Lawrence of Arabia
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Arab warfare

Lawrence Arrives

If Feisal's diplomatic skills kept the Arab alliance together it was the arrival of Captain Lawrence that cemented the crucial Anglo-Arab alliance with gold and guns.

Initially it was Lawrence's money that kept the more mercenary Arabs committed to the cause. Later, the thrill of victories and a sense of Arab patriotism revitalised the Revolt and overcame earlier problems.

Lawrence's passes the test
Lawrence needed to prove himself to the Arabs as worthy of their trust. From the outset he was open and flexible. He gathered information about regional leaders and tribes and soon ingratiated himself into the inner circle.

Like Feisal, Lawrence learned to respect the power balance between Arab tribes and display the necessary patience, tact and humility. He also avoided the spotlight and ensured others shared the glory which heightened their prestige at the expense of his own.

Lawrence proved himself through physical endurance, something he had excelled at since childhood. A colleague, Lt.Col.Stirling, wrote in 1918 of his "phenomenal powers of endurance".

"Few of even the most hard-bitten Arabs would ride with him from choice. He never tired. Hunger, thirst and lack of sleep appeared to have little effect on him. He had broken all the records which had been sung (about) for centuries. On one occasion he rode his camel 300 miles in three consecutive days. His spiritual equipment overrode the ordinary needs of flesh and blood," said Stirling.

Swayed by feats of endurance and his intelligent approach, Lawrence was accepted and respected amongst the Bedouin and treated as an equal.

Lawrence's Leadership Qualities
Lawrence did not lead from the front. He sat quietly by Feisal's side as the Arabs discussed and quarreled over tactics. He rarely spoke but studied the men and weighed up the options. When the argument was exhausted he dictated his plan of action which was most often uninversally accepted.
His success can also be attributed to a wise selection of tribal leaders and generous rewards when work had been done well.

The Arab Revolt succeeded due to several key tactics... more

Lawrence in Arabia
  Lawrence was accepted by the Arabs  

Lawrence of Arabia