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Battle of Mecca 1916

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The Battle of Mecca occurred in the Muslim holy city of Mecca In June and July 1916. On June 10, Sharif of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali, the leader of Binu Hashim clan started a revolt against Ottoman Caliphate from this city. The Battle of Mecca was part of the Arab of World War I.

BackgroundEdit

Sharif of Mecca was dreaming to make an Arab state from Aden to Aleppo. For this purpose he sought the help of British. He prepared his four sons too for this ambitious adventure.

EventsEdit

In early June 1916 most of the Ottoman army had gone to Taif, a hill station in Arab accompanying Ghalib Pasha, the governor of Hijaz. Only 1400 men were left to defend Mecca. Many of them were asleep in barracks in the valley on June 10 when the Sharif of Mecca, Hussein bin Ali fired a shot into the air from the window of the Hashemite palace signaling the beginning of the Arab Revolt. Hearing this his 5000 supporters started firing on Turkish troops in three fortresses overlooking the holy city, and at the Jirwall barracks on Jeddah road. The attack upon the Turkish forces was sudden and their acting commanding officer was unaware that a revolt had started. As Sharif's and Ottoman banners were of same colours, the Turkish commander could not see the difference. He telephoned to Sharif Hussain about the situation and he was told the reason and he (the Turkish commander) was told to surrender. He refused. The battle started and continued. The next day Binu Hashim's forces advanced and captured Bash-Karakol at Safa corner adjacent to the Masjid al-Haram. On the third day, Hamidia or Ottoman government Office was captured besides the Deputy Governor. Now the captive Deputy-Governor ordered his remaining Turkish troops to surrender. They refused.

A situation of stalemate developed. Sir Reginal Wingate sent two artillery pieces from Sudan via Jeddah with trained Egyptian gunners. They breached the walls of Turkish fort. Sharifain army attacked and the fate of these defenders was sealed. On July 4, 1916 the last valiant Turkish resistance in Mecca, Jirwal barracks capitulated due to fire, after three weeks stubborn resistance.

ResultsEdit

It was the beginning of the end of the Ottoman Empire and it was the beginning of a Hashmite kingdom whose capital was Mecca. Gradually it expanded northward. This battle left deep scars on Middle East. Arab states came under strong European influence. The Ottoman caliphate ended and Palestine came under British rule, leading to the eventual existence of the state of Israel. The Sharif of Mecca was himself deposed by the rival Saudis and his dream of an Arabian state stretching from Yemen to Syria remained a dream.

ReferencesEdit

  • History of the Arab Revolt (on King Hussein's website)
  • Arab Revolt at PBS
  • Fromkin, David (1989). A Peace to End All Peace. Avon Books.
  • Lawrence, T. E. (1935). Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Doubleday, Doran, and Co.

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