Quite the reverse of the urban residents of Syria we analyzed in the previous chapters, the unsettled and nomadic portions of Syrian society enjoyed a significant amount of freedom under the regime of Cemal Pasha. With the initiation of the Tanzimat reforms the Ottoman government had endeavored to subordinate the Bedouins and the Druze to the Ottoman administration. By the time World War I began, some progress had been made in this direction, although the Bedouin and the Druze communities protected their distinctive structures to a considerable extent. However, Cemal, worried about the possibility of rebellion, which would put him in a difficult position militarily in the circumstances of war, did not maintain this policy. Thus, he returned to the traditional imperial policy, permitting them a large amount of freedom of action in return for their loyalty. Although the Ottoman tribal policy in Syria in the pre-war period has for

the most part been adequately analyzed,1 Ottoman policy toward the Bedouin and Druze during Cemal’s rule in Syria has not received the attention it deserves. The only exceptions in this regard are some summaries in Rogan’s study regarding Cemal Pasha’s treatment of the tribes in Transjordan before and after the outbreak of the sharif ’s revolt. In this chapter, however, Cemal’s policy toward these two significant non-urban elements of Syrian society will be analyzed in light of documents from various Western and Ottoman archives. To this end, the reasons behind and consequences of Cemal’s policy toward the Druze will be discussed. Following this the relations between the Bedouin tribes and tribal dynasties and the Ottoman Empire before and after the outbreak of the sharif ’s revolt will be dealt with.