[1917] The Arab Counter-Revolt

Hi all,

I have an AH scenario regarding the Middle Eastern theatre of WW1 but need some help fleshing it out. Here is the basis of what I have so far, in a Wikipedia article style:


The Second Arab Congress, also known as the Ali-Pasha Agreement, was a series of secret meetings occurring from May 4th to May 10th at the Al Othman Mosque in Jibla, Kuwait to discuss a reconciliation between the Ottoman Empire and members of the British-backed Arab Revolt and the Arab Nationalist movement (many of whom were in attendance at the First Arab Congress of 1913). The congress was attended by the Gran Vizier Mehmed Talaat Pasha representing Ottoman interests, Sharif Hussein bin Ali representing Arab interests, Friedrich Kress von Kressenstein representing the German Empire, and various local Arab nationalist and military leaders who were either actively or indirectly participating in the Arab Revolt.

The Congress was initially proposed in secret by Enver Pasha, following reports from German intelligence of the existence of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. This secret treaty between the United Kingdom and France sought to define their mutually agreed spheres of influence in an eventual partition of the Ottoman Empire. The agreement was discovered in April of 1917 by Germany, following a meeting between the Prime Ministers of Italy and the United Kingdom in a railway car in southern France, where the Italian Prime Minister was shown the plans and asked to provide assent for the proposals put forth by Sykes and Picot.

Upon discovery of the document, the Germans hoped to sway the Arabs back in favour with the Ottomans in order for them to pull much of the resources they had committed in the Middle East back to the Western Front and to ensure substantial British losses in Arabia. This was crucial as earlier in April 1917, the U.S. Senate voted in support of the measure to declare war on Germany, with the House concurring just two days later. While the revelation of the treaty was certainly a surprise for the Arabs (particularly for the Sharif) and viewed with great disgust, there was still much opposition when von Kressenstein had proposed a counter-revolt and potential alliance with the Ottomans. The government of the Three Pashas, chiefly through the actions of the Minister of War Enver Pasha, operated a draconian wartime governorship of the Levantine provinces, evaporating the rapport built in the First Arab Congress even though the vast majority of the Arab populace by and large remained loyal to the Ottoman state, or at least adopted a benevolent neutral attitude towards it. As such, the Arabs demanded many of the same promises the Ottomans had made them in 1913, with national group Al-Fatat's leader Rafiq al-Tamimi going so far as to call for an independent Levantine state to be created and recognised by the Ottomans following the end of the war.

After four days and three meetings of discussion between Talaat Pasha and the Arabs, with the Germans and even Sharif Ali acting as mediators for the most part, a counter-revolt had been agreed to by all parties, on the 7th of May 1917. Sharif Ali promised to end his alliance with the British and the Arab nationalists sought to seek the support of the people in rising up and pushing Edmund Allenby's men back to British-controlled Egypt. In return, Sharif Ali assured the title of King of Hejaz (independent of and recognised by the Ottomans) as well as a future military alliance against the Saudis, while the Arab Levantines were pledged a constitutional change that would grant them provincial autonomy, equal civil rights, participation in all levels of government, and the establishment of Arabic as an official language within the Empire. Following the successful negotiations, von Kressenstein immediately began working on a strategy with his Arab and Ottoman counterparts, concluding plans on May 10th for the Arab Counter-Revolt (later known as the Arab Treachery by the Entente).

So that's the general gist of things, would love to hear any immediate feedback and comments regarding it. As far questions, I have several:
  • While a mosque seems like the most logical meeting place (guaranteed peace, assists in reconciliation through re-enforcing common ground, quiet and undisturbed) Kuwait would have been in British control at the time. Anyone have any other suggestions that are (preferably) not Istanbul?
  • My proposal of how the Germans discover the Sykes-Picot Agreement is very hand-wavy and was chosen more so for the time period (U.S. have just agreed to participate in the war, Allenby would go on to conquer Palestine ~6 months later). Can anyone suggest an alternative method/time that Germany discovers this secret treaty?
  • Would an outright reversal of the the Arab Revolt against the British or a slower and more carefully planned betrayal (with some espionage involved perhaps) make more sense?
My ultimate goal is for an independent Arab Levantine state to rise following the chaos of the Great War; however I am struggling to envision how a CP victory (solely in the Middle East) would affect the War as a whole? By mid-1917 Germany and her allies likely would have still eventually capitulated and the Ottomans would not be able to solely defend their borders against the Allies, given that the Arabs weren't the greatest of military allies to the British when they were on the same side.
Maybe Hegra (Mada'in Salih) as a metting place, its a former city and an archaeological site where the Hejaz railway goes trough. As for how the germans discover the agreement it would be realistic that a Arab who has more knowledge about Great Britan would not believe the promises of independence after the war. Maybe a rich arab who visited a uni in England and is now a sheikh. It would make sense for arabia to fight slower to let britan fight and kill the ottoman empire so that they would still have enough soldier after the war. With enough soldier it would be to costly for great britan to fight a war after the world war and the public opinon would be more against it as well.