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Spies in ArabiaThe Great War and the Cultural Foundations of Britain's Covert Empire in the Middle East$
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Priya Satia

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195331417

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195331417.001.0001

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Cunning in War

Cunning in War

(p.137) 4 Cunning in War
Spies in Arabia

Priya Satia (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the wartime application of the intuitive intelligence mode in new domains, including policing, colonial administration, and military tactics. The intelligence strategy morphed from a means of gathering knowledge to a means of acquiring political control. As agents strove to fulfill their dreams of adventure in Arabia, they strayed into the realm of warfare, applying their expertise on Arab affairs to the use and theorization of irregular warfare, deception tactics, and airpower, all of which set the Middle East campaigns apart from the war of attrition in Europe. The official construction of Arabia as a “spy-space” where the expert agent knew how to meet cunning with cunning was central in the articulation of these tactics and underwrote the adoption of an avowedly conscienceless approach to involvement in the Middle East.

Keywords:   deception, mirage, pacification, military tactics, T. E. Lawrence, guerrilla warfare, irregular warfare, Mesopotamia campaign, Palestine Campaign, airpower, Royal Flying Corps

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