Saturday, March 25, 2006
The Arab situation in the Middle East in 1940-1941
The Germans had maintained contact with dissadent Arabs in the Middle East from before the start of the war. Even though the Iraqis had a large group sympathetic with the Germans, the Iraqi government had broken diplomatic ties in September 1939. After the French collapse in May 1940, the Germans still made no effort to have influence in Syria, even though that seems to have been a natural possibility. The Italians, not Germans, sent an armistice commission to Syria. However, there was unrest among Arabs wanting to be free of British rule. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem had tried to negotiate a deal with the Germans to recognize the Arab states as being independent. He had proposed that they send out agents from Syria to create unrest in Palestine and Transjordan. It was only in January 1941 that the Germans sent a man to Syria to assess the situation on the ground. This is based the account in Vol.II of the Official History.