Ahmad Izzat Pasha al-Abed, private adviser to Sultan Abdulhamid II - 1910

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Image Source: Tamim Mardam Bey Archive

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.