• Unrest at the Gates of Aleppo: British Perspectives on the Bedouin Challenge to Public Security in Northern Syria, 1848-1913

    The political situation in the eastern Arab world during the colonial period was subject not only to the interests of the great powers of East and West but also to disturbances caused by tribal Arabs who found refuge in the desert. Although there has been much research on bedouin of both the nomadic and the sedentary tribes of Syria and its hinterland—mostly drawing on ethnographic aspects—little has been written on the tribes as a challenge to political stability. Aleppo is of special interest since it was an important city close to the desert frontier and was under permanent threat of bedouin raids. The city also was and still is a place of sectarian diversity, second only to Beirut, and all too often the Christian population was wedged between the Ottoman government and nomadic tribes. Dealing with the bedouin thus touches all aspects of an eroding Ottoman power that affected Levantine urban life and sectarian coexistence. This paper draws on previously unpublished archival sources of the British Consulate in Aleppo.