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File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [‎142r] (281/406)

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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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+?°7rI er Q tlla j be, 1 ^ arrival of the Ajman as refugees from the
wrath of Ibn Saud within the limits of Kuwait territory was a serious matter,
• which the British authorities could not afford to ignore. The unconditional
admission of the rebels—for such they were—to the benefit of British protec-
n uM ai l> t0 aliect °. ur relatlons with an important Arab ally while
the dictates both of common justice and indeed of Arab custom demanded that
the suppliants should be admitted to sanctuary, at any rate temporarily pend
ing fuller consideration of the merits of the case and of the interests involved.
was accordingly discussed by Sir P. Cox with Ibn Saud and
the Shaikh of Kuwait on the occasion of the Kuwait Durbar of November
iJlb, and, m view of the greater interests involved in the newly ratified
alliance of the Arab rulers with the British Government for the vio'orous
piosecution of the war against the common enemy, a compromise was Darned
and agreed to by all concerned, whereby Ibn Saud undertook not to molest the
Ajman m their new quarters provided that they in their turn refrained from
molesting the tribes of Aajd and declined any intercourse with such sections
as had betaken themselves to enemy protection.
This agreement was intended to remain in force until the end of the war,
and it was hoped that the Ajman w T ould be content with the security thus
obtained under the protection of the British Government and would on their
part faithfully observe the conditions imposed on them.
The innate instability of the Arab character, however, soon rendered the
hopes entertained of this agreement vain and Ibn Saud declares—with what
degree of truth it is impossible to estimate—that a projected forward move
ment on his part against the Shammar forces during the summer of 1917 had
to be abandoned owing to a sudden movement of the Ajman, which threatened
his flank. Theie is no doubt that the Ajman did move in the direction
indicated by Ibn Saud, though there is no reason to suppose that their action
w r as caused by any other motive than the necessity of finding new pastures
for their flocks and herds. Nevertheless the move constituted a breach of the
agreement of November, 1916, and, if Ibn Saud did at the time contemplate
an attack on the Shammar, the action of the Ajman was sufficient, on military
grounds alone, to give him pause, while, finally, Shaikh Salim’s failure to
insist on the observance of the agreement by his guests involved the British
Government in a charge of breach of faith.
Ibn Saud did not miss the opportunity of lodgung a complaint regarding
the manner in wdiicli the agreement had been observed bv other signatories
than himself, and another opportunity soon presented itself, on the eve of the
departure of the Mission from Iraq, in Die arrival at Kuwait of Dhaidan ibn
Ilitlain, one of the Shaikhs of the Ajman proscribed by the terms of the
agreement.
It is true that his petition for sanctuary had been answered bv Sir P. Ccx
to the effect that sanctuary could only be granted on the production of a letter
of recommendation from Ibn Saud. Nevertheless Dhaidan and his followung
took up their residence in Kuwait territory without any such letter and with
the consent of the Shaikh of Kuwait, and it was left to the Mission to see what
arrangement could be arrived at in consultation with Ibn Saud.
Thus, when the Mission arrived at Kiyadh, it found that, on moral
grounds alone, Ibn Saud had an unassailable case, as he could point to two
distinct breaches of an agreement, which the British Government had ratified
but had made no effort to enforce, while he himself had scrupulously observed
both its spirit and letter. Moreover the Mission, having as its main object to
induce Ibn Saud to active aggression against the enemy, could not leave out
of consideration the possible effect of the active or passive presence of a large
and hostile force on the flank or rear of Ibn Sand’s army, and we decided that,
on military grounds alone, Ibn Saud could not move while the Ajman remained
m Kiiwmit territory. Thirdly, on the less plausible ground of political
expediency, we thought it advisable to placate Ibn Saud at the expense of a
tribe, which, after all, had and has no claim whatever on our friendlv consider
ation, when such placation promised substantial results in other directions.
Nevertheless, having thus decided on moral military and political grounds
that the Ajman must leave Kuwait territory, we used our best endeavours with
Ibn Saud to obtain for them as favourable terms as possible; to this end we
pointed out to him that on military grounds alone it would be unwise to
increase the numbers of, our active enemies, if this could possibly be avoided
by securing the neutrality of those, who could not be our friends and had no
desire to be our enemies.
do this Ibn Saud consented after much argument, and it was finally decided
that the Ajman should be le.ft to choose one of the following alternatives, all
ol which had the double merit of removing them from Kuwait territory and
lessening by one the number of possible sources of friction between Ibn Saud
and Ibn Subah, namely: —
(1) that the tribe should move en masse northwards and join Fahad ibn
ii OUr J ^ llaza (Amarat) ally, thereafter shewing their goodwill to
ndhhaJ, our Anaza (Amarat), ally, thereafter shewing their good will tq)
the allied cause by acting with him or remaining benevolently neutral; or

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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' [‎142r] (281/406), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/1, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100036528095.0x000059> [accessed 19 July 2019]

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