Noel, Major Edward


Noel, Major Edward
   Major Edward Noel was the political officer (intelligence agent) of Great Britain in Sulaymaniya in 1919. He supported the Kurds so strongly that he was disparagingly called the "Second Lawrence" by officials in the Colonial Office. As such, Noel was convinced of the strength of Kurdish nationalism and worked for either an independent Kurdish state or some type of viable Kurdish autonomy both under ultimate British control.
   After a successful earlier career in the Caucasus and along the northwest frontier in India, Noel made extensive trips throughout Kurdistan during 1919. He played an important role in bringing Sheikh Mahmud Barzinji to power in the area around Sulay-maniya. His efforts in what is now southeastern Turkey, however, failed to win the support of his own government, probably because of Sheikh Mahmud's refusal to cooperate with Britain and also because of the Kemalist revival in Turkey. Indeed, the Turks suspected Noel of trying to incite the Kurds to attack the aborning Kemalist government. Noel was replaced by Major E. B. Soane.
   Noel wrote a 77-page report on his experiences among the Kurds entitled Diary of Major Noel on Special Duty in Kurdistan, from June 14th to September 21st, 1919, and available in the archives of the Public Record Office, Kew Gardens, as FO 371/5068. Noel also participated in the famous Cairo conference on the future role of Great Britain in the Middle East held in March 1921.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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