[P4858] Tales of Espionage, Diplomacy, and War

Created by Jeffrey G. Karam
Sunday, 11/19/17 8:00am


Scholars have begun to explore the role of intelligence officers and diplomats in the struggles for independence and state formation in the early 20th century and during important episodes in the Cold War. However, the bulk of existing accounts focus primarily on American and European narratives and records. By drawing on underutilized multilingual archival sources in Arabic, English, French, and Hebrew, the panel offers a new perspective on the relationships that a handful of intelligence officers built with local actors at critical junctures between World War I and the beginning of the Cold War.

By tracing how information was exchanged between intelligence officers and local political actors, this panel sheds light on untold stories in the history of the modern Middle East and North Africa. These tales allow for a novel understanding of both the tension and harmony between intelligence officials and diplomats in the field, as well as among intelligence officials, diplomats, and local political actors. Importantly, by giving voice to local political actors, the panel provides a much more comprehensive account of the history of the modern Middle East, that is often left untold in state-centric narratives.

Paper one investigates the attempted sale of the Western Wall by Cemal Pasha in 1915, explaining why Pasha made this offer to Zionist leaders. The paper will also address the secretive correspondence between Zionist leaders in the Ottoman Empire, Germany, and America. By shedding light on evidence in the Central Zionist Archives, this paper explains why this important juncture in the Zionist historiography has not received attention.

Paper two examines how the administration of waqf endowments in the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon evolved as a site of production of state surveillance capacity, and the role of a francophone Syrian Jewish agent in managing the relationship between local Muslim and Christian leaders and the French waqf administration.

Paper three focuses on how two American intelligence officers created back channels with political actors in Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon to end the Lebanese Civil War of 1958. Drawing on untapped intelligence and diplomatic records in Arabic, English, and French, this paper sheds light on an untold story of diplomacy and war during the Lebanese civil war weeks before American intervention in July 1958.


Hist; Intl Rltns/Aff; Pol Science




Roberto Mazza

(University of Limerick)
Dr Roberto Mazza earned his PhD from SOAS in 2007, he is currently a Research Associate at SOAS and he has been recently appointed Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick. He has published two book with IB Tauris, in 2009 'Jerusalem from the...
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

James Casey

(Princeton University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Salim Yaqub

(University of California, Santa Barbara)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

Jeffrey G. Karam

(Harvard University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;