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Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

VII
EGYPT DURING THE WAR
133
his people the prestige of the ruler we had placed on the throne with the new and higher title of Sultan, he did not disguise from me his mortification at being sometimes treated with less ceremonial deference than had been usually shown to the Khedives. Very unfortunately, on October 9th, 1917, Sultan Hussein, who had been failing for some months, died, and his brother, Ahmed Fuad, was hastily chosen by the British Government to succeed him, not it would seem because he possessed any special qualifications, but because, having very few friends in the country, he would be compelled to lean upon us alone for support.
Had the war been of shorter duration the mistakes made at the outset might have been perhaps easily repaired. But the longer it endured the more completely did military authority overshadow civil authority ; and the one officer, Sir John Maxwell, whose long experience of Egypt and whose popularity with Egyptians of all classes went a long way to mitigate the harshness of martial law, had been removed in the second year of the war. The time came too when, in order to secure the success of new operations on a very large scale against Turkey in Palestine and Syria, the assurances originally given by the British Government that the Egyptian people would not be called upon for aid in the war, of which Great Britain had taken upon herself the sole burden, had to be considerably watered down in practice. Egypt was the base of those operations. New railway lines had to be laid with the utmost speed across the desert from the Suez Canal to the old Turkish frontier, and then pushed on again as fast as possible into Turkish territory as our advance progressed. No labour was available except Egyptian labour. At the same time, the expeditionary force, which grew into a large army, as well as the forces in Egypt itself, had to be kept constantly supplied and fed, and the dearth of shipping and the growing submarine danger in the Mediterranean made it imperative to supply and feed them as far as possible
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1s far as possible in the eyes ofdb.e  Canal—and Turks were marched into Cairo as