What is the explanation for such a monumental intelligence failure? The answer is simple: incompetence and faulty judgment. In contrast, the French had had no illusions about the Arabs. When François-Georges Picot met Sir Arthur Nicolson in London on 23 November 1915, he told him bluntly that the British authorities in Cairo had exaggerated the strength of the Arab-Syrian movement, and that the French doubted the reliability of their information. Whatever was promised, the Arabs would find it difficult to resist the appeal of religious solidarity on which Turkey and Germany played so skillfully. Even if some Arab tribes went over to the Entente, they would immediately quarrel among themselves. 1