Faisal I (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: After commanding forces that played a prominent part in the Arab revolt of 1916-1918 against Ottoman rule, Faisal became the first king of modern Iraq and ruled from 1921 to 1933; by adopting a position midway between British and nationalist demands, he was able ultimately to win independence for his country.
Although he was born of an auspicious family, the early years of Faisal ibn al-Husayn did not seem to prefigure the path that his career in the politics of the Middle East later was to take. He was the third son of al-Husayn ibn ’Ali, and his father’s ancestors, through the line of Dhawu-Awn, were from one branch of the tribe of the prophet Muhammad. Faisal was born in Taif, a city southeast of Mecca, on May 20, 1885; his early years evidently were spent for the most part in the desert and oases among local Bedouin. His father was called to Istanbul in the course of intrigues that had embroiled him with the rival Dhawu-Zayd clan. With his brothers, Faisal was educated in the Ottoman capital; in 1905 he married his cousin Hazimah. In 1908, when the position became vacant, the ascendancy of new Ottoman political factions following the Young Turk Revolution seemed to favor the opponents of Husayn and his family; yet, through the intervention of Sultan Abdülhamid II and the grand vizier, Husayn was able to secure his appointment as the Sharif of Mecca. As Husayn set about to establish...
(The entire section is 2845 words.)
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