sábado, julho 06, 2024

Tropas árabes, chefiadas por Lawrence da Arábia, conquistaram Aqaba há 107 anos

Lawrence of Arabia after the Battle of Aqaba
Battle of Aqaba (6 July 1917) was fought for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. The attacking forces of the Arab Revolt, led by Auda ibu Tayi and T. E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), were victorious over the Turkish defenders.
Following an unsuccessful attack on Medina, forces of the Arab Revolt under Emir Faisal I were on the defensive against the Turks. In the spring of 1917, Arab forces moved north to seize the Red Sea ports of Yenbo and Wejh, allowing them to regain the initiative, but neither the Arabs nor their British allies could agree on a subsequent plan of action. The Arabs began a series of attacks on the Hejaz Railway, and contemplated another campaign against Medina, but with British troops stationary in front of Gaza, it seemed they weren't in a position to achieve a major success. The Turkish government had sent Arab divisions of its army, which held many pro-Revolt units, to the front lines, depriving Faisal and his allies of much-needed reinforcements.
Lawrence, sent by General Archibald Murray, commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, to act as a military advisor to Faisal, convinced the latter to attack Aqaba. Aqaba was a Turkish-garrisoned port in Jordan, which would threaten British forces operating in Palestine; the Turks had also used it as a base during their 1915 attack on the Suez Canal. It was also suggested by Faisal that the port be taken as a means for the British to supply his Arab forces as they moved further north. Though he did not take part in the attack itself (his cousin Sherif Nasir rode along as the leader of his forces), Faisal lent forty of his men to Lawrence. Lawrence also met with Auda ibu Tayi, leader of the northern Howeitat tribe of Bedouin, who agreed to lend himself and a large number of his men to the expedition. Lawrence informed his British colleageus of the planned expedition, but they apparently did not take him seriously, expecting it to fail.
Aqaba was not in and of itself a major military obstacle; a small village at the time, it was not actually garrisoned by the Turks, though the Turks did keep a small, 300-man garrison at the mouth of the Wadi Itm to protect from landward attack via the Sinai Peninsula. The British Royal Navy occasionally shelled Aqaba, and in late 1916 had briefly landed a party of Marines ashore there, though a lack of harbor or landing beaches made an amphibious assault impractical. The main obstacle to a successful landward attack on the town was the large Nefud Desert, believed by many to be impassable.

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