King Abdullah, Britain and the Making of Jordan
King Abdullah played an active role in the partition of Palestine and, as a result, has always been viewed as one of the most controversial figures in modern Middle East history. This book is the first in-depth study of the historical and personal circumstances that made him so. Born in Mecca in 1882 of a family that traced its lineage to the Prophet Muhammad, Abdullah belonged to the Ottoman ruling elite. He grew up in Istanbul and returned to Mecca when his father was appointed Sharif in 1908. During the First World War he earned nationalist credentials as a leader of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. Owing to his alliance with Britain in the revolt, he emerged afterwards as a contender for power in a Middle East now dominated by Britain. Despite grandiose ambitions, Abdullah ended up as Britain's client in the mandated territory of Transjordan. His dependence on Britain was exacerbated by his situation in Transjordan, an artificial creation with no significant cities, no natural resources, and little meaning beyond its importance to British strategy. Within the constraints of British interests, it was left to Abdullah to make something of his position, and he spent the remainder of his life looking beyond Transjordan's borders for a role, a clientele, or a stable balance of interests which would allow him a future independent of British fortunes. He found all three after 1948 when, in conjunction with the creation of Israel, he came to rule the portion of Palestine known as the West Bank.