Faisal I of Iraq

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Faisal bin Hussein (Arabic: فيصل بن حسين‎; May 20, 1883September 8, 1933) was for a short while king of Greater Syria in 1920 and king of Iraq from 1921 to 1933. He was a member of the Hashemite dynasty.

Emir Faisal's party at Versailles, during the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. At the center, from left to right: Rustum Haidar, Nuri as-Said, Prince Faisal, Captain Pisani (behind Faisal) T.E. Lawrence, Faisal's slave (name unknown), Captain Tahsin Qadri.

He was born in Taif (in present-day Saudi Arabia) in 1883, the third son of Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, the Grand Sharif of Mecca. In 1913 he was elected as representative for the city of Jeddah for the Ottoman parliament.

In 1916, on a mission to Constantinople he visited Damascus twice. On one of these visits, he received the Damascus Protocol, he joined with the Al-Fatat group of Arab nationalists, and his father became king of Hijaz. Faisal also worked with the Allies during World War I in their conquest of Transjordan and the capture of Damascus, where he became part of a new Arab government in 1918.

Image:Weizmann and feisal 1918.jpg
1918. Emir Faisal I and Chaim Weizmann (left, also wearing Arab outfit as a sign of friendship)

He led the Arab delegation to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and, with the support of the knowledgeable and influential Gertrude Bell, argued for the establishment of independent Arab emirates for the area previously covered by the Ottoman Empire. His role in the Arab Revolt was described by T.E. Lawrence in "Seven Pillars of Wisdom", although the accuracy of that book has been criticised by historians.

On January 3, 1919, Faisal and Dr. Chaim Weizmann, President of the World Zionist Organization signed the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, in which Faisal conditionally accepted the Balfour Declaration based on the fulfillment of British wartime promises of independence to the Arabs. These were not kept [1]. Weizmann argued that the fulfillment was kept eventually and therefore the agreement still held. [2]

On March 7, 1920, he was made king of Greater Syria by the Syrian National Congress. But in April 1920, the Sanremo conference gave France the mandate for Syria, which led to the battle of Maysalun on July 24, 1920; Faisal was expelled from Syria by the French and went to live in the United Kingdom in August that year.

The British government, mandate holders in Iraq, were concerned at the unrest in the new country. They decided to step back from direct administration and create a monarchy to head Iraq while they maintained the mandate. Following a plebiscite showing 96% in favour, Faisal agreed to become king; so, in August 1921 he was made king of Iraq.

He was instrumental in making his country fully independent in 1932.

He died on September 8, 1933, when he had a heart attack whilst he was staying in Bern, Switzerland. He was succeeded on the throne by his son Ghazi.

He has been twice portrayed on film: in David Lean's epic Lawrence of Arabia (1962), played by Alec Guinness, and in the unofficial sequel to Lawrence, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia (1990) by Alexander Siddig.

Preceded by:
King of Iraq
Succeeded by:
King Ghazi
ar:فيصل الأول

de:Faisal I. (Irak) et:Fayşal I es:Faysal ibn Husayn fr:Fayçal ibn Hussein it:Faysal I re d'Iraq he:פייסל הראשון מלך עיראק nl:Faisal I van Irak ja:ファイサル1世 (イラク王) pt:Faiçal I do Iraque fi:Feisal ibn Hussein zh:费萨尔一世 (伊拉克)

Faisal I of Iraq

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