Rida Pasha al-Rikabi was a respected and decorated Arab officer in the Ottoman Army. He defected in 1916 to join the Arab rebels in Mecca and became the first military governor of post-Ottoman Syria. King Faisal I appointed him as Syria's first Prime Minister in 1918, charged with creating the Syrian Army from scratch. He was exiled when the French Mandate was imposed in July 1920 and returned in 1932 to run for presidential office, having established the Monarchial Party, aimed at re-establishing the Hashemite throne in Syria. He was defeated in the elections by the independent Mohammad Ali al-Abed.