The ʿAmārāt, their Sheikh, and the Colonial State: Patronage and Politics in a Partitioned Middle East

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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How did the era of colonial divide-and-rule in the Arab East—the creation of the new mandates of Great Britain and France—appear to the Bedouin communities who lived through it? This article examines this important period of change from the perspective of a prominent Bedouin sheikh, Fahd Ibn Hadhdhāl of the ʿAmārāt (ʿAnaza). Moving between the southern and western frontiers of Iraq, the ʿAmārāt have seldom been the focus of historical enquiry, but their attempts to navigate the disturbed interwar landscape offer a window onto the changing prospects for Bedouin groups across the Arab East. Building on a close reading of colonial sources, the article reveals how important social, economic, and political dynamics of Bedouin life persisted to shape relations within the new mandates, as the ʿAmārāt, their sheikh, and the young colonial state all jostled for influence and authority.

The ʿAmārāt, their Sheikh, and the Colonial State: Patronage and Politics in a Partitioned Middle East

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

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1

J.B. GlubbArabian Adventures: Ten Years of Joyful Service (London: Cassell1983): 198-199.

2

T. DodgeInventing Iraq: The Failure of Nation Building and a History Denied (New York: Columbia University Press2003): 83-100.

3

K. Franz“The Bedouin in History or Bedouin History?” Nomadic Peoples 15 (2011). For scholarly collections exploring these phenomena in various parts of the Arab East see Nomadic Societies in the Middle East and North Africa: Entering the 21st Century ed. D. Chatty (Leiden: Brill 2006); The Transformation of Nomadic Society in the Arab East ed. M. Mundy and B. Musallam (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2000); Village Steppe and State: The Social Origins of Modern Jordan ed. E. Rogan and T. Tell (London: British Academic Press 1994).

14

W. LancasterThe Rwala Bedouin Today (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press1981): 120; A. Shryock “Writing Oral History in Tribal Jordan: Developments on the Margins of Literature Culture.” Anthropology Today 11 (1995); J. Büssow “Bedouin Historiography in the Making: An Indigenous History of the Hasana Tribe in Syria.” In Repräsentationen von Nomaden und Sesshaften in der “Alten Welt” ed. L. Prager (Münster: Lit 2011): 160-183.

23

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24

G.E. Leachman“A Journey in North-Eastern Arabia.” The Geographical Journal 37 (1911): 267. See also Bray Paladin of Arabia: 144 153.

28

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29

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30

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31

D.G. Hogarth“Obituary: Lieut.-Colonel G.E. Leachman.” The Geographical Journal 56 (1920): 326; Wilson and Bell Review: 41.

32

For example: K. Cornwallis (ed.)“Notes. News of Anazeh Tribes.” Arab Bulletin 65 (1917): 407-408.

36

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39

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40

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44

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47

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48

K. Cornwallis (ed.)“Notes. News of Anazeh Tribes.” Arab Bulletin 65 (1917): 407-8. See also Wilson and Bell Review: 41.

53

H.St.J.B. PhilbyThe Heart of Arabia: A Record of Travel and Exploration (London: Constable1922): 256; K. Cornwallis (ed.) “Ramadi and the Tribes.” Arab Bulletin 70 (1917): 459-60; K. Cornwallis (ed.) “Mesopotamian Chiefs and King Husein.” Arab Bulletin 93 (1918): 211-2.

75

M.F. JamaliThe New Iraq: Its Problem of Bedouin Education (New York: Teachers College, Columbia1934): 65.

107

A.B. Toth“Conflict and a Pastoral Economy: The Costs of Akhwan Attacks on Tribes in Iraq, 1922-1929.” Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 11 (2002): 201-227.

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