"I believe this was demonstrated by the futile, yes even counterproductive, efforts of Lawrence of Arabia. He tried to bring democracy to a similar people, and it was utterly hopeless"
In a word, huh?
Where the heck did you get that notion?
Lawrence was engaged in a classic “special operations” effort to move the Turks back from the Suez Canal during the 1st World War.
Until the end of World War I, Ottoman Turks ruled the area from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, as well as the entire Saudi peninsula. Allied with Germany, the Ottomans struggled to hold on to an empire that had been in retreat for centuries.
The British badly wanted to defeat the Ottomans. Having built the Suez Canal, which gave them rapid access to India and China, they had to protect it. They needed to secure the sea-lanes of the eastern Mediterranean and drive the Turks away from the Canal and its approaches.
The British conducted a series of campaigns to break the Turks, including the disastrous Gallipoli landings and the more successful invasion of the province of Syria by General Allenby, who was supported by a Bedouin army recruited from the Arabian Peninsula.
Controlled by British intelligence and special operations teams, including that of Lawrence of Arabia, they first loosened Turkish control over Arabia and then supported Allenby’s attack on Jerusalem and Damascus.
The British were allied with the French, which meant they had to share the spoils of war. The British kept Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula for themselves and divided the Ottoman province of Syria, which contained today’s Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The division, codified in the then secret Sykes-Picot agreement, was extraordinarily arbitrary. A line was drawn through the province.
Everything to the north would be French. Everything to the south would be British.
There was never any attempt by Lawrence, the British or the French to encourage a democratic state anywhere in the middle east, far from it. It was raw colonialism at its worst.