This article examines an important attempt at the political engineering undertaken in Syria during the Great War. It focuses on the experience of the Arabs exiled to Anatolia by Cemal Pasha to redesign Syrian society in line with the Committee of Union and Progress’ idea of empire, which imagined an authoritarian regime. The members of the Arabist parties were removed from Syria to eliminate their contemporaneous and future resistance to the emerging despotic regime. The article sets out to analyze what the exiles experienced in Anatolia using their memoirs in Arabic and the Ottoman documents describing their conditions in Anatolia, and to what extent the aims could be realized. It argues that the purpose was to put a politics of “normalization” into practice by depoliticizing the Arab notable families through “relocation” to Anatolia, although the resistance of the exiles and varying attitudes in Ottoman bureaucracy significantly differentiated outcomes. It also uncovers many untold stories with regard to the daily life of the exiles and adds much to our knowledge on the experience of Arab exiles in Anatolia. It is the first serious examination of the experiences of the Arab exiles using their own texts and narrative.