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File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [‎122v] (242/406)

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The record is made up of 1 item (203 folios). It was created in 27 Dec 1918-2 Jun 1919. 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.


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of Doughty are s^cienuo^how ^rouhliome!"' On't^S
hand goi^rther back, there is very little doubt that Klnmna was under the
effective jurisdiction of the Saud dynasty m the days of its early greatness, and Ibn
gaud claims that the long-standing exemption from taxation, which the People of
Khurma have enjoyed, and still enjoy, was conferred upon them by c-aud the hirst#
(or possibly Sand the Great, he., Sand the Second i.he real founder of the W ahhabi
Vninirel. It is fairly certain that neither the Sheriff nor the Turks have ever collected
•1 mite by way of taxation from the people of Khurma a fact ''hieh goes fai to prove
their claim to independence. If that is admitted the people of Khurma cannot well
be blamed if they choose to place themselves under the suzerainty of a power 111 which
they have confidence, and to which they are attached by religious, geographical, racial
and other ties, and to resist any claim to overlordship by a ruler who has made it
clear that he will not tolerate the exercise of their religions according to their own
The above remarks, I trust, will be sufficient to show that at any rate there is a
good case for investigation and that no cx parte opinion can dispose of it satisfactorily.
The two reverses to his ailns which I have reported hare doubtless proved injurious
to the Sheriff’s prestige, but he has no one to blame for that but himself. I note that
the High Commissioner considers that the Sheriff regards Khurma as his territory
u apparently with reason,” and that he does not doubt the sincerity of his assuiances
that Shakir will not advance east of Khurma to attack Ibn Saud s subjects. If these
icmdrks are intended to indicate that no action is being or has been taken to
prevent the development of the Sheriff’s operations and that His Majesty’s Govern
ment approve of thus letting events run their course, I can only say I regard the
situation with the most lively apprehension. Until the worst comes to the worst,
however, I cannot believe that His Majesty’s Government, after their impartial
warning to both rulers to refrain from provocative action, will allow one of the
recipients of that warning to disregard it in the very matter m respect of which it
was issued. The issue of that warning has, as already reported, had a very favour
able effect on Ibn Saud, but he assumes, as I think he is entitled to do, that it will be
equally effective on the Sheriff.
Finally, a word as to the “ activities of Akhwan agents who are evidently at the
root of the trouble.” To the best of my belief the somewhat vague and often
reiterated accusation that Akhwan agents have of late been busy undermining the
influence of the Sheriff has never been substantiated. In any case it is scarcely
applicable to the case of Khurma, whose inhabitants, lock, stock, and barrel, have
always been Wahhabis and are all Akhwan and as such require no proselytising.
The abortive mission of the Sheriffian Qadhi on the other hand is clear enough
evidence that it is the Sheriff who is guilty of interfering with the religious liberty
of the people of Khuripa. This is no mere vague accusation based on Wahhabi
reports, but is fully borne out by the evidence of the letters of the King’s son,
Abdulla, of which I have already forwarded translations. Incidentally I may
mention that present Wahhabi priest of Khurma and bis father before him have
occupied the post without a break for 60 years, the father having been appointed by*
,Ihe alleged Treaty between Bin Saud and the Siierif. '
Office have recently raised the question, at the instance of Colonel
the existence of a treaty between Bin Saud and King Husain,
Khurma region to the latter. The position appears to be that in the
a eai 1910 Hie Sherif, taking advantage of a revolt in Southern Nejd, sent his son
Abdullah to invade Qasim. I he invasion was not completely successful, but Bin
Saud was loiced to accept the Sherif s terms, which included the stipulation that the
gieat tribes lying between Nejd and the Hejaz should be outside Bin Sand’s sphere.
In 1915 Abdullah again led an expedition to enforce the terms of the 1910 treaty, but
peace was patched up and Abdullah retired.

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Part 9 primarily concerns the dispute between Bin Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] and King Hussein of Hejaz [Ḥusayn bin ‘Alī al-Hāshimī, King of Hejaz], and British policy towards both. The item includes the following:

  • a note by the 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. 's Political Department, entitled 'Arabia: The Nejd-Hejaz Feud', which laments the fact that relations between Bin Saud and King Hussein have to some extent been reflected in the views of the two administrations with which they have respectively been brought into contact (i.e. the sphere of Mesopotamia and the Government of India in Bin Saud's case, and the Cairo administration in King Hussein's case);
  • reports on the presence of Akhwan [Ikhwan] forces in Khurma and debate as to which ruler has the stronger claim to it;
  • attempts by the British to ascertain whether or not a treaty exists between King Hussein and Bin Saud;
  • a copy of a report by Harry St John Bridger Philby entitled 'Report on Najd Mission 1917-1918', which includes as appendices a précis of British relations with Bin Saud and a copy of the 1915 treaty between Bin Saud and the British government;
  • reports of alleged correspondence between Bin Saud and Fakhri Pasha, Commander of the Turkish [Ottoman] forces at Medina;
  • reports of the surrender of Medina by Ottoman forces;
  • discussion as to whether Britain should intervene further in the dispute between Bin Saud and King Hussein;
  • details of the proposals discussed at an inter-departmental conference on Middle Eastern affairs, which was held at Cairo in February 1919;
  • reports that King Hussein's son Abdulla [ʿAbdullāh bin al-Ḥusayn] and his forces have been attacked at Tarabah [Turabah] by Akhwan forces and driven out.

The principal correspondents are the following:

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1 item (203 folios)
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English in Latin script
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File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [‎122v] (242/406), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/1, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 July 2019]

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