Letter from Lieutenant-Colonel William George Grey, Indian Army, Political Agent, Kuwait to Sir Arthur Hirtzel, Secretary, Political Department, India Office [27r] (3/4)
The record is made up of 2 folios. It was created in 16 Jun 1915. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
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eye-wUuesses, being that the Turks had p,omi«d them victory, whereas a
severe rebuft was all they received.
o. In the circumstances detailed above, little need be said upon the
subject of the Turkish efforts to arouse religious feeling among the Arab s
of these regions. Such an aspect of the war has entered but little into
the considerations of the Muntafik, and the Basravis seem to be quite
unaffected by it. The attempt to raise a Jehad has had no effect upon
the large and important tribes of Central and North-Central Arabia, and I
have not met any Arab who has taken seriously the supposed conversion
of prominent Germans to Islam.
0. In connection with the tribes and localities referred to in this com
munication, a reference is invited to the Gazetteer Map of Arabia which was
compiled in the Foreign Office, Simla, during the years 1905-08 ; and I now
pass on to some mention of the tribes further south, who have had more or
less acquaintance with British officials, and have come more under the
influence of our friends among the Arab chiefs and notables. First come
the Zaffir, a large and scattered tribe who inhabit the country west and
north-west of Kuwait, as far as Samawah. The Zaffir, who could probably
put 5 ,000 fighting men into the field, have throughout declined all Turkish
invitations to take up arms on their behalf, giving as their reason a feud
which exists between them and the Muntafik, but they have also been
advised by some of our friends to stand aloof. The Yuarin, who dwell
nearer to the coast in about the same latitude, and whose strength is perhaps
from 2,000 to 3,000 fighting men, have also remained neutral, partly owing
to enmity with the Muntafik and partly to the influence of Shaikh Mubarak
of Kuwait, who has also induced the Bani Malik, a roving tribe who come
from the left bank of the Shatt-ul-Arab to pass the spring and winter in
Kuwait territory, to take a similar course.
7. For the neutrality of the Shammar, the numerous inhabitants of the
eastern portion of the desert tract known as the Nafnd which lies to the
south-west of Kuwait, and the powerful Umm Tairwho dwell in the Suniman
tract south-east of the Nafud, we are indebted partly to the influence of
Shaikh Mubarak and partly to the skilful diplomacy of Bin Saud, the Amir
of Nejd, who by organising a campaign against Ibn Rashid, the Shammar
chief and enlisting in his service the warriors of the Umm Tair, not only
provided himself with an excellent excuse for declining to assist the Turks
who were pouring invitations upon him, but compelled Ibn Rashid and the
Shammar to attend to their own defence. There never was any doubt as to
what line Bin Saud himself would take, but he might not have found it
possible to induce his people to take up our cause at an early stage of the
war, or to restrain them from assisting at our discomfiture had we suffered
a severe reverse at the hands of the Turks at a similar period.
8. It is impossible to speak too highly of the conduct of His Excellency
Shaikh Sir Mubarak of Kuwait, which has from the moment in which I
informed him that war with Turkey was imminent been that of a loyal and
honourable gentleman. He said on that occasion that all that he had was at
our disposal and that he would be victorious with us or perish with us, and
everything that he has said or done since has borne out the sincerity of his
About this item
The letter from Lieutenant-Colonel William George Grey to Sir Frederic Arthur Hirtzel encloses a copy of a letter No. C/8 of 1915 by Grey, as Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. in Kuwait, to the Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. , dated 9 June 1915, regarding Arab co-operation with the Turks in the Shatt al-Arab [Shaṭṭ al-‘Arab] country.
The letter refers to remarks made by Lord Curzon of Kedleston both in the House of Lords and in relation to an address given by Mr P Landon on Basrah and the Shatt al-Arab at the Society of Arts in April 1915. The remarks are regarding Arab tribes supporting the Turks, and further observations made by the Secretary of State for India on the Battle of Shaiba, at which it was reported that the Turkish troops had been joined by almost 10,000 Arab combatants. The letter also raises the question of why they were now siding with the Turks given their previous relations with Britain.
Grey's response to these observations includes a detailed explanation of the composition of the tribes involved as being primarily from Arab communities in Iraq, and the Muntafiq [al-Muntafiq] tribe of the Euphrates and Shatt-ul-Gharaf [Shaṭṭ al-Gharrāf, also known as Shaṭṭ al-Ḥayy] regions. His response also notes that the tribes involved are not those of the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. region as had previously been assumed by Lord Curzon.
The letter goes on to explain these tribes' relations with the Turks and the reasons for their having sided with them. The letter concludes by providing information on some of the tribes of the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. , in particular the Zaffir [al-Zafīr] who had declined Turkish invitations to take up arms; and the Yuarin, Bani Malik [Banī Mālik] and Shammar all of whom had chosen to remain neutral.
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Foliation: The foliation for this description commences at folio 26 and terminates at folio 26, as it is part of a larger physical volume; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is also present in the volume; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled, and can be found in the same position as the main sequence.
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