Ahmad Izzat Pasha al-Abed, the senior advisor to Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II

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Ahmad Izzat Pasha (1855-1924) was a close confident of the Imperial Court in Istanbul during the last 15-years of Abdulhamid II's rule in the Ottoman Empire. Among other things, he was behind the Hijaz Railway project in Damascus, founder of an Arabic daily called Dimashq, and founder of the Victoria Hotel, the first and largest luxury hotel in Damascus. Abed was also behind the telegraph system linking Izmir to Benghazi in Libya, and linking Damascus to Medina in modern Saudi Arabia. He was also one of the richest Syrians in the Ottoman Empire, and a major shareholder in the Suez Canal Company in Egypt. His son Mohammad Ali became the Ottoman Ambassador to the US in 1908, months before a coup took place in Istanbul and greatly decreased the Sultan's powers, before it eventually overthrew him completely in 1909. After the coup, Abed went to Europe where he lived briefly before moving to Cairo, which became his base until his death in 1924.