Beni Sakhr

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Beni Sakhr is the name of a large Bedouin tribe living in Jordan.

In the 19th century, the Beni Sakhr lived as nomads. Their income came from trading camels and from the protection they could give, or refuse to give, to more settled peoples. In 1867, the Ottoman Empire launched a raid which defeated the Beni Sakhr and ended their practice of collecting khuwwa (protection money) from established settlements.

In June 1917 Fawaz el Faiz, one of the leaders of the Beni Sakhr, had a secret meeting with T.E. Lawrence. El Faiz was a member of an anti-Turkish committee in Damascus and Lawrence was seeking support for his military campaign. Shortly after the meeting Lawrence fled fearing betrayal. El Faiz was killed shortly afterwards. By June 1918 the Beni Sakhr were united in their opposition to the Turks and were offering to provide the Husseini forces with at least eleven thousand men costing £30,000 a month. In addition they would donate the harvest of Kerak and Madeba.Wilson, Jeremy (1989) Lawrence of Arabia: the authorised biography of T.E.Lawrence. Heinemann. ISBN 0 434 87235 0. Pages 415, 515. The figure of 11,000 comes from a report by Lawrence.

A series of events in the 1920s and 1930s put further pressure on their nomadic lifestyle, eventually leading to famine. The Beni Sakhr were saved from this by the British government ruling Jordan at the time. In exchange, the British required the Beni Sakhr to give up their nomadic lifestyle and become more...
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