent Arab governments in close alliance with Great Britain.This is rather full explication of the Arab side of the argument. Annex B summarizes the British response:
18. As regards (i), the view of His Majesty's Government has always been that the phrase " portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Hama, Homs and Aleppo " embraced all that portion of Syria (including what is now called Palestine) lying to the west of inter alia the administrative area known as the "Vilayet of Syria". 19. It is true that there were no Vilayets of Homs or Hama, but it is also true that both Damascus and Aleppo were the capitals of Vilayets, and the reference to Damascus should alone have sufficed to establish Sir Henry McMahon's meaning. The additional mention of Homs and Hama was evidently made because al-Faruqi* had mentioned them and to ensure that the intervening territory of which they were the most important towns should not be excluded from the area consigned to Arab rule. Obviously no reference was intended to non-existent Vilayets.*Note: Muhammad Sharif al-Faruqi was an Ottoman Army lieutenant and defector who persuaded British officials he could speak for the Sharifian cause, which the Sharifians would subsequently deny. The British cite him frequently in what follows. We'll return to him in a later part.
20. It is also true that the official Turkish name for the Vilayet of which Damascus was the capital was "Vilayet of Syria", but there should have been no misunderstanding of this phrase, especially as the writer of the letter had already found it necessary to use "Syria" (even though there was a Vilayet of that name) in order to describe comprehensively a vague geographical area evidently including the Vilayets of Syria and Beirut, the independent Sanjaq of Jerusalem, the Province of the Lebanon, and part of the Vilayet of Aleppo.
21. It may be worth adding at this point that the phrase "districts of Damascus, etc." would hardly have been desired by the Sharif to be taken to mean small areas immediately surrounding the towns in question (as one of the Arab spokesmen argued, if the Lord Chancellor has correctly understood him, at the first meeting) since if this had been the case the territory in which the Arabs would have been denied independence would have been brought much further east than on a more liberal interpretation of the phrase. The non-Arab territory would in fact have reached eastwards almost to the outskirts of Damascus and the other towns, and have covered substantial portions of Transjordan and considerable sections of the Hejaz Railway.
22. Nor is it denied that in one sense there was no territory east of the Vilayet of Aleppo and that if the letter of October 24th, 1915, was to be interpreted by the Sharif on the lines suggested by His Majesty's Government the area of Arab independence would not reach the Mediterranean, although the fact that it would not do so was not mentioned in the letter.
23. As regards the first point, it must be remembered that Sir Henry McMahon was not attempting to define with any great accuracy the eastward limits of the territory which he was excluding from the area of Arab independence, and he clearly used a phrase to define in a general way a stretch of territory lying along the Mediterranean coast some of which might lie outside, and some of which might lie inside, the "districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo", but all of which lay to the west or in the western parts of those districts.
24. As regards the second point, the Lord Chancellor does not feel that it is possible to base any conclusions on the fact that the exclusion of access to the Mediterranean for the Arab area of independence was not specifically mentioned by Sir Henry McMahon. If the areas which he defined as lying outside that area were so situated that access to the Mediterranean was denied there was no necessity to say so in so many words.
25. The Lord Chancellor has taken note of the argument based upon the fact that in his letter of December I4th, 1915, Sir Henry McMahon only referred to the possible exclusion from the area of Arab independence of the two Vilayets of Aleppo and Beirut, and these two only, without any mention of the Sanjaq of Jerusalem or of other areas. But it seems clear that in referring to these two Vilayets, Sir Henry McMahon was merely replying to a point raised by the Sharif in his letter of November 5th, 1915, and it does not seem possible to draw any particular conclusion from this circumstance.
26. This no doubt leads to another point made by one of the Arab spokesmen: that seeing how much importance the Sharif attached throughout the correspondence to the Vilayets of Aleppo and Beirut, and to the Vilayets of Mesopotamia, the Sharif would unquestionably have referred in even stronger terms to Palestine (or the Sanjaq of Jerusalem) had he had the slightest suspicion that it was being excluded from the area of Arab independence. This may well be the case, but surely the opposite conclusion can equally well be drawn, that the Sharif understood and accepted the fact that because of its special position as a country interesting all the world Palestine was a territory which had to be reserved for special treatment.
27. The same considerations apply to the fact that in his letter of January 1st, 1916, the Sharif referred to "the northern parts and their coasts". It is possible in this case again to conclude that Palestine was accepted by him as lying outside the area of Arab independence. But in any case, the words "northern parts" or "northern coasts" could legitimately be taken by the reader of a letter written in the Hejaz as meaning the whole Mediterranean coast.
28. The foregoing arguments with regard to the specific reservation are offered in order to show that in regard to each point of criticism it is possible to find a probable reason for what: Sir Henry McMahon had in mind. But the Lord Chancellor would not for a moment wish to suggest that this passage in the letter which Sir Henry McMahon sent on October 24th, 1915, on the instructions of His Majesty's Government was clear or well-expressed, or that any of the other territorial references (on either side) were clear or well-expressed, or that it is upon such arguments that His Majesty's Government rely in the presentation of their case.
29. The best explanation which His Majesty's Government can give as to what was meant by the phrase "districts of Damascus etc." in the letter of October 24th, 1915, is that the phrase was borrowed from al-Faruqi and used in the same wide and general sense as that in which he himself used it, i.e. as one which covered the Syrian hinterland southwards to the Gulf of 'Aqaba.
30. But although His Majesty's Government consider that the specific reservation should have sufficed to exclude Palestine, they attach less importance to this point than to the general reservation.
31. The wording of the general reservation is, in view of His Majesty's Government, perfectly clear. It limits the area to which Sir Henry McMahon's pledge was to apply to:
"... those portions of the territories therein (i.e. in the area claimed by the Sharif) in which Great Britain is free to act without detriment to the interests of her ally, FIn other words, the pledge did not extend to any territory in which Great Britain was not free to act without regard to French interests on the date on which the letter was despatched, i.e. on October 24th, 1915. 32. It must also be made clear, since the point has been raised by the Arab members of the committee, that, in the opinion of the Lord Chancellor, any subsequent developments which may at later dates have modified the extent of the area in which Great Britain was free to act without detriment to French interests are irrelevant to a consideration of the extent of the area to which the pledge applied on October 24th, 1915 and has continued to apply ever since.
33. Now, if there is anything which is certain in this controversy it is that Great Britain was not free in October, 1915, to act in Palestine without regard to French interests. It may be perfectly true that under the influence of Lord Kitchener and others His Majesty's Government before and after the outbreak of the war were anxious to restrict the French claims on the Levant coast if they could find a legitimate means of doing so. But there is a great difference between desiring an object and attaining it. It can be stated as a fact that at the time of the Correspondence France claimed the Mediterranean littoral as far south as the Egyptian border and as far east as Damascus, and it was not until the Spring of 1916 that these extreme claims were modified as the result of discussions culminating in the so-called "Sykes-Picot" Agreement.
34. As has been stated, the Sharif must have realised the possibility and even the extreme probability of the existence of a French claim to Palestine, even if he did not know of it for a fact, and in view of the circumstances, and of the extensive British and religious interest in Palestine, the wording of the "McMahon pledge" ought surely to have suggested to him and to any other reader of the letter that Palestine was excluded from, or, to say the least, not clearly included in, the area of Arab independence.
35. There are some further points which must be noted in connexion with the Correspondence. In paragraph 2 of the Sharif's letter of November 5th, 1915, and in the fourth paragraph of Sir Henry McMahon's reply of December 14th, 1915, it is made clear that many important details regarding the territorial situation were left over for a later settlement.
36. Furthermore, in his letter of January 1st, 1916, the Sharif agrees to leave for future consideration the French occupation of "Beirut and its coasts". Whatever may have been meant by this phrase—and it might well be argued that the " coasts" of Beirut extended as far as the Egyptian border—it clearly excluded the coasts of Palestine as far south as the limits of the Vilayet of Beirut, i.e. as far south as a point just north of Jaffa. This in itself amounted to a provisional acceptance of a reservation of nearly half of Palestine.
37. The "Sykes-Picot" Agreement of May, 1916, has already been mentioned, as has also the fact that the claims of France at the beginning of the War extended over the whole of Palestine, as well as to Damascus and Aleppo. In this connexion it must be remembered that Sir Mark Sykes was definitely sympathetic towards the Arab cause and he must clearly have negotiated the agreement in the belief that the reservations in the pledge of October 24th, 1915, justified his concluding an agreement in the form which it eventually assumed. His Majesty's Government have no doubt that he was right.
38. Moreover, Sir Mark Sykes secured a great concession from the French negotiators as regards the Sanjaqs of Hama, Damascus and Aleppo, which, as a result of what al-Faruqi had said at a slightly earlier period, His Majesty's Government had reason to suppose were vital to the Arabs. It was an exceedingly difficult task to obtain this concession from the French Government and it was genuinely believed at the time that the arrangements would (to quote from an official report of the period) "adjust the fundamental divergencies of Arabs and French regarding Syria."
39. In the agreement Palestine was admittedly to be international. The Sharif of Mecca was, however, to be consulted, and the form of government was to be agreed upon with (amongst others) his representatives. These points are generally overlooked, but if they are taken into account it is difficult to see how the agreement can fairly be represented as a breach of faith with the Sharif. Moreover, as has already been emphasized, His Majesty's Government were not, in 1915, in a position to give the sovereignty of Palestine to the Arab people. They had to consult their Allies and other countries having interests in that territory just as they are now obliged to consult the members of the League of Nations.So the two sides differed drastically in their interpretations, according to their own self-interests. But why was the language so ambiguous? Deliberately, to mislead, or through incompetent translation or ill-defined intent? Who wrote the letter (it wasn't McMahon)? Who translated it? Who was the mysterious Faruqi the British cite several times? Stay tuned.
I have received your letter of the 29th Shawal, 1333, with much pleasure and your expressions of friendliness and sincerity have given me the greatest satisfaction.
I regret that you should have received from my last letter the impression that I regarded the question of the limits and boundaries with coldness and hesitation; such was not the case, but it appeared to me that the time had not yet come when that question could be discussed in a conclusive manner.
I have realised, however, from your last letter that you regard this question as one of vital and urgent importance. I have, therefore, lost no time in informing the Government of Great Britain of the contents of your letter, and it is with great pleasure that I communicate to you on their behalf the following statement, which I am confident you will receive with satisfaction:-
The two districts of Mersina 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 should be excluded from the limits demanded.
With the above modification, and without prejudice of our existing treaties with Arab chiefs, we accept those limits.
As for those regions lying within those frontiers wherein Great Britain is free to act without detriment to the interest of her ally, France, I am empowered in the name of the Government of Great Britain to give the following assurances and make the following reply to your letter:-
1. Subject to the above modifications, Great Britain is prepared to recognize and support the independence of the Arabs in all the regions within the limits demanded by the Sherif of Mecca.
2. Great Britain will guarantee the Holy Places against all external aggression and will recognise their inviolability.
3. When the situation admits, Great Britain will give to the Arabs her advice and will assist them to establish what may appear to be the most suitable forms of government in those various territories.
4. On the other hand, it is understood that the Arabs have decided to seek the advice and guidance of Great Britain only, and that such European advisers and officials as may be required for the formation of a sound form of administration will be British.
5. With regard to the vilayets of Bagdad and Basra, the Arabs will recognise that the established position and interests of Great Britain necessitate special administrative arrangements in order to secure these territories from foreign aggression, to promote the welfare of the local populations and to safeguard our mutual economic interests.
I am convinced that this declaration will assure you beyond all possible doubt of the sympathy of Great Britain towards the aspirations of her friends the Arabs and will result in a firm and lasting alliance, the immediate results of which will be the expulsion of the Turks from the Arab countries and the freeing of the Arab peoples from the Turkish yoke, which for so many years has pressed heavily upon them.
I have confined myself in this letter to the more vital and important questions, and if there are any other matters dealt with in your letter which I have omitted to mention, we may discuss them at some convenient date in the future.
It was with very great relief and satisfaction that I heard of the safe arrival of the Holy Carpet and the accompanying offerings which, thanks to the clearness of your directions and the excellence of your arrangements, were landed without trouble or mishap in spite of the dangers and difficulties occasioned by the present sad war. May God soon bring a lasting peace and freedom to all peoples!
I am sending this letter by the hand of your trusted and excellent messenger, Sheikh Mohammed Ibn Arif Ibn Uraifan, and he will inform you of the various matters of interest, but of less vital importance, which I have not mentioned in this letter.
(Compliments)(Signed) A. H. McMAHON.
The two districts of Mersina 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 should be excluded from the limits demanded.
Subsequently, it notes that France also has claims in some of these regions. But what does "portions of Syria lying to the west of the districts of Damascus, Homs, Hama and Aleppo" actually mean? It seems on the surface, in English, to exclude Lebanon, not Palestine. But the Arabic is different:With the above modification, and without prejudice of our existing treaties with Arab chiefs, we accept those limits.
It is the bitter truth that Egyptian society, across all its sectors, was more concerned with discussing pornographic films... and everyone forgot the most important parliamentary election in Egypt,That is almost certainly an exaggeration, and there may be far deeper reasons for the lack of turnout, but it's true that the latest instance of someone being hauled into court on charges of "incitement to debauchery" (التحريض على الفسق) is not, as previously, a case of belly-dancers being charged for YouTube videos, but a talk-show host being charged with expressing an opinion. That opinion was to express concern about the poor (nonexistent) state of sex education in Egypt, and perhaps less wisely, to suggest that watching pornography might be a good way to educate oneself before marriage. Now she must appear in court.
Egypt's prosecutor ordered Tuesday the investigation of TV host and actress Entsar after complaints were submitted accusing her of lewdness, debauchery, and blasphemy in the way she discussed porn on her show, which aired on Al-Qahira Wa El-Nas channel.
The prosecutor also ordered investigations into Entsar's co-host, actress Heidi Karam, along with businessman and owner of Al-Qahira Wa El-Nas channel, Tarek Nour.In the three police reports filed, complaints said Entsar, who is known for her daring TV roles as an actress, "called on her audience to watch pornography as it is very beneficial to educate youth before marriage."
During the nightly show, Nafsana (roughly meaning rancour) that focuses on women and social issues that aired last week, Entsar said that she herself watches pornography, a statement that many criticised and ridiculed on social media.
Entsar also said that sex education should be introduced in schools.
A third host in the show, Hoda, opposed the opinions of Entsar and Karam, saying that porn should be banned.While there was no rush to support pornography, many commentators did support the idea of sex education in schools. Social media also jumped into the controversy (link partly in Arabic.) As one blogger put it, as part of a post titled "Audacious? Yes, But High Time":
The program “Nafsana” i.e. “Venting,” though an exact synonym may not exist in English, has three women stormily contradicting one another’s views on air. It has Intisar, Heidi, and ٍShaima bouncing ideas off one another about various Egyptians attitudes and issues. Intisar, the most outspoken, has ventured where no Egyptian woman, or man for that matter, has in the history of Egyptian television. She approves of porn as a way to calm young men, makes fun of the hijab and the many layers women choose to add on their heads, and allows herself to speak as she would privately amongst friends in the cosiness of her own living room, hardly ever an option on public TV.
This program may have gone too far since the reviews on social media are mostly condemning. We will have to wait and see how much heat can Tarek Nour, the owner of the TV channel, Al Kahera Wal Nas, take. It does sound as though Nour gave the presenters of Nafsana free reign to tackle any topic and its presenters have taken the bull by the horn on this one.A clip in Arabic will be found at the end of this post.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has condemned the frequent complaints filed against artists for allegedly inciting debauchery, as well as the rapid referral of these complaints to courts.
Nasr City Misdemeanor Court has fixed November 10 for considering the first trial of Intisar, an actress, over an accusation of inciting debauchery, in a rapid response to the complaint filed against her on October 8, on account of her statements on Kahera we Nas (Cairo & People) satellite channel in connection with watching pornographic movies.
In that way, the name of singer “Haifa Wehbe” appeared again in the prosecution of artists. Al-Agouza prosecution, yesterday Monday, ordered the urgent probe of Decencies Investigation Department regarding Haifa Wehbe, owing to accusing her of inciting debauchery through the videos she is posting on the social networking websites and the TV channels,; according to the complaint filed against her last May. Also, a complaint was filed against two belly-dancers “Pardice” and “Shakira”, and accordingly, they were sentenced, last September, to 6 months in prisons, after convicting both of them of the same charge.
The Arabic Network has expressed its surprise over the rapid referral of the complaint brought against the actress “Intisar” to the court, while the referral of several cases and complaints to the competent courts are delayed, particularly the cases related to prisoners of opinion.
“The continual attack on actors and actresses for allegedly breaking with customs and traditions, and spreading immorality etc entrenches an anti-creativity freedom climate, and return us to the Inquisition era,” ANHRI said. “We should not separate this incident from that incident of upholding the verdict against Islam Al-Behairi, a researcher, due to his views contrary to the state’s official view of Islam. All these cases of crackdown waste the citizens’ right to freedom of expression and opinion- the right that is mainly established to protect the differing views prevailing in the society from predominance of the majority,” ANHRI added.
ANHRI calls on Egypt’s public prosecution not to give attention to those complaints, whose complainants are only seeking fame and media appearance; it rather urges the prosecution to do its main role in defending the citizens’ interests over cases need much attention than those.
Also, ANHRI calls upon the Egyptian authorities to review Article 269 bis of Egyptian Penal Code, since this vague article is used in most charges concerning inciting debauchery and spreading immorality.ANHRI's English is a bit awkward; if you prefer, you can find the statement in Arabic here.
We could go back to the two-state solution, of course. Not a bad idea, perhaps, but one that has been missed. Those who wanted a Jewish state should have implemented it while it was still possible. Those who set it on fire, deliberately or by doing nothing, must now look directly and honestly at the new reality: 600,000 settlers will not be evacuated. Without evacuation, there will not be two states. And without two states, only the one-state solution remains.
Not easy questions, and no easy answers. But as the abyss looms, questions both sides need to be asking.Now, of all times, out of the fire and despair, we must start talking about the last way out: equal rights for all. For Jews and Arabs. One state is already here, and has been for a long time. All it needs is to be just and do the right thing. Who’s against it? Why? And, most important, what’s the alternative?
Private. Hope to give you definite information as to possibility of reinforcement in a few days.Meanwhile Nixon should maintain his present position and be prepared to advance if reinforcements asked for can be sent to him. Please instruct him accordingly.On the same day, Nixon complained again about the transport problem, but the aforementioned misunderstanding persisted, and the complaint seems to have made no impression.
|Sir Thomas Holderness|
|Map 8, FJ. Moberly, The Campaign in Mesopotamia, Vol. II|