The Story of the Arab Legion

The Story of the Arab Legion

The Story of the Arab Legion

The Story of the Arab Legion

Excerpt

I have intentionally called this book the story, and not the history, of the Arab Legion. I cannot claim the dignity of an historian. Firstly through lack of capacity for the part; secondly because, being still in active employment, I have had little time for the quiet research essential to the writing of history; and thirdly because I am still in Government service, and am thus debarred from the discussion of politics or controversial subjects.

My story has to some extent assumed the form of a personal narrative. Thus the progress of the Arab Legion from its first formation in 1921 until I joined it in 1930 has been treated briefly; not because this period was unimportant but simply because I was not there and so cannot speak of it from first-hand knowledge. The Arab Army of the First World War was the creation of the Amir Feisal, T. E. Lawrence and other officers, Arab and British. Its heir, the Arab Legion properly so-called, was created and commanded by Peake Pasha. Nothing I have been able to do for the Arab Legion could have been accomplished if it had not been for the work of my predecessors.

The majority of Englishmen who land in the Middle East believe the Arabs to be a backward race not yet civilized, and are unaware of the fact that the Arab Empire of the eighth century was relatively more powerful than the British Empire today, and that Arab domination lasted longer than the time during which the British Empire has been in existence. The Arabs are as conscious of their Imperial past as are the Romans or the Greeks, and people who imagine them to be a race as yet uncivilized cannot form an accurate picture of the Arab mentality.

For this reason, I have ventured to begin my story with a brief summary of the first Arab conquests. Obviously this chapter does not contain any new historical facts, its object being only to give the general reader a brief sketch of the historical background. Moreover, the whole of my story deals principally with Arabs as . . .

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