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British Imperialism and ‘the Tribal Question’Desert Administration and Nomadic Societies in the Middle East, 1919-1936$
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Robert S. G. Fletcher

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198729310

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198729310.001.0001

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Running the Corridor

Running the Corridor

(p.132) (p.133) 3 Running the Corridor
British Imperialism and ‘the Tribal Question’

Robert S. G. Fletcher

Oxford University Press

This chapter follows flows of people, animals, goods, and practices across the ‘desert corridor’ of the Middle East to uncover a wider zone of interaction, straddling the boundaries of a number of states. Here, two different forms of mobility worked to mitigate the impact of the region’s new international boundaries: imperial route-building on the one hand, and Bedouin patterns of migration, raiding, and trade on the other. Seldom examined in tandem, their intersection helped to make the deserts between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf a distinct historical space. By building on a revived literature of global borderlands, this chapter approaches the areas on both sides of a border as a single unit of analysis, offering a new understanding of its inhabitants and administrative officials alike.

Keywords:   borderlands, Syrian Desert, migration, smuggling, transnationalism, colonial administration, Bedouin

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