Sharif Pasha, General Muhammad


Sharif Pasha, General Muhammad
(1865-1951)
   Sharif Pasha was a member of the Baban family in what is now northern Iraq and a cosmopolitan Kurdish leader during the final years of the Ottoman Empire. A former Ottoman envoy to Sweden and a member of the first Kurdish nationalist organization that appeared in Istanbul early in the 20th century, Sharif Pasha lacked serious contacts in Kurdistan. He also was a supporter of the deposed sultan Abdul Hamid II and as a result had to flee the country after he was sentenced to death following the abortive countercoup of April 1909 against the Committee for Union and Progress.
   At the beginning of World War I, Sharif Pasha offered his services to Great Britain in Mesopotamia but was turned down. He retired to his luxurious villa in southern France. In May 1919, he offered to become mir of an independent Kurdistan, but given his lack of a constituency there, the British again rejected his proposal.
   Late in his career, however, Sharif Pasha headed the Kurdish delegation at the Paris Peace Conference ending World War I, where he briefly created a stir by cooperating with the Armenian delegation headed by Boghos Nubar Pasha. On 20 November 1919, the two presented a joint proposal for separate Kurdish and Armenian states whose exact borders remained to be determined. When the specifics of the agreement were announced, however, both Kurds and Armenians were outraged at how the compromise negated their nationalist positions. In addition, Sharif Pasha's willingness to talk with the Ottomans left many distrustful of his position. As a result, he was forced to resign, leaving the Kurds without representation. The Ke-malist revival in Turkey, of course, further frustrated Kurdish hopes.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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