Thomas Edward Lawrence: The Hoodwinker


  • Hasan Beg


This article aims at highlighting the life of Thomas Edward Lawrence. It covers many aspects such as his espionage, his first contact with Arabs, Faisal army, Arab revolt, Palestine and other allied themes as Hindustan protest and Balfour declaration. At the time the First World War, there was need of Arabic speaking spies as Egypt was under British Imperial Forces and ‘Middle East was (being labelled as) stirring up after 400 years. If the weak Turks were pushed out, who should replace them; the Germans, the French, the Russians, or the British? Hogarth and Lawrence were in no doubt’. At the time regular intelligence service at Cairo was so poor that for competent information about Turkish Army and its activities, they had to rely on journalists. Thus with the help of Hogarth, Lawrence was appointed in the map section of Intelligence Department at British headquarters in Cairo. Lawrence as an officer was ideally suited because of his knowledge of Arabic language and travel experience of the land. Lawrence according to his own admission was given work for collecting information about ‘distribution of Turkish army and preparation of maps. By natural inclination ‘I had added to them the invention of Arab bulletin (journal of spy news) and of necessity Clayton (head of intelligence) came more and more to need me in military wing of Arab Bureau’. In addition to this, he was also a ‘tough, hard-working officer, interrogating prisoners and running a network of agents concerned with political and military espionage, and able to push his views, if only indirectly, at a very high level’.


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